Even though there are tons of fun things to do in Calgary, finding activities that won’t break the bank can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. As it turns out, there are lots of inexpensive ways to keep your whole family entertained throughout the year, both indoors and outside. So, whether you’re looking to catch a movie, explore a museum, go for a train ride, or just about anything else in between, get ready to try out these budget-friendly activities in Calgary that everyone in your family is sure to love.
Chinook Honey Company | chinookhoney.com
Cost: Drop in Bee tours – Adults $10, Children over 2 – $7.50
What could be sweeter than a visit to a honey farm? The Chinook Honey Company, located just south of Okotoks, is a fantastic place to learn about the wonderful world of bees and honey. Drop in tours are approximately one hour in length and cover topics like how bees make honey, the social structure and tasks of the bees in the hive, and the role of the beekeeper. There is also a live observation hive and honey and mead (honey wine) tastings in store (for the grown-ups!) After your tour, bee sure to visit the Country Store where you can find a variety of incredible honey products including yummy ice cream, liquid and creamed multi-floral honey, sauces, jams and jellies. There are also honey body care items, medicinal beehive products, teas, soaps, honey mead and more.
Scavenger Hunt Adventure | store.scavengerhunt.com
Cost: $13 per person
If you’re on the hunt for some cheap fun in Calgary, why not try a self-guided scavenger hunt? Simply visit the Scavenger Hunt Adventure website, select the theme of your hunt, choose the number of players, check out and prepare for fun! Download the app and work together with your team of 1-10 people to spend two hours on a walking hunt, solving riddles, taking part in photo challenges and trying out a variety of fun activities. Try to earn a high score by receiving points for completed challenges, and receive hints and help from the app if you get stuck! Each paid participant will have their own special role in the adventure, so invite your whole family to join in the fun.
Groupons | groupon.com
Groupon is a great place to find reduced rates for some of your favourite attractions in the city. Whether you’re looking for a delicious place to eat, a fun new activity to try, or the perfect place to relax, Groupon has fantastic deals for almost anything you can think of. Be sure to check back often, as the deals on Groupon change and while old ones disappear, new ones are popping up all the time. Simply purchase your Groupon online or using the app, check the “View Details” section on the Groupon you want to use, and follow the directions specific to your Groupon to learn how to redeem it (while some companies may require you to call ahead to book a Groupon reservation, others simply ask that you bring your Groupon with you when you arrive – make sure you know ahead of time!)
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory | ucalgary.ca/rao
Cost: $30 per car for Open House or Milky Way Night Events
If you’ve never had the chance to look at the stars and galaxies through a giant telescope, believe me when I say it’s an experience that’s literally out of this world. The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and provides incredible, unobstructed views of the night sky. Once a month, the observatory is open from 8-11 to the public for an Open House or Milky Way Night events.
Cineplex Family Favourites | cineplex.com
Every Saturday at 11 am, select Cineplex locations screen family-friendly flicks that movie lovers of every age can get excited about. A portion of the proceeds of Family Favourites showings support WE Charity, so not only do you get to have popcorn for breakfast, you’ll be doing it for a great cause.
Indoor Play Areas | savvymom.ca
Indoor play places are always a huge hit with our little ones, and as parents, we kind of love them too. They provide a safe space for busy kiddos to burn off extra energy by running, jumping, climbing, sliding and swinging. Some indoor play areas offer reduced admission during certain times of the day (often early in the morning or later in the evening) and many don’t charge admission for parents. Be sure to check the website of your favourite play place to see if they offer discounted rates during certain days or times.
Hangar Flight Museum | thehangarmuseum.ca
Cost: Adults – $12, Kids 12-17 – $8, Kids 3-11 – $6, Kids 2 and under – FREE
Formerly known as the Aero Space Museum of Calgary, kids and parents alike will stand in awe of the airplanes and helicopters located in this hangar just south of the Calgary Airport. Get a closer look at both civilian and military airplanes and helicopters from different eras throughout history and hear fascinating stories about the evolution of flight and the creators of different aircraft both in the museum and beyond. You’ll never look at flight the same way.
Fort Calgary | fortcalgary.com
Cost: Adults – $12, Kids 7-17 – $7, Kids 3-6 – $5
Whether you’re a history buff or are just interested to learn more about the city of Calgary, Fort Calgary is the perfect place to visit for an afternoon of inexpensive fun. In 1875, the North West Mounted Police built Fort Calgary at the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers. The focus of Fort Calgary today is on the first 100 years of the fort, where visitors can learn about the original fort for the NWMP, which is the birthplace of our great city! Explore replica rooms of locations like the original Canadian Pacific Railway Station, the Calgary Herald Newspaper and the Hunt House, which was part of the original Hudson’s Bay Company trading post (this is also the oldest building in Calgary in its original location!). While visits to Fort Calgary are self-guided, interpretive tours can also be booked ahead of time. Check the Fort Calgary calendar of events on their website, as they often host fun and exciting events, such as brunches, Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre parties, movies, and more.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame | sportshall.ca
Cost: Adults – $12, Kids 4-18 – $8, Kids 3 and under – FREE. Family passes for 2 adults and 2 youth are also available for $35.
He shoots, he scores! The Canada Sports Hall of Fame is sure to be a winner for everyone in your family. Head out to WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park to visit this museum which celebrates Canada’s favourite sports and our most talented athletes. Each gallery at the museum is dedicated to a different theme – the Splash Gallery focuses on rowing, the Motion Gallery examines everything from bowling to golfing, the Contact Gallery looks at boxing and curling, and you can probably guess what the Hockey Gallery is all about! There are many more fantastic interactive exhibits to explore, but instead of reading about them, we suggest you go see them for yourself!
Iron Horse Park | ironhorsepark.net
Cost: Park Admission – FREE. Train Ride – $3
Did you know that there is a 1.6 km long track for 1/8th scale diesel and steam locomotives located in Airdrie? Better yet, did you know that you could go for a ride on those trains over hills, across trestle bridges and through tunnels? Iron Horse Park is the perfect place to go for a picnic and to watch the trains as they chug by (in between rides, of course!) Don’t forget to visit the gift shop, where you can pick up an engineer’s hat and train whistle of your very own.
Kids Bowl Free | kidsbowlfree.com
Cost: 2 Free Games of Bowling each day of the program all summer ($500 value)
This awesome initiative by Kids Bowl Free has been designed to give kids a chance to try out what may become their new favourite sport, totally free, all summer long! In Calgary, Bowling Depot, Century Sports, Let’s Bowl, Mountain View Bowl, Paradise Lanes and Toppler Bowl have all teamed up with the program to invite bowlers who have registered to enjoy two games of bowling per day at no cost for the entire summer! Regular admission for other family members applies. Visit the website to register your children at the bowling centre of your choice and to find out more about age restrictions (some centres have the program for kids as old as 16 while other are capped off at younger ages).
Family Golf Nights | calgary.ca
Cost: 9 holes free for golfers 6-17 years old when accompanied by at least one paying adult
The City of Calgary wants to help your family hit the links by offering 9 holes free to junior golfers (aged 6-17) when they are accompanied by at least one paying adult. McCall Lake Golf Course, Richmond Green Golf Course and Lakeview Golf Course are hosting Family Golf Nights from 5-7 pm from June until August. Check the website to see the scheduled dates for each course – you’ll be sinking putts in no time.
What are some of your favourite cheap family activities to do in Calgary? Have you tried any of the ones above? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!