Granary Road: An Awesome Family Outing in Calgary
An exciting new family entertainment, dining and market experience has arrived in Calgary. With a gourmet farmer’s market, delicious dining options including a “lofty” restaurant and an expansive (and kid-friendly) active learning park all in one location, it's a parent's dream come true.
Granary Road, Calgary’s newest creative culinary and outdoor adventure will have the kids cheering alongside Mom. Set right in the southwest of Calgary just beyond Spruce Meadows, Granary Road’s beautiful location amid rolling fields is just the start of the experience. While there are so many reasons to ease on down to Granary Road this summer, here are 10 highlights you won’t want to miss.
The market (open Thursdays through Sundays from 9:30 am - 5:30 pm) is the first stop, set in a beautifully rustic building with high ceilings and lots of windows. The diverse group of vendors offers everything from farm-fresh produce to cured meats, cheeses, perogies, teas, nuts to dressings, dips, wine, skin care and artisan gifts and more. Be sure to indulge in one of the sweet vendors as well. Take note of the two greenhouses adjacent to the market building alongside the Cropland Grow Row in the park, where fresh produce will be grown to be sold at the market and used in the restaurant (read: veggies that never see the inside of a truck).
The Delectable Delights
With a variety of vendors, your biggest dilemma will be whether to dine on tacos or veggie Thai for lunch, but note that in this hen house, the chicks will want to visit the “big red oven” for Soffrito’s pizzas. Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the incredible dessert vendors where cookies and artisan chocolates are aplenty. With vendors with names such as Dipsology or The Chocolate Lab, science has never been so tasty.
This active learning park is so fun it merits highlighting specific areas not to miss. The larger-than-life areas are designed to ignite imaginations both young and old. The interactive learning walls and outdoor mini-ampitheatre kiosks are part of the specifically designed curriculum that is aligned with Alberta Ed’s science program. What we also love is the attention to detail for the youngest set. The areas are all stroller-friendly, with washrooms and a snack shack conveniently located closer to the further end of the park. There are windows in the enclosed areas so moms can spy their young ones (even going down the slides), and there’s a giant clock on the main building so that kids who have to be back to their meeting place by a specific time have no excuse to be late. You can purchase season passes for the Active Learning Park, or pay per visit (children 2 and under are free).
The Frog Pond
While frogs might not be present right in this pond, kids won’t want to miss jumping in the lily pad trampoline pits. This area is a great one for the smallest set, with balancing boards in the shapes of tadpole transitions, as well as lily pad spinners, and the chance to slide down the frog’s tongue. The giant animatronic frog at the entrance will have kids jumping for joy!
The Bat Cave
Welcome to a totally new maze experience. The place-not-to-miss for the adventurous set, the Bat Cave includes a maze that helps kids understand the science of echolocation: in essence, how to function in a space if you are as “blind as a bat.” A special mask and vest allows kids to walk through this outdoor maze without the help of sight but with the ability to know if they are too close to the walls or another person. When visiting the cave itself, be sure to look up!
The Petting Zoo
Kids and petting zoo animals equals love at first sight. This zoo goes a bit beyond the classic “cram everyone in one place” space. Spread out in different pens, kids will get to see pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, sheep, fancy chickens, goats and bunnies. The show-stoppers, however, are the alpacas, including Rascal, who just loves to give kisses. Be prepared to spend some quality time at this end of the park: your youngest will be truly charmed.
The Arachnid Web
This is definitely a web your spinning spiders will want to get entangled in before venturing off into the Ant Farm next door. The littlest ones will enjoy the spider web swings while the more adventurous arachnids can take on the giant web. Framed with climb-on friendly spider models, be sure to take pics on each one.
The Ant Farm
With four levels of fun, the Ant Farm actually looks like the layered world that ants live in. Kids can pick up and travel through webbed tunnels with giant eggs on the ground level. The second, third, and fourth levels include slides, climbing plants, and a truly stunning view of the entire park. We loved that the staircases to each level are designed for little feet. Be sure to say hi to the spider on top who loves to move when she meets and greets.
Granary Road offers lots of food options, but what we appreciate is their understanding of budget. As a “bring your own food” friendly establishment, you can enjoy sitting out in their beautiful patio for a picnic lunch. We love that they have a snack shack available, as well as a lemonade stand at the Orchard. That said, be sure to take a coffee break and soak in the view during your visit. It’s truly beautiful country on the edge of the city, and no market can compete with that skyline view.
The Loft Kitchen, Bakery and Restaurant
Speaking of view, the third part of “triple threat” is the Loft Restaurant. Opening shortly, the Loft is located on the second floor of the market building and will be available during market hours during summer season, and outside of summer season (Thursday to Sunday). The bakery offers goods using locally sourced ingredients, and everything is made on site. The restaurant is run by the highly respected Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, and the upstairs seated area will have an expanded menu from the downstairs self-serve restaurant. Lunch and dinner are available making it a perfect spot for a date night, or cocktails out with the girls.