Calgary Stampede 101 – Tips for Taking Young Kids to the Stampede

I popped down to the Stampede with the kids yesterday morning. The clean-up crews did some great work. It was only when we were looking at the banks of the river by the Erlton Entrance that I could see any evidence that there had been a flood at all.

The concerts that were to be held at the Saddledome were canceled at there had to be a number of venue changes for other activities that had been scheduled to appear at the Saddledome but other than that, the Stampede appeared to be in full swing.

Tips for Taking Young Kids to the Calgary Stampede

  1. There is a lot more to the Stampede than the rides and midway. There are many free animal shows and performances and lots of other activities too.
  2. Get wrist bands for the kids at the ATCO Lost Kids Booth.
  3. Bring water bottles and snacks. There seems to be food everywhere but not always when you need it and the prices are often not cheap.
  4. Consider bringing a stroller even if your kid may not normally use one anymore. It can help to keep track of them in crowds and hold your snacks and souvenirs too.
  5. Don’t forget the sunscreen and hats. Shade isn’t always available.
  6. The Erlton Gates may have shorter lines. You can buy admission there but the C-train station is less stroller friendly. I collapsed our stroller and walked it down the steps.
  7. Those Little Donuts make the best mini-donuts. (That might not qualify as a tip, but they are my favorite.)

Here’s a few of my favorite pictures from our visit:


We had taken Gordie to the Stampede 2 years ago, and he played with these tractors. When I asked him what he most wanted to see or do at the Stampede this year, this was it. Who would have guessed? These are in the Agri-tivity building near the Saddledome. They have some animals on display and some different activities for kids too.

Calgary Stampede

Nicky enjoyed seeing all the animals there. There are a ton more in the Agriculture Building but this is nice if you don’t have a ton of time or need to be home for naps.

There is a small military section over by the Saddledome too. This is always a huge hit with Gordie. He LOVED getting to sit in the airplane and walking in the Navy boat.

He really wanted to go up on the tank too, but the line (which didn’t look very long) moved so slowly in the end we just couldn’t wait.

We stopped in at the BMO kids Zone because Gordie saw Thomas on the sign and he really wanted to see him. In the end he was unimpressed that you couldn’t actually play with him and wouldn’t get his picture taken, so Nicky did instead. They also have some simple little games there and some seating but the shade is definitely lacking.

On our way home a nice Calgary transit cop offered to take a family photo.


We had a great time. It we weren’t there for very long and it was a little exhausting taking them by myself, but I’m glad we went.

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5 thoughts on “Calgary Stampede 101 – Tips for Taking Young Kids to the Stampede”

  1. We’ve taken our kids to the Stampede every year. One thing that has worked for us is to set limits right away. For example, we only buy a certain number of tickets (we get enough for three rides) and when they’re gone, that’s it. And if my son wants to play a midway game, he can choose just one. Otherwise we would spend all day at the Midway and there’s so much more to Stampede than that. Also, Weadickville is a great place to find cheap eats and shade.

  2. We took our little guy this year on Family Day. It was very busy, but nice that we didn’t have to pay admission since we were only going to stay for an hour or two. We found shade and a place to sit and have lunch on the steps of the Saddledome.

  3. We were given tickets for rides this year, and though the kids loved it I won’t get them again. The rides are no better than Calaway park, and because we were spending time on the rides we missed getting to see some of the other great things the stampede has for kids. We have found its easier not to go on Family day and get tickets at Mac’s (2 for $25) as all the kids events are so packed on the family days. If you take the bus and pack some lunch, it’s still a reasonably priced day.

  4. I am seriously impressed that you went to Stampede by yourself with two kids. Also, I had no idea most of this stuff was there!! I missed it this year, but I hope you go again next year so I can steal your ideas!


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