Free Things to do in Calgary with kids this Summer

Free Calgary Summer Fun Ideas

You don’t have to spend money to have fun this summer. Here’s some ideas for fun with kids in Calgary that doesn’t cost a thing.

1. Check out one of Calgary’s many playgrounds

Calgary has tons of great playgrounds – check out this list of playgrounds with reviews

sage hill playground

2. Spray Parks

Calgary has 6 spray parks that will be open to the public in 2019 and they are all completely free.

Read more about Calgary’s spray parks

South Glenmore Park - Nautical Spray Park

3. Spruce Meadows

You can access the grounds at Spruce Meadows for free any time. They have a playground and you can tour the stables and watch the trainers exercise the horses. Some events like the Canada One even have free admission.

4. Grain Academy Museum

Located at the BMO Centre on the Plus 15 level in Stampede Park. The Grain Academy Museum says they are “An interactive celebration of the grain industry in Western Canada”. They are open Monday-Friday and admission is free.

Find out more about the Grain Academy Museum at their website.

5. Go Airplane Watching

There is a small park with picnic tables and a parking lot at the Edward H. Laborde Airplane Watching Area where you can watch planes take off and land on one of the Calgary runways.

Read more about the Airplane Watching Area here

6. Devonian Gardens

Located in the Core Shopping Centre along the C-train line, the Devonian Gardens is a great stop on a downtown adventure, particularly in poor weather. In addition to the gardens, there is a playground (best for kids 5 and up) and koi fish.
Find out more about the Devonian Gardens here.

Devonian Gardens

7. Calgary Public Library

Library cards at the Calgary Public Library are now free for everyone. They also offer many free programs and activities. Calgary’s libraries now at least have a small selection of toys for kids to play with as well as all kinds of kids books for them to read and some games to play.

More and more are getting early learning centres – free spaces aimed at kids under 6 for kids to learn and play.
Find out more reasons to love the Calgary Public Library here.

8. Geocaching

Geocaching (using GPS to find hidden boxes) is a great summer activity and you don’t have to buy a GPS to do it – you can use your smart phone!
Learn more about geocaching with your smart phone from the Play Outside Guide

(photo courtesy of the Play Outside Guide)

 9. Try Disc Golf

Disc Golf courses are available (for no charge) in several Calgary parks. You can use a frisbee or a ball.
Read more about Disc Golf in Calgary.

10. Wade in the River at Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is rocky and not at all sandy, but it is an excellent place for kids to play in the Elbow River.
Read more about Sandy Beach
Check water conditions as reported by the city of Calgary here

Sandy Beach 2015

11. YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre

The Police Interpretive Centre opened at Westwinds Drive in the NE in the fall of 2015 and is open to the public on Fridays and Saturdays with no admission charge. Some exhibits do have strong content – if that is a concern for your family you are asked to check with the front desk.

One of Calgary’s most underrated attractions!
Find out more about the YouthLink Calgary Police Interpretive Centre

Youthlink Police Interpretive Centre

12. Explore the wetlands at Pearce Estate Park

Pearce Estate Park has interpretive wetlands where you can see birds and water life. They also have a playground and a pond where kids can fish.
See more about Pearce Estate Park

Pearce Estate Park

13. Wade in Calgary’s wading pools

Calgary currently has 4 wading pools at Riley Park, Prairie Winds, Bowness Park and Eau Claire Plaza. And they all have free entry!
See more about Calgary’s wading pools

Riley Park

14. Go bird watching at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

The majority of the pathways at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary have now reopened. Pop into the Nature Centre while you are there.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary

15. Try one of the City of Calgary Parks Free Drop-in programs

Find out more here

16. Go Explore Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

This provincial park is fairly new and is only 30 minutes away. At Glenbow Ranch you can go for a picnic, go on self-guided tour, go geocaching, bird watching and more!
Read more about Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park from the Play Outside Guide

Glenbow Ranch
(photo courtesy of the Play Outside Guide)

17. Go Wading at St Patrick’s Island Seasonal Breech

This new park has quickly become one of Calgary’s favorite parks. At the West end of the park there is a river wading area with a rocky beach, perfect for a hot day.

St. Patrick's Island Park - Calgary, AB

18. Visit a Farmers’ Market

Calgary’s farmer’s markets are usually free and some even offer activities for the kids.
Read more about Calgary’s Farmers’ Markets 

19. Walk the trails at Bow Valley Provincial Park

An hour on the road will take you to Bow Valley Provincial Park, making it a great Day Trip.

Parents of young children will appreciate the short trails with minimal elevation gain, benches along the trails for snack breaks, and washrooms at every parking lot.
Find out more about Bow Valley Provincial Park from the Play Outside Guide

Middle Lake, Bow Valley Provincial Park
(photo courtesy of the Play Outside Guide)

Special Dates

20. Glenbow Free First Thursday Evenings

Recently the Glenbow started having free admission on the first Thursday of every month from 5-9pm. Find out more here.

21. Free Swimming on Statutory Holidays

On Statutory Holidays select city pools have free admission.

Please Note: 

We do our best to ensure the information on Calgary Playground Review is accurate, however information and events are subject to change. Please contact the organizations directly to avoid disappointment.

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