Here’s a list of free things that you can do with your kids to get you out of the house and having fun.
Tobogganing is tons of fun, great exercise and doesn’t cost a penny
Find out more about Tobogganing in Calgary here.
2. Outdoor Skating
Calgary has many free options for outdoor skating including two (Bowness Park and Olympic Plaza) where you can also rent skates.
Find out more about Calgary’s outdoor skating options here.
Although you do need to have skis or snowshoes, there are a number of groomed and ungroomed cross-country skiing paths that are free to use in Calgary. See more at the city of Calgary.
Geocaching (using GPS to find hidden boxes) is more popularly a summer activity, however many caches are winter friendly (think ones hidden higher up for example).
Here are some tips and ideas for Winter geocaching
5. Calgary Public Library
Library cards at the Calgary Public Library are now free for everyone. They also offer many free programs and activities.
Recently, the library has also added Early Learning Centres and toys to the kids areas – some are small, but several, such as the Fish Creek library, have a larger area with games and toys.
Find out more reasons to love the Calgary Public Library here.
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. It is an excellent museum – in my opinion one of Calgary’s hidden gems.
Located in the Core Shopping Centre along the C-train line, the Devonian Gardens is a little oasis of green even in the Winter. 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.
8. 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.
9. The Calgary Airport
The Calgary Airport has free play areas and there is no admission charge at the Spaceport either. The only catch is the parking is kind of pricey.
Find out more about what you can do with kids at the Calgary Airport here.
10. Mall Play Areas
Most of Calgary’s malls have at least a small free play area aimed at kids 5 and under. Check the height requirements before you go if you have a 5 year old or a taller 4 year old.
See more about Calgary’s Mall Play Areas here.
Several McDonalds locations have playplaces and many of them actually have a pretty good climber that is not just for preschoolers.
They are free to use but obviously McDonalds expects you to buy something while you are there.
Find out more about Calgary’s McDonalds Playplaces
12. Burger King
A couple of Burger King locations also have play places. I find generally that they are best for kids 4 and older.
There is not a lot for younger kids to do and the ones I’ve been to don’t have any seating inside the play space.
Find out more about Calgary’s Burger King play places
13. Barn Yard Kids at the Calgary Farmer’s Market
The Calgary Farmer’s Market is open year round (Thursday-Sunday from 9-5) and has a pretty nice indoor climber.
14. 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.
15. Free Swimming on Statutory Holidays
On Statutory Holidays select city pools have free admission. Check of the city of Calgary event Calendar for these dates as well as other programs they offer.
16. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum
On the lower level of the Chinese Cultural Centre you can find the Chinese Artifacts Museum. You can learn about the history of the Chinese community in Calgary as well as historical Chinese artifacts and replicas. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children.