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15 Things to Do in Calgary This Winter

by Karen Ung
Winter is an amazing time to play outside in Calgary, but there are also fun indoor play spaces for the times you need a break from the cold. Here are 15 ideas for winter family fun in Calgary.

  1. Explore the Ice Falls and Caves of Fish Creek Provincial Park. The stunning 2-storey ice falls are a 5-minute walk from the parking lot! 
    Fish Creek Park Ice Falls
  2. Go Skating at Calgary’s Best Outdoor Skating Rinks! Bowness Lagoon is our favorite place to skate in town (Lake Louise is our favorite mountain rink).
    Sunset skate at Confederation Park
  3. Tubing at Winsport’s Acura Tube Park – Whoosh down a 200-metre long course in less than 30 seconds! We were clocked at over 50 kilometres per hour! 10 fun runs to choose from!
    Tubing at Winsport
  4. Go Sledding! Not sure where to go? See a list of City of Calgary toboggan hills here. Always wear a helmet and be aware of your surroundings! For more safe sledding tips, see my story: Sledding Safety Tips.

  5. Kick and glide at a local golf course! Confederation Park, Shaganappi, and Maple Ridge Golf Courses are groomed for cross country skiing in the winter and there is NO charge, but donations are appreciated. Check out Where to Cross Country Ski in Calgary for more groomed terrain near you! See Choosing Cross Country Skis for information on the various types of skis available and what to look for when outfitting your family with nordic skis.
    Cross country skiing at Confederation Park Golf Course.
    Nearby Canmore Park is also groomed and trackset.
  6. Rediscover your favorite urban hikes in a new light. Snow adds a sparkling white blanket to the landscape and ice along the river makes funky ice sculptures. We really like exploring Nose Hill Park, Edworthy Park’s Douglas Fir Trail (reopened in late 2017!), Bowness Park, Waterfall Valley, and Fish Creek Park in winter. Nearby Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park and Big Hill Springs Provincial Park (has small ice falls!) are also fun year round. Bring ice cleats for traction, or snowshoes after a big dump of snow.
    Snowshoeing at Nose Hill Park
  7. Explore the Zoo! Winter is a wonderful time to visit the Calgary Zoo. There are fewer visitors (except on special events) and there are plenty of places to warm up indoors: check out penguin feeding time at Penguin Plunge, watch otters play at Cequel Lodge, then say hello to the giraffes, hippos, and meerkats in the African Savannah. Visit the gorillas and mandrills at The TransAlta Rainforest, then take family photos in the Conservatory! Special events include Zoolights (Nov 23, 2018-January 5, 2019; 6 pm – 9 pm) and Sunday Brunch.
    Zoolights at the Calgary Zoo
  8. Learn to Turn at Winsport’s Canada Olympic Park (COP). We had COP season’s passes for several years and got our money’s worth going several times a week. By the age of 6, my oldest was skiing black runs at Nakiska (from frequent skiing and “mom and dad lessons”)! With 4 carpets, 2 chair lifts and a terrain park, there is fun for all boarders and skiers! Lessons and rentals available.
    Night skiing at COP
  9. Discover cool landmarks around Calgary including art installations, a little waterfall, and Medicine Wheel. For more information, see Landmarks to Look for in Calgary Parks.
    “Bloom” Art Installation at St Patrick’s Island Park
  10. Be a Ninja at InjaNation! With a trampoline park, obstacle courses, and climbing walls, no one will want to leave! See what we loved about this indoor adventure centre here.
    Glass climbing wall at InjaNation
  11. Explore the Discovery Centre at Bow Habitat Station, then go snowshoeing in Pearce Estate Park! Snowshoe rentals are available onsite. Check the Events Schedule for special programming. For more info on things to do, read our story: Fishy Fun at Bow Habitat Station.
    Fish Anatomy Exhibit at Bow Habitat Station
  12. “Enjoy the magic of Christmas past” at Heritage Park’s Once Upon a Christmas with the Christmas Train, wagon rides, cookie decorating, kids’ crafts and more! November 24 – December 23, 2018. Saturdays and Sundays 9:30 am – 4 pm.
  13. Ring in the New Year at Olympic Plaza with lots of fun and free family activities, ice skating, and fireworks! Details at City of Calgary – New Year’s Eve.
  14. Celebrate The Year of the Pig! Head to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year Festival for lion and dragon dances, games, food, and more! Festivities begin on January 26, 2019. See the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre for details. 
  15. Calgary Maple Festival des SucresThis French Canadian themed winter festival at Heritage Park has entertainment and traditional foods including maple taffy! March 2 & 3, 2019.
What are your favorite winter activities in Calgary?

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