You can’t talk about Calgary tourism without mentioning those 10 days in July kicking off with the parade on the first Friday of the month. The Calgary Stampede is a celebration of Western Canadian culture featuring cowgirls, cowboys, rodeo, chuck wagons, pancakes and more. It’s like a citywide 10 day party with fireworks every night. The stampede grounds is the epicentre of the fun and excitement, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing going on in town. Split up the afternoon rodeo and evening chuck wagon races if you plan to see both. We made the mistake of seeing both in one day once and it was just too much.
For the rest of the year, the Calgary Zoo is a nice place to visit and take a walk. I especially like the Canadian Wilds exhibit, because it offers some of the animals that one might reasonably expect to find out in Banff National Park just an hour drive away in the Rocky Mountains. Including bears, big horn sheep, bison, cougars, snowy owls, wolves, etc. If you weren’t lucky enough to see them in the wild out in Banff, the Calgary Zoo is a good second. The more exotic animals like tigers, penguins and pandas are a welcomed treat as well, but my personal draw to this year-after-year is probably the local animals. Somewhat like a mini-hike. Calgary Zoo is the second largest zoo in Canada and Calgarians love it enough to host private functions and weddings here. My first date with the missus was to the Calgary Zoo and I knew two co-workers who had their wedding reception there.
Heritage Park is a historical village that preserves the look and feel of Western Canada of several eras. From the Wild West of the late 1800’s to the dawn of the automobile of the early 1900’s. There are several buildings from nearby Alberta towns preserved here and restored to working condition. The replica SS Moyie is a half-sized version of the real thing now found in Kaslo British Columbia. You can still find streets that look like Heritage Park in some small towns in Alberta today. So, I’d say it’s a good representation of Alberta heritage.