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Calgary on a Dime, Part I

The best ways to spend $20 in the city.

If you’re on a budget but still want to get the most out of your visit to Calgary, here are our favourite places to experience the city for $20 or less.

FAMILY FUN

The Creative Kids Museum

The Creative Kids Museum

Telus World of Science Calgary
Calgary’s science centre has interactive exhibits on all the wonders of the physical universe, including energy, the environment, technology, outer space, and the human body. Inside, The Creative Kids Museum, gives young visitors a chance to become musicians, artists, stage actors, explorers and more.
Cost: $10 – $14.25

Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm
Get up close and personal with lambs, calves, bunnies, chicks and piglets. Kids can also take a pony ride, milk a goat or ride in a tractor-pulled wagon.
Cost: $9.99 – $12.99

Kart World
The half-a-mile long track at Kart World includes rides for adults and kids. The facility also has laser tag and a mini golf course.
Cost: $5.50 – $15 for a five-minute ride, mini golf $4.50 – $5.50

Calaway Park
This amusement park has 33 rides including its rollercoaster, The Vortex, which can be seen from the Trans-Canada Highway. Regular admission is more than $20 dollars, but if you arrive later in the day, you can save up to $17.
Cost: $16.95 after 2 pm; $14.95 after 4 pm.

CALGARY ICONS

Yewande, the Calgary Zoo's newest gorilla

Yewande, the Calgary Zoo's newest gorilla

The Calgary Zoo
With more than 1,000 species from every corner of the planet, every standard zoo animal is on display, including endangered species such as Siberian tigers and Western Lowland gorillas. This summer see Red River hoglets, an infant gorilla named Yewande and two visiting koalas.
Cost: $10 – $18

Canada Olympic Park (COP)
The host of the 1988 Winter Olympics also has a range of summer attractions: a mini golf course, climbing wall, challenge course and eurobungy (a combo trampoline and bungee jumper). With a park pass, you can wander through the Olympic Hall of Fame & Museum; Ice House (where luge and bobsleigh athletes compete); and the ski jump tower. If you’re in the mood to splurge, there’s also a zip line ($55) and Z-Trip ($33), a giant clear ball that rolls down the hill with people inside.
Cost: $9.45 each for mini golf, eurobungy, climbing wall and spider web; park passes $16.

The Calgary Tower
Built for the Canada’s centennial, the tower is remembered for its role in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, when the Olympic flame burned at the top. The observation deck sits 160 m (525 ft) above street level, offering panoramic views of Calgary and the distant peaks of the Rockies. The deck also has a hair-raising glass floor.
Cost: $5 – $12.95

A GLIMPSE OF HISTORY

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Artist unknown, child's moccasins Siksika, mid 20th century, collection of Glenbow Museum

The Glenbow Museum
The largest of its kind in Western Canada, the museum’s focus is on Albertan history, though it also has an international flavour, best seen in exhibits such as Many Faces, Many Paths: Art of Asia. If the “Wild West” peaks your interest, head to Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, a hands-on exhibit of 48 historical figures.
Price: $9 – $14

Lougheed House
This stately downtown building was the residence of Senator James Alexander Lougheed, one of Calgary’s original captains of industry. The senator built the house in 1891 and lived there with his wife, Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and a host of servants. Lougheed entertained the crème-de-la-crème of Canadian society, as well as British royalty, until his death in 1925. Today the site is managed by a conservation society and open to the public.
Price: $5 – $8.50

Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary
In 1875 the North-West Mounted Police—the original RCMP—built a fort to control the lawlessness of the whiskey trade, and the city of Calgary was born. The fort today is a recreation, faithfully built using period tools and techniques, with barracks and an interpretive centre, where kids can try on a Mountie uniform.
Price: $5 – $11

Lougheed House
This stately downtown building was the residence of Senator James Alexander Lougheed, one of Calgary’s original captains of industry. The senator built the house in 1891 and lived there with his wife, Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and a host of servants. Lougheed entertained the crème-de-la-crème of Canadian society, as well as British royalty, until his death in 1925. Today the site is managed by a conservation society and open to the public.
Price: $5 – $8.50

The Military Museums
This year, The Military Museums held a grand re-opening after a $26.4-million expansion. The exhibits include battle recreations, with an impressive depiction of the Fall of ‘44, when Canadian forces won key battles against the forces of Nazi Germany. Modern military history is also on display.
Price: $3 – $6

FREE STUFF

Chinese Cultural Centre

Chinese Cultural Centre

Chinese Cultural Centre
Modelled after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, the 70-ft. vaulted ceiling is covered with 561 dragons and 40 phoenixes.

Calgary Parks
Most city parks offer paths for walking, and biking, as well as picnic areas and fire pits.

First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month, many businesses in downtown’s Cultural District stay open late and offer free or discounted theatre, live music, dance, shopping and more.

Deerfoot Mall Drive-in
Park your car in the Deerfoot Mall parking lot for free drive-in movies, including a Grease sing along.

Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows

Spruce Meadows Horse Viewing
This world-class horse stable and show jumping arena offers free daily viewings of their horses.

Calgary Farmers’ Market
This year-round market sells fresh produce, baked goods, and crafts from local artisans and farmers. Many vendors offer free samples.

ProArts at Noon
Every Wednesday at noon, the ProArts Society hosts a free concert by Canadian artists.

GET ACTIVE

Batting Cages
Head to The Cage Batting Range next to the Bow River, $5 – $20 (4710 – 13 Ave NW).

The Glenmore Reservoir

The Glenmore Reservoir

Canoeing
The Calgary Canoe Club, located on the shores of the Glenmore Reservoir, rents canoes and equipment, $15/hour.

Climbing
The University of Calgary’s Outdoor Centre has a 40-ft. indoor climbing wall, $9.50 adult, $6.85 youth, children $4.

Golf
McCall Lake Golf Course, near the airport, offers an 18-hole course and a nine-hole par 3. Nine hole par-3: $13 adult, $10 sen, $9 youth; rentals $5 (clubs), $3 (pull-cart) (1600 – 32 Ave NE).

Sports Centre
The Talisman Centre’s facilities include five gyms, four pools, two running tracks, cardio and weight training. Day admissions: $12.50 adult, $8 sen, $10.50 stu, $7.50 youth, children $5.

Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park

Yoga
Yoga Passage, located downtown on 11 Ave SW, offers a variety of drop-in classes throughout the day. Drop-in class $16 (524 – 11 Ave SW).

LIVE THEATRE

Shakespeare in the Park
This student-based theatre company puts on Shakespeare plays with a twist at Prince’s Island Park. This year, their production of Romeo and Juliet is set amid gang warfare, while A Midsummer Night’s Dream features the music of Queen.
Cost: Pay what you will

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