Kids In Calgary: Summer at Calaway Park

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[twitter]Calaway Park
Hwy 1 and Range Road 33, Calgary [google map] Admission: 7+: $34, 3-6: $27, Under 3: free, Family of 4: $79

If you have kids between the ages of 4 and 9, there isnt a more perfect place for you to spend a summer day than at Calaway Park on the west edge of Calgary.

With my wife away on girls’ weekend, I decided to venture into amusement park land as a single dad with 2 kids. Zacharie was 4, just tall enough to get on a majority of the rides. He could have gone on more, if I could have ridden with him, but I needed to stay on the sidelines with our 18 month old.

He was tall enough to drive cars, bounce monster trucks, whip on a roller coaster, toss in a ball room, go on the train and cruise the bumper cars. It was brilliant.

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Calaway Park is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, but the park doesnt feel it. There’s green space, the rides are spread amongst ponds and waterways. There are big trees for shade and there are grassy picnic areas. The picnicking idea was popular as we saw many parents pulling wagons with big coolers stuffed with lunch.

After we paid admission, I left my wallet in my pocket (unlike the Calgary Stampede midway where you need to spit out ride tickets every few steps). Zacharie could have his fill of rides and we snacked on the food I brought while we waited in line. I did toss over a toonie for a midway game (a guaranteed winner that scored him a Kung Fu Panda) and $5 for some greasy popcorn to bring home, but that was it. We had an incredible 4+ hours of fun (that could have lasted longer if I had a partner to help watch the little one).

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The best part? The staff. Sure, the rides were run by the usual gang of teens getting summer spending money, but they were all smiling. They were all helpful. They were all happy to be there and made sure the kids had a great time. As a parent playing solo, it was great to have the help.

A day at Calaway Park is perfect for families with young kids and it becomes even more brilliant if you plan ahead and get a Season’s Pass in the spring. You can scoop a season’s ticket for $34 a between March and May. In other words, head once and you’re even – go twice and you’re ahead. I put it on the calendar to grab next spring.

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire Kids In Calgary series.

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