I will be sharing a little of what we did on our two week trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada! My husband and I both grew up there, and love to go back to visit because it gives us an excuse to do the "touristy" things that we didn't always do when we lived there.
SO, if you ever plan a trip to Canada, Calgary is definitely a spot you want to plan to visit. There is a LOT to do, no matter what your interests are. Promise! I will be sharing a few things that we did with our four children, so if you've got little ones - this will give you a good idea on what you might want to check out when you are there.
Let's get started! Today will be part one - the Calgary Stampede!
2012 was a very special year for the greatest outdoor show on earth! It was the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede! What is the stampede? It is, basically, a huge celebration of our Western Heritage and include a huge midway, a world-class rodeo, loads of entertainment, food, shopping, and fun! If you want to read more about the stampede and what it is all about, check out this "About" section on their website.
So, it being a Centennial year, we knew it would be a busy time. We rode the C-train to the Stampede grounds and boy was it packed tight! Then, when we arrived, there was quite a line-up. It moved quite quickly, but in retrospect I would have pre-purchased tickets ahead of time as there was no line up for those smarty pants! We used the time in the line to snap a picture or two...or three :)
It warms the heart to see how well my girls get along...har har!
Here is one of the daughters of our friends who were visiting from Idaho. "E" is wearing a white hat - the traditional White Hat was originally produced by Smithbilt in the 1940’s and is the iconic symbol for the City of Calgary. The white hat symbolizes the spirit of Calgary and it is a tradition to present a guest with a white hat when they visit Calgary. If you don't have a friend to present you with one, it is a MUST buy when you are there :)
More pics and TJ photo-bombing *again*
The midway is pricey, but there are some great rides there. You will want to bring some cash with you to buy tickets if you are a thrill-seeker. But if not, there is PLENTY to see and do at the Stampede without waiting in lines and shelling out the cash for the midway rides.
There was a giant step-on piano, very reminiscent of F.A.O. Schwarz, right? The kids had fun dancing around on it. This was located near the smaller children's rides near the Saddledome building.
Here you can see the Saddledome in behind the girls posing on more horse sculptures
Here is a wider shot of the sculptures and the Saddledome in behind. The Saddledome is where the hockey games are played (Calgary's team is "The Calgary Flames") and many great concerts are also played there.
My littlest cowgirl, showing some serious "Attitude"!
Now THERE is a sweet little cowgirl :)
The kids had a crazy-good time hanging out near these sculptures. Not sure what that was about. LOL!
Something new this year at the Stampede was this little kids area, "Buckaroos" located in the basement of the Big Four building. If you have children (I'd say, 12 and under) this is a stop you definitely want to make. This place was FULL of fun bouncy houses, games, crafts, activities, and stage shows for kids...all FREE (included with your park admission). The kids loved it in here. This was one of the stage shows "My Little Ponies". They were great.
This was another one - The Balloon man! He was unreal.
Our daughter, B, won this fantastic "crown" hat for participating up on stage during the Balloon Man show.
Another part of the Stampede that you definitely want to catch is "The Super Dogs". This is another FREE show (though we found out that, starting this year, they require tickets which are free, but run out quickly) featuring some amazing dogs (many of whom are rescue dogs) competing in some agility runs and frisbee contests, among many other things. It is well worth checking out (also located in the Big Four Building).
That is only the beginning of the fun at the Stampede. There are many famous musicians that play on several stages around the grounds - this year included "Our Lady Peace", "K,Naan", and "Simple Plan" to name just a few. Also, there is the world famous rodeo, chuck wagon races, and Grand Stand show. Oh, and there is so much food to try, you should come with an empty stomach :)
This year broke all attendance records, and we felt it. It was getting CRAZY busy by the time we left the grounds near 6pm. Evening is when the partiers and night-life come out. If you have little ones, it's better not to hang out much past 6pm. It gets a little crazy :)
The Stampede is a must-see in Calgary. If you can leave the kids at home and go check it out with just your friends or spouse, then there is even more to see! Check online to get discounted tickets and to plan your visit around what shows you want to see. I can't wait to go again :) Oh, and definitely get tickets to the Grandstand Show!