On day one of our amazing road trip across Alberta, we headed straight for Heritage Park. It’s located on 127 acres of parkland on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, along the Calgary’s southwestern edge. With a mix of old (classic steam train and horse & buggy rides) and new/old (amusement rides and Gasoline Alley car museum), Heritage Park is an easy outing with a baby or toddler. With a reasonable membership fee that pays for itself in three visits (get the upgrade for the rides) I could totally see ourselves visiting a lot if we became Calgarians.
First stop for us was the Gasoline Alley Museum, filled to the brim with shiny, restored cars of the olden days. Bub loved them. But he also wanted to climb on them. And he did not really like being told he couldn’t. Luckily, there is one that is climb-able, so that seemed to take the edge off. Over to the side there’s space for colouring, and an adorable tricycle track that’s for wee ones and wee ones only. Bub loved it. And we loved watching him love it. A three-year-old gassing up his shiny red trike? C’mon!
We heard the whistles so we had to check it out – Heritage Park Historical Village has a full-size working steam engine that tools around the park. It was a real highlight. Strollers are to be left in stroller parking, and you can pay extra to ride each attraction individually, or pay a flat fee when you enter to go on all the rides. It’s worth it to do that, and with a toddler in tow I’m certain you’ll more than make it up on steam train rides alone. It’s a quick little tour around the village, and of course you can hop on and head for another go ’round.
Another highlight for us was a spin around the reservoir on the S.S. Moyie – a (smaller) replica of the famous paddle steamer sternwheeler boat that worked on Kootenay Lake in B.C., and still the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler. A spin out on the water in the fresh air, with the blue sky and water contrasting with the green of the trees was a lovely way to relax for twenty minutes before heading pack to the park for some rides. (Note – during the summer months the water level in the reservoir might dip to levels that are too low for the S.S. Moyie to safely operate. Double check the website if your heart’s set on a boat ride!)
The small amusement area has a few kid-friendly rides. I went on the ferris wheel with Bub for what was probably the longest ferris wheel ride of my life, but my husband was the trooper who went on the Caterpillar ride. Note: watch it before you actually go on it, and I’ll leave it at that!
Save for some popcorn and ice cream, we did not eat at Heritage Park, but there are plenty of options for everything from a light snack to a full meal – and everything in between (beer!). Navigating the area with a stroller was a breeze, since even the non-paved areas were quite smooth and well-traveled. And even though the park represents a village over 100 years old, the washroom facilities are all modern and clean, with complete baby-changing facilities.
Heritage Park Historical Village is open daily, from May 19- Sept 3. Then it’s weekends only until October 8. The Village opens at 9:30am, with the exhibits in the village opening at 10 am. The park closes at 5 pm. Admission for adults is $19.99 (without rides) and children aged 3-17 are $14.89, seniors are $15.89 (prices not including GST), and babies two and younger are free. Ride bracelets are an additional $10.00, and are well worth it – as are memberships if you’re local Calgarians with toddlers in tow. I could see us spending a lot of time at Heritage Park if we lived in Calgary!
Heritage Park is 15 minutes from downtown Calgary by car, and accessible by bike path, LRT and bus. (502 from the Heritage LRT station)
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