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Family fun

This is after all what this blog is aiming for! This page includes tips, tricks and lessons learned from our family holidays, parties and weekend plans. Keep scrolling down for each topic. Updated 2018, topics will link to the original post with tips. Thanks!

  • The Calgary Stampede

The city really does come alive during Stampede Week and since I'm lucky enough to have summers off, we often get to check-out a good amount of events. Here is a snapshot of what to check out if you have toddlers;
1. The Cross-iron mall pancake breakfast.
I wish this was still a well-kept secret but it is now far from that! So if you plan on going, go very early! bring stuff for your kids to do while you wait as well as lawn chairs and rain gear just incase. They offer a toppings bar (marble slab), tables and chairs to sit at, wonderful entertainment and Tim Horton's coffee. Cross-iron often does giveaways to the first in line. If you are looking for a quieter pancake breakfast then plan for the one in Coventry Hills.
2. Skip the downtown parade
We were invited to go to the Bowness parade this year and were so impressed. It is just the right amount of time for toddlers to watch, you don't need to get there an hour before and the "floats" are charming, fun, and they throw out candy to your kids. So bring a LARGE reusable bag. They also offer a great pancake breakfast after the parade. 
3. Buy tickets ahead of time
Costco offers Stampede Bucks for using on the grounds but get them early, they sell out. Safeway and Sobeys offers reduced admission and ride prices if you buy ahead of time. There is always a day when kids get in free; just be prepared for the crowds. 
4. Plan on seeing the dog show
Choose a time to view the dog show at Stampede and get your seats at least 10 minutes early. Young children adore this show (okay, so do I).

  • The Calgary Zoo

This zoo offers an abundance of things to take in and you really can customize how you will spend your day there. As a bonus, if you are visiting from outside of Calgary, the zoo is located right next to the Telus Spark Science Centre. There are often deals online to visit both places in one day if you are ambitious. We visit the zoo year-round as many of the animal enclosures are indoor/outdoor. Bronson and his Grandma spend an insane amount of time visiting the zoo together so I asked her to co-author this post. Below is Grandma Diane's tips to make your visit even better!
1. Buy a membership
With parking costing $10.00, if there is any chance you will be visiting the zoo a second time within the year, opt for the membership (parking is included).
2. Plan ahead
Read about the programs of the day online before you go, so you can time your visits to take advantage of the many free programs. Encourage your child to ask the zoo staff running the programs questions.  The staff love it and your child will learn a lot. Depending on your child's age, have a discussion what parts of the zoo they would most like to see on your visit.  I like to do all the zoo, now that Bronson is older.  Spend the day.
3. Be a Bargain-hunter
If you visit with a membership holder, the zoo will discount your admission. Calgaryattractions.com often features 15% off coupons. Seniors receive a discounted admission rate.
4. Pack a picnic 
You can stop and eat at many of the picnic tables located throughout the park and this way you will have healthy, budget-friendly options. 
5. Avoid peak times
If you are able to, go in the fall, winter & early spring. Plan to be there right at opening.  See the penguins and dinos first before the crowds arrive.  In the late Spring when schools outings are rampant, it’s best to go after 12, when the school children head back to school.  That way it’s not as crowded.
6. Take in a feeding
Know the feeding times of the animals if that is something you think your child would be interested in.  You will have to prepare yourself for comments from the surrounding spectators during these times though, so ensure your child gets accurate information.

  • Aspen Crossing's Polar Express

A truly magical experience for all ages. Read the original post here for details, links and tips!

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