- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Calgary Guide (PDF)
Expats relocating with their families in tow do not need to worry about how their kids will fare in Calgary. In addition to being a wonderfully safe city, Calgary also boasts an enviable school system, good healthcare and a wonderful range of multi-generational activities for the whole family to enjoy together.
Entertainment for kids in Calgary
Calaway Park is western Canada's largest outdoor amusement park and is open seven days a week. Featuring 33 rides and rollercoasters, live magic shows and musical performances, the kids are sure to have an unforgettable day here.
The Calgary Zoo is also a perennially popular choice among kids. The zoo is a respectable sanctuary that cares for and conserves creatures big and small. A great place for the kids to learn about the natural world's various inhabitants.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
This museum is the ideal day-trip destination, located about an hour and a half's drive from downtown Calgary. Kids are all about dinosaurs, and the Royal Tyrrell certainly won't disappoint.
Heritage Village Historical Park
With its costumed staff, faux-antique shop fronts and horse-drawn wagons this historical park might be a little goofy for some adults, but kids are sure to lap it up.
The largest indoor garden complex in Alberta, the Devonian Gardens is another hit with the little ones. It can be used all year round and is equipped with an extensive children's play area. And of course, if one's kids are not into the outdoors, there are always malls, movie theatres and video game arcades to take them to.
Calgary is also one of those great cities where kids can be safely encouraged to 'make their own fun'. The city's incredible park network offers the little ones literally thousands of hectares of open space to explore, and is teeming with simple pleasures, such as bike-riding, tree-climbing, line-fishing and ball games on the lawns in summer, with toboggan rides and pond-skating in the winter.
Parents will also be delighted to know that children in Calgary are strongly encouraged to partake in organised, coordinated extra-curricular activities. These activities include sports such as ice hockey, soccer, baseball, swimming and gymnastics. There are also dance, music and theatre lessons, as well as boy scout and girl guide clubs. Children's summer camps are also a popular institution in Calgary – offering kids the chance to spend a few weeks of their school vacation out in nature, learning new skills and making new friends.
Support networks in Calgary
One downside to having kids in Calgary – which only really applies to families where both parents must work during the day – is that childcare in the city is not only prohibitively expensive but also severely short in supply. Luckily, since all Calgary parents, expats or not, often find themselves in the same boat, there are extensive support networks, such as lift-clubs, playgroups and babysitting clubs, that have been set up to ease the hassle of getting the kids to and from where they need to be. The Calgary Public Library is also a wonderful resource in this regard, offering pre-school programmes such as 'storytime sessions', finger-painting and the like.
Expats moving to Calgary with children will find the well-established support group, Parents and Children Together (PACT), is a great network for meeting other parents and sourcing information.