I didn’t have high expectations for tourist attractions in Calgary. After all, our family was Vancouver, a city that was world renowned for fun and adventure! But since we were passing through and were always up for some education, we thought it’d be a great opportunity to visit Heritage Park Calgary.
We’d been to historical villages before, but not long after walking through the wrought iron gates we realized we hadn’t dedicated enough time to this gem. This place was massive, and we’d only given ourselves 2.5 hours to experience it!
Heritage Park History
Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary is the largest in all of Canada. It opened it’s doors in 1964 and the history displayed covers from the 1860’s fur trade all the way up to the 1950’s automobile era. Each house, hut, and store offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with what life was like back in the olden days!
What really brings Heritage Park to life are the characters roaming the village. All of the staff are in period costumes and are knowledgeable of their roles. The Blacksmith showed our kids how to get a fire roaring so that he could melt and mold iron into a beautiful silver rose. A carpenter taught them how to play an old fashion game he had carved. And the prisoners in the jail tried to convince one of my boys that they were completely innocent of the crimes they’d be incarcerated for.
Heritage Park Fun
You can eat freshly baked cookies and bread in the bakery. You can ride an old steam train and chat with the conductor. You can snap photos with the Mounties. Or you can visit the farms and find out how gardens flourished before our new technologies.
A highlight for our kids and a huge surprise for us parents was the Amusement area. It was like going to an actual carnival! They had a miniature ferris wheel from 1926, a caterpillar from 1928, a carousel from 1906, a whip built in 1921, and dangler swings from 1920. These didn’t cost anything extra and were included in your admission! We couldn’t believe it!
Spend the Day!
I cannot stress enough the importance of dedicating a large portion of your day to Heritage Park Calgary. We were there for almost three hours and barely scratched the surface of what it has to offer! We never even had the opportunity to explore the fur trade or aboriginal areas of the park.
Our children didn’t want to leave. We didn’t feel ready to leave, but we had to because the park was closing for the day. I cannot even grasp how fun this place must be during the holiday season, which they specially plan activities for.
If you’re local, get yourself a yearly pass. If you’re just visiting for a day, spend as much time here as possible. Heritage Park is a hidden gem and it’s one you must experience!