The luxuriously appointed, privately owned “Rocky Mountaineer” runs between Calgary (or Jasper) and Vancouver, cutting westward on the historic Canadian Pacific line through the soaring mountain wall of the Rockies. At Canmore, providing the weather is good, there is a fine view of the snow-capped “Three Sisters.” Soon afterwards, the popular winter resort of Banff is reached. Other highlights on this mountainous section (where peaks top 3,600 meters) include Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Pass, and Rogers Pass.
Where to Stay in Calgary:
Mid-Range Hotels: Right downtown, just a short walk from Prince’s Island Park in the Bow River and offering large suites at an affordable price is the upscale International Hotel. The award-winning, boutique Hotel Arts, an easy stroll from the Calgary Tower, has custom contemporary dcor in all the rooms. South of downtown, but very close to Fish Creek Provincial Park, is the Wingate by Wyndham Calgary. With an indoor pool and waterslide, this hotel is a good choice for families.
With an extensive permanent collection and an ever-changing array of traveling exhibitions, the impressive Glenbow has plenty for the history buff, art lover and pop-culture fiend to ponder. Temporary exhibits are often daring, covering contemporary art and culture. Permanent exhibits bring the past to life with strong historic personalities and lots of voice recordings. Hang out in a tipi, visit a trading post and walk through the rail car of a train.
Dig Up Some History at The Royal Tyrrell Museum
Create a cast of a real fossil, try your hand at digging in a quarry, or stand back and take in one of the worlds largest collections of dinosaur skeletons. Discover the fascinating history of life on planet Earth at the Royal Tyrrell Museum
Become a Cultural Explorer at Glenbow Museum
Over a million objects, documents, photographs, and artworks make Glenbow Museum a must visit destination in western Canada. Explore distinctly Canadian art on the second floor and discover the rich history of Canadas First Nations Peoples in The Blackfoot Gallery.
TELUS Spark, Calgarys Science Centre
The science centre houses five exhibit galleries, movies, planetarium shows in Calgarys only HD Digital Dome Theatre, interactive activities in the Creative Kids Museum, live science demonstrations, and more. The new Brainasium outdoor park features an interactive play area where children learn momentum and teamwork on the five ton spinning rock, explore simple physics on the teeter-totter built for six, slide their hands along the musical railing and climb the netting tower to the 63 foot slidethe largest stainless steel slide in Canada. Adults and children alike will have fun visiting travelling exhibitions and building structures with real tools at the Open Studio Drop-In Workshops. The second Thursday night of every month is Adults Only Night, where the venue is open only to adults to enjoy unique programming, an open bar, workshops and presentations, and kid-free play. Admission: adult $19.95, senior $17.95, youth (13-17) $15.95, child (3-12) $12.95, children three and under are admitted free. www.sparkscience.ca
The world-class, high performance atmosphere of the Olympic Oval skating rink is not just for professional athletes. Located at the University of Calgary, the 450 meter oval ice surface is open to the public, with equipment rentals available at the Skate Shop. The facility also houses artwork that fosters a connection between artists and athletesits worth checking out. Admission: adult $7, youth and senior (55+) $4.75, family $18.50, special needs (with assistant) $5. Children five and under are admitted free. www.oval.ucalgary.ca
Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
Located on a hilltop in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Calgarys Rothney Astrophysical Observatory is home to one of the three largest telescopes in Canada. The RAO hosts public events and open houses once monthly that offer perfect occasions to star gaze. These outdoor gatherings provide everyone from amateur astronomers to true observers opportunities to look through the telescopes and view constellations and other celestial events. Admission: $10 per person, or $30 per car. www.ucalgary.ca/rao
The North West Mounted Police built this National Historic Site in 1875. Located on a 40 acre riverside park where the Bow and Elbow Rivers meet, Fort Calgary features exhibits, an interpretive centre, and recreations of the forts 1875 palisade and 1888 barracks. Learn stories about Calgarys past, try on an authentic RCMP uniform, stand behind bars in the jail cell, treat yourself to vintage goodies at the Museum Shop, and visit their Community Garden. Admission: adult $12, seniors and students $11, youth (7-17) $7, children (3-6) $5, children 2 and under are admitted free. www.fortcalgary.com
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