Ring in the upcoming Family Day long weekend with a mixture of family fun and romantic experiences. This year’s long weekend just so happens to fall on Valentine’s Day, so all across Calgary there are a number of events, dining experiences, and outdoor sports to enjoy- whether this is with a significant other or the whole family. The parks within and around Calgary offer plenty of winter adventure through activities like snowshoeing, skating, and snowtubing, while many local businesses are working to create special treats for the 14th. And if you need to get out a little further away from the house, the mountains are just a short drive away.
1. Chinook Blast
Parts of Calgary’s downtown core and other walkable neighbourhoods will be lit up and decorated for the Chinook Blast outdoor art displays. The arts festival runs from February 11-28th, allowing you and your family plenty of time to see it all. You can spread your art walks across the long weekend or pack all the creative fun into one day.
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2. Crescent Moon Festival
The Crescent Heights Village are illuminating their city sidewalks this weekend through the Crescent Moon Festival. Take a self-guided tour through the neighbourhood and view the You Belong Art Benches lit up along the curbs. Before heading out, check the festival’s website to see all the participating businesses with special offers that help you make the most of the Crescent Moon celebrations.
3. Try Ice-Fishing for Family Fishing Weekend
February 13-15 is the winter weekend for Alberta’s semi-annual Family Fishing Weekend. What better chance to try ice-fishing as a family? The recent deeper-than-frozen temperatures made the ice-fishing opportunities abundant for the weekend like those in Caburn Park, or you can book guided experiences through Alberta Fishing Charters in the Calgary and Banff/Canmore regions.
4. Penguin Walk at the Calgary Zoo
The Calgary Zoo is working to giving Calgarians a variety of special ways to celebrate both Family Day and Valentine’s Day this year like Valentine’s Curbside Takeaway, and a chance to walk with the penguins! Penguins are active creatures, and need a good winter walk just like the rest of us. So, book a spot for your own Penguin Walk and let the birds lead the way.
During the month of February, Calgary Zoo is offering reduced admissions – $19.95 for adults (including seniors) and $9.95 for children (children under 3 are free).
5. Hot Chocolate Tasting
For the entire month of February, Meals on Wheels hosts the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest; may the best brew win. This is a tasty and fun way to help support local in 2021 and brings together communities and businesses across Calgary. $1 from every non-spirited hot chocolate/$2 from every spirited drink will go to Calgary Meals on Wheels. Download the Fest’s app and choose from a long list of local cafes from which to taste your cocoa, then give it your official rating.
6. Science Fun Day for Kids (Virtual)
Are you and your family looking for some hands-on fun for the weekend? We may not be able to gather for workshops or classes, but thanks to the Immigrant and International Women in Science Network, your children can enjoy an afternoon of science-filled fun for all grade levels. On the morning of February 13th is Science Fun Day for grades 1-3, and in the afternoon for grades 4-6. Register for the virtual event online.
7. Northern Reflections: Inglewood
Inglewood has launched its 6-week augmented reality exhibition, Northern Reflections. Eleven teams of artists (painters, animators and musicians) have taken over the business windows in Inglewood to celebrate the power of music, art and business. The murals have been paired with music produced by local and international musicians, and an interactive experience when users download the free Augle App onto their smartphone.
8. Stream Short Films for Black History Month
Join Inclusive Canada and The Community YYC for a Family Day weekend short-film screening event in celebration of Black History Month. Your three featured films include Remember Africville, Secret Alberta, and Above the Law. The event registration is by donation, and the films centre around Black history and current events. Register here.
9. Outdoor Fire in the Park
Warm yourself and your family after a winter walk, or an evening of skating, at one of the many public fire pits in Calgary. Or plan your afternoon around the fire and pack marshmallows and snacks for a winter picnic. The Cliff Bungalow Mission in the southwest has a public-use fire pit open year-round, or you can choose your cozy spot through the City of Calgary.
10. Virtual Locked Library: Secret Agent
The Calgary Public Library brought back their popular Locked Library Game in a virtual way this year, so you can enjoy the fun of being a spy from home. Grab the family and work together to solve your top-secret mission, should you choose to accept it. The two-hour game can be played anytime on February 14 between noon and midnight.
11. Winsport Tube Park
Fill your weekend with thrills and adventures. The Winsport Park at COP features an expansive Snow Tubing hill with eight lanes for racing, gliding, or bombing down the hill. And taking multiple runs of fun is easy with a magic carpet conveyor belt that will lift you to the top. Tickets must be purchased in advance online in order to ensure space for physical distancing.
12. Art Walk Around City Hall
The permanent art displays surrounding Calgary’s City Hall are the perfect backdrop to a casual winter walk. Enjoy your city through the creative exhibits and displays like the Joy sculpture, the Family of Horses, or the Balancing Art, just to name a few. And be sure to loop around to the C-Train station to see Luminous Crossings which decorate the concourse.
There are 10 great hills in the Calgary area which make for an adventurous day of family fun. Pack some snow pants, warm boots, and your slipperiest sliders like discs, classic toboggans, or the GT Racers, and head to one of these family-friendly and city-maintained hills. You can find large and sledding hills in all four corners of Calgary, but some popular ones to be sure to check out include Big Marlborough Park (NE), Confederation Park (NW), Stanley Park (SW), and Maple Ridge (SE).
14. Downtown Skating and Supporting Local
The Olympic Plaza Oval in downtown Calgary is open 10am-pm daily, so you can enjoy an urban skate morning, noon, or night. For your Family Day, the downtown plaza is a wonderful place to gather, socialize, and skate. And for Valentine’s Day, an evening downtown skate lit by the city lights could make an exceptionally romantic date. And while you are here with your loved ones, take the opportunity to support one of the many local businesses in the area. You can grab dinner-to-go, a warm drink, or a special Valentine’s treat from one of these nearby shops:
15. An Afternoon at North Glenmore Park
This large city park offers a ton of family fun all year and in the winter and makes for a perfect free outing for all ages. The park transforms to a winter wonderland over the coldest months, but still offers just as much to do. You can skate the nearly 1km of ice track or take your time in the centre ice rink; or for the skiers in your family, you can take them on a cross-country adventure through the park’s groomed trails. The park is also well-lit, creating a perfect winter scene for a night-time skate or ski.
16. Off to the Races Film Premiere and After-party
Ring in the Chinese New Year of the cow! The Calgary Chinese Orchestra will host an online short-film screening, after-party, and other activities to help you celebrate on February 14 (2pm-3pm). This one-hour event included the screening of Off to the Races by local filmmaker Vicki Van Chau, interviews, and a few surprises.
17. Exposure Photography Festival
Exposure is an annual festival that celebrates photography, hosting thoughtfully curated exhibitions that showcase internationally renowned practitioners alongside emerging and established talent from Alberta.
One of the hightlights of the festival is the Photoville FENCE exhibition. This extensive 800ft long public exhibition will highlight more than 90 international visual artists that have been selected by a jury of 70 industry professionals, spotlighting a wide range of photographic and lens-based stories.
18. Valentine’s Beer and Cheese Tasting
Inner City Brewing is working with Springbank Cheese to create a unique beer and cheese pairing event which you can enjoy from home. After you pick up your paired beers and cheeses from Inner City, join the virtual tasting event via zoom and have fun tasting the cheesy notes together ($40/two people).
19. A Date Night in support of Crohn’s & Colitis Alberta
Indulge in a night of wine-tasting and pairing with a box of charcuterie. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is hosting a virtual Valentine’s Date Night this February 14 and will have your wine and cheese board available for pickup in the afternoon. Log in to the Zoom party where you’ll be guided through pairing your wine with your charcuterie board goodies. You also get to enjoy an exclusive performance from local Calgary musicians, Redline Trio.
20. Daytrip to Kananaskis
One of the greatest parts about living in Calgary is the close vicinity to the Rocky Mountains. You only need to drive a short 40-60 minutes to cross over the foothills and into the mountains, specifically Kananaskis. Within the park, there are trails to explore-whether by foot, snowshoe, or cross-country skis-, lakes on which to skate, and frozen waterfalls to simply embrace or photograph.
21. Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
For an afternoon of skiing or snowboarding right in the city, you and your family can head to Winsport Park at the site of COP on the city’s west end. Or, you can continue west on Highway 1 to take on the larger hills in Nakiska Village, Fortress Ski Area, or Sunshine Village. Whether you are new to the sport, or a seasoned pro, the ski resorts near Calgary offer a wide range of difficulty in terms of runs and terrain parks.
22. Rent Fat Tire Bikes and Hit the Trails
Many parks and trails in Calgary’s city limits are suited to the winter cyclists and provide amazing views. In the city’s south is Fish Creek Park, a huge expanse of trails, and in the west is Glenmore Park, an area with a lot more to do than just bike the trails. If you’re further north, you can take your fat bike to Nose Hill Park, and if you’re in the centre of town, the Bow River Valley is surrounded by many trails leading into downtown or Calgary’s older neighbourhoods. View Calgary’s full trail map. No fat bike? No problem! Head to Bow Cycle (6501 Bowness Road NW) for fat bike rentals.
23. Book a Hike at the Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area
Get out into nature with your loved ones, children, parents, and cohorts this family day weekend. The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area (SW of Calgary on Highway 22x) offers over 20 km of hiking trails through aspen forests, pastures, and prairie. The Conservation Area is home to 100s of species of birds, so pack a pair of birding binoculars if you can. Book your hike here. These are not guided hikes; booking is in place to ensure adequate space for social distancing on the trails.
24. Outdoor Skating or Check out the Ice Bikes
Calgary’s abundance of natural areas provide perfect winter scenes for a leisurely outdoor skate. Whether you are in search of a date idea for Valentine’s Day, or an activity to get the kids out of the house, Calgary’s numerous rinks can provide a perfect afternoon. But it is the long weekend, and you may have more time to explore further; if this is the case, you can also take your skates West to some nearby mountain lakes.
Calgary is also become the first city in Canada to offer ice bikes. These bikes at Bowness Park offer an alternative to skating and are essentially a traditional bicycle mounted on a sled-like platform. Users can pedal and steer around the ice as they would on a road.
25. Mountain Stargazing
One huge perk to living in Calgary is the short drive required to get you to mountain wilderness. If you are looking for a true escape from the city this weekend, you need not drive far- Kananaskis may not be an official dark sky reserve, but it has all the stars and skies you need for an evening laying under the stars. Add a little more adventure to your night by booking a guided Snowshoe and Stargazing Tour with Kananaskis Outfitters.
Outdoor Winter Activities
There’s so much to do in and around Calgary during winter. From finding the best viewpoints of the city to winter walks and birding, you’re sure to find something to do this family day weekend in Calgary. Make the most of it with these outdoor activities during these short sunny days of winter.