COVID-19 restrictions have scrapped travel plans for many this summer, keeping Calgarians grounded and looking for ways to enjoy a safe, affordable and fun summer at home. 

To help fill the dog days of summer, here are eight local attractions and activities the whole family can enjoy on a summer staycation.

Photo: Ahmad Omar/unsplash.com

1. Walk, run, cycle or skate the city’s paved pathways: As of July 13, Calgary has 1,000 kilometres of paved multi-use pathways, making the system one of the most extensive in North America. So, break out those walking shoes, bikes or roller skates and hit the pathways for a safe, family-friendly outdoor adventure. (Price range: free)

Photo: Calgary Journal

2. Head to the Tsuut’ina Nation and visit the culture museum: The Tsuut’ina Nation Culture Museum aims to preserve and promote Tsuut’ina culture, while the accompanying gift shop sells authentic First Nation art and crafts. Due to COVID-19 disruptions, the museum’s operating hours are currently Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Price range: $6-$12, kids under three get in free)

Shaw Millenium Park. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

3. Catch some air at Shaw Millenium Park: With over seven hectares of skating surface, Shaw Millenium Park is Canada’s largest free outdoor skatepark. And if skating isn’t your style, the surrounding park also offers picturesque scenery, basketball courts and more to enjoy. (Price range: free)

The Calgary Zoo. Photo: Mack Male/Wikimedia Commons

4. Visit the animals at the Calgary Zoo: Although there are some new protocols in place  — such as reduced capacity, physical distancing requirements and more — this classic Calgary tourist attraction is still open and welcoming people to get up close and personal with all types of creatures. But be sure to plan your trip in advance, as timed tickets must be purchased online and are in limited supply each day. (Price range: $19.95-$29.95, kids under three get in free)

Photo: Calgary Journal 

5. Explore contemporary art for free at Esker Foundation: Esker Foundation is a privately-funded contemporary art gallery located in Inglewood. Currently, visitors can take in a Katie Ohe exhibit that explores the artist’s sculptural work, and Anna Gustafson’s Object Lessons, which uses consumer electronics to bring attention to the destruction of the natural world. The gallery is family-friendly and admission is free, though visits must be pre-booked online. (Price range: free)

Heritage Park Historical Village. Photo: Bernard Spragg/Wikimedia Commons

6. Take a trip back in time at Heritage Park: Heritage Park Historical Village will look a bit different this summer as the park has only been able to open select exhibits and food outlets, but are offering reduced admission costs and complimentary parking to make up for the changes. Tickets must be pre-purchased and the park is open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Price range: $8.95-$18.95)

St. Patrick’s Island. Photo: Angela Lackey

7. Fulfill your island dreams by visiting St. Patrick’s Island: Revitalized just five years ago, St. Patrick’s Island is just a short walk from East Village across the George C. King Bridge. Although the island’s playground and public washrooms remain closed due to COVID-19, there are still many parts of the island to take advantage of, including several multi-use pathways, a beach where you can dip your toes into the Bow River, a picnic area and more. (Price range: free)

The Calgary Tower. Photo: Toni Reed/unsplash.com

8. Refamiliarise yourself with the city’s skyline at the Calgary Tower: Newly reopened following a closure due to COVID-19, the Calgary Tower now offers their multimedia tour feature via your personal phone or tablet and has other new protocols and guidelines to ensure a safe visit for all guests, but still has the same amazing view and sky-high restaurant, Sky360. Admission to the tower and the gift shop both require timed tickets to be pre-purchased. (Price range: $9-$18, kids under three get in free)