We love Calgary. It’s home to my sister and her family, so that gives the city a big reason to visit it of course, but over the past 14 years or so we’ve made an annual summer pilgrimage to the city to take in everything it has to offer (along with my sisters cooking and Caesars as a bonus!)
And so, when in June 2013 the city of Calgary and surrounding communities were affected by a devastating and deadly flood, our hearts were with them. This was a city we loved and had been good to us. We often visited my favorite burger place tucked away in Turner Valley (by High River) and knew exactly the locations listed within the city of Calgary that were affected.
One place that had a direct impact of the flood was the Calgary Zoo. The flood waters swamped the zoo’s 32-acre St. George’s Island, causing over $50 million in damage to the zoo’s buildings and grounds. As a result the Calgary Zoo was closed in the summer of 2013 when we made our annual visit and we didn’t have an opportunity to visit. We knew that extensive building repairs had to be made and the animal’s welfare came first. When the zoo reopened later that summer, that was important news to us in Saskatchewan too – after all, the Calgary Zoo is a huge tourist attraction when residents visit Alberta.
And so, when we were invited to visit the Calgary Zoo this month as part of our Momblr blog tour, we were very excited! We had so many animals on our list to see, the first of which was – of course – the penguins! Did you know that you can actually participate in a Breakfast With Penguins event at the zoo July 26th? They’re always planning fun activities and ways for visitors to truly be a part of the experience at the zoo. The kids loved visiting the penguins and the highlight was when one penguin pooped on another. Penguins have some great analogies for life’s difficulties, no?
Other animals that were very popular with my kids included the gorillas (the viewing area is quite large so everyone can sit back and observe for as long as you like), alpacas, beautiful flamingos and huge Amur tigers!
The Calgary Zoo has some great information online to help you plan your visit ahead of time. No need to bring a stroller for toddlers and up , you can rent a wagon upon arrival for just $8 plus a $2 returnable deposit and as you can see even ten-year-olds will try and hitch a ride when they can!
There’s ample areas to rest and have a snack (you can save money by bringing your own, though it’s hard to resist some of the ice cream treats and more available on hot days!) The key to remember when visiting the Calgary Zoo (or any attraction for families, really) is to take your time and allow the day to unfold. If you are aiming to be at a certain place at a particular time (check out the Free Daily Visitor Programs here) of course you need to plan that, but otherwise take a slow walk, enjoy the scenery, and don’t rush your visit.
We’re so happy to see the Calgary Zoo back in all its brilliance, and think it’s important to observe the reminders and information sharing what happened one year ago. Our family thoroughly enjoyed our visit and look forward to our next visit someday. If you’ve never been, you must! If you have been, go back for a visit and see the amazing work and dedication of the staff that helped bring the zoo back to the much loved place it’s always been.
Look for this top Calgary attraction and others shared at Momblr.ca!