On the 4th level of the Core Shopping Centre, visitors will come somewhat unexpectedly upon the floral paradise of Devonian Gardens. Covering about one hectare, the indoor gardens feature lovely tropical palms, sculptures, fish ponds, fountains, and a living wall. About 10,000 plants make up the displays, and despite Calgary’s cold winters they thrive under a glass ceiling. The Devonian Gardens are free and open for the public to wander.
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 dÃ©cor 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.
Ignite Your Imagination at TELUS Spark
Explore the adventurous side of science and technology at TELUS Spark. Mash up science and art in the open studio, take in a live demo, or travel to the edge of the universe with an immersive visual experience at The Dome Theatre
The iconic Calgary Tower opened in 1968 and is a staggering 191 meters high (about 627 feet). But don’t worry, you won’t have to climb its 762 steps – two 25-passenger, high-speed elevators soar to the top in 62 seconds. Once there, stand on the glass floor observation terrace for a bird’s eye view of the Rocky Mountains and iconic Calgary landmarks. An audio guide is available in 7 different languages (English, French, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, Korean and German) and will explain interesting trivia about some of the notable art and architecture in your view. Check out the visitor information centre and souvenir shop at the tower’s base, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on the second floor, and revolving restaurant Sky 360 at the top, which makes a full rotation every 45-60 minutes, allowing you a complete panoramic view of the city as you dine. Admission: general (ages 13-64) $18, senior $16, child (4-12) $9, children three and under are admitted free. www.calgarytower.com
TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre
The science centre houses five exhibit galleries, movies, planetarium shows in Calgary’s 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 slide-the 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
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
Located at Canada Olympic Park, this attraction showcases the stories and memorabilia of Canada’s sporting legends. Interactive exhibits include shadow boxing with world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, 3D hockey and baseball, simulated rowing, wheelchair racing, and more. Admission: general $12, seniors $10, youth (4-18) $8, children three and under are admitted free. www.sportshall.ca
City of Calgary Leisure Centres
Get active at The City of Calgary’s two leisure centres. Admission includes access to the wave pool and slides, fitness centre, gymnasiums, exercise and aquafit classes, as well as scheduled public skating and shinny hockey. The recreation areas also each have their own unique qualities-the 5.5 acre Village Square Leisure Centre, located in the northeast, boasts its own safari-themed waterpark, while the Southland Leisure Centre, located in the southwest, spans 227, 000 square feet and its pool features a rope swing. Admission: adult $12.50, child/youth (age 7-17) and seniors $6.25, preschooler (age 2-6) $3.10, toddlers two and under are admitted free. www.calgary.ca
Chinese Cultural Centre
The largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada at 70,000 square feet, its central dome, the Dr. Henry Fok Cultural Hall, contains four hand-decorated columns with genuine gold and a 70 foot high ceiling patterned after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Admire beautiful blue tiles imported from China and the 561 hand painted dragons and 40 phoenixes. The Chinese Artifacts Museum holds an award-winning exhibition hall: Our Chosen Land: 100 years of development of the Chinese community in Calgary. Read books about Chinese culture at the Orrin & Clara Christie Might Library, browse the Chinese arts and crafts store, and dine at the Chinese restaurant. Cultural Centre: free. Museum: adult $5, senior/student/child $3, children 5 and under are admitted free. www.culturalcentre.ca
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