Parks in Calgary are a world to discover, not only because there are nearly 5,000 of them but also because of the many different spaces, activities and venues that each has to offer. The city has more than 8,000 hectares of parkland, the largest urban park in Canada and the longest paved urban pathway system in North America.
There are so many parks, it’s actually difficult to find a place in the city that doesn’t have a green area. With so many parks to choose from, nominating the best is quite a challenge. The easy answer would be to give you the list of the most popular parks: Stanley Park, Edworthy Park, Bowness Park, Carburn Park and Sandy Beach Park. But the truth is that the best park for you depends on what you like to do, or what you want to do on a given day.
Are you into nature? Many parks in Calgary host special events and courses for all ages, such as the International Migratory Bird Day Festival, Summer Nature Day Camps, Secret Lives of Ladybugs. Visit parks program and event guide for more information. Into parties? Check out the venues on offer in the parks. Have a four-legged friend? There are more than 150 dog parks. Have a toddler? Children drop-in programs, amazing playgrounds … So back to the point, which are the best public parks in Calgary? We’ve selected a list of those that have something special to offer so depending on what you are looking for you will definitely find one (or more) to enjoy.
Prince’s Island Park
This beautiful island park, located within the Bow River in the center of the city, has breathtaking scenery and wildlife. Come to Prince’s Island park for a walk, a jog, to hike, to play with the kids or to enjoy one of the city’s festivals in the spring and summer months. A few examples of the festivals hosted by the park are the Canada Day celebration, the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Shakespeare in the Park.
The playground in Prince’s Island park is a destination itself. One of the biggest playgrounds in Calgary and ranked as one of the top five in the city. Another very interesting area, exclusive to this park, is the Chevron Learning Pathway, an environmental educational pathway to learn about wildlife, habitats, wetlands and water quality. Other features of the park include:
Shaped like a nose, hence the name “Nosehill”, this natural environment park is the second largest urban park in Canada (Fish Creek park, also in Calgary, is the largest). This is the place to visit if you want to feel close to nature. The park features magnificent prairies of native grasslands, over 66 native plant species and approximately 200 wildlife species. The local trees, shrubs and wildflowers provide a refuge for many of the wild animals living in the park. Large mammals, such as deer and coyotes, can be seen along the grasslands. Smaller species, such as porcupines, butterflies or birds, also find a home in the park. Nosehill Park helps us imagine what Calgary’s land may have looked like many years ago. It has numerous trails, some paved, but most of them made by years of people treading the same ground. Very popular with walkers, hikers and mountain bikers, this park also offers dedicated off-leash areas.
If you would like to know more about the park, visit Nosehill park.
Looking for a green spot in the winter? The Devonian Gardens is the largest indoor garden in Alberta. Tropical and local plants are featured in the gardens beautifully decorated bridges and sculptures. The natural light and the soothing fountains, waterfalls and ponds make of this park a true “urban oasis”.
Children can enjoy the popular indoor playground or take in various drop-in programs. There are also many educational programs and several venues for birthday parties or meetings.
Prairie Winds, one of Calgary’s largest recreational parks, is a beautiful place with lots of trees and green space and definitely the place to go with children. The most popular attraction is the recently renovated outdoor water area. It has been completely redesigned with a grassland theme, with water features that are shaped like flowers and insects. There is a large wading pool, a smaller and shallow wading area, a spray park and a lazy river. Right next to this area, is the children’s playground that has been chosen amongst the top 10 in Calgary, with saucer swings and a huge merry-go-round spinner.
The park also counts with numerous picnic sites, soccer fields, tennis courts and a junior-sized cricket field. In the winter, Prairie Winds offers an excellent toboggan hill, ice skating rinks and cross country skiing.
We could go on forever about the parks in Calgary. There are big ones, small ones, parks for skating, biking, canoeing or just relaxing. Visit Calgary parks if you would like more information about any of the public parks in Calgary.
To learn more about living in Calgary, check out some of our other articles about Alberta’s number one city.
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