With a skyline of skyscrapers against the snow-capped Rockies and a history of cattle and cowboys, Calgary feeds our fascination with the Canadian Wild West. We love visiting the Heritage Park Historical Village to experience life here before 1914, practising our cowboy swagger past 150 restored buildings, from homestead to fur-trading post; meeting characters in authentic heritage costume, and even riding the railroads aboard a steam locomotive.
Occupied by the Mounties from 1875 to 1914, when the Canadian government dispatched a troop to force out whiskey traders from the area, this outpost was the beginning of Calgary. Visit the reconstructed fort and its museum on the city's development, try on a Mountie uniform, or see what it feels like behind bars.
Standing 191 metres above the city, the Calgary Tower is a must-see, as is the vision from its observation deck. Take a tentative walk across the glass floor and feast your eyes on breathtaking panoramas of the city, prairie, and Rocky Mountains beyond. Then linger over the view, and a meal, in the revolving restaurant, Sky 360.
Calgary loves its sports. Visit the Canada Olympic Park, prime venue in the 1988 Winter Games, to try skiing, snowboarding, luge and bobsleigh rides, or whizz down North America's fastest zip line from the 90-metre-high ski jump tower. Canada's Sports Hall of Fame tells the tale of Canadian sporting history and heroes, with over 1,000 sporting artifacts and 50 interactive exhibits, including simulated shadow boxing with Lennox Lewis.
The excellent Glenbow Museum houses three floors celebrating the Canadian West and its native peoples, with indigenous art, crafts and much more. While TELUS Spark is Calgary's science centre, with four main galleries: 'Being Human', 'Earth & Sky', 'Open Studio', and 'Energy & Innovation', as well as a children's museum.
With other 30 thrilling rides, Calaway Park is western Canada's largest amusement park. Enjoy the twists and turns on rollercoasters, swinging ships, and log rides, or stick to the dodgems and carousel. Calgary Zoo is another great family attraction; among the 300 different species, you can encounter cougars and grizzly bears in the 'Canadian Wilds', or gorillas and giraffes in 'Destination Africa'.