The Calgary Stampede truly caters to all ages, with endless family-friendly entertainment and activities awaiting you. If you’re hesitant to pack your kids down to the hot, crowded Stampede grounds, check out our tips to make your day as memorable and stress-free as possible.
- Come prepared
Since mini-doughnuts don’t provide the best energy for a day of fun, be sure to pack healthy snacks and lots of water. You’ll save money and avoid the sugar crash. The grounds can be scorching hot, so be sure to pack sunscreen and hats.
- Enjoy free admission on the family-focused Value Days
Taking the whole family to Stampede can get expensive, so save the price of admission with Suncor Family Day or BMO Kids Day. Suncor Family Day offers free admission for families between 6am and 9am, and kids under 12 get in free along with their accompanying adults on BMO Kids Day, July 13th, from 7am to 9am. For both of these days, be sure to arrive early, take the train or leave ample time to find parking. If you’re hoping to partake in the free pancake breakfast offered on these days, be prepared for a long line (they’re serving the first 20,00 people, after all!) and don’t go on an empty stomach.
- Take advantage of family-friendly (and free!) performances
Your older kids will love watching extreme motorsports at the Bell Adrenaline Ranch, the Canine Stars of the Dog Bowl, or The Peking Acrobats. Seats fill quickly, so consult the show times beforehand and arrive early to secure a spot.
- Get up close and personal with the animals
Wander through the barns in the agriculture building and visit animals, check out the interactive, hands-on displays at the Agrium Ag-tivity in the City to learn all about farm life, and say hello to the majestic Clydesdales.
- Take breaks, often
Get out of the heat and check out indoor, free (and air-conditioned!) shows at the Agrium Western Events Centre; perfect for resting tired feet and having a snack. With over 50 events, showcases and competitions during the Stampede, there’s always something interesting going on, like the annual World Stock Dog Championship.
- Explore areas designed with the smallest Stampeders in mind
If the death-defying rides on the main midway have you feeling overwhelmed, head over to the Kids’ Midway. There’s no shortage of rides and games dedicated to the young ones, and also no disappointment as every game wins a prize. For indoor fun, Buckaroos at the Stampede Market offers kids under 12 the ultimate playground with giant inflatables, a multi-level play structure and plasma cars.
- Re-think rush tickets
As tempting as rush rodeo tickets are, that section is uncovered and in the direct afternoon sunlight. Buy your tickets in advance and go for the upper-level tickets for a comfortable, shady perch.
- Get off the beaten path
Tucked in behind the Coca-Cola Stage, Weadickville is an area of Stampede Park modeled after a typical Calgary street circa 1912. You’ll find family entertainment, a park-like atmosphere great for picnics, and the best deals on food.