Looking to spend some fun filled days in Calgary with our godson and mom, we debated the various options for local day trips that would offer the best fit for the “dynamic” schedule of a two and a half year old. Heritage Park had been mentioned by coworkers as a fantastic place for a family to spend the day and seemed to fit our list of requirements perfectly. Once the entourage consisting of 5 HotWheels cars and 2 miniature airplanes were gathered up… we were on our way!
Once you cross the parking lot into the court yard at Heritage Park, you are taken back in time. Staff in period dress and in some instances, driving antique work vehicles guide you through the courtyard and down the road towards the train station. One look at the guide map that shows the full extent of sights and activities to be enjoyed at Heritage Park and you quickly realize just how full of adventure the day could be!
The first area you pass through after admission is the gasoline alley museum, but today there was no time to linger at this museum when the boys heard the steam engine coming! We made our way to the train station just in time to see a real working steam train round the corner and come to a noisy stop in front of us. We piled into the passenger car and headed on down the line to Shepard train station.
At the station, we made a sharp right and headed down to the lake to enjoy a vintage, paddle boat cruise on the S.S. Moyie. This short 20 minute cruise of Glenmore Reservoir steered us past the shoreline in an established circuit that offered passengers a unique look at Heritage Park and the surrounding reservoir full of summer activity.
After a quick carnival lunch of hot dogs and chips, we perused the shops full of antiques, novelties, toys and as spotted with uncanny speed by the youngest of our group, the candy and ice cream stores. Alternating school groups that were also enjoying the park, formed an unbroken rotation of young patrons filling and emptying the candy shop and ice-cream parlour but it was still worth the short wait.
Energized by the lunch (read sugar), we headed directly to the amusement park. Each ride welcomed its guests with a historical plaque which provided the background on the ride and connected you with the past. The Carousel was by far, the biggest hit with the youngin’ and after four, back to back rides it was time to head to the playground.
The train museum inspired us to spend some time looking at the vintage train engines, as well as watch in amazement as workers were busily restoring a passenger car from the early 1900’s. Train cars, engines, machinery, equipment, and haul cars from a different era was showcased. The railway “turntable” which directs train traffic along a spider web of the integrated rail spurs and work yards was thoroughly inspected by our group.
The hours we spent there flew by and before we knew it, the critical “nap time” was imminent and sleepy eyes were closing fast so we had to roll. There is so much more to see and do, including the working farm, First Nations encampment, Heritage square and so much more, we will surely be back to enjoy even more of what the park has to offer.