Planning Your Time
For the vast majority of visitors arriving by air, Calgary International Airport is their first stop in Alberta, and then it’s straight off to the mountain national parks of Banff and Jasper. But even with a week in Alberta, it’s worth scheduling a day in Calgary—maybe to settle in upon arrival, or to relax the day before flying out—and at least one other to explore the surrounding area.
A good first stop to orientate yourself is the top of the Calgary Tower, but attractions such as the Glenbow Museum and Canada Olympic Park should take priority. Another highlight for all ages is the Calgary Zoo, one of the country’s best.
Attending the Calgary Stampede is a vacation in itself for tens of thousands of visitors each year, but be sure to plan ahead by making accommodation reservations and getting tickets well in advance.
Before charging out in search of dinosaurs, it is important to understand that the two major attractions, Drumheller’s Royal Tyrrell Museum and Dinosaur Provincial Park are separated by a two-hour drive, meaning that if both are visited as a day trip from Calgary, you’ll be spending at least five hours on the road. You can include Kananaskis Country and Canmore in your itinerary in a variety of ways, including as a detour between Calgary and Banff, or as a day or overnight trip.
Regardless, you won’t want to miss the scenery driving over Highwood Pass. Combining the natural attractions of Kananaskis with an afternoon tee time at Kananaskis Country Golf Course would be possible. The route north from Calgary to Edmonton looks straightforward on a map, and the stops you make en route depend mostly on your interests.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition