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Calgary Stampede Tips For Parents

Calgary Stampede fairgrounds

By Karol K YeungUpdate July 2, 2023

The Calgary Stampede, the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, a good time to be had for all! It can be crowded, overwhelming, and expensive, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Decide on your top five things you want to see and do! Then you can avoid some meltdowns and parental aggravation.

My suggestion is to do a few outdoor attractions, then go inside for some shade; leave the Stampede grounds for lunch or dinner, and return refreshed from your break. You can check out the MAP to help you make your plan.

Cost Saving Tips

  • Mini donuts and the midway food is great, but bring some things from home; remember to bring kids snacks, refillable water bottles, hats, and sunscreen!
  • Check out Value Days and Value Deals (especially the Ride All Day pass that you have to buy before the Stampede starts!)
  • Parking downtown is expensive at the best of times. Take the C-Train which the kids will view as an adventure on its own.
  • Check out the full list of 23 ways to save at Stampede 2023.
Calgary Stampede parade

Things to Do

Here are some features and events we love (and why!) to get the most out of your Stampede when you’re attending the show with your kids:

  1. My kids favourites are the RCMP Musical Ride and Dog Bowl shows. We always make sure to plan so we can attend both performances. The incredible animal performances are a total thrill for the little ones (and parents, too!). If human performers are more your thing, check out the circus and magic shows at the Stage of Wonders in the BMO Centre.
  2. There are high-flying stunts by extreme Motocross professionals at the Monster Energy Compound across from the Saddledome. Kids are definitely impressed with flying motorcycles, world-record setters and gold medalist riders defy gravity, fun for the parents too.
  3. Wanting to get out of the heat and the bright Calgary sun? The kids will love the animals, learning, and hands-on interactive exhibits at the Showcases at the Agriculture Zone presented by Brandt. With sheep shearing, Canadian livestock on display, and educational exhibits from Alberta farmers, this newly built facility will be an area that will keep your kids entertained for hours.
  4. Visit the BMO Kids’ Zone to get a break from the crowds, let the kids play, and do kid-focused activities and crafts. Be sure to catch Chase, Marshall and Skye from the PAW Patrol for a high five and photo. There are always many kid creations you get to take home with you as a souvenir of the fun time you had together as a family.
  5. This year, we’re looking forward to visiting the Elbow River Camp and watching a Pow Wow demonstration. There are 26 tipis with representatives from the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Stoney Nakoda, and Tsuut’ina First Nations of Treaty 7 inviting you to experience their culture.
  6. The highlight of the Stampede is always the Grandstand Show, you can catch the Chuckwagon races before the award-winning show. The Young Canadians – singers and dancers of all ages choreographed to music and celebrity performers – is a spectacle not to be missed, with nightly fireworks shooting from right behind the grand stage. Yes, this can be pricey, but if you get “Rush” tickets the day of, either seats or standing room area, it is an unforgettable show for young and old.
  7. Download the Stampede App on the Apple App Store or get it on Google Play to plan your visit and have a map with you at all times.

Kids who are having fun make for happy parents. Enjoy yourselves and have fun!

Safety Note

Remember to get your kids tagged with your contact information by the ATCO Lost Kids team when you’re on the grounds after entering the gate. This way you are ensured you can be reunited in case your child wanders off.

Explain to your kids if they get separated from you they should look for another mom. We all look out for each other, right?

One Final Tip

2023 marks 100 years of pancake breakfasts! Be sure to catch a free Caravan Pancake Breakfast at multiple locations throughout Calgary all 10 days. How can you go wrong with free food and entertainment?

Karol and her son reside in Calgary, Alberta. They are food enthusiasts & explorers! You can follow their adventures on Instagram.