We have always watched the coverage from the Calgary Stampede and wondered what it was like behind those gates. Calling it “The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth,” the Stampede had a lot to live up to. Since we were going to be in Alberta to visit my older sister, we knew we had to arrange our itinerary so that we would be passing through Calgary during the Stampede. It was a long, super hot day, but we enjoyed every minute of the atmosphere. We arrived armed with a lot of sunscreen, hats, water bottles, snacks and a ton of wipes; we were ready for the madness.
We found the Stampede a great place to take the kids. We did stay away from the rides, since we only had one day to take in all of the sensory overload. Even then, we could have used another day to wander around and take in more shows and entertainment. Admission was pretty reasonable for the day, considering that all three kids were free (Under 7).
Know before you go:
- Bring cash with you. Not all vendors accept debit or credit cards. Save yourself from having to pay huge additional fees to use the on-site ATMs.
- Every year there are new food options to try – but it can get expensive. We opted to bring in some fruit and snacks that would keep our bellies as full as possible so we wouldn’t be spending a fortune on food. We each picked a treat to try and shared them. We shared the Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Reese’s Cups (I cringed at paying $8 for those two timbit-size bites) and the girls shared a Sno Cone.
- Parking was a real pain. We lucked out finding a decent spot, but it was costly. Be prepared to pay at least $20 to park.
- Even if your young kids don’t use a stroller anymore, you may find it helpful to keep moving when their legs get tired, or to hold your snacks and purchases. If you would take a stroller to Disneyland, you’d want one for the Stampede.
Our kids are huge animal lovers, so we found ourselves wandering to find where they could pet and admire animals up close. Their favourite performance was at the Dog Bowl, where they could see the dogs in action. We got seats right in the front row and the host was even chatting up the girls before the show.
Take a look at some of the fun. It was such a busy day that I didn’t end up taking many photos!
The Stampede is definitely one of those iconic events that you have to see to believe. Even if you’re not a Cowboy or Cowgirl, you’re sure to find something about the Stampede you’ll love. The whole city comes alive with excitement and the energy is fantastic. Going with kids to the Calgary Stampede was not too difficult with a little pre-planning. We had a great day on the grounds and it made us want to come back for more. If we are ever passing through Calgary again during the Stampede, we will have to make sure we have a couple days to be able to explore more of it; it is a little bit of a slow-go when you’re traveling with three kids five and under!