Kids In Calgary: Heritage Park Winter CARnival

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Heritage Park Winter CARnival at Gasoline Alley Museum
1900 Heritage Drive SW [map]
Admission: $9.75 [Adults] $4.75 [Kids 3-17]

It’s a catch-22 this holiday season in Calgary. The snow is melting in these +9 temps, meaning our usual outdoor toboggan run is a strip of grass. So thanks to Family Fun Calgary for suggesting a trip to Heritage Park‘s Winter CARnival for my day of daddysitting.

There was boatloads for my 2 boys (2 and 4) to do celebrating Canadian winter sports – indoors.

Heritage Park’s Winter CARnival takes place in the gorgeous Gasoline Alley Museum amongst the vintage cars and gas pumps and displays celebrating Calgary’s heritage. Tossed around the museum are all sorts of games like milk jug curling, table hockey, shootouts, zamboni colouring and crafts, snow castle building, snow man stacking and more.

If you go during a World Junior Hockey Game, a big screen has been set up on the main floor to show the games.

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Outside there’s a chance to skate on the only outdoor rink in Calgary guaranteed not to melt during this heat wave. Heritage Park’s free skating rink in Heritage Town Square is open along with a chance to warm up with a hot drink and fresh baking or lunch at the Railway Café and do a little post Christmas shopping in the unique shops in the Haskayne Mercantile Block.

How do you know the day of daddysitting was a success? Both were passed out before we got home.

For other things to do with your family in Calgary, check out the entire Kids In Calgary series.

Calgary Flames’ Press Level Seating At The Saddledome

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What’s in a name? The Calgary Flames hope a lot.


The NHL club plays out of one of the more unique buildings in the NHL. The roof of The Scotiabank Saddledome slopes and swoops with peaks at either end making it look like a saddle. Those high ends at either side are nearly 20 rows of seats that are above the scoreboard, and, because of the trusses and equipment hanging from the ceiling, have an obstructed view of the arena.

Renovations to the old “300 level” have led to something called Press Level Seating to emphasize the fact that the seats have the same angle from which the play by play announcers and analysts view the game.

Press level seating saddledome

Press level seating saddledome

2 huge big screen tv’s have been added to replace the missing scoreboard view, there are some added bathrooms, a concession and it all comes with a cheaper ticket price – about $35.

This week the Flames invited a few dozen of Calgary‘s media hosts to the rafters to experience the game and spread the word. The ticket price is certainly right but something happens the further away from the play you get – the less involved in the outcome you become.

Calgary‘s Saddledome is notoriously quiet on the best of nights, put yourselves a few feet from the roof and you find yourself watching the game on tv more than the ice. People in your section start chatting about nothing to do with hockey. It’s sort of like paying $35 to watch the game at a bar. The environment is great, but you just don’t feel like you’re there. The sound from the crowd (when they do get excited) has a hard time finding it’s way into the corners and you can’t feel the heat from the flame that burns when the team scores.

Press level seating saddledome

It’s not the behind the glass view I had at last year’s Heritage Classic, it is what it is. Everyone ends up leaning forward in their seats to try and get a better view and if you stay back you end up with a third of the ice blocked by hats. Then again, after only spending $35 on tickets instead of $80 or $120 or $200, you will have cash left over for the rest of the stadium experience.

I wouldn’t get season tickets in Press Level Seating, but I wouldn’t avoid them altogether either. It’s an affordable a ticket in an NHL arena. For a dad with a couple of kids who enjoy zamboni watching as much as the game, it’s a great way to get into the barn for a family hockey night in Canada.