Take the hassle out of traveling with children.
In Calgary and area, Child Friendly Calgary addresses the need to create a positive travel experience for families with children. The goal of this non-profit group is to motivate Calgarians and businesses to promote and deliver a better quality of life for Calgary's youth through the provision of "child friendly" services.
To meet this goal, Child Friendly organizers began an accreditation program in 1994. Teams of Calgary youth evaluate and rate attractions, hotels, restaurants and other visitor facilities. They base their decisions on children's programs, physical plant, services, communications and overall impression. Products and services must pass the accreditation process to receive a Child Friendly designation. Attractions awarded their Child Friendly designation in 1994 are the Alberta Science Center and Centennial Planetarium, Calaway Park, Calgary International Children's Festival, Calgary Tower, Canada Olympic Park, Easy Street Family Entertainment Park, Glenbow Museum, Calgary Zoo and Heritage Park.
Another Child Friendly program gives adults traveling to Calgary for a convention or business trip the option of bringing along their children. By providing children's packages for conventions, parents know their children will enjoy themselves and the city while they conduct their business. The programs are entirely flexible and reflect the needs and wants of the children and parents.
For example, children can create arts and crafts at the Leighton Center in the foothills south of Calgary, have "breakfast with the elephants" at the Calgary Zoo or explore the outer reaches of space at the Alberta Science Center and Centennial Planetarium. The possibilities are endless.
Child friendly airport.
Recent renovations at Calgary's International Airport are taking the boredom out of traveling for children. Phase 1 of Kidsport, a children's play area on the departures level, is complete and includes a mother's nursing room, a specially-designed child-height washroom, a TV/playroom that features children's movies, and a mock runway on the floor that lights up with each child's step.
Child Friendly Calgary plans to publish a guide on destination services and businesses that cater to children and families.
Toys - what to pack for entertainment on the way.
A small backpack for each child packed with their toys and books is handy for car and plane travel. Discourage messy or noisy toys and toys with many small pieces. Cassette recorders with earphones are a good choice for older children.
If you drive to Calgary, plot your route on the map with a yellow marker, circling points of interest along the way. Purchase empty notebooks so your children can keep a record of their trip through pictures, drawings and writing. A disposable camera, available for about $12, gives your child the opportunity to have their own camera for the trip.
Safety and Health Precautions.
Canadian hospital and medical services are excellent Non-residents should purchase travelers health insurance and be sure to bring copies of any prescriptions that might need renewal during their stay.
When visiting sightseeing attractions like the Calgary Exhibition & Stampede, make sure your children know what to do if they become lost. Have them wear brightly-colored clothing so they will be easy to spot.
If you plan to hike in the mountains, read the pamphlets from the national and provincial parks' staff about safety in the backcountry. Some sightseeing areas in the parks, such as waterfalls, do not have fences or barriers and are potentially very dangerous. NEVER approach wildlife and remember, it is unlawful to do so.
To increase family interest in your destination, check out some of the following fiction and non-fiction book titles at the local library about Calgary and the Canadian Rockies.
Cowboys Don't Cry, Marilyn Halvorson, Irwin Publishing, Concord, ON.
Stampede, A Lemon Street Gang Adventure Mary Blakeslee General Paperbacks Toronto, ON.
Hey Kids! Discover Calgary Judith Galbraith Galbraith Publishing 1501-32nd Ave. S.W., Calgary Alberta, T2T 1V7.
Hello Calgary Elma Schemenauer, GLC Publishers Agincourt, ON
Lets Discover Canada/Alberta Suzanne LeVent Chelsea House, New York, N.Y.
National Parks/Banff, Shelly Swanson Sateren, Crestwood House, N.Y.
Sarcee Reserve, An Indian Community, Muriel Manywounds, Dolores Schultz, et al. A Reidmore Book, Edmonton, AB
Tell Me, Grandmother, Lynn Hancock, McClelland & Stewart, Inc. Toronto, ON