Ever noticed how we never bore of Heritage Park, no matter how many times we frequent it? With every season, the place seems to bring us more exciting exhibits and fun activities. And we end up loving each one of them.
From trains and cars to midway rides to houses and shops, the park is practically a time machine transporting you to the 1800s and early 1900s. It’s no wonder this 127-acre living museum, Canada’s largest, is a hot fave with tourists and Calgarians alike.
But for those who still need some convincing, here are 5 reasons that make this historical paradise a must-visit—
ALL ABOUT TRAINS
We might not love trains the way Sheldon Cooper does, but we do love them. And Heritage Park makes them even more enjoyable. There are recreations of the C.P.R and Shepard Stations. There is the Orientation Centre revealing the history and working of trains. There is the C.P.R. Steam Crane and Tender demonstrating how railway wreckage was managed. And then there is an actual Steam Train that you can ride along the park’s 1.6km loop. The train ride is, by far, our fave.
IMMERSING IN ALL THINGS INDIGENOUS
Given that the First Nations contribute a major chunk of Canadian Heritage, there obviously had to be a First Nations encampment. This is where you can truly experience the culture and traditions of the Plains First Nations. You can visit traditional homes and immerse yourself in stories shared by Indigenous interpreters. Plus, you get to be a part of some seriously cool activities. Think cooking, artisan demonstrations, tipi raising, fire starting, trying out hunting tools and participating in traditional Aboriginal Games.
RIDING THE MIDWAY 1900s-STYLE
As can be expected from a living museum of this calibre, Heritage Park has a midway too— the Conklin Lakeview Amusement Park. The amusement park is a depiction of the leisure-time activities of Victorian-era Canadians. And it boasts plenty of amazing rides including iconic rides and popular faves like Ferris Wheel, Bowness Carousel and Caterpillar. There are also midway games from the early 1900s. This is the zone that keeps most people coming back for more.
NEW THIS SEASON
Like always, the park has introed fun new exhibits this season too. The most exciting is the working turn-of-the-century veterinary exhibit, the Nanton Livery and Veterinary Practice. And there are double the animals at the animal farm too. Next is an addition to the Prospect Ridge zone— the Innovative Crossing. This education centre takes you through the history of energy all the way to emerging resources. You’ll even find more Indigenous programming and a street theatre troupe recreating Sports Day from the 1900s.
OLD-WORLD RETAIL THERAPY
Ah! This one is our all-time fave… the good old retail therapy. And the park lets you splurge the antique way with the Heritage Town Square, Haskayne Mercantile Block. The town square is located outside the park gates, so you can access it all year round and without admission tickets. There are five stores here that house old-fashioned candy, household items, unique souvenirs and toys and classic edibles from the 1860-1950 era. Yes, this includes the famous fudge.
Tempted to hit the park right away, are we? Well, check out the Heritage Park website below for more info on their exhibits and activities. And while you’re at it, might as well book your tickets too.
1900 Heritage Dr. SW, Calgary