What to do in Calgary in the rain

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No matter what the weather is like, going on Canada holidays is fantastic, with beautiful summers, scenic autumns, snowy winters and bright springs, you can expect a little of everything during your visit. One hugely popular city you can visit is Calgary and this city typifies the different seasons that Canada boasts.

Whilst here at Canadian Affair we hope that the sun is shining whilst you are visiting Calgary, the city receives more than 90 days of rain per year. However, what makes Calgary such a great city to visit is the fact that there is always lots of activities to try and attractions to visit.

Read on to find out some of our top recommendations of things to do in Calgary in the rain.

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Things to do in Calgary in the rain

•See some amazing animals at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo

•Explore the urban oasis of the Devonian Gardens

•Visit Canada’s best science centre

•Learn about the city’s history at Fort Calgary

•Visit a museum with altitude

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•Head to Calgary’s trampoline parks

•Eat your way through Calgary

See some amazing animals at the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo is a great attraction to visit in the rain
Photocredit: Tourism Calgary
A girl looks at Penguins in the Calgary Zoo

Home to around 1,000 animals, the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo is a great way to spend a day when it is raining as you can see animals from around the world and learn about them and their habitats.

From walking through the Rockies and exploring the Savannah in Africa to trekking through rainforests in South America and venturing through the forests and mountains of Asia, there are lots of different areas of the zoo that allow you to experience different parts of the world all in one day.

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo told us about why you should come and visit them on a rainy day: “The zoo is open 364 days a year (closed on Dec 25) – rain, snow, or shine! Rainy days are a great time to visit as not only is it typically less crowded, but many species enjoy the rain. Grizzly bears, black bears, African lions, North American river otters and Hartmann’s Mountain zebra are just some of the incredible species you’ll find active on a rainy day.

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“If you prefer to stay dry, we have plenty of indoor animal habitats and spaces to visit so there’s still lots to see and do indoors too. Top off your visit with a delicious lunch inside Kitamba Café then stop by any of our retail gift shop locations to bring home a keepsake of a day well spent. Don’t let a little rain spoil your day – grab an umbrella, throw on your wellies, and head to the zoo for a world wildlife experience you’ll never forget!

“Travel to the polar waters of Penguin Plunge to see four species of penguins waddling. Hike up through the Canadian Wilds to find bighorn sheep, caribou, grizzlies, cougars, moose and many more iconic species who call Canada home. Safari through the African Savannah to see a tower of giraffes, a prickle of African crested porcupines, pride of lions and a conspiracy of lemurs. Wade through the African Rainforest to find West African dwarf crocodiles, Eastern black-and-white colobus monkeys and Western lowland gorillas.

“Meander through the tranquil outdoor Dorothy Harvie Gardens, then head indoors to wander along the lush pathways of the Nutrien Garden of Life to explore a living library of trees and plants and flutter along with the butterflies inside the ENMAX Conservatory. Finally, venture through Exploration Asia to see the playful antics of the Japanese macaques, white-handed gibbons and red pandas. Be sure not to miss the Malayan tapir, snow leopard and majestic Amur tigers while you’re there!”

Insider Secret: Weather dependant, there is a daily Penguin Walk where the king penguins waddle through the zoo from January to March.

READ MORE: The top attractions in Calgary

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Explore the urban oasis of the Devonian Gardens

The Devonian Gardens is a great attraction to visit in Calgary in the rain
The Devonian Gardens

Image credit: davebloggs007

The Devonian Gardens is in the heart of Calgary and is home to a variety of different types of plants, trees, fountains and fish ponds in its one hectare of space.

Anastasia Dvorak, the lifestyle blogger behind the Calgary Lifestyle Guide, told us why she loved the gardens so much.

“I would recommend visiting Devonian Gardens in Calgary when it’s raining and then taking a walk through + 15 indoor pathways (also called Plus 15 network – Calgary’s Skywalk) and walking all the way to the Calgary Central Library. In downtown Calgary, the Plus 15 network has evolved to include 86 bridges and nearly 16 kilometres of elevated, weather-protected, and climate-controlled walkways. Devonian Gardens is a one-hectare indoor botanical garden in the centre of Calgary with over 500 trees, 50 plant kinds, a 900-square-foot living wall, fountains, fish ponds, and a playground for children. It has been recently renovated. It’s a beautiful place to explore and walk around with your whole family.

“It’s located right next to one of the nicest food courts in Calgary at the CORE Shopping Centre. After that, I would continue exploring Plus 15 Pathways and walk all the way to the Calgary Central Library. It’s one of the most beautiful architectural masterpieces in Calgary. There is so much to do there! It’s fun for kids and adults alike. There is a coffee shop, playground and reading areas for kids, and resting areas for adults, and you get the most beautiful views of the city even when it’s raining!”

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Insider Secret: There is a grand piano in the Terrace area that is free and open to use to the public so you can share your musical talent or listen to others.

Visit Canada’s best science centre

Telus Spark Science Centre
Photocredit: Telus Spark
The Dome Theatre at the Telus Spark Science Centre

If the Calgary weather is not great outside, you can take cover and enjoy more than 200 hands-on experiences in the TELUS Spark Science Centre. The attraction is a jewel in the crown of Calgary and when it opened back in 2011, it was the first purpose-built science centre in the country for more than 20 years. This indoor attraction opens the doors to the world of science, technology and innovation.

The centre is also home to the largest dome theatre in western Canada, and it plays host to blockbuster shows. You can watch shows about the night sky and animals such as pandas, sea lions or dogs and each show is informative and fascinating, which is why thousands of people visit the theatre every year.

The general admission covers all special exhibitions that are taking place, unlimited Dome Theatre shows and the outdoor park. There is also the Spark Eatery and you can buy yourself some unique gifts in the store.

Insider Secret: There are live science demonstrations, so make sure you check what time they are on and get there early to get a good seat.

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Learn about the city’s history at Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary
Photocredit: Ian Holmes @irrationalcarny
Statue of horse rider at Fort Calgary

The National Historic Site of Fort Calgary is regarded as the birthplace of the city and it was built by the North West Mounted Police force, or the Mounties as they are commonly known. Whilst the attraction has a large outdoor area that you can walk around, there are plenty of indoor attractions you can go into to dodge any showers.

The Hunt House, which is the oldest building in Calgary, is one must-visit indoor attraction within the fort. Built in 1876, you will learn about how the house was used as a trading post and will get a fascinating insight into what life was like for the original settlers.

The museum is home to some captivating exhibits and you can take in stories of Calgary’s past, present and future. In the Burnswest Theatre, there are films and concerts taking place throughout the year and it is worth checking to see what’s on when you are visiting.

A spokesperson for Fort Calgary spoke to us about why it is a great attraction to visit when it is raining: “Fort Calgary is a great spot to visit on a cold or rainy day because you can stay warm and dry while exploring the history of the site, which was a place of rest, trade, celebration and conflict for Indigenous people long before the North West Mounted Police built their fort here in 1875. The current exhibitions provide a whirlwind tour of many milestones important to Calgary’s development as the city we know today.

“Fort Calgary takes visitors on a journey through stories that originate from the lands at the confluence for the Bow and Elbow rivers in what is now called Calgary. Exhibitions explore the political, cultural and commercial atmosphere of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, as the city of Calgary took shape. Several exhibitions focus on the North West Mounted Police and the practices and functions of Fort Calgary, including a pair of replica jail cells complete with bare-bones beds and wall shackles. Another exhibit explores Treaty 7 — how it allowed Canada to build the railway and opened up southern Alberta for settlement, ranching and farming, and how the promises it made to indigenous people were broken almost immediately.”

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Insider Secret: There are signature events that take place at the Calgary Fort on Family Day, Canada Day and Heritage Day.

READ MORE: 48 Hours in Calgary

Visit a museum with altitude

If the Calgary rain falls when you are in the city, one fascinating attraction you can visit is the Hangar Flight Museum. If you love your history or aeroplanes or both you will love this museum, but it isn’t just an attraction for enthusiasts and is enjoyed by thousands of people every year.

Located in a drill hall that was built as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War, The Hangar Flight Museum brings western Canada’s aviation history to life. The museum has a collection of more than 30 aircraft and this ranges from warplanes and helicopters to civilian aircraft, jets and gliders.

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The different exhibits on display at the museum will deepen your appreciation for the wonder of flight as you will learn stories about the different aeroplanes and helicopters in the collection, including the rare and historically significant military and civilian aircraft that is on display.

Insider Secret: The Hangar Flight Museum offers open aircraft days which allows you to actually sit in some of the aircraft. This experience is usually offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

READ MORE: Free things to do in Calgary

Head to Calgary’s trampoline parks

If you are on a family holiday in Calgary, then one attraction you should certainly have on your bucket list is to visit one of Calgary’s trampoline parks. Flying Squirrel is an indoor attraction that would be perfect for entertaining children on a rainy day, which is why it has previously won the best indoor playground award for Canada in 2020.

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Flying Squirrel is a spring-loaded, urban playground that is one of the world’s largest indoor trampoline fun parks where you can form your own dodgeball team, practice slam dunking a basketball like Lebron James or practice your best aerial acrobatics. There are also driving ranges so you can practice your golf swing and climbing walls if you want to try a range of activities during your visit.

If you just want to let the kids loose so you can have a bit of downtime, then you can tuck into some food or enjoy a quiet drink in the Drey Bar & Café or relax in the lounge area with free WiFi.

Insider Secret: There are two Flying Squirrel attractions in Calgary, so check which one is closest to where you are staying. One attraction is in North Calgary and one is in South Calgary.

Eat your way through Calgary

Friends shopping at the Calgary Farmers Market
Photocredit: Travel Alberta, Davey Lieske
Friends shopping at the Calgary Farmers Market

Being such a cosmopolitan city, it should come as no surprise that Calgary has a terrific food scene that boasts some world-class restaurants and offers some great food and drink tours.

Eating at some of these restaurants is one great activity you can do if it is raining in Calgary as you’ll be out of the showers whilst enjoying some world-renowned food and drink. There are lots of other food and drink experiences you can also try in the city.

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You can go on a brewery tour and sample some beers as Calgary is home to a number of craft breweries such as Wild Rose Brewery and the Big Rock Brewery. A rainy day can also give you the opportunity to improve your skills in the kitchen and you can attend a cooking class at Cuisine et Chateau or instead there are multiple indoor farmers’ markets that are open all year round such as the Calgary Farmers’ Market or the Crossroads Market.

If you want to dine at one of the eateries in the city, then here are some restaurants you can head to:

•Ginger Beef Bistro House

•Native Tongues Taqueria

•Yellow Door Bistro

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•Charcut

•Foreign Concept

•The Tommyfield Gastro Pub

Insider Secret: The Calgary’s Farmers Market is located just off of Heritage Drive and Blackfoot Trail at 510 77th Avenue SE, but in 2022 there will be a second location being built just 15 minutes from Calgary’s vibrant downtown core across from WinSport Canada.

READ MORE: Eat like a local in Calgary

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These are just some of the activities you can do and attractions that you can visit in Calgary when it is raining. If you want to see everything this magical city has to offer, we are the Canada travel experts and are able to put together a holiday including anything that might be on your to-do list. We can help you book flights to Canada and lots more.

For more tips, guides, and advice, make sure to visit our blog.



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