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May 01, 2019

Summer fling

Top things to try out this summer in Calgary

Katherine Andrews

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Summer is fun, summer is about trying new things, but summer — especially in Calgary — can be over before you know it.

After waiting through all winter for warm weather to arrive this side of the Rockies, we thought to come out with an early list of some of the most exciting things to try out this summer in Calgary. It’s not all about camping, as we found out. There’s a lot more options out there, but “roughing it” is still a part of the deal.

Here are some activities available in and around Calgary this summer that the whole family can enjoy.

The Rugged Maniac Race |

Go above and beyond your own limits in a fun obstacle race this summer with the Rugged Maniac Race. This is one of the biggest outdoor parties for the entire family. It gives participants an opportunity to have loads of fun while exercising and relishing the great outdoors.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the Rugged Maniac was founded in 2010, by Rob Dickens, an outdoor enthusiast and fitness advocate.

“I wanted to bring fun back into the fitness,” says Dickens.

“People nowadays have become too serious about their fitness abilities. This competitive spirit makes it harder for some people to start exercising.”

“We are dedicated to creating a fun and safe environment for all ages and fitness levels to engage in an amazing outdoor activity.”

The Rugged Maniac Race is a five-kilometre obstacle race that includes children starting from 12 years old and adults of all ages. What makes the Rugged Maniac different from other races is that it does not have any strict rules. Every participant will receive a medal and a free beer for the grown-ups in addition to being a part of an immersive experience
with great music, food and other activities available for free for everyone.

There are currently 32 races that are taking place throughout North America. Most of the summer races are taking place in Canada due to a climate difference. Every year the company innovates the race by adding new obstacles and making it a fun outdoor activity for the entire family.

In the four years of coming to Calgary the Rugged Maniac Race has become one of the most popular and anticipated summer events. It will be taking place in Spruce Meadows on July 27, 2019.

Hot air balloon ride  |

Venture out on a new adventure in the sky on a balloon ride and experience the joy of flight in a different — safer — way than jumping out of a plane. If you’re not afraid of heights, this may be the most relaxing, romantic thing to do on a bright, sunny prairie day.

Some people might still want to experience the world from the birds’ point of view, while remaining in a comparably safe environment. Getting in the hot air balloon might be a great thing for them.

Hot air balloons were invented in France in 1783, as a part of a science experiment. It was soon established to be not viable for transportation due to its lack of steering. It became a popular recreational activity due to a number of people who wanted to experience the sky in a quiet, relaxing and safe environment.

“It is a unique once in a lifetime experience you will not be able to forget,” says Lisa Alfred, a corporate program coordinator at Sundance Balloons, Calgary.

“It is a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and weddings.”

Balloon flies in the same direction with the wind creating a feeling of standing on the ground and leads us to forget about being immersed in the air. The ride usually lasts about an hour and covers approximately 10 kilometres. Due to air density changes the safest time to fly is early in the morning. The whole experience takes about three hours.

A hot air balloon ride is a once in a lifetime experience to create long lasting memories for you and your loved ones.

River Surfing |

Alberta River Surfing Association is Calgary’s river surf wave builder.

Surfers from all over Canada love having fun on the river, especially those who reside in the landlocked Alberta.

Neil Egsgard, founder of Alberta River Surfing Association, dedicated his life to providing people from all over the world with a safe and fun water surfing experience. Egsgard founded Alberta River Surfing Association in 2005, which has since become a non-for profit organization.

His company Surf Anywhere builds river surf waves all over the world. Surf Anywhere is known for projects like The Mountain Wave in Lower Kananaskis River located in the Bow Valley provincial Park near Canmore, Alberta, as well as other projects all over Europe and the U.S.

“River surfing is an amazing way to explore the outdoors and a fun activity for people of all ages,” says Egsgard.

“We want river surfing to be accessible for all youth. We will keep building the waves, while inspiring people to engage in more fun outdoor activities.”

His next project is planned to be developed on 10 Street S.W. in downtown Calgary. It will feature an urban beach with the river waves, estimated to improve lives of Calgarians by creating a more accessible free facility to river surf in the summer and add more leisure areas to the riverbanks.

Alberta River Surfing Association works closely with Outlier River Surf, a Calgary based educational organization, dedicated to educate and grow surfing community in Calgary.

“Outlier River Surf will play a pivotal role in helping shape the inland surf culture as a fun, friendly, and inclusive sport. Building community, and making gear accessible are our top priorities.”

You could support Alberta River Surf Association by attending Slam Festival in August.

This is a free event, providing Calgarians with lots of outdoor fun, great music and local vendors.

With support from the public Alberta River Surf Association will be able to speed up the building of their new project, which will combine the waves built in the river with an urban beach located at 10 Street downtown Calgary.

“This project will give the people a place to surf and do other leisure activities in the summer,” said Neil.

“Calgarians deserve to have an urban beach.”

Consider becoming a member of the Calgary Zoo |

With a variety of summer camp programs, Calgary Zoo has become one of the top attractions and a family destination for outdoor activities.

Their summer camps are tailored to fit all age groups, starting with the Tots Zoo camp for children ages four and five and finishing up with educational programs for teenagers, where they get to experience what it’s like to work at the zoo.

Calgary Zoo offers a variety of membership programs, to ensure that regular visitors get the most value out of their purchase. Memberships offer discounts, free tours, and exclusive offers.

One of the newer members of the Calgary Zoo family, the giant pandas are now also could be visited as a pat of the Panda Breakfast. This breakfast buffet offers its visitors a variety of gourmet foods, an educational lecture about the pandas and an opportunity to visit pandas in the morning in a small private group.

Both Panda Breakfast and the Safari Lunch programs are widely popular for family gatherings, work parties and all kinds of reunions.

Urban Hiking in Weaselhead  |

Going for walks in the nature has been proven to bring many of the benefits to our overall well-being. Canadian hiking trails are filled with hikers all summer long.

Many of the most popular trails are located outside of Calgary. However, you can experience the wilderness without leaving the city limits by visiting the Weaselhead Flats.

Weaselhead Flats area used to belong to Tsuu T’ina Nation. In 1994 The Weaselhead Preservation Society was founded by a group of people who wanted to protect the natural area surrounding Glenmore Reservoir and insure quality drinking water. Weaselhead provides its visitors with an opportunity to observe wild animals in close proximity.

The Weaselhead Preservation Society provides free tours for children and adults of all ages and is fully ran by volunteers. It is located in Lakeview at 37 Street and 66 Avenue S.W.

Outdoor yoga classes in the park  |  |

It is a well-known fact that a consistent yoga practice has an immense amount of positive affect on our overall well-being.

It has proven to improve our physical, emotional and spiritual state while helping people to overcome common health issues such as depression and sleep disorders, among many other physiological problems. A consistent yoga practice can improve our quality of life by making us less susceptible to social conditioning factors.

There is no bad time to start practising yoga. At any age anyone can receive the benefits of yoga.

Summer is a great opportunity to include most of the family members in this activity starting with the little ones and ending with the seniors. There is a variety of classes taking place all over the city. Some of the admissions are open by donation and usually contribute to a non-for profit organization.

Disc golf |

Learn how to play disc golf at the David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park. Disc golf or flyaway disc is an outdoor sport that has been around for hundreds of years. It involves throwing a flying disc into baskets usually positioned in the trees.

David Richardson Memorial Disc Golf Park is open all year round for free for all visitors. It is located on a 27-acre site of land at the intersection of Country Hills Blvd. and Stoney Trail in Northwest Calgary.

The park was built with the help of Parks Foundation Calgary and the funds of the family, friends and members of the community.

David Richardson passed away in 2015. He was an entrepreneur and a flyaway disc enthusiast. His family and friends wanted to make sure he is remembered for his passion in outdoor sports and give people an opportunity to experience disc golf.

Disc golf has the same idea as regular golf only it uses a fly disc instead.

The rules of the game and a park map can be uploaded from their website at

“Flyaway disc sport has been around for hundreds of years. It is a great activity for an entire family and is completely free. Unlike golf, playing disc golf is available all year round anywhere,” says Rob Mcleod, a flyaway disc golf instructor and a friend of the founders.

“Our mission is to introduce more people to this sport and get them to play outside all year round.”

Flyaway disc golf is easy to learn. For those who are interested to learn, Rob provides one on one training sessions for people of all ages. All information can be found on his website at

Locked Room challenge |

The Locked Room has been serving Calgary for five years.

Founded by Kyle Fitzgerald, it has become a well-known attraction for families and all kinds of gatherings.

Fitzgerald says he was inspired to build his first escape room after travelling Europe. His love for video games helps him to stay in the know about the growth of a virtual entertainment industry.

“The Locked Room is different from other escape rooms in Calgary, because we are always innovating the experience for our guests,” says Fitzgerald.

“We follow pop culture trends and implement new technology into our facilities.”

Fitzgerald says it wouldn’t be possible for him to grow so quickly without the help of his team.

“We are happy to have a great team of creative individuals who are passionate about creating immersive escape rooms suitable for all ages.”

The Locked Room has three locations in addition to newly developed an Archery Games facility and an Axe throwing Facility.

Fitzgerald says the Locked Room experience is a fun way to learn other important skills especially for children.

“Usually we see a lot of teamwork and communication happening in the room. It is a great way to get to know your teammates better. Teambuilding and communication skills are beneficial for everybody at any stage of life.”

With the Christmas season the busiest time of the year Fitzgerald suggests to book your Locked Room experiences in advance. In the summer you can take advantage of their mobile Locked Room that can be brought to your doorstep as well as the mobile axe throwing facility.

To find out more about the Locked Room and other locations visit their website at

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