7 ways to celebrate Family Day without breaking the budget

2024-02-13  4 minute read

Vicky Samuels

Lifestyle Debt

Family day is approaching this February 19th and like many other families, you and your wallet may be feeling the pressure to plan something fun for the day. But before you break the bank, it’s a good time to remember that the point of Family Day is — family! This is a day for you to spend together, taking a break from the hustle of work, school, and life to give time to each other.

You can still plan a fun day. But fun doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money to share good times with your family. Alberta has so many activities you can do twithin a budget. Here are 7 suggestions for fun things to do this Family Day.

happy cheerful smiling family having good time outdoors little girl riding sled mother take photo on phone

  1. Take in some culture at museums and heritage sites
  2. Alberta offers a variety of museums and galleries that promise both fun and culture. The best part? The province is waiving the cost of admission to various museums across Alberta on Family Day. If you’ve been meaning to learn about our history through interactive exhibits or catch up on some fun science activities, this just might be your best chance to do it.

    Don’t stop at one museum. Pack a lunch and go on a museum crawl. There’s something for everyone in the roster of Alberta’s cultural collections and exhibits.

  3. Check out some skating rinks
  4. If you’re the kind of family that likes to get active together then Family Day can be a great day to go for a skate and spend some time together on the ice. Alberta has many indoor and outdoor skating activities for affordable prices or sometimes hitting the ice won’t cost you a thing. You can start an annual family pond hockey game. Or perhaps a figure-skating contest. Or if you’re in a public family skate, sometimes there’s nothing better than going around the rink holding hands, dreaming of some hot chocolate when you get home.

    There is a free family skate between 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm at the following locations:

    • Frank McCool Arena,1900 Lake Bonavista Dr SE, Calgary
    • George Blundun Arena, 5020 26 Ave SW, Calgary
    • Optimist Arena, 5020 26 Ave SW, Calgary
    • Shouldice Arena,1515 Home Rd NW, Calgary

  5. Hit the (tobogganing) slopes
  6. Skating is not the only way to get active outside. You and the family can also hit the slopes! Grabbing the sleds and going up and down that hill is a great way to have fun outdoors with your family. Who doesn’t have glorious childhood memories of sledding on crazy carpets and GT snow racers? It’ll be a day full of snow and laughter. If we happen to be light on snowfall heading into Family Day, don’t worry, the City of Calgary website lists the city-maintained hills for each quadrant of Calgary.

    Otherwise, every local community should have its own legendary hill. Dress warm, be safe, and get in as many runs as you can before you tire out from walking to the top of the hill.

  7. Take a hike, kids
  8. Hiking isn’t just for the summer months. Not only does Alberta have some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world, but some of them are the most beautiful in the winter. Ice caves, frozen waterfalls, and crystal white snow as far as the eye can see are all winter camping highlights.

    You and the family can hit popular, family-friendly Rocky Mountain trails like Troll Falls up in Kananaskis Country, or check out local gems inside the urban core like the winding, wondrous trails of Fish Creek in the City of Calgary.

    Whether you make a day trip out of it or just go down the neighbourhood road, turning Family Day into a fun outdoor adventure is sure to be a hit.

  9. Game night for the whole family
  10. Whether it’s the feature event of the afternoon or a way to cap off a fun day spent outside, playing board games is a timeless family activity that never fails to bring family together for some laughs and friendly competition.

    Look in the closet and bring out the old favorites. Maybe it’s time to grab a new game the family’s never played before. Or if you’re a gaming family, turn on the video games for some family fun in front of the TV. Tried and true or brand spanking new, games contiunue to prove to be one of the most cherished family activities.

  11. Visit your local library
  12. If you haven’t been to your local library for a while, it’s time to check it out. Libraries have changed. They still have books, peace and quiet, and the child-like excitement of picking your favourite books and checking them out. But they also have free events like book readings, activities like scavenger hunts, and epic play areas. The Seton YMCA Calgary library even has a helicopter! It doesn’t fly but the cockpit is always popular.

    The library is always a good place to share time with your children. Whether you’re there for some quiet and connection, and some fun and community, local libraries are sure to be a Family Day favourite.

  13. Cozy around some winter fire pits
  14. Alright, a lot of these suggestions involve a lot of walking and exercise. Maybe you and your family just like to chill. As in, chill by the fire with some hot chocolate and marshmallows. There are bookable fire pits at community parks throughout the city. A nice way to warm up and get the family together. Not all of the fire pits will let you crack out the marshmallows, but if they do — don’t forget the graham crackers and milk chocolate.

    Snuggle in together. Stay warm. Reflect on good times and fond memories. Slow the pace down for this one day to remember what it’s all for. Family. It’s Family Day, folks. As long as you’ve got each other, you don’t have to spend a cent.

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