New Year’s Eve: Family friendly fun to ring in 2022

Indoor and outdoor activities available for Calgary families

Calgary's downtown core on Monday, December 27, 2021. Temperatures dipped to below -30 Celsius overnight. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Calgary families looking to celebrate the new year have plenty of choices come Friday.

Fireworks, lights, crafts, games, and even seasonal meals are on the menu.

The City of Calgary, Telus Spark Science Centre, Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, and more have age-appropriate NYE celebrations this year.

Telus Spark Science Centre’s Big Bang

Telus Spark is going to be ringing in what they call the “noon year’s eve,” on Friday, giving families a chance to celebrate early with young children.

This year, their Big Bang event is brand new for the centre. Running from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the ticketed event has some NYE fun not found anywhere else in the city.

One of the highlights will be the big balloon play zone. Over 2,000 biodegradable balloons—some lit up—will be placed into one of the centre’s large event spaces.

“We’re really seeing it as this place of delight and wonder after a challenging year, and we want to provide something that’s just really awesome for guests,” said Ellyn Schlegel, production specialist for the Telus Spark Science Centre.

The shin high floor of balloons will encourage guests to play, enjoy the accompanying music, and maybe pop a balloon or two.

“In past years, we’ve done something called the bubble wrap dance floor, which is a big giant dance floor, usually in our atrium,” she said.

“So we decided to sort of modify that experience in a way and extend it so could happen throughout the day so we could limit capacity offer some distancing.”

The science of sound

The centre’s bubble wrap dance floor hasn’t completely gone away this year. They’ve created a bubble wrap dance for their littlest guests, giving kids aged 2 through 5 a bubble wrap floor to play on.

Throughout the day children of all ages will be able to create their very own NYE noise maker in the open studio workshop.

“Spark is in the business of encouraging our guests to engage with science, technology, engineering, arts and math,” said Schlegel.

“So throughout the event, there’ll be opportunities for us to have some of our staff to facilitate conversations about science—whether it comes to the science of balloons and explosions or bells, and how those work in terms of making the noisemakers,” she said.

Tickets are $26 for adults, $19 for children and youth, and free for under 2. They can be purchased online at the Telus Spark Science Centre website.

The centre has implemented capacity limits and is adhering to the City of Calgary’s vaccine passport bylaw for all visitors.

Zoo Year’s Eve

The Calgary Zoo is holding a family friendly New Year’s Eve edition of their Zoolights on Friday.

Patrons will be able to view the 25th anniversary Zoolight display, along with ice carving demonstrations, holiday performers, and a special light show on the zoo bridge.

Families will be able to take part in multiple NYE countdowns throughout the night so children don’t have to stay up too late.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the last entry is at 7:30 p.m. Entry times are staggered, and the Zoo has implemented the City’s vaccine passport bylaw.

Tickets are $29.95 for ages 16 and up, and $22.95 for ages 3 through 15. They can be purchased online at the Zoo’s website.

Heritage Park offers fun and fine dining

Heritage Park’s Gasoline Alley Museum will be open on Friday for their Winter Warm-Up event.

Kids of all ages will be able to play a giant floor-sized memory game, race car designs to see which one is fastest, do an indoor snowball toss, and battle it out over tabletop hockey.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by general admission.

The park is also offering an elegant evening of vintage glamour at the Selkirk Grille. The three-course meal on offer includes on its menu this year, East Coast crab cakes, whole roast beef tenderloin, and hazelnut salted chocolate pate.

Tickets are $55 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 403-268-8607.

Close out the night with a bang with the City of Calgary

Starting at 11:55 p.m. on Friday, the City of Calgary will be ending 2021 and ringing in 2022 with its annual display of fireworks.

The show, which will be launched over the Calgary tower, will have a synchronized soundtrack on CJSW 90.9 FM.

And for those unable to make it watch the fireworks in person, the city will be live-streaming the event on the city’s NYE website.

“After last year’s fireworks cancellation, we’re thrilled to have the dazzling fireworks show return to ring in 2022,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

Road closures will be in place on Centre Street SE from 6 Avenue SE to 9 Avenue SE. There will also be a closure on 9 Avenue SE from 1 Street SW to 1 Avenue SE. The sidewalk in front of the Calgary Tower will also be closed.

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