Spring Break is here again, and this time my kids happen to be off school for 12 days. We’re not going away and they are not in any day camps, so that means a certain amount of balancing boredom, not spending all day in front of electronics, and not spending a load of cash. If the kids had their way, we’d be out for lunch every day! Here are 8 ideas for having a fun time while not breaking the bank.

1. Gift cards and coupons

We have several random piles and drawers of papers, receipts, coupons and gift cards and it was high time for a spring clean. I managed to find movie tickets including popcorn and drinks, free gelato coupons, coffee & movie gift cards, fast food coupons, free passes for Vivo Centre for Healthy Living and event discounts just lying around our home! We’ve already been for a swim, to a climbing wall and to see Beauty and the Beast at the movies.


2. Free Events

Today we attended a free event celebrating the New Central Library and signed the last beam to be installed as a time capsule. There, we enjoyed entertainment, music, hot chocolate, cookie decorating and rubbing shoulders with the Mayor, all without spending a cent.


Keep an eye out on Facebook and Family Fun Calgary for events that appeal to you. Mastermind ToysMichaels and Chapters/Indigo all have free events over Spring Break.

3. Spring Break Movie Deals

If you don’t happen to have any free movie tickets hanging around, then both Landmark (ooooh, fancy recliner seats) and Cineplex March Break & Family Faves have $3 movie deals.

4. Outdoor Adventures

With the snow largely melted, our options for sledding may be limited, but it’s likely we can still skate in the many free outdoor rinks in Calgary. We can have on foot and by bike adventures exploring the bike track network and gems such as Nose Hill & Fish Creek Parks. I firmly believe that it’s a childhood right to get out and climb trees. Plus, a playground is never too far away. Further afield, we have no end of hiking options in Kananaskis, Canmore, Banff and beyond.

5. Local Library

We were recently delighted to check out a full-sized, re-purposed fire truck, #Engine23 at the Central Library. Kids can try on firefighter garb, take the wheel, press buttons, turn on sirens, pull levers and even read on the roof!

Calgary Public Library offers loads of programs for PD Days, Lego Clubs, storytime, gaming events and teen activities.

6. Annual passes

Now is a great time to take advantage of those annual passes that are gathering dust – maybe the zoo, or science centre. We were lucky enough to pick up a discounted annual family membership for the National Music Centre on Family Day, which we will be sure to use over the coming week.

7. Devonian Gardens


Recently closed for renovations, the playground at Devonian gardens is now back in action

8. Transit

There is nothing that my kids like better than getting on public transit. Ditch the car, and take the bus and/or explore downtown in the free fare zone on 7th Avenue

What are your top tips for a frugal Spring Break?