Tough times in Calgary have forced many people to cut their entertainment budgets, hurting many local attractions.
The editor and publisher of Calgary’s Child magazine, Ellen Percival, said it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best value for your hard-earned dollars.
“Do the math,” she said.
How to get the most value for your money
Percival advised that if you’re only going to go somewhere once, don’t buy a season or annual pass.
However, if you plan on making several visits to that attraction, buying such a pass will pay for itself in the long run.
“It’s important to look at the long-term value and how often do you think you’ll be visiting,” she said. “Is it something that changes all the time, or a different experience every time you come? Then you might want to look at those attraction passes.”
FamilyFunCalgary.com city editor Charity Quick agreed.
“These attractions are not cheap necessarily to go for one visit,” Quick said. “But in my opinion, the memberships are so great.”
The benefits of a membership
Global News checked out the various sites of the top four attractions in Calgary: the Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Calaway Park and Telus Spark.
We looked at the day pass and the annual pass, and for all four of the attractions, the cost savings were clear to see.
View price comparisons for various attractions in Calgary in the gallery below:
The costs did not include parking or GST for most of the venues, and some are only open seasonally.
But the memberships did come with other perks.
“Many of them also come with special experiences or discounts,” Percival said. “Food discounts, many extra goodies, many added events with your pass.”
Both Percival and Quick said one of the biggest perks that comes with an annual or season’s pass is you’re not committed to a certain day or time.
“You don’t have to go all day,” Quick pointed out. “So you can go at 10 o’clock and if someone is melting down at 12, you can cut your losses and go home and you didn’t waste any money.”
But like anything else you spend your money on, Quick added people should make sure it’s money well-spent.
“If you’re not going to use it, it’s a waste of money. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is.”
Other ways to save money
Calgarians can also save money in other ways, including buying tickets online, using coupons or rewards points, and by following the attraction on social media.
Both women said most places are are willing to work with Calgarians to get them to come visit.
“City attractions are very well aware that this is a tough few years for us,” Percival said. “Families are struggling — they’re struggling.”
Percival added this is a good way to support each other.