Calgary public libraries are more than just for reading. With 12 locations across the city, kids can learn through play in activity centres with different themes.

Calgary public libraries provide unique play spaces for kids encouraging movement and learning through play. There are reading nooks, drawing tables, blocks to play with, busy boards, and sometimes a climbing structure. The times when you go to the library only to read or borrow books are long gone.

Each Early learning centre is built with a different theme in mind, whether dinosaurs, jungle, or forest. the reading nooks, drawing tables, and the climbing structure

Calgary Public Libraries are free to enter. If you’d like to borrow books, you can get a free library card.

13 Early Learning Centres in Calgary Public Libraries

1. Full-Body Play at Central Library

We visit the Early Learning Centre in the Central Library the most often. It’s a huge and beautiful building inside out. The play area isn’t close to the entrance, but there’s a stroller-friendly path around the perimeter of the building on the right side.

Full body play, Early Learning Centre at Central Library, Calgary

Full body play, Early Learning Centre at Central Library, Calgary

There are several small reading nooks, soft mats and blocks for kids to play with. The climbing structure with small tunnels is my son’s favourite. Drawing tables have colouring books and crayons to keep. All books are nicely displayed in the child’s height. A carpeted reading area with board books is ideal for the smallest children.

The closest and cheapest (limited) parking is on the 8th Avenue SE, on the backside of the building with an elevator.

  • Address: 800 3 Street SE, Calgary

2. Rainbow Jungle at Village Square Library

Village Square Library is located at the Village Square Leisure Centre with a big free parking lot. The rainbow theme features a beautiful wooden rainbow structure with benches for reading, a wooden fire truck, busy boards for babies and small toddlers, and a giant wooden elephant in the reading area.

  • Address: 2623 56 Street NE, Calgary

Village Square Library

Village Square Library

Village Square Library

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3. Co-Op Community Early Learning Centre at Nose Hill Library

Nose Hill Library has a colourful Early Learning Centre with reading nooks, a wooden fire truck, drawing tables, and busy boards.

  • Address: 1530 Northmount Drive NW, Calgary

Co-Op Community Early Learning Centre at Nose Hill Library

Co-Op Community Early Learning Centre at Nose Hill Library

4. Alouette III helicopter in the Hopewell ELC at Seton Library

Even though the Seton Library is far from our house, we drove there to see the big helicopter, courtesy of the Hangar Flight Museum. Most kids wanted to play inside, push all the buttons or sit and enjoy. The library staff covers the helicopter 15 minutes before closing, so make sure you visit early as it’s very popular with kids taking turns.

There are also reading nooks, busy boards, and a huge display of children’s books.

  • Address: 4995 Market St SE, Calgary

Early Learning Centre at Seton Library with helicopter

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5. Discover Dinosaurs at Country Hills Library

Discover Dinosaurs centre was a huge hit for our son. There were lots of toys and games to play with, and even an almost real looking rock where he could play. Favourites were little plastic dinos and cars.

  • Address: 11950 Country Village Link NE, Calgary

Discover Dinosaurs Early Learning Centre at Country Hills Library

Discover Dinosaurs Early Learning Centre at Country Hills Library

6. Bird’s Eye View at Crowfoot Library’s Calgary Foundation ELC

Bird’s Eye View centre features a wooden structure where kids can see the library from above. There are several tables with games, includig illuminated table with magnenetic blocks. A cute reading corner for babies has several busy boards, and toys.

The new feature I haven’t seen elsewhere are puppets with a tent for a puppet show. And another bonus is at the adult section of the library, there’s a comfy seating around a fireplace.

  • Address: 8665 Nose Hill Drive NW, Calgary

Bird’s Eye View Early Learning Centre at Crowfoot Library

Bird’s Eye View Early Learning Centre at Crowfoot Library

7.  Up, Up, and Away at Saddletowne Library’s Calgary Foundation ELC

The boat structure at Up, Up, and Away centre is beautiful. Kids loved playing around it, and also sit in a rocketship, a plane, and a firetruck.

  • Address: 150 7555 Falconridge Boulevard NE, Calgary

Up, Up, and Away Early Learning Centre at Saddletowne Library

Up, Up, and Away Early Learning Centre at Saddletowne Library

8.  Explore Energy at Forest Lawn Library’s Calgary Foundation ELC

There is a big magnetic wall with lots of creative pieces such as tubes, wheels, letters, and little tracks for cars. This open ended play area entertained kids for a long time.

We have to come back when winter ends to explore their outdoor nature playground as well.

  • Address: 4807 8 Avenue SE, Calgary

Explore Energy Early Learning Centre at Forest Lawn Library

We’ve visited the above Early Learning Centres at Calgary libraries so far, and I will add more details and photos as we visit the rest over time.

9. Read and Play at Quarry Park Library

  • Address: 108 Quarry Park Road SE, Calgary

10. Into the Woods at Shawnessy Library

  • Address: 333 Shawville Boulevard SE, Calgary

11. The World is Your Stage at Fish Creek Library

The Fish Creek Library is going to become even more popular when Engine 23, a decommissioned fire truck is moved there, check out the progress here.

  • Address: 11161 Bonaventure Drive SE, Calgary

12. Build and Create at Signal Hill’s Calgary Foundation ELC

  • Address: 5994 Signal Hill Centre SW, Calgary

Other play spaces in Calgary

Which one of these Early Learning Centres have you visited? Share with us your experience.

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About Maya Steiningerova

Heyo, I’m Maya! An adventure athlete currently living near the Canadian Rockies with my partner in crime Michal. I love running in the mountains, jumping in the ice cold lakes, mountain biking and trying not so common activities, such as mountaineering. By showing that an ordinary person can live an extraordinary life, my hope is to inspire you to live an adventurous life and provide you with tips and tools for your own adventure.

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