The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary and Nature Centre houses migratory birds that need a place to rest their wings. Going back to 1929, the conservation has provided a home 270 species of birds, 21 species of mammals and 347 species of plants have been recorded at the Sanctuary and Nature Centre. Bringing in members of the public, volunteers and staff, the 36 hectares of tranquil wilderness is so inviting. It provides a unique setting for your meeting, function, event, training session or holiday party.
Located along the bend of the Bow River, just minutes from downtown Calgary, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is ranked within Calgary’s top 20 attractions by TripAdvisor and is the only federally-designated migratory bird sanctuary in North America with special protection rights!
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary: What It Is, Park Features And How To Book In Advance
During 1883, Colonel James Walker settled the land that is now occupied by the sanctuary. In 1910, the current brick house – then named Inglewood – was built, and the surrounding area was named for the most prominent property in the area. Between the years 1929 to 1952, a variety of Chinese families leased land from Colonel Walker and set up their market gardens to serve the needs of a developing city. Such highly productive gardens were prime establishments to grow vegetables and bedding plants. They represented an early example of urban agriculture and horticulture in the city. As part of the engagement process for Bend in the Bow, it was discovered that the descendants of one of the families: the Koo family still reside in Calgary today!
Colonel Walker’s son, Selby, applied to the Federal government in 1929 to have 59 acres on the west side of the Bow River be designated as a Federal Migratory Bird Sanctuary. His request was granted and the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary was born. When Selby, his son, died in 1953, Ed Jefferies acquired the property and leased it to the Alberta Fish & Game Association. In 1970, The City of Calgary purchased the property and has been managing it as a natural reserve ever since.
Location: 2425 9 Ave. S.E
Area: 36 hectares
Nature Centre hours: CLOSED
Entrance fee: Free
Sanctuary trail hours: Sunrise to sunset, with half hour grace period.
Since the year 1929, this sanctuary houses migratory birds that need a place to rest their wings and provides visitors with an opportunity to see their avian friends for free! There are both indoor and outdoor features, making this a year-round place to visit where one can admire the many species of birds and perhaps even some deer. The indoor nature centre teaches visitors about conserving and protecting the environment. Although the flood of 2013 badly damaged this habitat, it has been rebuilt, including observation decks and pathways, along with the addition of benches to lounge in.
Here are the park features:
Parks Nature Programs
There’s nothing better than the feeling of discovery! That’s the feeling you’ll be left with after participating in one of our birdwatching courses. The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary of 88-acres has been home to over 270 species of birds and the historic century-old Colonel Walker House. Over here you can see plenty of sparrows, robins and swallows along with the breathtaking blue heron.
2. Day camps
The day camps at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary connect children with the natural world through hands-on activities and outdoor play.
3. Drop-in programs
Looking for more free summer activities for the kids? Try the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary’s nature drop-in program. Drop-in programs are offered throughout the year. Registration is not required unless otherwise stated.
4. Group programs for children
The sanctuary will offer a variety of children and youth group programs that combine hands-on activities with outdoor exploration.
5. Group programs for adults
The sanctuary will offer a variety of nature programs designed for adult and seniors groups.
6. Nature LEAD
LEAD and Nature LEAD is The City’s youth leadership program for youth 11 years and up.
7. School programs
The City of Calgary’s Nature Explorations programs provide environmental education and nature experiences for students who are between preschool and Grade 12. Created by their experienced educators with a focus on hands-on learning, our programs encourage students to explore and experience nature in a whole new way. They offer half and full-day sessions focused on specific areas of interest, or they can even custom design a program to fit your educational needs. Programs are offered at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Ralph Klein Park, Reader Rock Garden or a location of your choice. Whatever your needs or interests are, they will work with you to deliver a unique educational experience that will take your students on an exciting journey into the natural world.
For program information, visit the website and go to Nature Explorations Guide.
Indoor booking spaces will be unavailable during the Nature Centre expansion project. Construction has begun and will continue until fall 2020. The Sanctuary will offer indoor arenas and outdoor spaces for bookings, space for hosting birthday parties and specialty programs for groups. The sanctuary’s Nature Centre which was built in 1996 and grassland restoration projects began in that same year. The Colonel Walker House is currently used by Parks staff and volunteers as a classroom and office.
Book an indoor meeting space
Inglewood Bird Sanctuary has a variety of meeting spaces to satisfy your needs. If you’re in the mood for modern amenities or historical settings, they can provide a unique backdrop for any meeting or event.
The Nature Centre at the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary meeting rooms include these features:
- Boardroom or classroom style set up for 24 people.
- Theatre style set up for 40 people.
- Free parking.
- Complimentary Wi-Fi available.
- LCD projector included.
- Beverage service available.
- Catering available.
- Green bookings. Paper/plastic/styrofoam not supported on site.
- Add an outdoor guided walk for an additional fee.
You can choose the following for bookings for an indoor meeting space
1.Pickering Room, Nature Centre:
Capacity of 40 theatre, 24 seated, $75/hour for 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, $125/hour for evening and weekend rate.
2. Lobby, Nature Centre:
Capacity of 50-80 cocktail, $75/hour for 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m, $125/hour for evening and weekend rate.
- All bookings are a minimum of two hours. Discounts offered for not-for-profit groups, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Risk management fee applies to all rentals: $4.75
- Beverage service: $2/cup – includes coffee, tea and water service
- All prices include GST and are subject to change.
Book the Walker House lawn
Make the Walker House lawn the setting for your wedding or special event. Built in 1910, this historic brick house – named Inglewood – was the home of Colonel James Walker, one of the city’s most important early civic leaders. One of only two remaining homesteads in Calgary’s inner city and surrounded by 36 hectares of a federal migratory bird sanctuary, this location is certainly one-of-a-kind! The Walker House and its lawn are only available for booking between May 1st and September 30th.
- Wedding bookings have a maximum time limit of three hours (includes set-up and clean-up).
- Access to public washrooms.
- One-hour consultation and site walkthrough with City Parks staff.
- City staff on-site the day of your event to assist with logistics.
- Risk Management Fee: $4.75
- Outdoor chairs: $150, up to 50 chairs
Things to know before booking the Walker House lawn:
- It is important to review Inglewood Bird Sanctuary’s Etiquette and Conditions of Use before booking.
- Outdoor spaces are only available to be booked between May 1 and September 30.
- Inglewood Bird Sanctuary encourages environmentally-sustainable meetings and events. Please read the green event guidelines for information on how to “green” up your booking.
- Bookings can only be requested one calendar year in advance.
- Bookings at Walker House are available on a limited basis in order to preserve the historical significance of the site. Only one special event is permitted at a time to ensure public access remains available.
- Species that are legislated under the Alberta Weed Control Act are prohibited in the Sanctuary, both by the Sanctuary itself and through provincial law. Please review the prohibited species list before visiting.
- All visitors must stay on pathways or lawned areas.
- Pets/animals are not permitted in the park.
- Active sports (including frisbee, soccer, lawn darts, etc.) are not permissible.
- All bookings are subject to approval.
1. Children’s Birthday Parties
Want a birthday party that is both entertaining and educational for kids? Try a nature adventure party! This birthday experience allows children to open up to the natural world through a hands-on exploratory activity and dress up game. The program includes a seasonal birthday-themed craft and a nature-based activity.
Age: 5+ years
Location: Inglewood Bird Sanctuary , Ralph Klein Park and Devonian Gardens
Length: 2 hours (1 hour self-led nature activities +1 hour use of room
Cost: $150.00 maximum 20 children (refreshments and cleanup not included)
2. VIP Playground Party
Enjoy a private birthday in an indoor oasis! This birthday experience includes one hour of private play time in the playground, as well as one hour use of a reserved seating area to open presents and celebrate!
Age: 3+ years
Location: Devonian Gardens
Length: 2 hours (exclusive use of playground and surrounding seating area)
Cost: $200.00, maximum 20 children (refreshments and clean up not included)
*Only available Sundays 10:00-Noon
TD Outdoor Learning Centre
The Inglewood Bird Sanctuary is a special place for visitors of all ages. In 2014, the Calgary Parks with the support of the TD Bank Group, announced the addition of a new outdoor learning centre to make the sanctuary even more remarkable and unique. This outdoor classroom will let the Parks to spread their wings and open its programs to teach children about nature and the environment. In 2012, the sanctuary housed over 30,000 children and adults who had come for school and nature programs. Some of these programs were offered at a viewing platform that was destroyed in the 2013 flood. The learning centre will allow for an increase in school program attendance, and will provide additional space for adult programs through an expanded season.
About the learning centre
The outdoor learning centre will be a small structure with special conservation features used to encourage the study of nature. The heavy timber structure will have a footprint slightly larger than a two-car garage, and will be built in an area that has been previously used for construction staging to ensure minimal impact to the sanctuary’s birds and natural environment. We anticipate construction will begin late spring 2017.
It’s important for people of all ages to come to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary for the chance and privilege to go outside and to foster a love for nature. Spending time outdoors is a part of healthy childhood development and stress-free environments for adults. children who are connected to nature have a better sense of the world around themselves and adults can find a place to unwind. Thus, we not only reap benefits for our own well-being, but develop a better understanding of the impact of our direct actions on the environment.