Once a busy trading post and gateway to Western Canada, Winnipeg has grown drastically within the past couple decades to become a cosmopolitan, thriving city offering a dynamic culture of history and arts.
For families, Winnipeg offers an exceptional number of fun & educational attractions to keep children entertained and parents happy. Travel with tripatlas.com/new as we take you through the best of Winnipeg for families.
More on family travel from tripatlas.com/new? Discover this family destination where Swearing or Cursing Could Cost You $250; read up on 5 Tips for Travelling with Kids; or explore these 10 Great Family Travel Ideas & Destinations.
Best of Winnipeg for families
Where to stay: The Inn at the Forks (innforks.com) is located at the Forks National Historical Site in Winnipeg, just minutes from downtown. The rooms are comfortable and contemporary – you’ll even find bathrobes on your hotel bed upon arrival. The staff is extremely friendly to guests and families; ready to answer any questions you may have about the area. The inn is located just across the street from the Johnston Terminal and the Forks Market; two great spots for boutique shopping and market-style dining.
For a fun and free afternoon activity: Go on a scavenger hunt for Winnipeg’s polar bears – polar bear sculptures, that is. The Bears on Broadway (www.bearsonbroadway.com) fundraising initiative in 2005 filled the streets of Winnipeg with over 60 polar bear sculptures. Each was sold off to various companies and today you can find them dressed up around town. Visit the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature for a handful!
Want to see real polar bears up close and in the wild? Read up on polar bear tours in Churchill, Manitoba: Polar Bear Capital of the World, just a 2.5 hour flight from Winnipeg.
Best educational experience: A great way to spend a cold or rainy day in Winnipeg is to spend in at the Manitoba Museum (www.manitobamuseum.ca). The museum takes visitors on an impressive tour of the history of nature, man, and culture of Manitoba through eight interpretative life-sized galleries. You’ll encounter life-sized running bison, polar bears, and a Native American tipi. The most impressive installation is the replica of the Nonsuch ship that sailed in 1668 and led to the founding of the Hudson Bay Company. Children can go aboard the ship, see the captain’s quarters, and more. The museum also takes visitors through a replicated street of Winnipeg from the early 1900’s – a fun, blast into the past for kids and adults alike.
Learn about historical Winnipeg at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada (www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/mb/fortgarry/index.aspx), just 30-minutes from downtown Winnipeg. The fort is known as the oldest intact stone fort in North America and where Treaty No. 1 was signed between the Crown and the First Nations people. Visitors will step back into time at this 19th century fur trading post from the early days of the Hudson Bay Company, learn the history and see how people used to live in those times: from wool spinning to blacksmithing, Aboriginal crafts, and more.
A great interactive museum for kids is the Manitoba Children’s Museum (childrensmuseum.com), located right beside the Inn at the Forks. This hands-on museum makes learning and creativity fun with its inspiring galleries where children can: slide down a 17-foot oak tree; get aboard a historical CN train car from the 1950’s; try their hand at being a news anchor or weatherman; play in a giant sandbox; or learn about building equipment by excavating or playing with plumbing pipes.
Animal-loving families can visit Assiniboine Park Zoo (www.zoosociety.com) year-round to see arctic fox, white tigers, black bears, bobcats, cougars, raccoons, lemurs, zebras, and more. Up until November 2008, the park was home to the oldest polar bear in the world, Debby, who died at the age of 42 years old. Another wildlife attraction is FortWhyte (www.fortwhyte.org), an environmental and nature education centre. Visitors can see the 30+ bison herd; go for a hike in forest trails; watch the prairie dogs running around in Prairie Dog Town; learn about global warming at the climate change exhibitions; try sailing, snowshoeing, wildlife watching, and more.
For more on visiting Winnipeg, go to: www.destinationwinnipeg.ca.
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