Family Fun - Fall / Winter
Parents, no need to panic — the end of summer in Winnipeg doesn’t mean the end of entertaining, educating, and exploring with your kids throughout the city.
In fact, fall and winter in Winnipeg are the perfect time to pull out your parkas, break in your boots and try some of the activities offered — both indoors and out — in this guide.
Jumping into the indoor trampoline scene is Flying Squirrel, which will have your kids bouncing with excitement (all while under safe supervision). Touted as the world’s largest trampoline park, the facility hosts dodgeball courts, dunk hoops, slack lines, a rock wall, airbag launch lanes and more. Or challenge kids (10 and up) to reach new heights at the rock climbing walls of Vertical Adventures.
Interactive tours of the Royal Canadian Mint are always on the money and worth every penny. The facility produces coins for dozens of countries around the world, the flags of which you'll drive past on the way in, while within the facility you'll find games that test your geographic knowledge. You’ll also get a chance to hold a pure gold bar worth nearly $500,000 that will astonish both kids and adults alike with the sheer weight of it.
Manitoba Theatre for Young People does an incredible job putting on productions that entertain kids of all ages and utilize various mediums, including puppetry.
If your clan is older, find adrenaline-filled fun at Speedworld Indoor Kart Track. Their Sprint Karts and Race Karts will also have dads and uncles competing for the finish line.
You can also have some family fun while doing a team building exercise at Enigma Escapes, Codebreakers, or The Real Escape Canada— all of which house challenging interactive rooms where solving the thematic mysteries will literally set you free. For even more tech savy-savvy fare check out Activate Games, Winnipeg’s newest 13,000 sq. ft. gaming centre. Activate features 11 rooms that can only be solved utilizing active technology, with challenges ranging from navigating a laser maze to climbing a wall where you can only use colour coded grips.
For a sure fire way to tucker the tots out, try LaserTopia’s two-level,10,200 sq. ft. facility or Uptown Alley, where kids can play laser tag, go five-pin bowling, or hit the arcades. If the kids are under 12, bring them to Hide N Seek or Kid City.
The Manitoba Museum has always been a winner, but now everyone’s favourite exhibit, the Nonsuch, a replica 17th century ketch (ship), has undergone a huge renovation, making the already awesome exhibit even more interactive and a must-”sea“ for all families. Also onsite is a pretty sweet science gallery and a world-class planetarium that we promise will leave you starry-eyed.
Over the last few years, the winter scene at The Forks has begun to heat up, and now the 56-acre site is the place to be, no matter the time of year, while the New Year's Eve celebration replete with two doses of fireworks is a definite can't-miss.
On any given winter weekend, you’ll find thousands of skaters, dog-walkers, hockey players, stroller pushers and more on the River Trail. It is one of the world’s longest naturally frozen groomed trails, and it snakes out from The Forks across stretches of both the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, reaching up to 10 km in length while winding under numerous bridges while passing landmarks like the Golden Boy on top of the Manitoba Legislative Building.
To skate the trail for yourself, rent skates inside The Forks Market or bring your own and lace ‘em up in one of our now-famous warming huts, which the NY Times describes as, “akin to visiting an interactive sculpture garden on blades.”
There are also stylish red chairs for pushing toddlers, a small skating rink located right underneath the canopy along with several kilometers of on-land trails, lighting installations, and Crokicurl (a creative combination of curling and the board game crokinole) at The Forks’ Arctic Glacier Winter Park.
If that’s not enough sliding and gliding for you, be sure to put FortWhyte Alive on the agenda. Here you will find the awesome Richardson Rrrun Toboggan Slide perched above a frozen lake, guided nature tours, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and kid’s camps where you’ll learn about the region’s Indigenous and fur trading roots.
FortWhyte is particularly beautiful in the fall, when migratory meals are on the menu at the Buffalo Stone Café. The café has an outdoor patio that overlooks a lake that is often awash at sunset with thousands of migratory birds. It's true splendour for the senses as you witness all those wings descending onto the water at dusk.
Another autumn must-do is A Maze in Corn. Throughout October it is home to the Haunted Forest, a spooky experience that is suitable for families, along with a petting zoo, hayrides, pony rides, and of course, the massive corn maze that towers over guests and is ripe for exploration throughout autumn. Come winter, A Maze in Corn is also home to the world’s largest snow maze, which features massive snow walls spanning 2,300 metres, taking guests an average of 45 minutes to navigate.
Bridging the great outdoors and the comfy indoors is Assiniboine Park and Zoo. In winter, the park’s frozen ponds offer up ample outdoor skating, while the toboggan hill is another favourite seasonal attraction. The park also offers a heated shelter for families to get in their gear, hang out and warm up, while the Park Café serves up delicious comfort food only a hop, skip and toboggan slide away.
The zoo itself is a real showstopper with snow leopards, Amur tigers, and red pandas — all of which dig the snow. The Journey to Churchill exhibit is surely the best northern species and Arctic education centre of its kind. Here, you can spend hours watching polar bears swim and play right over your head in the Sea Ice Passage. This is an experience no child — heck, no adult with a sense of wonder — will ever forget; it’s truly world-class in every sense of the word.
In February, children of all ages (and adults) can enjoy the joie de vivre of the fur trade era during Festival Du Voyageur where giant snow sculptures, voyageur games, maple taffy, costumed interpreters and lots of family fun entertainment to be had during this 10-day extravaganza.