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 opened last December and 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. For even more high flying fun, check out Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 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 a fun and, dare we say, enriching experience. The facility produces coins for dozens of countries around the world. 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. This season they’ll stage seven productions, with classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar (March 15–24), and an ode to Hundred Acre Wood with The House at Pooh Corner (November 30–December 30).
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 — all of which house challenging interactive rooms where solving the thematic mysteries will literally set you free.
For a surefire way to tucker the tots out, try LaserTopia’s two-level,10,200 sq. ft. facility. If they’re under 12, bring them to the newly opened Hide N Seek indoor playground, Kid City, or Great Big Adventure, a sprawling 12,000 sq. ft. indoor park featuring an impressive play structure with seven 20 ft. slides, a mini-sticks hockey zone, obstacle courses, a mini basketball court, and a section tailored specifically for toddlers.
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.
Lighting up the city for the first time this fall is Lights of The North, Canada’s largest lantern light festival. More than 50 lantern and light exhibits over ten acres will take over the Red River Exhibition Park from August to October, including life-size interactive dinosaurs. You’ll also find Chinese folk dances and acrobatics, food trucks, and artisanal goods for take-home souvenirs.
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 and especially for the New Year’s Eve celebration and fireworks.
On any given winter weekend, you’ll find thousands of skaters, dog-walkers, hockey players, stroller pushers and more on the Red River Mutual Trail. It is one of the world’s longest naturally frozen groomed trails that snakes out from The Forks across stretches of both the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.
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. There is the awesome Richardson Rrrun Toboggan Slide that is perched above a frozen lake and guided 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 in thousands of migratory birds.
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.
Bridging the great outdoors and the comfy indoors is Assiniboine Park and Zoo. In winter, the park’s frozen ponds and Terry Fox Trail 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. 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. There are giant snow sculptures, voyageur games, maple taffy and lots of family fun entertainment to be had during this 10-day extravaganza.