Winnipeg. It’s the centre of Canada, literally. It is the birthplace of many famous Canadians such as Terry Fox, Clara Hughes, and Fred Penner; and it’s the home of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the only national museum outside of Ottawa. My 8 year old son and I spent 4 days in Winnipeg this past summer and our home away from home was the Residence Inn by Marriott Winnipeg. This was a great option because it had a waterpark on the first floor, the price included breakfast in the mornings, and there was a lively lounge bar in the evenings. Here’s our itinerary for 4 days in Winnipeg with kids.
First up we visited The Forks, the #1 tourist destination in Manitoba. It’s a great spot for craft beer, ethnic cuisine, and has a great outdoor space for the whole family to enjoy. A few steps away from the main food hall is the Manitoba Children’s Museum where my son Ethan could have spent ALL day. His favourite exhibits were the Tapescape (a play area made completely from packing tape), the splash lab, and the train.
In the evening we climbed aboard the Winnipeg Trolley Company to learn all about Winnipeg. The tour is 2.5 hours and I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how quickly the time went by. I’m glad we did the tour on the first day because we were going to explore some of the attractions and I had a better understanding of some of the buildings and attractions having done the tour.
The first stop of the day was the Assiniboine Park Zoo. It’s a great place for families to explore because it’s open year round and is huge – over 80 acres! We loved the Journey to Churchill exhibit – it is the most comprehensive exhibit of northern species such as polar bears, muskoxen, Arctic foxes, and wolves in the world! My son thought that seeing the polar bears swimming and playing around us was one of the coolest experiences ever!
Our second stop today was the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Winnipeg was chosen as the site of this museum because of its history of social justice.
I toured all the floors and I had to wipe away tears often. We’ve come a long way in many areas and we have a long way to go but that’s not a bad thing. The fact that we are continually moving forward and continually addressing the issues of our time represents the best of humanity. I truly believe this is one of the museums every Canadian should visit.
The day ended with a trip to Folklorama– Folklorama is the largest and longest-running multicultural festival of its kind in the world. I loved this festival celebrating diversity. There are over 40 pavilions all run by volunteers. We visited 2 – the African/Caribbean and the Métis pavilions. Winnipeg has the largest indigeneous population of any Canadian city and I loved to see how this heritage was celebrated throughout the city and at every place we visited.
We started off bright and early at Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre for a bird banding experience followed by a canoe tour through the marsh. Ethan was fishing for all sorts of bugs, snails and fish. There is so much to do here we could have spent the whole day.
Next we visited Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada. Parks Canada restored this 19th century fort where they recreate the 1850s in the Red River Valley. The staff really bring history to life here.
After lunch we made our way to the Manitoba Museum to explore the science centre and planetarium. We watched a film about the lead up to the successful Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Ethan loved it so much that he wanted me to wake him up at midnight to look for meteors!
For dinner we made our way to Across The Board Game Café for dinner and board games. This kid giggled with delight every time he beat me at a game. Things got pretty competitive. You’d think he’d be tired after a full day of activities but he begged me to take him to the water park in the hotel.
Our last day in Winnipeg and we visited the most iconic site – the Royal Canadian Mint. I thought it was fascinating to see the site where all the coins for the whole country are made. The Mint produces billions of coins every year! No, you can’t take samples but there is a really cool gift shop where you can purchase some of the specialty coins they make.
Our trip to Winnipeg was the first time I’d taken my 8 year old on a trip with me without his sister. We had a chance to connect and bond while exploring this amazing Canadian city. There is a ton of stuff to do in Winnipeg in any season, but summer is a great time to go with lots of festivals and activities to choose from.
Tourism Winnipeg and Tourism Manitoba supported this trip but as always all views are my own.