Travel to where the Northern Lights serve as backdrop to a procession of white giants when you venture to Manitoba. In this vast landscape of boreal forests, prairie and countless lakes experience the provincial charm of Canada when you explore Winnipeg and Fort Whyte. Fly your way to adventure in Churchill, where at certain times of the year polar bears outnumber people. Board tundra rovers and observe these Lords of the North as they hunt seal and rear their cubs. These alpha predators are just the apex of a diverse ecosystem that boasts over 150 species of birds, 500 species of plants and 44 species of mammals all protected within the Cape Churchill Wildlife Management Area. Come to Manitoba and meet true northern royalty
Slightly Active. May involve some walking and climbing.
Since the purpose of taking this tour is to see the polar bears in their natural habitat, the ideal time to visit is between October 15th and November 15th. There’s a very short window to view these fascinating predators.
Arrive in Winnipeg and transfer to your hotel. Meet your fellow travelers and professional naturalist, during a briefing and lecture. Enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. RADISSON SUITE HOTEL WINNIPEG. (D)
Begin today’s exploration of Winnipeg with a visit to the Manitoba Museum which houses a dynamic collection of artifacts and historical recreations, including a full sized replica of the Nonsuch whose 1668 voyage led to the founding of the Hudson Bay Company. In the afternoon visit Fort Whyte Alive, a multi-faceted facility dedicated to educating visitors on conservation and sustainability. Encompassing over 640 acres of prairie, lakes, forest, and wetlands, Fort Whyte features Manitoba’s largest freshwater aquarium within its 10, 000 square foot interpretive center. Afterward visit the Assinaboine Park Zoo, a Winnipeg landmark established in 1904 and home to 300 different species that account for over 1,500 specimens. HILTON SUITE HOTEL WINNIPEG. (B,L,D)
Wing your way to Churchill in the rugged wilds of northeastern Manitoba. This small town of some 800 full-time residents occupies a peninsula embraced by the Churchill River and the Hudson Bay. Occupied for centuries by indigenous peoples, the first Europeans took advantage of its location and used it as a fur trading post as well as a whaling community. With the decline of the fur trade and whaling, Churchill has continued to avail itself of its locale owing to its proximity to the traditional migration route of the polar bear. From October through mid-November, more than 1,200 bears journey from their summer ranges along the bay south of Churchill up to the capes for their annual hunt for seals. This is also when females den to give birth to their cubs. As many as 100 pregnant females make their way here to spend the winter, emerging each spring with a total of between 150-200 cubs. This pageant of massives has been known to parade through the town itself as they move toward winter feeding grounds where they will spend the entire winter on the ice of the frozen Hudson Bay. In 1978 the Cape Churchill Wildlife Management Area was established to protect the polar bear. When you arrive in Churchill, you will visit the Eskimo Museum dedicated to the history of the Inuit and life in the Arctic, which includes an exquisite collection of contemporary Inuit art. Afterward, you will board a behemoth tundra vehicle for dinner and weather permitting, a light show, courtesy of the Aurora Borealis. Spy polar bears with the beams of the tundra buggy’s search lights while crawling along the ice on its oversized tires. From the vantage point of these large vehicles, which can sit some 15 feet off of the ground, you will spend the next two days creeping along the ice sheets as you observe these “Lords of the Arctic”. Accompanied by an expert professional naturalist, learn more about the ecology of the bears as well as about many of the other unique species that reside here. For birders, close to 150 avian species congregate in Churchill each fall, including the Tundra Swan, Horned Grebe, Snowy and Short-eared Owls, Golden Plover, Arctic Loon, Snow Goose and Sandpiper. You may also spot the heart-warming Ross’s Gull or the Willow Ptarmigan, which changes from its brown summer coat to a winter white coat. The Arctic Tern makes an amazing journey, traveling twice each year from pole to pole (13,000 miles), thus receiving more hours of sunlight than any other creature on earth. In the gloaming, return to the warmth and comfort of your inn. Your comfortable Inn is located within steps of Churchill’s restaurants, bars, shopping and recreation facilities. It offers quality accommodation with northern hospitality. Each spacious room offers private facilities. THE AURORA INN OR SIMILAR. (B,L,D Daily)
A free day to enjoy the activities you select. For those interested in a bird’s eye view of polar bears, arctic foxes, caribou and wolves, an optional helicopter ride (at additional cost) is available with an experienced polar bear research aviator. There will also be a chance to visit a Canadian Eskimo dog pack. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Winnipeg, where a delicious farewell dinner awaits you at your hotel. HILTON SUITE HOTEL WINNIPEG. (B,L Aloft, D)
After breakfast, bid farewell to your Arctic adventure as you head to the airport, bringing with you the memories of this special place. (B)
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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