When you're looking to explore Manitoba with the family, nothing offers an experience quite like Winnipeg. The province's capital city has much to offer whether you're looking for museums, parks, or unique attractions you may not have even considered. You'll even find quite a few seasonal attractions as the climate is notably seasonal, even by Canadian standards, with hot summers and cold winters. To find the best things to do in Winnipeg with kids, you'll need to consider what your kids are interested in. Given the diversity of options available within Winnipeg, it's easier than ever to create the ultimate itinerary.
1. See the animals at Assiniboine Park Zoo
When you visit the Assiniboine Park Zoo, you'll be met with about 200 fascinating species of animals from all over the world. While these exotic animals are particularly varied, visitors tend to be especially impressed by the northern species that live in cold conditions in the wild, like arctic foxes, wolves, and snowy owls. You can also see polar bears in an exhibit that has you walking through an underwater tunnel as they swim around you. Kids will also enjoy the indoor polar playground, a winter-themed play place without any actual polar bears to worry about.
2. Find educational fun at the Manitoba Children's Museum
At the Manitoba Children's Museum, you'll find an open-concept museum that's packed full of interactive exhibits designed to foster imagination and creativity among your little ones, particularly children 10 or younger. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Splash Lab and the Illusion Tunnel. The former offers fun with water flows while providing insights into how jets, flows, and dams work, while the latter tests the effects of different perspectives. Your kids may also be interested in the Pop M'Art exhibit, where they can grab supplies and create their own works of art. You'll even find separate play areas for toddlers and especially young children.
3. Take a ride on the Prairie Dog Central Railway
If your kids love trains, you won't want to miss out on the Prairie Dog Central Railway. This vintage steam train is one of the oldest in operation in all of North America. When you visit, you can go for a ride on this train that lasts about an hour travelling across wheat fields near Winnipeg. That's just the beginning, however, as the train operators know that children tend to need something more than historical value. That's why they'll stage train robbery shows in which all the money they seize, which is completely voluntary to give, is donated to a local cancer charity. They also serve food like ice cream, pie, and hot dogs.
4. Visit nature in the city at FortWhyte Alive
You don't have to leave Winnipeg to explore the great outdoors thanks to FortWhyte Alive. This nature preserve features plenty of space where you'll find vibrant greenery and towering trees along with around 7 kilometres of walking trails. Children tend to love some of the available activities, like the Bison Safari, which lets you and your little ones get up close to these massive beasts on safari trucks. You'll also find an aquarium here as well as seasonal activities like a toboggan run in the winter with sleds provided for you. Fishing and boating are popular here all year long.
5. Explore the historic Exchange District
The Exchange District neighbourhood is one of the more iconic spots in town where you and your family can find a wide variety of kids' activities in Winnipeg. It's home to shops, restaurants, and a replica of a ship built back in the mid-17th century. You can even explore this replica, as it has been set up like a museum attraction. The toy stores here are also quite popular, but you won't want to miss out on the resident magician either, who puts on shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday just about every week. Not only will kids be able to see impressive tricks, but the magician will show the secrets behind them as well.
6. Play in the Streuber Family Children's Garden
At the Streuber Family Children's Garden, you and your family will find a vibrantly coloured playground with fun play equipment, nature trails, and brilliant foliage throughout. Flowerbeds are common to add a bit of colour to the area, and you'll also find tree-lined paths connecting the various sections of the garden. As for the playground equipment, you'll find big slides inspired by Snakes and Ladders, the old board game. Several animal sculptures made from natural materials like branches can also be found throughout the area.
7. Satiate your sweet tooth at Bridge Drive-In
When you and your family are looking for a satisfying snack, nothing hits the spot quite like the Bridge Drive-In. This ice cream shop offers sweet treats that the whole family can enjoy with signature combinations that have names like the Goog Special and Sleeping Beauty. You'll also find milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes as well. Just be wary that there might be a line to wait in before you can order, especially during the summer. The wait is nothing compared to the sheer delicious treats available, however, so don't hesitate to give it a try.
8. Explore the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is one of the most important attractions in the city, and both kids and adults can enjoy everything it has to offer. From the moment you arrive, you'll already be impressed by the design of the building itself, as it's meant to represent roots, clouds, and mountains. Inside its multiple floors, you'll find all sorts of exhibits related to the struggle for human rights throughout Canada and the world beyond. You'll even find hands-on activities for the kids. Once you're finished looking through the museum, be sure to stop by the top of the tower to see an incredible view of Winnipeg.
9. Relax at The Forks
The Forks is a popular meeting place where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet where you'll find shopping opportunities and delicious eateries. People have been using this area as a meeting place and for trade for thousands of years, and the city of Winnipeg continues that history today. Don't forget to check out the Parks Canada attraction as well where you and your little ones can learn more about the rich history of the area from a Parks Canada interpreter. It's an easy walking tour, so kids won't have any problem handling the trails.
10. Explore the wonders at the Manitoba Museum
If you're looking for a fascinating excursion into the natural world, the Manitoba Museum has plenty to offer the whole family. With multiple levels of things to do, you'll never be short of fascinating exhibits to explore. The dino exhibit is especially interesting, with kids being able to dig for fossils. You'll also be able to explore the history of Canada and see replicas of massive ships. There's also a science centre here with plenty of hands-on activities including infinity mirrors and even Legos. Keep in mind that the large variety of things to do here may warrant turning your visit into an all-day affair.
11. Step back in time at Lower Fort Garry
Lower Fort Garry is a living history site where you can feel as if you've stepped back in time. You'll find all the buildings restored and maintained to their centuries-old specifications. Even the staff here are dressed in period-appropriate clothing, playing the role of fort residents. They can tell stories about what experiences of the time would be like, and they also offer demonstrations of common practices back then. This includes planting vegetables and cooking using stone ovens. They even have a collection of historic furs you can peruse, which is especially important given the fort and Winnipeg's history as a fur trading post.
12. Take a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint
Every last Canadian circulation coin is produced at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, and you can explore it all. These tours at the mint in Winnipeg for kids offer a fascinating look into how coins are made with a state-of-the-art facility using the latest technology available for the task. You'll find tours available in English or French, and you even get to hold a real gold bar as part of the tour. This gold bar alone is worth three-quarters of a million dollars, so don't be surprised to find that there's a security guard stationed with the sole purpose of keeping an eye on it.
13. See the artworks at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is one of the leading visual arts museums in all of Canada where you'll find a variety of works on display. The building hosts 4 levels of works in a picturesque modernist setting. More than 27,000 artworks are on display here, with the oldest dating back centuries, though you'll find plenty of contemporary works here as well. Additionally, this art museum features the Qaumajuq, which is an Inuit art centre focusing on works produced by First Nations and Inuit artists. Your kids can also enjoy the art courses on offer here.
14. Enjoy the outdoors at Lake Winnipeg
If you're looking for outdoor adventure, Lake Winnipeg is one of the best destinations in the area. At 416 kilometres long, this lake offers a variety of experiences, depending on which side of the lake you approach from. The east side tends to be more remote, while the west side is closer to more conveniences like shops. Most visitors spend the majority of their time at the beach with its soft sands and inviting waters that are calm enough for kids to enjoy. You can always venture out in a boat if you prefer for water sports or some simple fishing.
15. Explore the outfits at the Costume Museum of Canada
At the Costume Museum of Canada, you can explore a massive collection of clothing and textiles showcasing the diverse history of Canadians both urban and rural in their private and public lives. About 35,000 artifacts can be seen here including men's, women's, and children's clothing. One of the oldest artifacts dates back all the way to 1765. If your family is interested in fashion and how it developed throughout history, there's no better place in Winnipeg to see prime examples of that fascinating legacy.
16. Explore the Fire Fighters Museum
When you and your family visit the Fire Fighters Museum, you can explore the vast history of firefighting in Winnipeg and beyond. Plenty of historic artifacts are housed here, but the vehicles tend to be the most popular. You'll find a variety of firefighting vehicles with the oldest dating back to the late 19th century. All are incredibly well-maintained, offering a clear glimpse into this fascinating history. You may also be interested in learning about the various stories of firefighters who operated out of this old historic station, offering valuable insight into the practice and how it developed over the years.
17. See the legends in the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame
Families with sports fans won't want to miss out on the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. This attraction showcases the most important players and events in Manitoba sports history. Several sports are covered here with memorabilia, equipment, and clothing from a variety of different players. Some of the Manitoban legends honoured here include football players, hockey players, and even professional curlers. The curators here have been gathering sports artifacts for more than 40 years now, so you'll find quite an expansive collection that you're free to explore.
18. Find family fun at Kid City
If you're looking for kid-centred fun, there's nothing quite like Kid City. This indoor play area is packed full of play equipment and experiences that your little ones will love. Best suited for kids ages 1 to 13, your little ones can explore a variety of different play areas and obstacles including slides, tunnels, mazes, balance beams, and even a sports court. All the different activities here are designed to inspire not only physical development but social development as well.