Experiencing the wild of Churchill, Manitoba is a right of passage for many adventurers. The popularity of this tiny northern Manitoba town has grown, thanks to better access and services for the influx of travellers. Families are the latest group to chase the magic of the north—and with good reason.
Churchill holds loads of titles that draw visitors from around the world: the polar bear capital of the world. The beluga whale capital of the world. One of the premier destinations for viewing the Aurora Borealis. The town sits at the border where the northern boreal forest meets the Arctic Tundra, so it’s teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. With these incredible family-friendly outdoor wildlife experiences, Churchill is the hottest new destination for adventure family travel.
Kayak with Beluga Whales
Is there anything more amazing than paddling within inches of the spectacular northern white whale? Beluga whales are playful puppies of the sea. They flock to the mouth of the Churchill to feed on the capelin fish that fill the waters. There is no better way to experience these mystical whales than by kayak.
Children aged six and up can join Beluga Kayak Safaris. While you're on the water, one of the best ways to attract belugas to your side is by singing. They love music and new sounds. Don't be surprised if your kayak is soon bumped and poked by curious white whales looking for a new friend.
Hike to a Shipwreck
In the shallows of Hudson Bay lie the remains of the MV Ithaca. Like many things in Churchill, there are a lot of mysteries surrounding exactly how this 80-metre long cargo ship ran aground in 1960. But ask around the town and you'll be regaled with ever-more adventurous stories. These tall tales are part of the charm of what makes Churchill such a great destination for families. During low-tide, the Ithaca is surrounded by dry land and can be accessed by foot on a short hike from the mainland. But during high-tide, the boat is surrounded by water. Make sure you visit with a local guide—the Ithaca can be a resting place for polar bears.
Climb the Cannons of Prince of Wales Fort
About seven kilometres from town, on a dramatic stretch of the Canadian Shield, sit the remains of a Curtiss-C-46 Commando airplane dubbed “Miss Piggy.” This heavy load cargo plane seems to have literally dropped from the sky on November 1979. Like the wreck of the Ithaca, there are as many rumours about what happened as there are people in town. No one was killed during the crash. Now, Miss Piggy is painted with an artistic flair that can also found on many of the buildings around the region. It is a popular destination for both visiting families and locals.
Watch the Northern Lights
The summer days in Churchill are long. But in the early and late summer, the sun doesn’t set until 9 or 10 p.m. If your kids can stay up past dark, this town is one of the best places in Canada to catch the northern lights. The aurora is active about 360 days of the year in Churchill. So, if the weather cooperates, you have a great chance of catching them right in town. The small size of Churchill means that there is very little light pollution. Catching the northern lights is often as easy as stepping out the front door of your hotel.
Visit the Polar Bears
You can't make the long trek to Churchill without trying to get a glimpse of some of the famous local polar bears. And while this isn’t an activity you’ll want to do on a hike or bike, it’s still a unique outdoor adventure—and something that the kids will love. Rent a car or join a tour on a Tundra Buggy experience to hit the coast and get a view of the Nanuk lying along the rocky shores or walking through the northern boreal forest. Catching a glimpse of the world's largest bear is something kids will never forget.
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