Your guide to a wonderful winter visit to the Zoo! Winter may be a quieter season here at the Zoo, but it happens to be some of our animals’ favourite time of the year! Grab your coat and learn how you can make the most of your winter visit.
Planning Your Visit
Of course, most of us know to truly enjoy the Manitoba winter we need to dress for it. Make sure to dress in layers and don’t forget to bring a warm toque, gloves or mittens, and your boots. Pathways in the Zoo are maintained and cleared throughout the winter, and there are lots of great indoor viewing areas so you can take warm-up breaks while spending time with the awesome animals here.
First Stop – Grassland and Boreal Forest
When you enter the Zoo, turn right and head into the Grassland and Boreal Forest section. This section features a variety of animal species native to North America. These animals are very adaptable to the extremes of our climate, from the hot sunny days of summer to our cold, blustery Winnipeg winters. You can see the elk and cougar out in the snow, and maybe spot the wolves resting on the heated rocks in their habitat. Notice the thick and fluffy coats of the bison and Rocky Mountain goats as their fur adapts to the cold season to keep them nice and warm.
Second Stop – Journey to Churchill
The award-winning Journey to Churchill exhibit is the most comprehensive northern species exhibit of its kind in the world. These animals are adapted for life in the Arctic tundra and thrive in our Winnipeg winters. Watch for our Arctic fox who blends in well with the surrounding snow with his fluffy white coat. As you continue to the polar bears, look for them sparring or happily rolling around in the snow.
Feeling chilly? Great timing. Head into Gateway to the Arctic where you can warm up and maybe see the polar bears swimming in the underwater viewing tunnels known as Sea Ice Passage. Even if the bears aren’t around, the seals are always active and engaging. In this building, you can also spend time learning about the Hudson Bay ecosystem and watching a film in the 360-degree Aurora Borealis Theatre.
Third Stop – Aunt Sally’s Farm and Kinsmen Discovery Centre
Before continuing through Journey to Churchill to the other bear-viewing windows, this is a great time to take a slight detour to Aunt Sally’s Farm and the Kinsmen Discovery Centre. You can visit with the farm animals or warm up in the indoor habitats of the Kinsmen Discovery Centre, where you’ll find a variety of unique species of fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals from around the world. Don’t forget to say hi to the meerkats!
Fourth Stop – Tundra Grill
As you make your way through the rest of Journey to Churchill, you will come across the Tundra Grill restaurant, a great place to grab a warm meal or a hot chocolate. Even if you aren’t hungry, pop in for a visit as there are awesome viewing windows to see the polar bears. They often like to sleep right below the windows so be sure to look carefully.
Fifth Stop - Animals of Asia
Next stop, Animals of Asia! The first species you will see here are the snow leopards. These cats have adapted to live in extremely harsh environments like the snowy mountains of Asia, so they are quite at home during our chilly winters. As you journey further you will see our Amur tigers, reindeer, Bactrian camels, and more! A perfect warm-up spot is the Gibbon Pavilion. Here you can head inside and watch the gibbon family as they spend the season playing in their indoor habitat.
Sixth Stop - Toucan Ridge
Continue down the main road and head into Toucan Ridge! This is your tropical paradise right here in the Zoo. The indoor exhibit is overflowing with lush vegetation and a variety of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Make sure to say hi to the squirrel monkeys and Goeldi’s monkeys who are very entertaining to watch!
After exploring Toucan Ridge, head back towards the Zoo entrance and check out Wild Things Unique Gifts on your way out. This shop has Zoo souvenirs, art, clothing, and local and handmade gifts.