Spend A Day at Assiniboine Park Zoo!
We decided to visit the new Polar Bear exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo and see what all the excitement is about. We were not disappointed! We arrived just before 9am and the line was not too long, it only took a few minutes to pay and get through the gates. The new Zoo Gate is beautiful, with ticket terminals just like the movie theater for credit card purchases, but the cash line was just as fast today. There were volunteers to help with the terminals and answer questions. Make sure you pick up a map on the way, and once you get through the gate you can follow the banners to the Journey to Churchill exhibit. Don’t forget to stop and see the other animals like bison and the cougars along the way.
We didn’t notice many animals outside in the Journey to Churchill exhibit, but once we entered the building and walked into the tunnel to find polar bears swimming above us! Just around the corner the seals were zipping around their pool, as one of the polar bears watched through the under water window. I wonder what she’s thinking…
There are lots of other exhibits in the building, including a short film about polar bears and their environment. The kids stuck their heads inside props to become seals for pictures.
Outside the Gateway to the Arctic building, you will see the giant skull and partial skeleton of a Bowhead Whale. My boys immediately tried to climb it. Yikes! But it’s ok! It’s actually a replica surrounded by rubber playground turf and sand, so let the kids play all day! (This appears to be the only outdoor playground located inside the Zoo at this time).
By this time we were getting hungry! After a quick look at the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, we decided to head to the Tundra Grill for a snack. The whole area looks like you are in Churchill, the kids had fun exploring and playing inside the helicopter.
The Tundra Grill is a definite must see during your visit. They have a great play structure for the kids to play on and you have to go into the middle of it and check out the cool floor. It reacts to your footsteps, the ice cracks and the water waves when you walk across it. A very cool experience! Once the kids have done playing, check out the restaurant and you might get lucky like we did! Both male bears wandered over the hill while we were eating and started wresting right outside the window! Everyone jumped up to watch and they played for quite a while.
After visiting the rest of the zoo, we circled back to the Journey to Churchill exhibit for one more look at the polar bears only to find all five wolves had come down to the viewing area. It was pretty exciting, the volunteer said she had never seen all the wolves at the same time.
So start planning your own Journey to Churchill at The Assiniboine Park Zoo and let us know how your trip went in the comments below!