In case you haven’t heard, The Peg is a winter hot spot — and our spring can be equally as good!
Travel writers agree — be it Australia’s Traveller (which listed us as “Seven of the world’s best cities we love the most“) or National Geographic Traveler (who listed Winnipeg as one of the top 20 trips to make in 2016 #nobiggie) — this city has it in spades, and you should come see for yourself this March Break.
Plus, this spring we’ve come up with some outrageously sweet deals with our tourism partners to some of the city’s best hotels — including The Fort Garry Hotel and The Courtyard Marriott Winnipeg, and attractions — like Assiniboine Park Zoo and the Winnipeg Pass, which gets you packaged deals to galleries, heritage sites, festivals, theatre and more! Check it out on the Tourism Winnipeg website.
And for you US readers, it doesn’t get much cheaper with your dollar being worth $1.37 CDN. #bonus
So without further ado, lets get into it, with plenty of options for the whole family that you can do on your week off.
The Big Ten
Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat, if you are coming with your family, it’s very likely that polar bears, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights — that stunning building that your kids will be marvelling at, and our celebrated museums, galleries, tours and outdoor adventures are all going to be on your agenda.
So on that note, check out our Top 10 Must Sees (as stipulated by regular visitors) which will explain why FortWhyte Alive, Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Manitoba Museum, Thërmea by Nordik Spa-Nature, Assiniboine Park and Zoo, The Hermetic Code Tour, and The Forks are all massive must-sees.
Then, lets get into some finer details shall we?
You won’t pity the fool at The Forks (in fact, you’ll love them!)
The Red River Mutual Trail at The Forks, along with the on-land trails, have been marvellous again this year, with so many families being #adorable during the day (is there anything cuter than seeing kids push each other along in those red ski chairs, or watching them dance-skate under the canopy?). But, it has been a pretty warm winter thus far, so you might have to file this under “get it while you still can,” because that ice may only be around for a bit longer.
Regardless of conditions on the river, The Forks still has it going on this March, with events and fun things to do happening all over its fantastic 54 acres.
Festival of Fools at The Forks (Leif Norman)
For one, the biggest, raddest, (and FREE!) kid entertainment extravaganza takes place at The Forks Market from March 26-April 1 (right during Manitoba and Saskatchewan’s Spring Break) when the Festival of Fools takes over. It’s put on by The Winnipeg International Children’s Festival (whose 34th annual KIDFEST, June 9th to 12th, will also be amazing), and you and your kids will be astounded at just what they are able to do in The Forks.
During Festival of Fools there will literally be performers hanging from the rafters, as the peeps from C.A.M.P (the Circus and Magic Partnership) will be both putting on shows and giving demonstrations. There will be trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns (funny ones, not the scary kind), acrobats and circus demonstrations that will enthral your little ones.
Starting that same week, just across the street at Manitoba Theatre for Young People, you can take the kids to The Adventures of Robin Hood (March 30-April 10), which is being put on by Scotland’s Visible Fictions. This contemporary spin on the classic tale is guaranteed to bring some big laughs and after the show you can make a full afternoon of it with a trip to the always-inspiring and insightful Children’s Museum.
The Great Outdoors
FortWhyte Alive is a stunning nature reserve brimming with lakes, forests and trails located right inside south Winnipeg. Throughout Spring Break (from March 28-April 1, and for kids aged 6 to 12) they run day camps that will see your kids discovering nature with fun, interactive games and activities. On one day they could be living life like a Voyageur, while on the next they can get up close and personal with FortWhyte’s furry and feathered friends.
Check out the full list of day camps here — registration is now open and it is great way to see your kids off for the day while you enjoy some of your own piece and quite in The Peg.
All the action across the city indoors
As I’ve said before, spring here is not always predictable — it’s oftentimes a touch on the melty/messy side, so that being said I’ve included a slew of Winnipeg’s indoor attractions that can really shine in March/April.
Sky Zone Trampoline Park
There’s no two ways about it, trampolines are awesome, and at Sky Zone Trampoline Park they’ve taken this token as a jumping-off point to a whole new level. Get this, they’ve built a whole room filled with connecting trampolines, including trampoline walls with extra amounts of padding so no one gets hurt.
It’s a fantastic way for your kids to work on their athletic prowess, while us adults are also allowed to get in on some of their equipment (which includes a basketball court that I have posterized more mascots on than Blake Griffin during the 2014/15 season. Buzz and Boomer may be great on the gridiron, but on the b-ball court Mister Peg showed them who really got game). Anyway, throughout Spring Break Sky Zone is having special day camps (half day, full day, or drop-ins) that are the perfect way to tucker your youngster out for a day so you parents can enjoy some evening quite time.
The atmosphere at LaserTopia is out of this world (LaserTopia)
Ray of funshine
In LaserTopia’s 10,200 sq. ft. facility your kids can set their “phasers to fun” as they zap-it-up in their giant, two-level laser tag stadium, the Lost City. And yes, that was a Star Trek joke — Next Generation all the way baby. And who am I kidding, Mister Peg is surely going to play laser tag too: code name Sharp Shooter (that’s an inside joke, as they give you code names at LaserTopia after they strap on your gear and explain the game; it’s really pretty rad).
Anyway, they’ve built an impressive atmosphere at LaserTopia. The setting is like something out of Indiana Jones, Avatar and Halo, with lush-looking plants and temple-like walls. It all makes for quite the spectacle while you shoot lasers at one another. They also have the latest high-tech video games and food and beverages for the whole family.
The Great Escape
Another intriguing spot is Enigma Escapes, Winnipeg’s number one rated fun and games place on Trip Advisor. This place is great for the whole family, a group of adults, or a group of young teens (okay, it’s great for everybody!) as you and your crew must cleverly navigate through puzzles, codes and clues to reach freedom from a thematic adventure room. There are always four rooms to choose from, all of which can be pretty tricky — and seriously rewarding — to work your way through.
It’s good fun; I think of it like the movie Cube, but replace all the bits of terror and paranoia with wholesome, exciting, adventurous times. The rooms are meticulously put together, and you really have to work as a team to solve the puzzles. But don’t just take it from me — read their rave reviews, this place is the bomb.
For your really young ones
If your children are under 12, bring them to Great Big Adventure, a sprawling 12,000 sq. ft. indoor park featuring a mammoth 3,000 sq. ft. play structure that is a modern marvel of engineering. This structure has all the bells and whistles, including seven 20 ft. slides, a mini-sticks hockey zone, obstacle courses, a mini basketball court, and a nifty section tailored especially for toddlers. So if you have little ones, all you have to do is turn them loose and wait around for nap time.
If your crew is older, and looking for some adrenaline-filled racing, Speedworld Indoor Kart Track is the place. Its motto is, “it’s not like racing… It is Racing!” which is right on the money as you can get some serious speed going at this place. (They even have a cheeky podium for 1st to 3rd place finishers so you can rub it in to your fellow racemates after you put the pedal down past them).
They have two kinds of Karts — Sprint and Race: you have to be at least 4’10” to ride the Sprint Karts, while children under 16 must have their parents sign a waiver. For the Race Karts, drivers must either be at least 16 with a driver’s license, or be 18 or over with a $100 damage deposit. Now, why so many rules? Well, the Sprint Kart goes up to 40 km/hr, while the Race Kart can go up to 50 km/hr. But don’t worry mums who are reading this (as dad says he is taking the kids), because Speedworld is all about safety — plus the kids have to learn to drive somewhere.
note: the lede image is also of the Festival of Fools, by Leif Norman