International Travel

Not a lot of people plan to swing by Winnipeg on their vacations, but it’s something they should consider. It’s a sizable city with a lot of options for things to do, regardless of why you’re traveling there. But there’s one thing hiding right under your nose called the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

This zoo might not be the biggest of its kind in Canada, but it is a wonderful place to spend the day thanks to some truly excellent exhibits. This is a wonderful addition to any trip for people of any and all ages and is a place some people go back to every time they’re in town.

Stopping by Assiniboine Park

Work on Assiniboine Park started in 1904 with it officially opening to the public almost five years later. Over the last century, it has expanded its offerings to the public greatly, including the Assiniboine Park Zoo which actually opened before the full park did.

Assiniboine Park Zoo

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – FEBRUARY 17: Siberian and Bengal tigers meet snow for the first time at the Lion Park, which established to protect endangered predatory cats by ex-situ protection activities and to reproduce, in Tuzla district of Istanbul, Turkey on February 17, 2021. (Photo by Sebnem Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A large percentage of the park is devoted to the Assiniboine Forest, which includes the Assiniboine Park Riparian Forest Project. This is a massive undertaking to repair the natural forest along the banks of the Assiniboine River.

Located around the park are various gardens as well as the ever-impressive Leo Mol Sculpture Garden. It currently contains more than 300 sculptures by Dr. Leo Mol, many of which have been created in either bronze or ceramic.

Other features include the Pavilion, the Lyric Theatre, the Foot Bridge, and the Children’s Nature and Adventure Playground. It also has an outstanding miniature ridable railway called the Assiniboine Valley Railway, which I have somehow never been on.

Heading to the Zoo

The park’s biggest draw is definitively the Assiniboine Park Zoo. It has been in operation for almost 120 years and keeps finding ways to improve on itself as an attraction. That great for locals who visit regularly and tourists who stop by when they’re in town.

Naturally, the big reason you’re going to a zoo in the first place is to check out the super awesome animals. Assiniboine Park Zoo has multiple exhibits to check out that include a wide range of species and more.

Animals of Asia is unsurprisingly popular as it’s home to Asiatic Lions, Siberian Tigers, Amur Tigers, and Snow Leopards. Toucan Ridge is also pretty great. It has different species of monkeys and tamarins as well as Red Pandas alongside a wide array of tropical birds.

One of the more unique exhibits is Dinosaurs Uncovered. It’s an interactive exhibit that features 17 animatronic dinosaurs representing species from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. But if dinosaurs aren’t your thing, check out the relaxing Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden.

The big draw

Keeping in mind all of the outstanding exhibits the Assiniboine Park Zoo has to offer, there is something that is a definitive draw. It’s the one-two punch of the Grasslands & Boreal Forest area alongside the Journey to Churchill.

Assiniboine Park Zoo

BERLIN, GERMANY – APRIL 28: Polar bears lie in the sun at the Zoo Tierpark on April 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Zoos opened their doors again in Berlin, as the aquarium, animal houses and playgrounds will remain closed for the time being. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Grasslands & Boreal Forest features a marvelous range of endemic North American species, such as Cougars, Canadian Lynx, American Elk, Grey Wolves, and Red Foxes. This dovetails nicely into the Journey to Churchill, which focuses specifically on the animals of Northern Manitoba.

Animals housed in the exhibit include Reindeer, Arctic Foxes, Harbor Seals, Snowy Owls, Muskoxen, and Polar Bears. It also features the Sea Ice Passage, underwater viewing tunnels that allow you to get a good look at the Seals and Polar Bears from other angles.

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is one of Winnipeg’s best places to spend the day for good reason. So, get yourself some reputable zoo food and take your time viewing some exceptional exhibits. And seriously spend as much time watching the Polar Bears as possible.

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