Young eyes are sure to grow wide with wonder in the Polar Bear Capital of the World as families set out on a new multi-generational wildlife adventure in Churchill, Manitoba this November. Natural Habitat Adventures, a global leader in conservation-focused travel, is leading families on an Arctic wildlife and cultural immersion from Nov. 21-26, a journey to polar bear territory that is sure to spark active imaginations and shape future conservationists.
Churchill Arctic Family Adventure is Natural Habitat Adventures’ newest family-focused tour. This is a 6-day itinerary designed to coincide with the Thanksgiving school holiday. In Churchill, a frontier outpost town on Hudson Bay, families will meet local people and explore the wild landscape that is the native home of polar bears. The active itinerary, available for guests ages 8 and up, introduces families to the frozen North through dog sledding, a helicopter flight over the tundra and a full day searching for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife on one of Nat Hab’s custom-built Polar Rovers.
“We’re making special time and space for families to experience the magic of an encounter with the Arctic,” explains Natural Habitat Adventures founder and president, Ben Bressler. “Our family-focused trip is an opportunity you won’t find anywhere else. By taking advantage of a traditional school break and tailoring our activities to maximize action and engagement, we’re confident kids will experience wonder and amazement as they explore the tundra ecosystem. And we expect that time spent looking for and learning about polar bears will help inspire the Arctic’s future conservationists, too.”
Making transportation convenient, families fly direct from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Churchill on a private chartered aircraft. The adventure begins with a classic northern dog sled ride, as guests are pulled across the ice and snow through the boreal forest. During this authentic Arctic experience, guests will hear stories from expert mushers and get to know the sled dogs.
Heading deep into the Arctic landscape, guests spend an entire day aboard Nat Hab’s Polar Rover, a warm, monster-truck-sized transport designed for smooth travel over the tundra. Along the shores of Hudson Bay, guests go in search of polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that may include red fox, moose, caribou, gray wolf, wolverine, mink, marten, lynx, snowy owl, ptarmigan and lemmings. With their white coats and feathers, Arctic hare, Arctic fox and snowy owls provide an extra level of wildlife watching challenge under the camouflage of winter.
Soaring over the tundra and Hudson Bay on a helicopter, guests search for polar bears that may have already headed out onto the sea ice for the winter. Back in Churchill, travelers will hear stories of daily life in this remote Arctic town that’s accessible only by rail or air, learning about local traditions and Inuit, First Nations and Métis heritage, and exploring the area’s history as a fur trading center for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
This active family-focused itinerary is limited to 17 guests. Winnipeg accommodations are at the historic Fort Garry Hotel, an elegant landmark built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1913. In Churchill, simple hotels are clean, comfortable and centrally located. On Thanksgiving Day, families will share a traditional feast to celebrate the holiday. Throughout the trip, kid-friendly activities will include pizza parties, games and personal encounters with local Churchill residents.
The per-person double rate is $5995 (single supplement $850) and for ages 8-12, $4995. Included are private chartered round-trip flights from Winnipeg to Churchill, accommodations, all meals, cold-weather gear including use of a parka and boots during the trip, services of NHA’s professional Expedition Leaders and assistants, some gratuities, all activities/entrance fees, evening wildlife and cultural presentations, all taxes and service charges.
Witnessing polar bears in their native habitat helps raise awareness of their plight. Nat Hab runs eight different polar bear-focused trips. Seven itineraries are based in Churchill, home to the Western Hudson Bay polar bear population. More bears congregate here each fall than anywhere else, making this easily accessible destination a prime place to look for polar bears in the wild.