Boulder, CO – Natural Habitat Adventures (Nat Hab), the world’s premier nature travel company, is a trail blazer in creating ways to expand and enhance guest experiences – and comfort.
Nat Hab is proud to announce its newest innovation in guest access and luxury – the Aurora Pod. This exclusive, custom-built structure featuring geometric glass construction (from waist-height up) is fully heated and equipped with reclining chairs for a 360-degree, unobstructed view of the northern lights.
This new installation is now in place just outside of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, among the best places on the planet to view the lights. Churchill is located directly beneath the Van Allen Belt, a layer of energy-charged particles that wraps the polar regions and is held in place by the Earth’s magnetic field, creating one of the heaviest concentrations of auroral activity in the world.
“The year 2015 is expected to be near the peak of a long-term cycle of solar flare activity,” said Ben Bressler, founder and president of Nat Hab. “Guests are in for a real treat with aurora activity predicted to be close to recent heights.”
In addition to the Aurora Pod, Nat Hab’s guests will also enjoy evening viewing at its one-of-a-kind rolling hotel, the Tundra Lodge. Situated on the edge of the Churchill Wildlife Management Area, the Tundra Lodge offers warm, comfortable environs for dinner, with a chance to view the aurora overhead from open observation platforms. A third option for northern lights gazers are the Aurora Domes, structures made of clear Plexiglass and positioned in complete darkness outside of town. Guests relax on sofas below or step up to the upper level for an unimpeded circular view of the night sky.
“Together these innovations create the most comprehensive set of vantage points to experience the northern lights,” said Bressler. He called Churchill the “accessible Arctic,” easy to reach from Winnipeg via direct flight or by a relaxing overnight train ride across the prairie and through boreal forest. Both options are offered by Nat Hab.
In addition to dedicating hours to viewing nature’s most exclusive light show, guests engage with First Nations residents who share elements of their traditional lifestyle. The Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort in Churchill in 1717 as part of its fur-trading network across the Canadian North, but Native cultures had already been flourishing here against the harsh Arctic climate for thousands of years. Guests explore this First Nations heritage on a dog sled ride through the boreal forest, on a visit to the Eskimo Museum, and through cultural programs featuring the arts and traditions of the Inuit and Dene peoples.
Natural Habitat Adventures offer two ways to experience the winter wonders of Churchill. Northern Lights & Arctic Cultures is a small-group trip (no more than 14 guests) for six or eight days running January through March from $4,795 per person based on double occupancy. The Northern Lights Photography Tour is a seven-day trip offered in February and March from $5,695 per person based on double occupancy, with a maximum of just 10 guests. Photo tours are led by guides who are experienced naturalists as well as accomplished nature photographers with expertise in capturing images of the aurora, and who are on board to help guests with tips and advice for getting their own excellent images.
While nights in Churchill are devoted to capturing images of the aurora, daylight excursions focus on the austere beauty of the tundra environs. Hardy northern wildlife, such as Arctic hare and Arctic fox, are both artfully camouflaged by their white fur coats, but photographers may be lucky to capture them!