As white and baking pumpkins grow in Deer Meadow Farms' patch, staffers dispense seasonal homegrown vegetables from the onsite country market. The farm hosts guests who frolic through an array of attractions, from a mountain of sand-filled tractor tires to a hay-bale pyramid. On a 2.5-acre course, players putt or scissor kick golf balls into World Cup–themed holes during matches of Farmer Golf. Elsewhere, visitors can milk a goat at the petting zoo or trail fallow deer at the Wild Game Preserve. In the autumn, trivia questions and cryptic messages await throughout the corn maze, which is open both day and night. Afterwards, guests can rest in a rented tepee or feast on hot dogs and s'mores at one of the farm's fire pits.
When red panda cub Kiah tumbled into the world in the summer of 2012, she joined both an endangered species and a family of zoo animals that number more than 2,000 and sort into nearly 200 different species. Kiah’s new home, Assiniboine Park Zoo, has been welcoming creatures like her for more than a century—the zoo traces its roots to 1904, when the city Parks Board acquired native animals such as bison and elk. In the decades since then, the zoo has spread over 80 acres, blossoming into one of Tourism Winnipeg’s Top 10 Must Sees.
Today, visitors can glimpse the stripes of a siberian tiger or a zebra, marvel at Asiatic lions, enjoy other big cats such as snow leopards and cougars. While passing through the tropical oasis of Toucan Ridge, they can peer at South and Central American animals and plants, such as caiman crocodiles and goeldi monkeys. Next door, air-locked entry vestibules open into the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden’s two 2,000-square-foot quonsets open from late spring to early autumn.
Although these exhibits are impressive, the zoo hasn’t been content to rest on its laurels. Instead, it has initiated a massive, multiyear construction project, the first part of which opened in January 2012: the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. Part of the upcoming 10-acre Journey to Churchill exhibit, the IPBC aids orphaned cubs from northern Manitoba, supports research efforts that help polar bears survive, and educates the public about the bears’ plight and our fragile Arctic ecosystem. Next up in the zoo’s construction plans is the Polar Playground—an interactive, indoor play area—will open in January 2013.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Parking: Metered street parking
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Death & Debauchery walking tour
Recommended Age Group: All ages
With various museums and performing-arts venues, Canada's oldest ballet company, and such picturesque architecture as Cube Stage and Union Bank Tower, it may be surprising that Winnipeg was once known as the "wickedest city in the Dominion." Exchange District Walking Tours' knowledgeable guides aren't about to let visitors and locals forget about the unsavoury things—explosions, angry mobs, executions, and lack of hand washing—that characterized Winnipeg in the not-so-distant past. During 45-minute Death & Debauchery tours, they teach guests about the city's darkest secrets.
Although it's the most popular tour, it's not the only introduction to Winnipeg's rich history. Guides also lead expeditions throughout the west side of Main Street, featuring stops at Newspaper Row and turn-of-the-century hotels, and the east side of Main Street, where visitors hear about the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike and how it shaped the labour movement in Canada. And food tours provide an opportunity to almost literally dive face-first into the city's culture.
At Le Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum, Manitoba's founding father Louis Riel lives on in an assembly of artifacts, including moccasins and a tuque he once wore. He's just one of the historical figures represented in the museum's collection, which preserves and displays elements of the area's French-Canadian, Métis, and First Nations cultures. It also holds Archbishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché’s bookcase, Pauline Boutal’s painted masterpieces, and the violin of legendary musician Andy de Jarlis. Even the building itself acts as a piece of French-Canadian history—it was once the Grey Nuns' convent and now boasts the title of Winnipeg's oldest building.