10 Must-See Marvels: Manitoba Museum's Top Hits for Kids!

Posted August 13, 2023 | Author Jillian Recksiedler

Manitoba Museum is a cultural icon chock-full of information about the people, landscapes and events that shape our identities as Manitobans. While little minds and hands may not be interested in reading history and looking at old artifacts, there are many mind-blowing immersive dioramas and experiences that make them squeal with excitement.

The Bison Hunt

When kids enter the orientation gallery at the Manitoba Museum, they're greeted by the dramatic bison hunt diorama that transports them back to the prairies circa 1870. While there is no sound in the exhibit, the scene is so intense that kids imagine hearing the thundering hooves of a stampeding herd of bison as a young Métis hunter on horseback skillfully chases them.

The Planetarium

Kids love the movie-going experience, so why not take them to the only domed-theatre in town? They will stare wide-eyed at the starry sky overhead if you check out perennial favourite Manitoba Skies. Worlds of Ice is the newest show, and it educates on the interplay between humans and ice, whether on earth, in space or in art.

Boreal Forest Diorama

Let imaginations run wild at the life-sized replica of a Cree camp in the boreal forest gallery. Kids feel transported in time as they spy a moose family alongside a Cree family at dusk in the forest during autumn. The family is gathering food, playing with a pup and painting pictographs on the Canadian Shield rock face.

Red River Frame House

In the Prairies Gallery, kids with an eye for engineering love to peer inside the red river frame house. A cross section of an open wall shows the unique construction of these buildings that fit together like Lego, using very few nails. A multimedia touch screen allows kids to dig deeper into the step-by-step process of a style of architecture unique to the Red River Settlement and pioneer life in Manitoba. Ask the kids to search for the stuffed cat hiding in the shadows and to give it a nickname.

Predator vs. Prey

As the northern lights fade with the sunrise, kids come eye to eye with a massive polar bear hovering over its latest prey, a ringed seal. The image of the kill - and mother nature at its rawest - sticks with kids. They may gasp, or hide behind a parent, but know they'll quickly understand that Manitoba has a subarctic region and is home to polar bears.

Mini First Nations Camp

At the entrance of the boreal forest gallery, kids love to marvel at the impressive miniature Algonquin summer camp scene. Spend a few minutes asking them to point out the details. Where are the children playing with the pups? What kind of meat have the grown-ups harvested? Do you see any elders? The display is captivating and kids learn so much from it without needing to read.

The Bat Cave

Tucked into the Parklands Gallery, kids love to get spooked by the dark bat cave. No Batman and Robin here. Encourage them to get on their hands and knees and crawl through the limestone caverns. Kids should use the flashlight from a smart phones to search for the furry, nighttime creatures above their heads, but tell them to be careful not to shine it too much into the deepest, darkest corner or else they'll awaken a bigger furry resident! What do they see?

The Science Gallery

Be sure to leave lots of energy for the Science Gallery downstairs. Little minds explode open as their little hands get busy with old and new favourite science exhibits. A colourful, illuminated human-size pegboard allows kids with an eye for design to create flashy patterns similar to Lite Brite. Kids can conduct an orchestra of aurora borealis across a northern Manitoba sky at the motion-sensor wall in the Cosmos Corner. Tiny hands feel so in control of the universe as they make ribbons of lights dance. And standout favourite is the pulley-chair exhibit where siblings can race to the top using a bit a muscle and a lot of engineering.

The Urban Gallery

Walking into 1920s Winnipeg, kids' imaginations come alive. In this theatre set-like gallery, the kids turn into actors serving drinks at the cafe or joining a 1919 strike rally. Expose them the silent film era by taking a seat in the plush velvet chairs of the old theatre house. Climb up to the second level to get a bird's-eye view of the old town.

The Nonsuch Gallery

The pièces de résistance of the Manitoba Museum is the Nonsuch Gallery. Kids go back in time to a wharf in Deptford, England in 1669 where the Nonsuch is moored, having just returned from Hudson's Bay with bales of fur and crates of goods. Allow them to climb aboard the sailboat and go below deck to marvel at the confines of the living quarters. In the tavern, Captain Gillam and crew mates in regale everyone with tales of the adventure. If you haven't visited her in a while, the Nonsuch is now accompanied by impressive light and sound effects that rotates through day and night, sunshine and rain.

Travel Manitoba staff was hosted by Manitoba Museum who did not review or approve this story.

About The Author

Hi, I'm Jillian, a marketer, communicator, traveller and Manitoba flag waver. Growing up in rural Manitoba during the '80s means I have a penchant for daytrips, maps (the paper kind), and prairie sunsets. I never tire of sharing stories about my home.

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