Let’s face it. Kids are exhausting. And sometimes no more so than in the depths of summer when school is out, the splash park has been splashed, the playground has been played and the “I’m boreds” have joined the soundtrack of your day.
When that happens, it’s time to shake things up and introduce everyone to a new adventure that will remind you why it's fun to be a family and why having kids can also be pretty fun. Maybe you haven’t really thought of museums as good summer entertainment, but there’s no shortage of adventure and activity (and even some learning) to be had at these kid-friendly museums in Winnipeg.
This spot is so kid-friendly, it boasts an actual playground up on its second floor. Once your little ones have gotten past the viewing window as they gawk at airplanes landing and taking off right in front of them, pile them into the massive hangar downstairs where dozen and dozens of real-life aircraft await. Hop aboard a vintage Air Canada plane to discover what the taking to skies used to be like, or marvel at the sheer size and scale of planes that once used to be the world's largest. With lots of room and so many things to look at, it’s a cinch to while away a summer afternoon here.
With its numerous galleries, levels and experiences, you can easily while away an entire day at the Manitoba Museum. Start downstairs in the Science Gallery, a veritable learning playground for kids, where they can build a Lego structure of their dreams, learn about how the world works through interactive displays, and even design, or build and race their own race car. Once they’ve had your fill there, head to the cozy seats of the Planetarium where the night sky comes alive over your head. The standard show is perfect for school-aged kids and the museum also offers kid-themed shows perfect for the youngest ones. Finally, head upstairs to the vast museum area where charging bison, feasting polar bears, a life-sized replica of the Nonsuch ketch and a ‘just-like-real-life’ streetscape of Winnipeg circa 1920 await.
Show me a 3-year old that isn’t fascinated by fire trucks. For the budding hero in them, and the kid in you, that still kind of wishes you had a fire pole in your office, the Fire Fighters Museum of Winnipeg is the place to be. Detailing the history of the city's fire fighting past from 1882 and on, the museum features vintage fire trucks, including some horse-drawn wagons, as well as numerous other artifacts, photos and displays. Upstairs, see how a real-life fire hall once operated. Set inside an old fire hall in Point Douglas and built in 1904, it’s truly the perfect setting for this walk through time.
Continuing on the theme of humans in uniform, we have the Winnipeg Police Museum. Housed right inside police headquarters in downtown, this small but informative museum will take you through the city’s law abiding past. Some of the subject matter is on the serious side, so you might want to reserve this for older kids, or those who aren’t easily frightened. On display, you’ll find motorbikes, hovercraft and uniforms of days past. Step inside a (tiny) real life jail cell and then peruse the displays that include items like vintage handcuffs, actual pieces of rope used in hangings, out-of-commission guns and even a purse that female police officers were once issued to carry their weapons. Admission is free, so it's a perfect outing for the whole family.
What could be more kid-friendly than acres of open space to run around and play in? Well, one that’s teeming with plants, bugs, flowers and wildlife too. The Living Prairie Museum is a tall grass prairie preserve located within the city whose aim is to preserve and protect this landscape that once covered the province. Head outdoors as you explore more than 160 species of flora and fauna that are found here as you bask in the endless blue skies and sunshine that the prairies are famous for. Be sure to check out their Monarch Butterfly Festival in July.
Okay, this one might seem obvious, but we thought we’d remind you of it anyway. Clearly, the Manitoba Children’s Museum is the place to take your kids to explore, learn and interact. Here, your little ones can climb the lasagne tower, get wet at the huge water table, and zip down the rainbow-coloured slide over and over again. Inspire creativity in the craft corner, settle in for a tale during story time, or hop aboard and ‘drive’ a real-life train. In the summer, head out to play in the sand and climb on the jungle gym. And don’t miss the special Lego exhibit on now for the budding engineer or architect.