Winnipeg Winter Fun at a Nature Preserve

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Winnipeg Winter Fun at a Nature Preserve: FortWhyte Alive

Winter at FortWhyte Alive in Winnipeg, Manitoba

(Last updated January 2022)

FortWhyte Alive is a 640-acre nature preserve in southwest Winnipeg committed to environmental educational and promoting understanding of the natural world. It is a place to get outside and experience nature. I’ve written about summer at FortWhyte Alive in Alive with Flora, Fauna and Fun. Winter offers an entirely different experience.

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive - trails

There are seven kilometres of trails through prairie, aspen forest, and lakes for cross-country skiing, Nordic walking, snowshoeing or, as in my case, just plain walking. You may spot deer, migratory birds, or the preserve’s own bison herd as you traverse the trails.

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive
Benches to rest along the way may be snow-covered
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: sod house
Snow-covered prairie sod house
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: sod house
Inside the sod house

The sod house was empty this day. Even without the stove on, the house was warmer than outside. It was a particularly warm day and I did not need to linger long to warm up. On Sunday afternoons, “pioneers” are in the house providing a glimpse into the past. Special events sometimes occur at the sod house, such as learning to make craft honey ale.

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: skating
There is a skating rink on the lake
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: Tobogganning
And a toboggan slide – sleds provided
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: tobogganning
The toboggan slide path
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: tobogganning
These two slid a good long way
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive
This small hill along the trails had obviously also been used for tobogganing

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: snowshoeing

Snowshoes are available for rent. There were a couple of school groups learning to snowshoe. I overheard one boy, about ten years of age, proudly proclaim he only fell twice.

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive: firepit
No fire was burning in the fire pit, but I could still smell wood smoke from an earlier fire

There are also opportunities to try your hand at ice fishing. Four of the five lakes are stocked for catch-and-release fishing.

Special events on FortWhyte Alive’s calendar include guided hikes, interpretative walks, nature-inspired crafts, story-telling, and talks about the natural world.

If you need to warm up, there is an indoor interpretative centre with an aquarium of local freshwater fish, a prairie dog and burrowing owl exhibit, and a museum of mounted wildlife. There is also a restaurant.

Nordic walking poles, snowshoes, and fishing gear are available for rent. The use of toboggans is free. If you wish to skate or cross-country ski, you must bring your own skates or skis.

Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive

Cart at FortWhyte Alive
Nothing particular to do with FortWhyte Alive activities, but I liked the look of this cart on display in front of the Interpretative Centre
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive
The squirrel didn’t mind that the picnic table was covered in snow
Winnipeg Winter Fun at FortWhyte Alive
Children love rolling down a hill, whether it is grass-covered or snow-covered

When winter temperatures become bitter, I tend to cocoon inside my home. But there are also less bitter winter days when it is good to get outside, have some fun and enjoy winter’s beauty.

PIN ITWinter Fun at FortWhyte Alive nature preserve in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - beautiful trails, snowshoeing, more #Winnipeg #Manitoba #Canada #winter

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    1. Ken, having spent the previous four winters away from Manitoba and being back now, I can appreciate missing it a bit. A bit – that wears off after long stretches of cold. Fortunately, we’ve had a number of mild spells this winter.

  1. This looks like tons of fun–like when I lived in Red Lodge, MT where this is a whole outside life to be lived. My great niece & nephew are 5 and 4 years old and already have snowshoes! Like Ken, we’ve had very little winter this year (not complaining), so my cross country skis are languishing in the basement.

    1. RoseMary, it’s been years since I’ve cross-country skiied. It was something I only did a few times and had always thought I’d take lessons and take it up more seriously, but haven’t done that yet.

  2. Loved your photo of the old cart, Donna! We lived in Montana for several years and, as much as I dreaded the long winters, there were the perfect days outside where everything became a winter wonderland. Looks like your walk through the nature preserve was one of those crisp and clear days where everything sparkles! Anita

    1. Anita, this was definitely one of those crisp, clear, sparkling days. A nice reminder of the good parts of winter. It’s always a lift to see children having fun outside on these type of days.