Assiniboine Park Zoo is one of the famous places to visit when in Winnipeg. It is a part of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and is home to many animal species.
It is situated just 10 km from Downtown and hence can be a great 1-day picnic spot. It is also easily accessible by transit (public bus service) which is also the reason that I could visit it as an international student without having to spend on Uber!
I was in Mumbai in September 2021 even when my course in Winnipeg had started, and I have the pandemic to thank! The wait for the study permit was excruciatingly painful. So I had a sense of desperation and a hint of jealousy when I saw the Instagram stories of my classmates after they visited the Zoo.
I REALLY wanted to visit this place!
Finally, in the summer, when it was 24 degrees as opposed to the -24 degrees here in Winnipeg, I had the opportunity to visit the Assiniboine Zoo with a bunch of my friends, who made the visit delightful. Thanks, guys!
When to visit?
The place is open throughout the year but it is best to visit during summer, in my opinion.
For tigers and horses, butterflies and bison but mostly for Polar bears! The zoo has 7 to 8 polar bears and you don’t want to miss out on the experience of looking at them as you walk through “Journey to Churchill”.
In case you find the ‘Architecture’ section surprising since this article is about a Zoo, let me share with you about this vast field of study. Everything is Architecture! Interior Design, Landscape Design, Town Planning, Urban Planning and much more; and that is the beauty of this field. As opposed to the common misconception of “architecture being building design” it actually encompasses all built FORMS; closed, semi-open and open.
The entry to the zoo is one of the built forms on this site. It is a glass building that houses a ticket counter, washrooms and a souvenir shop.
Did you know
The famous cartoon character “Winnie-the-pooh” is inspired by a real-life bear. The bear was named Winnipeg in honour of the city of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg (female bear) was later donated to the London Zoo by her owner Harry, where she was visited by Christopher Robin, when he was just 5. Christopher named his soft-toy bear as “Winnie” and then his father A.A.Milne named his most famous childrens book character as Winnie-the-pooh!
Phew! I hope you got that.
Journey to Churchill
Churchill is a town in Manitoba which is considered to be the Polar Bear Capital of the world. Hence this section of the zoo that hosts Polar Bears is named “Journey to Churchill”.
This section is a 10-acre land developed to host the polar bears, snowy owls, reindeer and other northern species in an attempt to provide them with the best comfort within the zoo. This area has visual access from the cafeteria and viewing galleries but the most enchanting is to look at them swim through a glass from the underwater viewing tunnels.
DO NOT miss the 10-minute video that gives you a glimpse of the marvellous Manitoba as it shows northern lights and vast praries in their 360-degree theatre.
I would highly recommend visiting the Zoo to get a glimpse of the polar bears and if you are lucky you can get a selfie with one!