Province/Territory: Manitoba

Reliving prairie life, bison and all.

  • 640-acre nature centre
  • 30 head Bison Prairie herd
  • 05 lakes

A short drive from downtown Winnipeg, at FortWhyte Alive, jump into a van, swing open the sliding door and get an up-close view of 30 grunting, munching herbivores - bison - the largest animal to roam the North American landscape. Meet Charlie, the herd’s bull, weighing in at over 900 kg (1984 lbs). Step into old prairie life. See how Aboriginals, Métis, Voyageurs and pioneers lived alongside bison. Follow your guide to a Plains Cree tipi. See and feel artifacts made from bison like a spoon fashioned from a horn. Outside, try your aim at tossing the atlatl, a hunting spear/thrower. Head to a sod-roofed home that pioneers shared with their oxen on cold winter nights. Paddle a Voyageur canoe on the lake and imagine portaging 82 kg (181 lbs) of fur bundles. Learn to snowshoe in winter, another form of pioneer travel borrowed from the First Nations Peoples. Then settle around a campfire and sip wild herb tea with bannock baked over hot coals. It’s the perfect end to a half-day of quintessentially Canadian experiences.

Why you should visit
  • Take cover in a Plains Cree tipi to escape the winter wind or summer heat.
  • Sip wild herb tea and bannock baked over an open fire.
  • Take aim with the atlatl, a 10,000 year-old hunting tool.
  • Feel the smoothness of a spoon hand crafted from a bison horn.
  • Duck inside a pioneer sod house and learn how to shred cabbage.
  • Get stylish by trying on a Voyageur sash.
  • See the aspens tremble and learn how to spot wild liquorice.
  • Row a Voyageur canoe in summer or snowshoe in winter.
  • Taste Manitoba regional cuisine at the award-winning Buffalo Stone Café including bison and fresh produce grown on site.

Weather

  • Summers, July and August, are warm and humid; in summer Winnipeg is one of Canada’s sunniest cities.
  • In winter, the open prairies leave Winnipeg exposed to blizzards and cold weather systems. From December through February the average temperature hovers around -15°C.
  • Spring and fall are short seasons.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • The site is open year round.
  • In summer, paddle a Voyageur canoe.
  • Snowshoeing is a fun activity when visiting in winter.
  • There are extended hours of operation in June, July and August.
Need to know
  • Dress for the weather as this is an outdoor tour.
  • In summer, bring a bottle of water.
  • Be sure to carry a camera.
  • Other adventures are offered at various times of the year including paddling and sailing, snowshoeing, carriage rides, astronomy presentations and sunset barbecues.
Getting Here