Located about 40 minutes outside of downtown Winnipeg, this wildlife marsh reserve will get kids excited about the environment. The award-winning indoor interpretive center gives kids a hands-on experience with nature. More than 100,000 visitors each year learn why Oak Hammock Marsh is an important part of birds’ migration and how the marsh affects the overall eco-system.
Kids can check out the live collection of fish and amphibians, look for birds outside through binoculars, collect a water sample and then look through a microscope at the numerous organisms floating inside and take a guess at how wide certain bird’s wingspans are. Don’t forget to visit the observation deck, too, because the view is endless and will not disappoint. You may even find a nest of baby birds up there.
Outside, the marsh activities continue with hiking trails and canoeing through the marsh. Or, pull on a pair of waist waders and take a fascinating, water-up-to-your-waist, walk through the marsh itself. You will learn about the tiniest creatures that live in the wetlands while attempting to walk through the muddy, uneven marsh (kids will surely have a laugh just trying to walk in the waders). In the winter, you can try a snowshoe walk through the trails to look for animal tracks.
In the summer, families will love the Bird in Hand experience and truly get involved with the Oak Hammock Marsh research, as it is an important stop on a bird’s migration path. A variety of songbirds are caught in humane nets and banded so researchers can record each bird’s stats and learn more about the bird species and its migration. After the bird is banded and a few notes are taken, the bird is released but not before some lucky visitors get a chance to gently feel the bird’s feathers.
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily
$6 for children 3 to 17, $8 for adults and $26 for families (two adults and up to four children)
A delicious cafÃ©, serving breakfast and lunch, with an amazing view is available onsite. Binoculars are provided tableside too so you never have to take your eyes off nature.
Parking is free.