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Into the Arctic Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill

Program Number: 7931RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/4/2014 - 2/12/2014; 2/10/2015 - 2/18/2015; 3/10/2015 - 3/18/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Price starting at: $3,395.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature
Meals: 20; 8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

The clear skies of Churchill’s winter will thrill and challenge any sky watcher. With over 300 nights of auroral activity, Churchill is the best spot on the planet to view the northern lights. Our instructor, “Starman,” will lead you through the fascinating world of comets, deep sky objects, meteors and northern lights. Visit the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg for an in-depth study of the region’s natural history and an introduction to the vast subarctic region of Northern Manitoba.




Highlights

• Discover the world of comets, deep sky objects, meteors and northern lights in the planet’s top viewing spot.
• Spend an afternoon dog sledding in the boreal forest.
• Take an exhilarating ride by snowmobile into the boreal forest and experience snowshoeing.



Activity Particulars

Activities may include dog sledding, snowmobiling and walking, dependent on weather.




Date Specific Information

2-4-2014, 2-10-2015, 3-10-2015

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Winnipeg, Manitoba, 2 nights; flight to Churchill, Manitoba, 5 nights; flight to Winnipeg, 1 night, departure.




Winnipeg

Established on the site of an aboriginal trading center on the eastern edge of the Canadian Prairies, the capital of Manitoba is an international hub for finance, manufacturing, culture and tourism. Arts-minded residents and visitors can patronize the provincial theater, opera and ballet, and the city hosts annual festivals of music and the arts.



Accommodations
Winnipeg: Hotel near The Forks and near airport (final night). Churchill: Active research facility in the heart of polar bear country. Bunk-bed dormitories at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, two to four guests per room, shared washrooms with showers. Scenic views from all rooms.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Roger Woloshyn

Roger Woloshyn has been known as "Starman" throughout his career as a writer, producer and presenter of shows at the Manitoba Planetarium. For more than 20 years, he has journeyed to Churchill to lead courses on the aurora borealis — the best location in the world to witness this natural phenomenon — and on simple binocular astronomy. Roger is a noted competitive speaker and he has presented lectures and seminars as far away as Australia, although, by his own admission, he has never seen the aurora australis.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Humphry Inn & Suites
  Winnipeg, MB 2 nights
   Churchill Northern Studies Centre
  Churchill, MB 5 nights
   Sandman Hotel Winnipeg Airport
  Winnipeg, MB 1 night
 Humphry Inn & Suites
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: This full-service hotel is located in downtown Winnipeg near Centennial Concert Hall, The Forks, MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Convention Center. With exemplary service, thoughtful amenities and a prime location, Humphry Inn & Suites has you covered for superior hotel accommodations in Winnipeg.
  Contact info: 260 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A9 Canada
phone: 877-486-7479
web: www.humphryinn.com/
  Room amenities: Workspace with desk, office chair and phone and high-speed Internet access. Coffeemakers with complimentary coffee and tea, hairdryer, iron and ironing board and cable TV. Microwaves and refrigerators in every room.
  Facility amenities: Heated indoor salt water pool, large whirlpool spa and steam room, fitness center, gift shop & convenience store. Complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access and complimentary newspaper. The facility offers a 24-hour business center with computer, printer, copy and fax services; a 24-hour lobby coffee bar and 24-hour laundry facility.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel for rates Contact hotel directly for current rates and availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Type: Field Station
  Description: The Churchill Northern Studies Centre is an independent, non-profit facility dedicated to supporting research and education initiatives in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. The facility is situated at the junction of three distinct ecosystems and provides a unique insight into the life in the tundra, boreal forest and marine environments. The unique landscape and wildlife of Churchill offers visitors an unrivaled opportunity to examine the changes in flora and fauna that accompany each season. Winter skies are clear, dark and unpolluted, making Churchill an ideal site to view aurora. Our summers bring a huge number of migratory birds, thousands of visiting beluga whales and a colourful selection of blooming wildflowers. Wildlife such as arctic hares, arctic foxes, red foxes and caribou can frequent the area in the summer and early fall. As the season draws to a close, polar bears begin to migrate to the coast where they wait for Hudson Bay to freeze over. This congregation of polar bears is why Churchill can claim to be the polar bear capital of the world! Please be aware that polar bears are not in the area in the months from early December until late June as they are out on the polar ice hunting seals.
  Contact info: #1 Launch Road
Churchill, MB R0B 0E0 Canada
phone: 204-675-2307
web: www.churchillscience.ca
  Room amenities: Each room accommodates 2 - 4 four guests in two bunk beds (upper and lower), with individual closet space, a small writing desk, bedside shelves and individual reading lamps. The dorm is often filled to capacity with the maximum of 4 guests in each room; there are no single rooms available. Rooms are gender specific. Separate female and male washrooms with private showers. Guests with mobility concerns may request a lower bunk.
  Facility amenities: Clean, modern facilities in a new state-of-the-art green building. Scenic views from all rooms. The CNSC has a small gift shop carrying batteries, stamps, film, books and various souvenirs including postcards, photographs, t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts. Wireless Internet is available throughout the building. Several computer stations are available for those guests not travelling with a computer or mobile device. There are 3 telephones for outgoing calls-two of these accept credit cards. Phone cards are not sold at the facility so you may wish to bring a phone cards with you. There are limited laundry facilities and the cost is $6.00 CDN per load which includes the washer, dryer, detergent and anti-static dryer sheets. The laundry facility is only open from 5-10 PM. The CNSC has a fitness room and a heated observation dome that is accessible by a spiral staircase with standard steps and extra handrails. This can be used for sky watching or polar bear viewing (polar bears are most commonly seen during the months of October and November). A 2nd floor outdoor deck for safely watching wildlife and northern lights. SPECIAL MEALS NOTE: Gluten free meals (and most special dietary needs) can be accommodated with advance notice. Please make sure to note any dietary needs on the required forms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Separate Mens and Womens washrooms with private showers. Toiletries and soap are not provided. All linens and towels are provided.
  Elevators available: Yes

 Sandman Hotel Winnipeg Airport
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Just minutes away from the Winnipeg International Airport, Polo Park, Assiniboine Park and Blue Bomber Stadium, as well as only 10 minutes to Winnipeg's city centre. The Sandman Hotel Winnipeg Airport offers deluxe guestrooms and suites featuring in-room high speed Internet access. Sandman Hotel Group is a proud participant in the Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key Eco-Rating Program which recognizes hotels that have taken significant steps towards sustainability through participation in environmental programs.
  Contact info: 1750 Sargent Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3H 0C7 Canada
phone: 204-775-7263
web: www.sandmanhotels.com/hotel/manitoba/winnipegairport
  Room amenities: Air conditioning, TV, radio, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, complimentary high speed internet and in-room coffee/tea.
  Facility amenities: Indoor pool, Jacuzzi, fitness center, 24 hour business centre, restaurants and lounge on premises (Denny's open 24 hours). Complimentary airport shuttle (on request)
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Check for availability Please contact the hotel directly on your own OR if you require personal assistance contact Maritime Travel toll free at 1-888-905-5959. A service fee MAY apply.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Independent arrivals to the hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Check-in after 3:00 p.m. You will be staying at Humphry Inn & Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Independent departures from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada after breakfast. You will be staying at Sandman Hotel Winnipeg Airport the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. PASSPORTS: Visit www.travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.html for up-to-date info. A signed waiver is required from participants.
  Parking availability:
Contact hotel directly for parking rates/availability.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Winnipeg, MB
  Nearest highway: Trans Canada Highway
  Nearest airport:  Winnipeg International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Winnipeg, MB
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Winnipeg

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approx. $25 CDN (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Public transit also available. Visit http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo for information.

 

Winnipeg

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $5.00 (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 - 10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

1 mile

 

Winnipeg

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $5 - $10 CDN (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

 

Winnipeg

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Sandman Hotel Shuttle
phone: 180-072-6362 x6
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary shuttle to Winnipeg airport
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

A complimentary shuttle from the Sandman Hotel to the Winnipeg airport is available, please reserve in advance with the hotel.

 
Driving Directions
  South From the South follow Route 42 to Portage Avenue. Turn right and right again onto Main Street. Humphry Inn & Suites is located at 260 Main Street.
  West From the West follow Portage Avenue to Main Street. Turn right onto Main Street. Humphry Inn & Suites is located at 260 Main Street
  Winnipeg International Airport From the Airport take Wellington Avenue or Sargent Avenue. Turn right onto Route 90. Turn right on to Portage exit ramp. Turn left onto Portage Avenue East. Follow Portage Avenue and turn right onto Main Street. Humphry Inn & Suites is located at 260 Main Street.
Elevation Note: Churchill, Manitoba is located along the shores of historic Hudson Bay near sea level.

Equipment Requirements: Cold weather clothing suitable for -25F to -40F (see the packing list) and binoculars. For those guests from warm climates who do not wish to purchase an expensive outdoor gear not likely to be worn again, the centre rents complete head-to-toe outfits for $50 CDN per day which includes parka, snow pants and warm boots. You can rent the parka, pants and boots separately according to your needs. Please contact the CNSC to reserve by calling (204) 675-2307 or email cnsc@churchillscience.ca
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals
(Tuesday, February 4)
   
 Afternoon: Independent arrivals to the hotel in Winnipeg. Check-in after 3:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel; introductions and orientation to the program.
   
Accommodations: Humphry Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Manitoba Museum/Winnipeg Art Gallery
(Wednesday, February 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Visit the Manitoba Museum for an in-depth study of the region's natural history and an introduction to the vast subarctic region of Northern Manitoba. Exhibits will illustrate important clues for our future, especially about the effects of climate change and how our native plant and animal species will respond to a new environment.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Explore the treasures at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. There are 25,000 works of art in the areas of Canadian and contemporary art. As well, the Gallery enjoys three specialized collections: decorative, photography and Inuit. We will focus on Inuit and Canadian art. There will be some time for independent exploration.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own to explore local fare.
   
Accommodations: Humphry Inn & Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Flight to Churchill/Safety Briefing and Orientation
(Thursday, February 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel .
 Morning: We board our flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Churchill and transfer to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre for a safety briefing and orientation.
 Dinner: Dinner and Welcome by Staff and Introductory lecture at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.
   
Accommodations: Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Guided Walk - Churchill Research (Rocket) Range/Natural History/Sky Watching
(Friday, February 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC).
 Morning: Short outdoor guided walk of former Churchill Research (Rocket) Range. This will give you a better idea of how well your clothing holds up to the wind and cold temperatures
 Lunch: Lunch at CNSC
 Afternoon: Natural history videos.
 Dinner: Dinner at CNSC.
 Evening: Evening lecture and sky watching.
   
Accommodations: Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Snow Ecology/Snowmobile Trip/Snowshoeing
(Saturday, February 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at CNSC.
 Morning: A presentation will examine snow ecology.
 Lunch: Lunch at the CNSC.
 Afternoon: Embark on an exhilarating snowmobile excursion into the boreal forest - snow sampling demonstration, snowshoeing and photography.
 Dinner: Dinner at CNSC.
 Evening: Evening lecture and sky watching.
   
Accommodations: Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Film Screening/Dogsledding/Sky Watching
(Sunday, February 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at CNSC.
 Morning: Screening of locally-filmed major motion picture "Snow Walker" or Cannes Film Festival winner "Fast Runner".
 Lunch: Lunch at CNSC.
 Afternoon: Introduction to Dog Sledding in the boreal forest with local musher. Rustic toilet facilities and warming hut provided.
 Dinner: Dinner at CNSC.
 Evening: Evening lecture and sky watching.
   
Accommodations: Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Parks Canada Interpretive Centre/Eskimo Museum/Sky Watching
(Monday, February 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at CNSC.
 Morning: Guided interpretive walk of Churchill area.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own to experience local cuisine or if you prefer we will supply you with a bag lunch in the morning.
 Afternoon: Field trips to Parks Canada Interpretive Centre and World-famous Eskimo Museum. Visit other local attractions.
 Dinner: Farewell social with wine sampling and featuring local wild game and other unique local cuisine. An Aboriginal Cultural Presentation with special guests will be part of our final evening.
 Evening: Final lecture and sky watching.
   
Accommodations: Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8: Flight to Winnipeg/Farewell Dinner
(Tuesday, February 11)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at CNSC.
 Morning: Free time to get ready for today's departure.
 Lunch: Lunch at CNSC.
 Afternoon: Flight departs Churchill for Winnipeg approximately 2:30 p.m. Scheduled arrival in Winnipeg is 5:30 p.m.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner in Winnipeg.
   
Accommodations: Sandman Hotel Winnipeg Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Independent Departures
(Wednesday, February 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel. Breakfast is scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Schedule flights accordingly.
 Morning: Independent departures from the hotel in Winnipeg in the morning - individual departure times will depend on your travel arrangements/flight time.Check-out time is 12:00 noon.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Exploring the Night Sky : The Equinox Astronomy Guide for Beginners


Author: Terence Dickinson, Illustrations by John Bianchi


Description: “ A new guide to the stars aimed at novice stargazers anxious to expand their astronomical repertoires beyond the Big Dipper….offers a series of realistic night-sky illustrations to locate the major constellations.” ISBN: 0-920656-66-8



The Arctic Sky: Inuit Astronomy, Star Lore and Legend


Author: John MacDonald


Description: “ A tour of the arctic universe awaits readers…from a variety of perspectives” ISBN:0-888854-427-8.



Dot to Dot in the Sky: Stories of the Planets


Author: Joan Marie Galat, Illustrations by Lorna Bennett


Description: “Journey through this fun guide to the planets and discover the exciting myths created to explain the mysteries of the ancient world.” Children’s book, but great for beginners too! . ISBN: 1-55285-392-6.





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