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Into the Arctic Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill

Program Number: 7931RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/10/2015 - 2/18/2015; 3/10/2015 - 3/18/2015;
Duration: 8 nights
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Price starting at: $3,245.00 - 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

2-10-2015, 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
   Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Winnipeg Downtown
  Winnipeg, MB 2 nights
   Churchill Northern Studies Centre
  Churchill, MB 5 nights
   Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites
  Winnipeg, MB 1 night
 Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Winnipeg Downtown
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: The Holiday Inn in downtown Winnipeg is located in the heart of downtown near the University of Winnipeg and MTS Center. Close proximity to the Assiniboine River and many scenic parks. You can visit numerous Winnipeg attractions, including Assiniboine Park, take the Haunted Winnipeg Tour, catch a concert at the MTS Center and visit the Forks.
  Contact info: 360 Colony Street
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2P3 Canada
phone: 204-786-7011
web: www.hiwinnipegdowntown.com/
  Room amenities: Our accommodations feature new crisp, white linens and your choice of pillows that are individually marked soft or firm , 37" flat panel TVS, and complimentary wired and wireless Internet access. Free morning newspaper, iron/ironing board, hairdryers and coffee makers in room.
  Facility amenities: Indoor pool, whirlpool and Fitness Centre. On-site restaurant, lounge and coffee shop. Complimentary high speed Internet access, business center,
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact hotel for rates. Please contact the hotel directly; toll free 866-826-4457
  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. The kitchen provides three hearty meals a day, with a variety of side dishes, salads, dessert, juice, coffee and tea. All guests are expected to assist with dishwashing and meal clean-up. 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

 Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: Enjoy the convenient location at Winnipeg's James Armstrong Richardson International Airport (YWG) with spacious accommodations. Unwind after a day’s meetings in the temperature controlled indoor pool. Re-energize in the 24-hour fitness center with modern cardio equipment. Relax with a leisurely drink in Bistro 1800 Lounge. Enjoy the warm inviting atmosphere of Bistro 1800 restaurant. 24-hour business center
  Contact info: 1800 Wellington Avenue
Winnipeg, MB  R3H 1B2 Canada
phone: 204-783-1700
web: www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/manitoba/hilton-winnipeg-airport-suites-YWGWIHF/index.html
  Room amenities: •Hilton's own "Serenity Collection" Pillowtop mattress •Hilton brand alarm clock with radio and MP3/iPod adapter •32” Flat Panel HD television in the bedroom area •Work area with chair & recycling bin •Complimentary high-speed wireless internet •Wet bar including mini-refrigerator, microwave & coffee maker •On command movies ($$)
  Facility amenities: • Automated Teller (ATM) • Baggage Storage • Concierge Desk • Gift Shop • Guest Activity/Recreation Desk • Laundry/Valet Service • Lounge • Multi-Lingual Staff • News Stand • On-Site Convenience Store • Room Service • Safety Deposit Box • Complimentary airport shuttle
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Contact hotel directly. Contact hotel directly. Toll Free: 800-774-1500
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrivals to the hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Check-in after 3:00 p.m. Welcome dinner at 6:00 p.m You will be staying at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Winnipeg Downtown that night.
  End of Program:
Departures from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada after breakfast. Check-out is 12:00 p.m. You will be staying at Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. 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
 

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

   

If you purchased airfare through Road Scholar, you’ll receive free round-trip airport transfers to get you to and from your program. You will receive detailed information regarding the transfer approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. If you did not purchase airfare through Road Scholar, you will be responsible for making your own way to and from the airport. Please review the suggested options below.

 

Winnipeg

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

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

 

Travel Time:

 

20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

5 miles

   

Taxis available at Winnipeg airport. 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 CAD (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 - 10 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

1 mile

   

Taxis available at the train station. Public transit also available. Visit http://winnipegtransit.com/en/navigo for information.

 

Winnipeg

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Hilton Hotel Airport Shuttle
phone: 204-783-1700
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary shuttle to Winnipeg airport
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

3 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

1 mile

   

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

 

Winnipeg

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $5 - $7 CAD (per taxi)
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

 
Driving Directions
  Trans Canada Hwy (#1) Exit overpass at Portage Ave; Follow Portage Ave to City Centre. Left at Balmoral Street. Right curb onto Colony Street. The Holiday Inn & Suites Winnipeg Downtown will be on your right.
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 approximately $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: Arrival and Check-In/Welcome Dinner/Orientation
(Tuesday, February 10)
   
 Afternoon: Arrivals and transfers to the hotel in Winnipeg. Check-in after 3:00 p.m. Meet your Group Leader between 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the hotel to register and get your welcome packet; or pick up your package at the front desk if you arrive after 5:00 p.m.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel at 6:00 p.m. introductions and orientation to the program. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
   
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Winnipeg Downtown
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Manitoba Museum/Winnipeg Art Gallery
(Wednesday, February 11)
   
 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: Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites - Winnipeg Downtown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3: Flight to Churchill/Safety Briefing and Orientation
(Thursday, February 12)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel .
 Morning: We board our flight from Winnipeg to Churchill, Manitoba.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own.
 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 13)
   
 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 14)
   
 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 15)
   
 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 16)
   
 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 17)
   
 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: Final dinner in Winnipeg.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Program Concludes/Departure
(Wednesday, February 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel is scheduled for 8:00 a.m.
 Morning: Departures from the hotel in Winnipeg after breakfast as per individual travel plans. Check-out time is 12:00 noon. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Winnipeg, MB Assiniboine Park
Located minutes from downtown Winnipeg in beautiful Assiniboine Park, the Assiniboine Park Zoo provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with animal species from all corners of the globe. With over 80 park-like acres to explore, the Zoo has been a favourite destination for families, tourists, school groups, and animal lovers for over a century. Today, the Zoo is undergoing a dramatic transformation that includes significant renovations, new exhibits designed to meet modern standards, enhanced facilities for visitors, and a more visible and active contribution to environmental and wildlife education, research, and conservation in Manitoba. Take a look at some of the most memorable moments in the history of Assiniboine Park Zoo. The newly completed Journey to Churchill exhibit is the most comprehensive project ever undertaken in Canada aimed at issues related to climate change, polar bears and other northern species. For additional information, visit www.assiniboinepark.ca/
  Manitoba Legislature
Visitors from outside Manitoba as well as residents of the province are always made welcome at our magnificent Legislative Building. Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly when it is in session from the vantage point of the Visitor's Gallery. Our professional tour guides are on duty to show the rest of the building and explain its history and architecture. Tour appointments are required from September to June. From July 1 to the Labour Day long weekend in September, tours are offered on an hourly basis. Please call (204) 945-5813 or toll free at 1-800-665-0040 Ext. 5813 to book an appointment or visit the web site for more information and to download a registration form. For additional information, visit www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/visiting/tour.html
  The Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Our aim is to build not only a national hub for human rights learning and discovery, but a new era of global human rights leadership. Creating inspiring encounters with human rights, we will engage Canadians and our international visitors in an immersive, interactive experience that offers both the inspiration and tools to make a difference in the lives of others. We will welcome our visitors as partners on a journey to erase barriers and create meaningful, lasting change. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first national museum to be built in nearly half a century, and the first outside the National Capital Region (Ottawa). For additional information, visit www.humanrights.ca/home
  The Forks National Historic Site
Discover an urban oasis in the heart of Winnipeg. As a historic meeting place, located at the junction of the Assiniboine and mighty Red River, the Forks is complete with a river walk, shops and green space. Winter, spring, summer or fall, The Forks is must for a stunning array of dining experiences, incomparable shopping, a constantly changing slate of entertainment and events, and many unique attractions that encompass the site’s natural, historic and man-made features. For additional information, visit www.theforks.com
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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