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7931
Manitoba

Into the Arctic Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill

Come for the chance to fulfill a dream and witness the northern lights beneath the brilliant skies of Churchill, Manitoba.
Rating (4.87)
Program No. 7931RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,649
Manitoba

Into the Arctic Skies: Aurora and Astronomy in Churchill

Come for the chance to fulfill a dream and witness the northern lights beneath the brilliant skies of Churchill, Manitoba.
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,649
Program No. 7931 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 3 - Feb 11, 2021
Starting at
3,649
Feb 15 - Feb 23, 2021
Starting at
3,649
Mar 3 - Mar 11, 2021
Starting at
3,649
Mar 15 - Mar 23, 2021
Starting at
3,649

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Activities may include dog sledding, snowmobiling and walking, dependent on weather.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • 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.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available. This program stays in unique accommodations. Be sure to review the lodging description for the Churchill Northern Studies Centre. If you enroll in a Single room, it is only available for the two hotels in Winnipeg but not in Churchill.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Alan Dyer
Alan Dyer is a writer and producer of planetarium programs for the TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary. He is one of Canada's best-known astronomy writers and serves as associate editor of SkyNews magazine, Canada's magazine of stargazing. Alan also takes the opportunity as often as possible to visit the southern hemisphere to pursue both interests under southern skies. His other obsession, eclipse chasing, has taken him to every continent, chalking up 15 total solar eclipses. Asteroid 78434 is named for him.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of David Hems
David Hems View biography
David Hem's career has centered on the management of cultural heritage sites with a strong focus on interpretation and presentation. After receiving a degree in anthropology, he spent nine years working for the Manitoba Historic Resources Branch and 20 years with Parks Canada as an archaeologist and a heritage resource adviser throughout Western and Northern Canada. David was lucky to be able to follow his passions travel and the sport of ice hockey — he played semi-professional hockey in Germany and another coaching in Northern Italy!
Profile Image of Alan Dyer
Alan Dyer is a writer and producer of planetarium programs for the TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary. He is one of Canada's best-known astronomy writers and serves as associate editor of SkyNews magazine, Canada's magazine of stargazing. Alan also takes the opportunity as often as possible to visit the southern hemisphere to pursue both interests under southern skies. His other obsession, eclipse chasing, has taken him to every continent, chalking up 15 total solar eclipses. Asteroid 78434 is named for him.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Northern Lights, A Practical Travel Guide
by Polly Evans
With helpful advice on viewing the Northern Lights in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska, this Bradt guide has essential information on forecasts, the science behind the lights, photography and how to dress.
Ancient People of the Arctic
by Robert McGhee
In this nicely illustrated overview of the Paleo-Eskimos, Robert McGhee, an archaeologist, brings vibrantly to life North America's first settlers and their culture.
Arctic Dreams
by Barry Lopez
A dazzling meditation on the Arctic, breathtaking in scope. Lopez draws on his travels throughout the North, including Baffin Island, the Chukchi and Bering seas, Alaska, the Yukon and Greenland, interweaving natural history, accounts of early exploration, anecdote and lore into an indelible portrait of place.
Northern Lights
by Calvin Hall (Photographer), Daryl Pederson (Photographer), George Bryson
These color photographs capture the dazzling majesty and mystery of the aurora borealis while journalist George Bryson provides a short essay on the history of the phenomenon.
The Arctic Guide, Wildlife of the Far North
by Sharon Chester
Written for travelers and naturalists alike, this comprehensive guide to the flora and fauna of the Arctic covers 800 species. Each profile features color illustrations, range maps and full descriptions.
Auroras, Fire in the Sky
by Dan Bortolotti, Yuichi Takasaka (Photographer)
These 80 color photos by Yuichi Takasaka celebrate the beauty, history, folklore and science of the northern lights.
What We Know About Climate Change
by Kerry Emanuel
MIT atmospheric scientist Emanuel outlines the issues, causes and concerns about the fate of our climate. This second edition covers the latest from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the lack of will in the United States to tackle this vexing issue.
Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye
by Zac Unger
A captivating look at the battle between man and nature from the vantage point of Churchill, Manitoba, the Polar Bear Capital of the World.
The Northern Lights, Celestial Performances of the Aurora Borealis
by Calvin Hall (Photographer), Daryl Pederson (Photographer)
Shot in Alaska, one of the best places to watch the northern lights, these images capture the natural phenomenon in all its splendor and majesty. Hall and Pederson’s 160 photographs were taken with ultra-HD cameras during a period of unusually high solar activity.
A Naturalist's Guide to the Arctic
by E.C. Pielou
Our bestselling book on the Arctic, this guide covers the geography and climate, plants, birds and wildlife of the Circumpolar North.
The Northern Lights, The True Story of the Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Aurora Borealis
by Lucy Jago
The compelling story of Kristian Birkeland, the turn-of-the-century Norwegian scientist who devoted his career to understanding the aurora borealis, this book also covers the science, history, myth and romance of the phenomenon.
Our Ice Is Vanishing / Sikuvut Nunguliqtuq: A History of Inuit, Newcomers and Climate Change
by Shelley Wright
Wright charts the history of the Inuit and the experiences of recent Arctic immigrants alongside reflections on current conditions and devastating climate change.
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9 days
8 nights
21 meals
8 B 6 L 7 D
DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Winnipeg, MB
D
The Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre

Afternoon: Program registration begins at 4:00 pm. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: Enjoy a buffet meal at 6:00 pm at the hotel. Coffee, tea, and water are included. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Manitoba Museum, Planetarium, Human Rights Museum
Winnipeg, MB
B,L
The Fort Garry Hotel, Spa and Conference Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 1.5 miles on pavement and in museum, some standing; snow covered, icy terrain. Dress warmly in layers.

Breakfast: Enjoy a breakfast buffet at the hotel which includes hot and cold options, juice, milk, coffee and tea.

Morning: We will transfer by motorcoach to immerse ourselves in the stunning beauty of Aurora Borealis by watching a live planetarium presentation at the Manitoba Museum, recorded over seven months in the Arctic Circle.

Lunch: Enjoy a soup and sandwich at the Manitoba Museum. Coffee, tea, and water are included. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Afternoon: Explore the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which delves into Canada’s commitment to human rights, including failures, successes and ongoing struggles. This museum stands on Treaty One land where archaeologists have discovered more than half a million objects tracing human activity back over 6,000 years. This field trip will be led by Museum Interpreters who will explain the Aboriginal concepts for humanity and human shared responsibility.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: The evening is yours to enjoy at your leisure.

DAY
3
Fly to Churchill, Safety Briefing & Orientation
Churchill, MB
B,L,D
Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Activity note: The flight to Churchill is approximately 1.5 hours. Walking up to 1 mile on pavement, snow-covered, icy terrain. Dress warmly in layers. PLEASE NOTE: Churchill Northern Studies Centre will provide a final itinerary once you arrive at the centre. The current schedule is tentative and the order of programming is subject to change because of weather and the presence of polar bears.

Breakfast: We will enjoy a meal to-go ahead of our early morning flight to Churchill, consisting of a muffin, fruit, yogurt, and coffee.

Morning: Our journey begins with our flight to Churchill, MB scheduled to leave from Winnipeg, MB.

Lunch: Eat like a researcher! Enjoy a buffet meal at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC). There are several options for starters, main courses, and desserts. Coffee, tea, and water are included. This is a working research center, in which guests are asked to assist with dishwashing and clean-up.

Afternoon: An expert at the Studies Centre will lead a safety briefing and orientation.

Dinner: A buffet meal with options for starters, main courses, and desserts will be available at the CNSC. Coffee, tea and water are included.

Evening: Learn about the CNSC and the surrounding area in a lecture presented by CNSC staff.

DAY
4
Walk Churchill Research Range, Natural History, Sky Watching
Churchill, MB
B,L,D
Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, some standing. Dress warmly in layers.

Breakfast: A breakfast buffet with hot and cold options will be provided at the CNSC. Coffee, tea, water and juices are included.

Morning: This morning’s field trip will feature exploring the former Churchill Research (Rocket) Range with a local expert who will give us a better idea about how well our clothing holds up to the wind and cold temperatures.

Lunch: CNSC buffet.

Afternoon: Explore the deep natural history of the area through educational videos.

Dinner: CNSC buffet.

Evening: We'll take part in an evening lecture with an expert and then venture out for some sky watching.

DAY
5
Snow Ecology, Snowmobile Trip, Snowshoeing
Churchill, MB
B,L,D
Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, on slippery, snowy or ice covered terrain. Dress warmly in layers for several hours outside.

Breakfast: CNSC buffet.

Morning: Learn about snow ecology during a presentation at the CNSC.

Lunch: Center buffet.

Afternoon: Embark on an exhilarating trip within the tree-line transition zone and see a snow sampling demonstration. We’ll ride sled-shuttles pulled by snow mobiles into the nearby forest across packed trails and gain an understanding of the different kinds of snow during a snow sampling. Learn about depth, density, the various layers of snow, and about snow crystals. Step inside and explore a constructed snow shelter before walking back to the CNSC on groomed trails or ride in comfort on the sled-shuttle. Those who prefer, may relax and enjoy the amenities of the CNSC.

Dinner: CNSC buffet.

Evening: An illuminating lecture by a local expert will expand on the program’s theme before we enjoy a relaxing evening of sky watching (weather permitting).

DAY
6
Film Screening, Dogsledding, Sky Watching
Churchill, MB
B,L,D
Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile, on slippery, snowy or ice covered terrain. Dress warmly in layers for several hours outside. Warming hut and outhouse on site.

Breakfast: CNSC buffet.

Morning: Watch a screening of a locally filmed major motion picture related to Inuit life in the Arctic.

Lunch: CNSC buffet.

Afternoon: Embark on a dogsledding trip into the boreal forest with a local musher. This authentic experience reflects the culture and history of Manitoba’s north. Dogsledding was the most efficient method of travel, from fur trading to mail delivery. Dogsleds can carry two people, one riding in the “basket” of the sled, while the musher leads the dogs while standing on back runners.

Dinner: CNSC buffet.

Evening: Enjoy a lecture by a local expert prior to sky watching (weather permitting).

DAY
7
Parks Canada Center, Itsanitaq Museum, Sky Watching
Churchill, MB
B,D
Churchill Northern Studies Centre

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, on slippery, snowy or ice covered terrain. Dress warmly for the interpretive walk in the morning.

Breakfast: CNSC buffet.

Morning: Enjoy an interpretative walk of the Churchill area with an expert.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is an opportunity to explore the many diverse culinary experiences available. A bagged lunch is available.

Afternoon: Study some of the oldest Inuit artifacts and sculptures in Canada at the Itsanitaq museum. This museum prizes the advancement of knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of Northern culture and history. Visit the Parks Canada Interpretive Centre, situated in the Churchill Heritage Railway Station. Exhibits and audio-visual presentations focus on the history of the fur trade and explore human and natural history.

Dinner: Enjoy an evening social with a wine sampling and a meal featuring local wild game and other unique cuisine (arctic char and homemade bannock served with locally made jams and jellies).

Evening: Partake in an Indigenous cultural presentation beneath the Arctic night sky.

DAY
8
Churchill, Free Time, Fly to Winnipeg, Farewell Dinner
Winnipeg, MB
B,L,D
Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites

Activity note: The flight to Winnipeg is approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the CNSC.

Morning: We say goodbye to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre and transfer to the airport for our flight to Winnipeg.

Lunch: Bag lunch from CNSC.

Afternoon: Our flight from Churchill is scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg at 2:50 p.m. (subject to change). Free time to explore on your own or relax at the hotel.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at the hotel.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Winnipeg, MB
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by noon.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we will enjoy breakfast, with coffee, tea, water included. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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