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
9 days
Starts at
16 Reviews
Sort by
Most Recent
  • Most Recent
  • Most Favorable
  • Least Favorable
4.87 Average

Seeing the Northern Lights has now been checked off of my bucket list. Churchill, Manitoba and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre was an unexpected learning experience filled with educational opportunities and winter recreational activities.


If you have dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights, this is the program to go on! We had fantastic luck and great weather. The daytime activities and other field trips kept us busy and active while we waited for the next evening and another chance to see the lights.


We chose this program to see the Northern Lights, which we did - one night was more a glimpse before it clouded over, the second night was perfect. Great display, not so cold that we couldn't stay out for hours. However the program was so much more - from visiting the museums in Winnipeg to the little gem of museums in Churchill. Walking out into the trees on a crystal bright afternoon was also an experience that was a bonus surprise. The people who gave the lectures were excellent - the information on the Aurora, how to photograph it and the insights into the challenges of a small town and cultural history and current situation of the indigenous peoples. All bonuses to our original purpose.


This is a wonderful program, not only to see Northern Lights but to learn about life in the North, fascinating history, and the real vastness of Canada.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

GREAT TRIP - GREAT EXPERIENCE We enjoyed the couple of days in Winnipeg, even though was even colder than usual. Nice city and wonderful museums included in the Road Scholar. I'd recommend arriving a day or two early for the trip to have little extra time in Winnipeg, AND to avoid real possibility of weather travel delays in (or out, as we experienced at the end of the trip). The stay at Churchill was fun, educational, and rewarding. Enjoyed some time in Churchill itself, and loved staying at the Research Center. The building is rather new and very modern. The "dorm" rooms can accommodate 4 of same-sex, but when we went many of the rooms were vacant so they only put 2 to a room, and in fact placed my wife and me (only married couple) in same room. Shower/bath across the hall, modern and clean. Interesting place to reside, right in the main research building. Food was excellent, "home cooked" in the center's "dining hall". People at the center & the guides are gracious, friendly, and informative. Activities were well planned and organized. The rides on the snow mobile and and dog sled were a bit "token", pretty short, but given -40f to -20f temperatures was fine and enjoyable. A bit of hiking and experiencing the tundra forest and shore of the Hudson Day. Weather was generally sunny during the 8 hrs of sunlight in February, and long nights were clear,. We experienced NORTHERN LIGHTS all 5 nights we were there. They are gently beautiful and subtly moving to experience. Held you in a kind of awe. (By the way you learn Northern Lights are almost exclusively green tones. They explain how cameras do capture a broader/brighter color range, which is what we are all used to seeing in photos.) Still they are marvelous to experience - many of us stood for the 2-3 hours they showed, either outside or in the nice super-clear heated dome on top of the center. Be prepared for VERY cold weather but its part of making for a great experience. RENT the coat/gloves/boots there.


This is a great program for seeing and photographing the :northern lights" and learning how past and present inhabitants of the Hudson Bay cope with their environment. Makes one think about their impact on the planet.


This trip was a true adventure!!! On the vast tundra surrounded by the frozen Hudson Bay and the boreal forest. Staying in a warm, fascinating and inspiring research station. Dressing like plump penguin to toddle off for some dogsledding or snow shoeing. Great food and company, wonderful inspiring staff and so many wonderful programs. Plus learning from Starman and Big Dog Dave. Best of all, Lady Aurora, which words simply cannot describe but an experience that will stay with you forever. Just go for it!


Numerous times prior to heading to Canada, I kept asking the question when watching the weather “why am I doing this”. It turned out to be the most wonderful adventure. How lucky I am (when thinking of the world population) to be in the very small percentage to have experienced the breathtaking wonders of the Aurora Borealis. The passion of the staff and our lecturers at the Churchill Northern Studies Center for our world environment and our part in it was certainly refreshing. Sort of kept you warm and fuzzy. This was the seventh Road Scholar trip that I have participated in with my partner and it will always rank very high on my list of “wow, glad to have done that”. We do have other places to explore but would like to return to Churchill at some point.


We realized that seeing Aurora is weather dependent before we went. We had 4 overcast evenings in a row, when an OK Aurora display and on the last night a spectacular display that made the trip. Evan and Ron our guide and astronomer were friendly and fun to be around!


Bob Flynn I highly recommend The Into the Arctic Skies program to anyone who has ever wanted to experience the Northern Lights. Although we only got to see the lights the final three nights, the incredible display we witnessed on the final night was worth the trip. This trip far exceeded my expectations.


Have you always wanted to see the Northern Lights? Then, this is the program for you. The days are filled with interesting and informative activities; you receive an interesting astronomy lecture every evening while in Churchill; and you have five opportunities to see the lights. Best of all: the astronomer will do the evening sky watch for you and knock on your door for show time. This allows you to cat nap while waiting for Lady Aurora to appear. Oh...and did I mention: the food at CNSC is terrific!


If you have always wanted to see the Aurora Borealis and learn more about Churchill, alias "Polar Bear Capital of the World", and the skies above it and land around it, this is the trip for you. An added treat is time in Winnipeg with visits to the Manitoba Museum(with an entire ship within!) and the new architecturally intriguing and emotionally poignant Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Our guides and instructors were knowledgeable, personable and enthusiastic about their subjects. The passion was contagious. Living "dorm style" at the Research Center fostered a wonderful sense of community. Meeting our fellow Scholars was a high point of the trip! The cook, Sarah, was a "magician in the kitchen" and the food was superb! She kindly accommodated my GF needs and made the best GF cupcakes and Lasagna I have ever had the pleasure of tasting! Our resident astronomer, Ron, was phenomenal! Knowledgeable, humorous, personable, patient, and even shared his Aurora photos with all of us. So slip on your sense of adventure, bundle up and head north!


This program is well worth every penny it costs.


The Aurora Skies program exceeded my expectations! Not only because we saw the Northern Lights 4 out of our 5 nights at the Churchill Northern Studies Center, but because the program coordinators and presenters were passionate about their work and being able to provide us with educational programs to enhance our visit and our overall knowledge.


Wonderful chance to see the Northern Lights and support a non profit research facility. Clothing rentals available were very useful. Would recommend wind-proof mittens for hands.


One thing that was pretty clear was that the Aurora does NOT look like what you think it does. People are used to seeing these vivid colors of the Aurora online and in books that the human eye just can't capture. It would be more honest to explain that to people so they aren't too disappointed. Our instructor, Alan Dyer, made this abundantly clear to us and had I have known this in advance I would've brought a good camera and taken advantage of his tutorials on how to photograph the Aurora. Instead, I thought I could take a shot or two with my cell phone. NOT! Despite this, it is still a worthwhile experience to see Aurora in person. I also felt very moved by the other parts of the trip, visiting the remote town of Churchill, and the city of Winnipeg.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback