FortWhyte Alive: Hike, Fish, and Play Just Minutes from Downtown Winnipeg

FortWhyte Alive is an outdoor adventure and education park located just 30-minutes from downtown Winnipeg.

FortWhyte Alive Bison Prairie

For urban adventure lovers, experiencing the outdoors as a city dweller can involve a lot of logistics. But outdoor lovers in Winnipeg, Manitoba have the chance to get deep into nature with just a 30-minute drive from the downtown core.

With a hands-on approach to nature, outdoor education, and wildlife, FortWhte Alive has become one of the most popular outdoor attractions in southern Manitoba. With 6.4 sq km of land to explore, FortWhyte Alive offers a range of experiences from fishing, Manitoba’s largest aquarium, an interpretive centre, a cafe, hiking trails, and a 70-acre bison habitat that offers visitors an up-close and personal view of these majestic animals.

I made the visit to FortWhyte Alive with my two kids and we were completely blow-away by the epic outdoor experience. Having travelled through over 30 countries with my kids, the world-class, family-friendly, outdoor experiences that we have here in Canada continue to blow my mind.

FortWhyte Alive is a treasure that adds its name to the many attractions that make Winnipeg one of the most underrated cities in Canada.

About FortWhyte Alive

FortWhyte Alive Birdwatching

Situated on a huge plot of land just 15 km southwest of the Winnipeg core on former industrial land, FortWhyte Alive has converted what was once a cement factory and clay mine into one of Manitoba‘s best urban wilderness experiences.

This urban nature centre takes its name from William Whyte, a former Vice-President of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Fort was added when local Manitobans attempted to set up their own railways. These were blocked and destroyed by armed CPR employees. And the area where the standoff occurred was dubbed “Fort Whyte.”

Nowadays, FortWhyte Alive acts as a nature and outdoor education centre. It welcomes over 100,000 visitors every year to take part in activities that include canoeing, hiking, and bird-watching. The park is a world-class example of sustainable redevelopment.

The team at FortWhyte Alive maintains a goal of promoting awareness and understanding of the natural world. It leads by example and is committed to actions that lead to sustainable living. This includes promoting the history of the region and encouraging sustainable interaction between people and the environment that they live in.

Things To Do At FortWhyte Alive

FortWhyteAlive hiking

FortWhyte Alive is packed with incredible things to do. During my first visit to Winnipeg, I made the trip to FortWhyte Alive with my kids and was simply blown away by the sheer magnitude of the park. We had been drawn to the park by its signature exhibit, the Bison Prairie.

We had the chance to drive into the Bison habitat and witness these animals up close and personal in the safety of the park’s bus. But after saying goodbye to one of Canada’s most iconic animals, we just couldn’t wrap our minds around how many amazing things there are to do at FortWhyte Alive.

To help you plan your visit, here are a few of the standouts:

Interpretive Exhibits

The Winnipeg wilderness park has a range of permanent and rating interpretive exhibits that aren’t to be missed. Experience “A Prairie Legacy” where you’ll encounter massive bison and learn about their importance to life in Manitoba, both to the Indigenous Peoples that live here and to the European settlers. The Prairie Legacy experience teaches visitors about the fur trade, takes them out on a Voyageur canoe, and teaches them about Plains Cree Tipi construction.

Aquarium Of The Prairies

Discover life in the lakes of the province. This is the largest freshwater aquarium in Manitoba. Unlike many large aquariums, the Aquarium of the Prairies isn’t focused on jellyfish and colourful tropical fish. This exhibit remains squarely focused on local underwater life such as northern Pike and Walleye.

Prairie Partners Live Exhibit

Stroll among endangered species that struggle amidst the changing environment of the Canadian prairie grasslands. You’ll experience threatened and endangered species thriving in an environment where visitors have the rare chance of seeing them in person.

Hiking, Biking, and Skiing

With over 7 km of trails that wind through marsh, aspen forest, prairie, and lakelands, FortWhyte is a popular place for those looking to stretch their legs amidst some breathtaking scenery.

The trails are well-graded and are open year-round for hikers, cyclists, and families with strollers, and are even wheelchair-friendly. During the winter months, they are a popular destination for winter hiking, fat-biking, and even cross-country skiing.

My kids particularly loved the marsh boardwalks where they could walk among the frogs, turtles, and birdlife.

Fishing and Dip-Netting

FortWhyte Alive is a three-season fishing destination. And it’s a popular spot for fishing beginners to learn the ropes. There have been over 50 years of catch-and-release history in four of the five lakes within the property.

The lakes are stocked each year with Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, Walleye, Common Carp, and Black Crappie. The ice fishing season at FortWhyte opens in mid-December.

There are rods, tackle, and fishing nets available for rent. This includes full fishing gear for those who don’t have any of their own equipment. You can rent the whole package for just $10.

Those who don’t want to fish can try their hand at dip-netting. This fun activity lets you dip small nets into the water and pull up a range of fascinating bugs, larvae, and small marine insects to inspect up close.


Enjoy the fresh air on the water in the five lakes sprinkled throughout the FortWhyte Alive property. Get a unique perspective of the park peacefully enjoying the animals and bird life that populate it.

Outside boats are not allowed into the park in order to ensure that invasive species don’t infiltrate the park. All rentals come with lifejackets and a safety kit.

Admission to FortWhyte Alive

Admission to FortWhyte Alive is $10 for adults (18-64), $9 for students and children (3-17), and $8 for children under 3. Members of the park can access the park and many of its activities for free.

If you’re looking to discover more attractions in the area you can find our complete list of things to do in Winnipeg here.

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