To really feel the vastness of the universe, sometimes all you have to do is look up. You can see some amazing sights from your backyard, but to get the best views you may need to travel a little. At Expedia.ca, we love getting lost in the beauty of the cosmos. When we learned that The Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium offers tours of the night sky in the planetarium show, “Live with the Stars,” we were inspired to find the best places and ways in Manitoba to witness the galaxy at its most glorious.
Stargazing is the greatest perk of visiting the great outdoors after the sun sets. Winnipeg has many wonderful parks in which to spend time after dark. Assiniboine Park is open 24 hours a day, and offers large light-free fields for great sky viewing. Other city parks close for at least part of the night, but provide a good view of the early evening sky.
Even better views are available farther from the bright lights of the city. Spruce Woods Provincial Park offers camping areas, so you can pitch your tent and stay all night. A spring-fed pond rests in a grove of spruce, providing a perfect canvas of reflected starlight. Nicknamed the Devil’s Punchbowl, it’s ironically the ideal spot to view the heavens.
At Beaudry Park, you may have unexpected fellow viewers. Owls, beaver, fox, and white-tailed deer are abundant in this forested prairie. Bring a canoe and paddle the Assiniboine River. Listen to the gentle water currents as the universe slowly spins overhead.
Feel like you’re within reaching distance at Birds Hill Park, where the viewing tower on Griffiths Hill will get you just that much closer to the sky. Ideal if you plan to bring a crowd, fully serviced campsites for groups of over 50 are on hand. Bundle up, settle in, and let the starry spectacle take your breath away.
Northern Astronomy in Churchill
Churchill enjoys some of the best views of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, on the planet. Vivid and intense, the northern lights are on serious display in this part of the country, which is located directly under the auroral oval. Because of this, the town is well equipped to offer premium viewing. Spectators can find heated viewing pods, observation platforms, and panoramic windows. Independent travelers can go it alone, but there are also guided tours for a deeper learning experience.
With aurora activity occurring more than 300 nights a year, there are plenty of opportunities to witness this fantastic spectacle. The perfect combination of a clear night, solar activity, and a prime viewing spot will leave you with the most brilliant display of vibrant purples, yellows, and greens.
Making Wishes in the Wilderness
There’s one big rule when trying to spot meteors: the darker the better. Get out of the city to cut light pollution for the clearest possible view. The liveliest showers are the Perseids during August, and the Geminids in December. While on dark nights you should be able to see at least a few meteors any time of year, these active showers provide more opportunities to wish upon a falling star. In the early evening, you generally see fewer meteors but they often stretch across the whole sky. After midnight and in the pre-dawn hours, the number of visible meteors increases, usually peaking just before dawn. A clear, moonless night from a dark location will offer the best views.
Whether you’re out for casual stargazing or on a mission to see aurora borealis, Manitoba has it down to a science. To prepare for your stargazing adventure, don’t forget to head to The Manitoba Museum to learn about what makes it all possible.