With everything going on with Covid around the world, traveling isn't really a great option right now. We teamed up with Tourism Winnipeg to showcase what Winnipeg has to offer by going on a staycation! Jason and I have traveled and lived in a lot of places, and we are always so good at exploring and finding new things to do in those cities. We have never done it in our own city though, and we were so excited to really see what our city has to offer. We have done hotel stays just the two of us before to have a night away, but we have never included the girls and filled our schedule with local attractions. The weekend was a HUGE success and I am so glad we got to do it. Jason has said multiple times since the weekend ended, that it was his favorite weekend because we got to spend so much good quality family time together. That alone made it worth it! He's been working so much lately so it was nice to get this intentional time together with no distractions. The girls also had such a great time and didn't want the weekend to end, and honestly a few times I forgot we were even in Winnipeg. It actually felt like we were on vacation! Be sure to check out Tourism Winnipeg's family staycation page here for more great ideas on what to do in our city this summer!
HOTEL - RESIDENCE INN
We stayed at the Residence Inn on Ellice. I honestly didn't even know this hotel existed in our city before we stayed there, and I'm not sure how because it was incredible! It felt brand new, the lobby was beautiful and the room we had was a one bedroom suite. There was a living space with a couch and a TV and a little kitchen with a big fridge and eating area. Then there was a separate bedroom with two queen beds attached to a big bathroom. It was so nice having that separate room for bedtime with the girls. The beds were so comfortable and the room felt clean and modern with all of the amenities. We also opted to eat-in one night and ordered in from Skip the Dishes and were able to eat in the kitchenette area. The best part of the hotel though was the pool area. There was a huge waterslide, a walk-in pool, a lazy river and fountains for the girls to play in. They had capacity limits in place for Covid, but it was never reached when we were there so we were able to swim whenever we wanted! Oh and the best part about the pool was that it was VERY WARM. We swam multiple times a day, and Jason and I didn't mind going in with the girls because it was so comfortable to swim in. This was a game changer and one of the main reasons I would go back to this hotel. A continental breakfast is also included, but with Covid the breakfast area was closed so they offered to-go bags at the front desk with food in them instead. Overall our stay was a 10/10 and we will definitely be staying here again!
Our first evening we spent at Assiniboine Park. It's on the other end of the city from where we live so we don't go there often. The grounds were so beautifully landscaped and it was so nice to walk around. They have the best outdoor nature playground that the girls loved playing in. There was even a lot to keep Zara busy. Then we walked over to the Secret Garden which I had never been in, and it was so beautiful! I felt like we were in a movie, and the girls loved looking at all of the different flowers. Their favorite part was throwing a coin into the little wishing well that had a statue of a little boy with water coming out of his shoe. It was so cute seeing how excited they were to make a wish! Lastly we walked through the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden, which was attached to the secret garden. Honestly there were endless things to see and do and we could have spent hours there. One thing we didn't get to try were the family bike rentals, but that's on our list for next time!
DINNER - CAPITAL GRILL
For dinner we decided to try out the Capital Grill on Roblin. We had never been there before and it did not disappoint. We sat in their dining room and they had their tables spread out so that social distancing was being observed, and we felt completely comfortable being there. Their menu was so big, and I finally decided on the Capital Burger. It was honestly one of the best burgers I have ever had. Jason got the Pulled Pork Sandwich, and the girls got the macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese kids meals. Everyone loved their food! Oh and they brought out the girls meals right away, which if you have kids you know is a huge plus. They didn't have time to get impatient or antsy, it was perfect!
Our next stop was the Manitoba Museum, which I hadn't been to in years and the girls had never been to! Only the main gallery was open due to Covid, but there was plenty for the girls to see and do. Their favorite parts were the Nonsuch Boat and the little town at the very end. The boat was huge and dimly lit and had sounds that made you feel like you were really on the dock of a big port. The girls loved it and didn't want to leave that section. Once we got to the little town though they forgot all about it and explored the stores and streets and loved looking at everything. It was so fun watching them look at everything and asking questions and learning about Manitoba's history. We will definitely be going back once the Planetarium and Science Gallery at open because I think those will be the girls favorite parts!
After the museum we headed to The Forks for lunch. I love going there because there is something for everyone to eat. The girls decided on hot dogs, I got a burger on a salad from Nuburger and Jason got a burger from Nuburger as well. Everything was delicious. The girls quickly got distracted by Sweet City Candy and they each got to pick out a treat after lunch. Then we headed out for a walk by the river and behind the Johnston Terminal to explore. The girls loved all of the stairs to climb and Zara started getting sleepy, so we headed back to the hotel.
After the forks we went back to the hotel for a bit to relax, and then we headed to Kid City for the girls to play before dinner. It's a big indoor play area with climbing areas, slides, a climbing wall, bouncy castle, basketball hoops, a little cafe and a toddler area which was prefect for Zara! Everything seemed very clean and there was hand sanitizer when you walked in. Oh and you have to wear socks so make sure you bring your own, but if you forget (like us) you can buy them there! The girls had a blast here and again did not want to leave. I think this was Zara's favorite place, and it was perfect because it was her birthday that day so she got to play to her hearts content!
THE ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE
For Breakfast on Sunday morning we headed to the Original Pancake House on McGillivary. The building was brand new and the interior was gorgeous. I was pleasantly surprised by the decor. The menu was also so big and had something for everyone. The girls got bacon, eggs and pancakes, Jason got their five-in-one combo and I got their Greek omelet. Everything was so good, and the food came out so quickly! It was quite busy, but everyone was spaced out according to Covid rules and the staff were wearing masks.
FORT WHYTE ALIVE
We ended our weekend at Fort Whyte Alive, which was only a short drive from the Pancake House. Jason and I hadn't been there since we were little, and the girls had never been. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was so much fun! We brought nets along so the girls could "fish" in the ponds and they loved it. The first few ponds had green algae on them which the girls thought was so cool. They also have floating boardwalks all throughout the ponds which made it so fun to explore. Everly even caught a few minnows that she put into her little container. She was so proud of her catch! We got to see a few turtles, lots of ducks, geese and bison! We went on a Baby Bison Walk with a guide and we learned so much. Did you know Bison (who can grow up to 1000 kilos) can jump 2 meters in the air and 10 meters forward?? How crazy is that? We learned so many cool little facts on our walk, like Bisons are the largest land animal in North America. He also told us we were on Treaty 1 territory and gave us a history of the Bison and the importance they had in us living here today. Our guide was so knowledgeable and engaging and I'm so glad we went on the walk! We didn't get very close to the Bison because they were off grazing, but it was still really cool to see them. We got to go to a lookout to get a better view of them at one point and the girls loved climbing up into the trees. They have so many amazing activities to keep you busy at Fort Whyte Alive, and we will definitely take the girls again to try some! All of the paths are wide and we were able to take our stroller with us the entire time which was perfect for Zara. We ended the day with lunch at the Buffalo Stone Cafe inside the main building, where they also have the cutest shop with lots of amazing products to buy.
Overall our staycation was SO much fun. The girls are still talking about it. We are definitely going to make this an annual tradition. If you have any questions about anything we did, comment below or send me a message on Instagram! If you plan on staying in a hotel in Winnipeg this summer, don't forget to enter Tourism Winnipeg's Summer Saved Contest here!
**This post is sponsored by Tourism Winnipeg, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.