Polar Bears of Churchill

Witness one of the largest confluences of polar bears in the world with alumni and friends on a six-day journey to remote Churchill, Manitoba, from November 2 – 7, 2018.

BearsWith an expert naturalist as your guide, observe polar bears interacting and playing from the comfort of a custom-designed Arctic Crawler. Exclusive educational experiences distinguish this program, including presentations by experts at Churchill’s Northern Studies Centre and your local guide.

Much like the bears themselves, visitors make their way to Churchill each fall when temperatures drop, brimming with anticipation. The reward: experiences of a lifetime including a special opportunity to witness one of the largest confluences of polar bears in the world. During this six-day journey, it is possible to observe polar bears interact and play from a custom-designed Arctic Crawler. On this wildlife expedition, surrounded by experts and featuring up-close experiences, be part of an extraordinary natural phenomenon and unforgettable adventure.

Shared with travelers from cosponsoring associations, space is limited, so please contact the Alumni Travel Study Program at (866) 325-8664 or email to travelstudy@columbia.edu for more information and to reserve your place today.

Dates & Prices

Trip Dates: November 2 - 7, 2018


from $4,995 per person based upon double occupancy, plus $995 per person for round trip charter fights between Manitoba and Churchill.

Single space is  limited. If available, the single rate is $6,995 plus $995 per person for round trip charter fights between Manitoba and Churchill.

Please contact us to check single availability prior to sending your reservation, or to inquire about possible roommate options.


Day 1: Arrive Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Welcome to Canada! Join with fellow travelers for a welcome orientation at the hotel, then step out for an exclusive private reception and dinner event.
Overnight: Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites (R,D)

Day 2: Winnipeg / Churchill / Northern Studies Centre / Parks Canada Interpretive Centre
Arrive in Churchill after a morning flight from Winnipeg and head to the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, getting acquainted with the town along the way. At the Centre, an informative introduction to this unique ecosystem and the environmental research currently underway will shed light on the significance of your surroundings. After, visit the Parks Canada Interpretive Centre. Take part in an interactive presentation that discusses the history, culture, and wildlife of Churchill. Explore the exhibit at your leisure after the presentation.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 3: Churchill / Arctic Crawler Experience
Grab your camera, board your expedition vehicle, and head out onto stark yet beautiful landscapes for your first opportunity to observe and photograph polar bears in their natural habitat. Our expert naturalist and local guide will present perspectives on the bears' behavior, survival, and habitat—as well as international conservation programs.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4: Churchill / Cultural and Heritage Tour / Itsanitaq Museum / Dog Sledding
After a hearty breakfast, get ready for your Cultural and Heritage tour where you'll have panoramic site visits of the Miss Piggy Plane Crash, Polar Bear "Jail" and Cape Merry. After lunch you will have the opportunity to explore the Itsanitaq Museum prior to enjoying free time to discover Churchill at your leisure. In the evening, meet an energetic team of huskies and their experienced handler. Learn about these industrious animals and the important role they play in the heritage of this remote region. Then, bundle up for your own exciting dog sled experience.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B)

Day 5: Churchill / Arctic Crawler Experience / Winnipeg
Today we have our second opportunity to observe and photograph polar bears. Take advantage of the Arctic Crawler's large viewing deck and tall windows to enjoy a panoramic view of the area. Participate in field presentations and interpretations by your Orbridge Expedition Leader and local guide. Stopping to enjoy the scenery and search for wildlife, perhaps catch sight of the arctic hare, snowy owl, ptarmigan, or even an arctic fox living in this rugged area. Following a farewell dinner, depart the inimitable tundra for your flight to Winnipeg.
Overnight: Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites (B,L,D)

Day 6: Depart Winnipeg
Enjoy breakfast, then bid a fond farewell to Canada and head to the airport for your flight home. (B)

R = Reception, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Due to the nature of winter explorations, itineraries are guidelines and may change in order to maximize wildlife and natural encounters and weather conditions.

*Itinerary subject to change

Activity Level: Easy 

Activities are generally not very strenuous and walking is at a fairly slow pace in order to observe and learn as much as possible. Our expectation is that guests on this program are able to walk on uneven surfaces, icy, snow-covered ground, and stairs without assistance.

ITINERARY NOTE: You are embarking on an adventure where daily activities will be determined by weather, opportunities to view wildlife, and other various elements that make up the incredibly diverse landscape. Guests will receive a daily itinerary while in Churchill, which will be flexible and updated frequently. The itinerary above is a general listing of activities and excursions that may happen during any part of the program.

Program Highlights:

  • Begin with an exclusive private reception and dinner event in Winnipeg.
  • Learn about Churchill's unique ecosystem at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre.
  • Enjoy two full-day expeditions aboard a custom-designed Arctic Crawler to view the polar bears in their natural environment with an Orbridge Expedition Leader.
  • Discover the cultural history of this region during a guided tour through the Itsanitaq Museum and a talk with a Parks Canada ranger.
  • Meet an energetic team of huskies and their experienced handler, then bundle up for an exciting dog sled experience.

What's included:

  • 5 nights accommodations, 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 4 dinners including a special welcome reception and dinner
  • full guiding services of an Expedition Leader and local guide
  • excursion transportation and entry fees; and all gratuities.

What’s not included:
Airfare; Taxes; passport, visas and associated fees if required; personal expenses such as laundry and telephone calls; accident/sickness, trip cancellation, and baggage insurance; excess baggage charges on aircraft; transfers and baggage handling to/from hotel on day of arrival and/or departure if you  if you are arriving earlier or later than and/or departing earlier or later than the scheduled group transfer(s); any overnight on land due to flight schedule(s); meals, alcoholic or other beverages and all other services not specifically mentioned in the “Included Features” section of the program brochure.

Please call us toll-free at (866) 325-8664 or email us at travelstudy@columbia.edu for more details.