School & Youth Groups

Taking your class out to a provincial park is a rich, rewarding experience for your students.  Being outdoors and engaging in hands-on activities is the best way for students to learn about our province`s natural, cultural and historical features.

Guided interpretive programs are free of charge and curriculum based.  Our skilled team of Park Interpreters offer trail hikes, exploration activities and other unique outdoor learning experiences on Manitoba’s natural and cultural resources. 

We can also connect virtually with your students with our Parks in the Classroom programs – perfect for a pre- or post-trip activity, or if you cannot easily access a park near you.

Interpretive programs are designed to be a hands-on experience, emphasizing participatory activities for students to gain a deeper appreciation and knowledge for our natural, cultural and historical resources. Programs can be one hour, a half-day or a full day depending on your needs and schedule. 

Click the links below to plan your visit.

Program Locations & Packages

Birds Hill Provincial Park

Birds Hill Provincial Park

The Birds Hill Interpretive Workshop is the central location for school programs in the park.  The Workshop is a fully accessible indoor classroom space, complete with modern washrooms, and is perfect for staging adventures in the park.  A large outdoor campfire pit and picnic tables allows for outdoor group activities.  The Nimowin Trail starts here as well, a 1.8 km trail perfect for a morning or afternoon hike to discover a mosaic of landscapes – wetlands, prairie, and mixed-wood forests. 

We can tailor make an experience based on your curriculum and learning outcome objectives, which can include a hike at any of the park trails and activities at different locations in the park.

Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Spruce Woods Provincial Park

The Spruce Woods Visitor Centre is our premier interpretive centre and is a fully accessible complex perfect for staging your field trip.  The complex includes both indoor and outdoor programming spaces that can accommodate multiple classes.  An exhibit building contains attractive displays introducing the area's significant natural and cultural resources, along with a variety of animal mounts from the area.

Close to the Visitor Centre is the Isputinaw Trail, a 1.5 km hike up the wall of the Ancient Assiniboine River Valley.  Check out the nearby Arboretum to discover the native trees and shrubs of Manitoba, and learn outdoor navigational skills on the orientation course.

Of course, no visit to Spruce Woods is complete without hiking the Spirit Sands!  Discover the Indigenous cultural connection to these sacred sands and explore this fragile ecosystem’s geology, flora and fauna with a Park Interpreter. 

We can tailor make an experience based on your curriculum and learning outcome objectives that can include a hike at the Spirit Sands, other park trails, and activities at the Visitor Centre.

Whiteshell Provincial Park

Whiteshell Provincial Park

The Alfred Hole Visitor Centre is the central interpretive centre in the park, ideal for schools to spend the day outdoors learning and discovering the Whiteshell.  The centre can accommodate multiple classes, and contains exhibits on the legacy of Alfred Hole, a local man that helped preserve the Giant Canada Goose.  Students can discover the wildlife of the Whiteshell here, and explore the Canadian Shield landscape on a 2.5 km trail. 

Located in the south end of the park, the Whiteshell Fish Hatchery is a unique facility accessible to schools to discover fish species and stocking in Manitoba. Take a tour of the operations with a Park Interpreter to see the fish stocks and learn how the hatchery operates.

At the north end of the park, the Bannock Point Petroforms is a special site to visit for schools looking to discover Indigenous rock art.  A Park Interpreter can provide an introduction and orientation to the site, describing what Petroforms are and why we need to respect sacred sites like these.

We can tailor make an experience based on your curriculum and learning outcome objectives that can include a hike at any of the park trails and activities at different locations in the park.

Discovery Program Packages

Discovery Program Packages have been designed for a full day visit, typically consisting of a morning activity, a lunch break, and an afternoon activity.  These themed packages are perfect for a school class wishing to do a mix of hands-on participatory activities and trail hikes.

These packages are offered at Birds Hill, Spruce Woods and Whiteshell locations, and are adapted for any grade level.  When you request one of these, the Park Interpreter will follow up with you with a recommended trail hike and activities based on your student’s grade level and desired learning outcomes.

Alien Invaders: From zebra mussels to leafy spurge, learn about the invasive species that are found in your local park with this interactive game!  Discover how they arrived here, what they want and why they’re so destructive. Take a guided walk or go on a critter dip to learn about our local water systems.

A Part of our Heritage: Learn about the local Indigenous peoples found in your park. Take a guided walk and discover the various medicinal and edible uses of plants, learn about the importance of the bison and take part in a variety of traditional Indigenous games.

Back to the Fur Trade: Go back in time as a voyageur during the fur trade. Discover the difficult life through dress-up, props and imaginary canoe rides. Play the fur trade game to trade for items to help you survive life during the fur trade era.

Ecologist for a Day: Become an ecologist for the day while taking part in a variety of research techniques to identify the natural vegetation of the area.  Take part in a riparian or trail assessment, plant and tree identification, and hands-on soil experiments.  GPS devices may be used with older grades to track your findings.

Playing in the Pukak: Come play in the pukak! Get outside in the winter to discover life under the snow as we examine this frozen seasonal environment.  Experience floating across the deep snow on snowshoes like a snowshoe hare, learn to identify trees and conduct snow experiments to uncover the mystery of the pukak.

Survive Alive: Discover all the techniques and skills needed to survive the Manitoba wild. Prepare for the worst case scenario and build your knowledge in fire making, shelter construction and emergency preparations in this hands on program.

Wild for Life: Take a walk on the wild side as you learn about the local wildlife found in your park and the unique adaptations they have to survive. Discover the different wildlife tracks and signs through the identification of scat, tracks, fur and skulls. Then use this knowledge while on a guided walk to discover who has been around.

Wonderful Wetlands: From beavers to frogs, take part in this wetland themed program. Take a marsh walk and discover the local flora and fauna. Get hands on as you dip into the water and collect aquatic insects to determine the health of a wetland.

Don’t see a topic listed you need for your students?  Contact us, as we have many other programs and topics available and can tailor-make any experience for your class.  Email for additional information.

Request an Interpretive Program Here!

Interpretive Program Policies

All interpretive programs and facilities are free of charge.  Please be aware that you must pre-book to ensure space.

Park Vehicle Permits are required year-round in provincial parks.  School groups attending interpretive programs during the regular school calendar year will receive complimentary park vehicle permits (some limitations apply).

Supervision of Students

Schools are responsible to provide adequate supervision.  Please use the following minimum guidelines when arranging your program.  Some programs may require additional supervisors.

Kindergarten: 1 adult per 4 students
Grades 1-3: 1 adult per 5 students
Grades 4-6: 1 adult per 8 students
Grades 7-12: 1 adult per 10 students

Teachers and adult supervisors are responsible for the conduct and supervision of all participants at park facilities and interpretive programs at all times.  Interpreters and other park staff are program facilitators only and are not to be included in the number of adult supervisors.

Parent volunteers, teachers and other supervisors are all encouraged to actively participate in interpretive programming.

Please work out a set of rules with the students concerning conduct during the field trip (respecting the park and its creatures, no littering, please pay attention to the Park Interpreter, etc.).  Remember, as the teacher you are responsible for the conduct and discipline of your group. 

Interpreters may ask teachers/group leaders to remove continually disruptive students back to the bus/visitor centre.

Groups that have repeated supervisory problems may not be able to book future programs.

Students/teachers are asked to refrain from using cell phones and to turn off electronic devices during programs.

Program Accommodations

Interpretive programs typically accommodate one class at a time (approximately 25 students).  This ensures the Interpreter can interact with each student to provide a quality experience.  Schools wishing to bring more than one class to the park may be able to have the classes rotate through programs. We can also provide teachers and group leaders with self-guided activities. 

Programs can be one-hour, a half-day or a full day depending on your needs.

Time is allotted for a lunch break for schools visiting for a full day.  Note we do not provide meals; students are required to bring a bagged lunch.

Many of our guided programs can be adapted for accessibility requirements.   Contact us for programming options.

The majority of our programs are held outside.  Please make sure everyone, children and adults, are dressed appropriately for outdoor activities for the duration of your visit – regardless of heat, wind or rain.  Any person not dressed appropriately for the planned outdoor activities (including appropriate footwear) may be asked to remain behind with an adult for their own safety.

Late arrivals may have to be accommodated as best they can. Modifying program lengths or removing an activity may be necessary to keep on schedule.


Cancellations by teachers/group leaders should be made as soon as possible to accommodate anyone waiting to register. Teachers cancelling without notice will be placed at the bottom of the park’s waiting list if they wish to rebook.

Park Interpreters will cancel programs only in unavoidable circumstances (emergencies, illness, injuries, inclement weather). All programs cancelled by park staff will be considered a priority to reschedule and placed at the top of any waiting lists.

Programs will continue in light rain/snow, unless otherwise requested by the teacher – ensure students and adults are dressed appropriately for the weather.  Programs may be cancelled due to inclement weather (lightning, hail, high winds, extreme wind chill values, heavy rain or extreme cold/high temperatures). 

Group bookings may also be cancelled due to emergencies including site problems (such as flooding, trail damage, restrictions due to wildfire hazards), or staff emergency (interpretive staff is unexpectedly ill or away from the office).

How to Request an Interpretive Program

Booking an interpretive program for your class is easy.  Just fill out the online request form at the bottom of this page.  After you submit the request form, a Park Interpreter will contact you to confirm date, program details and will provide an itinerary and confirmation letter for your visit.

All programs are available on a first come, first served basis and must be booked in advance.  Programs may be limited due to staff availability.

  • Programs for the fall and winter season (September to March) may be requested after August 30.
  • Programs for the spring season (April to June) may be requested after January 1.

Groups may be limited to one booking per month during peak times and/or prime locations to ensure equitable access to classes.  In non-peak months, teachers may be accommodated for more than one booking per month, subject to space and staff availability.

Groups that have not pre-booked a space cannot be guaranteed access to programs or facilities.  Drop-ins may only be accommodated if staff availability and space allows.

Field Trip Planning

It is important to prepare your students with the information provided in this section prior to your excursion to the park. The students should also be included in planning trip objectives. This creates enthusiasm and readiness for the trip.  Please work out a set of rules with the students concerning conduct during the field trip (respecting the Park and its flora and fauna, no littering, please pay attention to the Interpreter, etc.).

Remember, as the teacher you are responsible for the conduct and discipline of your group.  The teacher/adult supervisors must accompany their students at all times while visiting the Park.

Park Entry Fees

Vehicle Permits are required in provincial parks.  Schools are eligible for complimentary vehicle permits providing you meet the following criteria:

  • Complimentary daily vehicle passes are issued to vehicles transporting students (i.e. busses).  They will not be issued for parents who are accompanying the field trip in their personal vehicle or are dropping off their children at the park.
  • A maximum of 10 passes can be issued.  Groups requiring more permits must purchase the additional permits.

For school groups booking an interpretive program, you will receive your complimentary vehicle permit(s) with your program confirmation.

For schools groups on a self-guided visit, you must apply at least two weeks in advance in order for the passes to be issued to you in time.  When applying, you must submit your request on official school letterhead including the following information: the park visiting, date, number of students, number of teachers/adult supervisors and number of passes requested. Please send the letter to:

Manitoba Parks
Recreation & Education Services
Box 52, 200 Saulteaux Crescent
Winnipeg, MB  R3J 3W3

Teacher-led & Self-guided Visits

Can’t access a Park Interpreter?  No worries – we can still help you out!

If you’re interested in taking your students on a field trip to a park, give us a call.  We’ll discuss what your learning objectives are and help plan your field trip.  We can recommend locations, trails, activities and equipment for you.  We might even be able to provide some learning materials, or arrange to have a park manager, a resource specialist or Conservation Officer meet your class in the park.

Camping with Students

School groups qualify for free group camping from after Labour Day up to and including the last Thursday night in June of the regular school year.  Complimentary camping is offered in designated group use areas.  A reservation fee ($10) will apply to each site reserved.  To make a reservation and have your nightly fees waived, call the Parks Reservation Service at 1-888-482-2267.  Users of group use areas and campsites must comply with all rules specified in the Camper's Guide.

Over 80 group campsites are available through the Parks Reservation Service.  For parks with Interpreters, group programming may be available directly at your site to enhance your camping excursion. 

In order to qualify for complimentary group camping, the ratio of adults to students cannot exceed 50%.

Please note that complimentary camping for schools is offered in group sites only - nightly fees are charged for use of regular campsites.

Backcountry Camping

A backcountry hike or canoe trip is a challenging yet very rewarding experience.  Groups not exceeding nine individuals can camp for free at designated backcountry sites.  Groups of ten or more must apply for a Special Events Permit.

Special Event Permits

If you are planning any large special activities other than a picnic or overnight camping a Special Events Permit may be required.  Contact your local park district office for specific park and event information.

Recommended Equipment for Schools

  • First aid kit
  • Safety Kit
  • Park map for the school bus driver to follow
  • A day pack is recommended for carrying lunch, equipment and extra clothing
  • Water bottle or canteen
  • Note book and pencil
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera, binoculars & compass
  • Field guides (plants, mammals, birds, tracks)
  • A plastic bag for packing your group's garbage

Clothing – Spring/Fall

  • Sturdy footwear (good quality walking shoes, waterproof if possible)
  • Wind & Waterproof jacket and hat
  • Warm sweatshirt & long pants for hiking on trails
  • Shorts and T-shirt (warm weather is permitting)
  • Encourage your students not to wear sandals or shoes with heals, as these are not appropriate for walking on the trails or participating in outdoor activities
  • You may also want to encourage everyone to bring rain gear if the forecast is calling for rain showers.  Rain jackets, rain pants and rain boots will be needed for outdoor activities in the case of rain.  Please come prepared.

Clothing - Winter

  • Winter boots (knee-high with warm liners)
  • Ski pants and winter jacket
  • Toque, scarf, mitts, etc.
  • Warm clothing (dress in layers of loose clothing to stay warm – wool socks are best)
  • Encourage your class not to wear jeans, as they do not dry when they get wet.
  • You may also want to encourage everyone to bring an extra pair of socks to change into half way through the day.  Damp or wet socks are one of the fastest ways to get chilled, and can take you a long time to warm up – plus, wet feet are never comfortable.

Field Trip Planning In-class Activity

Objectives: To prepare students for a visit to a provincial park; to activate the students’ prior knowledge and create a purpose for the visit to the park.

Blank sheets of paper for each student
Three large sheets of poster paper or Kraft paper for posters.

Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Visiting a Manitoba provincial park is a great way for students to become better educated about Manitoba’s natural resources, history and cultural heritage.  Students will find exploring a park first hand an extremely valuable experience. 

What is a provincial park?

  • Pass out blank paper to ever student and something with which to draw/write.
  • Ask students to quickly draw or write what they think a Manitoba provincial park looks like.  Most likely students will draw pictures of trees or vistas.
  • Share some of the drawings with the class, asking students to explain their thoughts.  Have an open discussion on provincial parks – what parks have students visited?  What are some activities that people can do in provincial parks?  After students share some of their work and ideas, inform the class they will be visiting a provincial park and what activities are planned for them.


  • Post 3 pieces of poster or Kraft paper.  Label each “Know,” “Want to Know,” and “Learned,” respectively.
  • Ask the students to help you list all the things they know about the park you are going to visit on the Know list.  List things that they want to know or suspect on the Want to Know list.
  • You will revisit these lists again after the field trip.  Cross out any Want to Know questions if the answer was discovered during the field trip.  Add the answer to the Learned list.  Add any additional information learned from the visit.

Teacher Tip – Share the Know and Want to Know lists with the Park Interpreters planning your park visit.

Our Children’s Activity Booklets can also be used as a pre- or post-trip activity.  Complete as a class and mail to us for your students to become official Nature Detectives, Junior Naturalists and Park Explorers!

Parks in the Classroom - Virtual Programs

Connect virtually with a Park Interpreter live in your classroom!  We can discuss a variety of topics and bring Manitoba’s provincial parks directly to by video conference.  We use Microsoft Teams, however we can connect with other services as well. 

Programming details coming soon!  Check back in September for more information.

Request an Interpretive Program Here!

Please contact us by email for more information at