Churchill Polar Bear Trips Tours

My wonderful wife Wendy works at Natural Habitat Adventures (they run incredible nature trips like this worldwide) and since the company liked the pictures I took down South in Antarctica, they sent me up North for the Polar Bears - man, am I lucky!

Churchill, Canada is aptly named the Polar Bear Capital of the World. It is amazing to watch these big white animals up close; and have them stand up to breathe on your hands through a metal grate - see links to videos at the bottom. For getting around on the snow, the giant Polar Rover is a sweeeet ride and I was fortunate to be able to stay in the very cool Great White North Polar Bear Tundra Lodge that was constantly surrounded by Polar Bears. I took LOTS of photos and a summary is below with even more pictures (and hi-def videos) at the bottom of the webpage of my Churchill Polar Bear trip in Nov/2009.

Alek (wearing shiny Michael Jackson gloves ;-) hanging out with some Polar Bears

churchill polar bears alek

Plenty of viewing opportunities to see the Polar Bears up close

churchill polar bears 3

churchill polar bears 4

Polar Rover "stuck in traffic" on the Tundra! ;-)

churchill polar rover bear look up

Polar Bear saying "hello" to the Polar Rover driver!
Mouseover image to see another camera angle

polar rover bears with devin

Google Map of trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see the Polar Bears

Shortly before departure from Denver International Airport on November 8th, 2009

travel to churchill manitoba for polar bears 1

A beautiful day in Winnipeg, Canada

travel to churchill manitoba for polar bears 4

Upon arrival at Winnipeg Airport, I found the Nathab Booth right at the top of the escalator - can't miss it

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada e2

You know you are in Canada when you see a Tim Hortons doughnut shop at every corner! ;-)

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada a4

Polar Bear Guide Eric helps Jan, Betsy, and Will pick out some toasty/comfortable boots

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada a9

The first and last nights were at the Fort Garry Hotel - a block away from Union Train Station

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada c4

Polar Bear Guide Rinie goes over the schedule at the Welcome Dinner

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada d1

A yummy breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel the next morning before heading North to see lots of Polar Bears!

fort garry hotel winnipeg canada e6

After breakfast, we are whisked away on our charter flight to Churchill Canada

churchill canada charter flight board

We flew over some beautiful landscape on our 2+ hour flight up North

churchill canada charter flight landscape

Disembarking in Churchill, Canada - the Polar Bear Capital of the World

churchill canada charter flight disembark

churchill canada charter flight disembark 2

First Polar Bear sighting - a helicopter making a run from Polar Bear Jail

churchill polar bear jail heli

We took a school bus out to Polar Bear Jail where the "naughty" ones are kept

churchill polar bear jail bus

We saw a few "tagged" Polar Bears during our visit - an "escapee" from the Polar Bear Jail! ;-)

churchill polar bear tagged

A picture from the last day of the trip of a "naughty" Polar Bear being chased away from town

churchill polar bear jail heli

Betsy and Will standing by a Polar Bear trap

churchill canada charter flight c4

We then transferred from the School Bus into a Polar Rover to head out to the Tundra
NOTE: This was the last time my feet would touch ground until our return 4 days later!

churchill polar rover a1

Polar Rover motors around the Churchill Tundra at Sunset - pretty awesome vehicles

churchill polar rover sunset

Great viewing from the Polar Rover ... this is our super driver Devin

churchill polar rover a5

Polar Rover has good grub too as Devin, Rinie, and Leah serve up a tasty lunch

churchill polar rover b1

Lots of room in the Polar Rover - mouseover image to see everyone on the left side

polar rover window

So it's very easy to shoot pictures from the windows of the Polar Rover

churchill polar rover a3

Polar Bear Guide Rinie was fantastic - very knowledgeable and an outstanding photographer
He's actually a Nikon shooter - mouseover image to see him with his gear at sunset

churchill polar bear guide rinie

Clive & Bonnie and Bonnie taking pictures of a glorious sunset

churchill polar rover b9

churchill polar rover b9

Polar Bears are still active at night

churchill polar rover c7

Tundra Lodge (where I stayed for four nights) on the Tundra outside of Churchill
Mouseover image to see without Polar Rover brake lights

churchill tundra lodge night

The Tundra Lodge in the morning near Hudson Bay - mouseover image for twilight view from other side

churchill polar bear tundra lodge morning light

Sleeper car rooms were like closets ... but quite cozy and plenty adequate

churchill polar bear tundra lodge a1

There were several common bathrooms - worked out fine - mouseover image for another view

churchill polar bear tundra lodge morning light

Tundra Lodge Food and Wine was fantastic - mouseover image to see closeup of the bottles

churchill polar bear tundra lodge food wine closeup

Toasting another fantastic day on the Tundra after seeing lots of Polar Bears

churchill tundra lodge fine meal

churchill polar bear tundra lodge k4

Chefs Beverly and Jocelyn made Baked Alaska the last night - WOW!!!

churchill polar bear tundra lodge o6

Paul shows what a Polar Bear would do with that tasty Baked Alaska! ;-)

churchill polar bear tundra lodge o7

Periodically, you would hear/feel a "bump" while eating as someone else was hungry!

churchill polar bear tundra lodge a0

Janet brings up the sunrise - mouseover image for closeup

churchill polar bear tundra lodge janet sunrise

The Polar Rover would then head out from the Tundra Lodge

churchill polar rover y0

Polar Bears fighting 20 minutes after sunrise - mouseover image to see 'em go at it

polar bears fighting

Another pair of Polar Bears sparring 35 minutes after sunrise - mouseover to see 'em in action!

churchill puppy dog

But they are just playing (reminds me of my two boys) as they are "best buddies" afterwards

churchill polar bears cute

A Mother with her Cub watches the fighting ... and then moves away

polar bears mother cub

polar bears mother cub move

Another Polar Bear Mom with Cub - mouseover image as she looks for threats

polar bear pictures mom cub stand

This Polar Bear Cub stays close to its Mom - mouseover image to see 'em tuck in closer

polar bear pictures mom cub 2

A Mother Polar Bear walks across the Tundra with her two Cubs

churchill polar bear pictures mom cubs

Hanging out on the Hudson Bay looking for seals

churchill polar bear hudson bay

We didn't see any North Pole Polar Bears checking out submarines in Hudson Bay! ;-)

north pole polar bears

Polar Bear Slumber Party

churchill polar bear slumber party

Exchanging gossip at the Polar Bear Party

churchill polar bear slumber party

Soooo cute!

churchill polar bear closeup

Perhaps not so cute if he's looking at you as dinner!

churchill polar bear mean

There was plenty of Polar Bear Photo Ops around the Tundra Lodge

churchill tundra lodge polar bear picture

churchill polar bears 5

Even the re-supply vehicle stops to take pictures of Polar Bears

churchill polar bear tundra lodge n9

Regular Bears poop in the woods - Polar Bears poop in the snow! ;-)

churchill polar bears poop

Polar Bear walking in the late afternoon light - especially long shadows at the high latitude

churchill polar bears 2

As seen above, I got some semi-decent pictures of Polar Bears sparring and then walking while backlit by the Sun
But wasn't lucky enough to replicate the quintessential picture of them sparring while backlit by the Sun - darn! ;-)

polar bears standing

Everybody opted to put these on their room door

churchill canada aurora borealis door sign 2

Aurora Borealis North of Churchill, Canada - mouseover image to see another view

Aurora Borealis Churchill

Another incredible sunset while Devin was driving us around in the Polar Rover

churchill polar rover devin sunset

Devin stepped out to lock the hubs, so I sat down in the driver's seat! ;-)

churchill polar rover alek sunset

Jill (and everyone else) took countless pictures of the colorful sky

churchill polar rover tundra lodge sunset

View of the Polar Rover from the Tundra Lodge - lights of Churchill on the horizon

churchill polar rover tundra lodge sunset

Paul says "hello" to a Polar Bear standing up to the Polar Rover back grate
The Polar Bears will even breath on your hand as seen in this video! ;-)

churchill polar rover grate 1

churchill polar rover grate danielle

We never left the safety of the vehicles and had to play a game of Polar Bear Tag! ;-)

polar bear tag

A mirage on the snowy Tundra due to temperature inversion - mouseover image to see it change

churchill tundra mirage

A rare sighting of an Arctic Fox

churchill arctic fox

Mouseover image to see the Arctic Fox curl up

churchill arctic fox curl up

Tundra Lodge Staff says goodbye as we head back to Churchill after four wonderful days

churchill polar rover tundra lodge return

Paul is pretty excited to fly in a helicopter to see the Polar Bears

churchill helicopters paul

The Helicopter ride got a big thumbs-up!

churchill helicopters thumbs up

Time to do some dog sledding - mouseover image to see Jon & Linda come up the trail - watch dog sledding video

churchill dog sledding linda jon

While I took wide-angles of the people, Steve got some nice closeups of the Dog Sledding in Churchill

churchill dog sledding steve pic

Super Cute Puppy - mouseover image to see him swat the luggage tag! ;-)

churchill dog sledding luggage tag

Everyone enjoyed some special one-on-one with the sled dogs

churchill dog sledding t2

Last morning in the town of Churchill looking NW down the main street - mouseover image to see wide-angle

town of churchill

Classic picture of the Inukshuk (a balanced rock formation) near Churchill, Canada

town of churchill inushuk b2

Be sure to stop by the Churchill post office to have your passport stamped with "Polar Bear Capital of the World"

churchill passport

Hi-Def Polar Bear Videos: Note: This was my first time shooting video with the Canon 7D. While it takes stunning 1920x1080 Hi-Def Video (above are "only" 1280x720), they are a bit shaky ... I got better later on - check out the Galapagos Islands and Baby Hummingbirds! ;-) Also check out the pictures/video from our family on an African Safari trip.

More Web Pages with additional info and pictures:
Comments on the Polar Bear Pics - send me an Email with your questions/comments - info on ordering prints.