Olympic Park
Biodome - The Biodome is a must-do with kids and is a wonderful way to experience the wildlife of Quebec, along with a tropical rainforest and Antarctic ecosystems. Step inside a Laurentian forest, filled with sugar maple, birch and beach trees, a river otter playing in the stream, two adorable pointy-eared lynxes chasing each other, an underwater view of a beaver in its log lodge, racoons washing their food in the water. View giant sturgeon swimming underwater, then go up and watch diving ducks skittering on the surface of the water and diving for food below. Penguins, auks and puffins playing in the water are a delight to watch.
Don't miss the Discovery Center in the basement. A touch table with moose jaw and whole beaver to pet, plus exhibits of Canadian animals - showshoe hare, snowy owl, ducks, seals, otters, geese, and more.
The Biodome is super year round, but an especially good place a bad weather day. It's easy to get to the Biodome on the metro, Viau stop.
Montreal Tower (Tour Montreal) - Ride up the tower for panoramic views of the city. What's cool is the elevator goes up at an angle (not straight up).
Insectarium - The Insectarium has a big collection of preserved insects (displays of glossy beetles and stunning butterflies) as well as live bugs in display cases. In summer and fall, there is a butterfly garden with live monarch butterflies.
Behind the museum is a nice playground, with imaginative play structures, climbing nets, slides and water play.
Botanical Garden (Jardin botanique) - The gardens are lovely to stroll through and a quiet haven from the hustle of the city. Check out the Chinese Garden with miniature trees, a waterfall into the Dream Lake, pavilions and pagodas, a Japanese Garden, and First Nations Garden which re-creates the forests of the Algonquins, taiga and tundra of the far north, and summer wigwam. In summer, a mini-train goes around the garden.
Tip: Don't feel there's nothing to see at the Botanical Garden in winter or early spring when the trees are bare. On our first visit we wandered around the Chinese Garden in early April, a light dusting of snow was just magical.
Lantern festival - Each year in the fall is a fabulous lantern festival, "Gardens of Light" (Jardins de Lumiere). Walk through the gardens at dusk with the lanterns glowing and leading the way to the Dream Lake. Around and on the lake, lanterns (some over 15 feet tall) reflect over the water, creating an enchanting scene. A parent notes, “My kids loved it so much we had to go twice!”
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