As a Francophile, Montreal had always been on my short list of places to visit in North America. I liked knowing there was a place on this continent where I could immerse myself in the French language.
Our family traveled there recently, and I was not disappointed! My kids and I were able to practice our French, but most locals spoke both English and French, which my husband appreciated. We knew there would be more to see in Montreal than we could fit into our three-night stay there, but we packed a lot into our trip. Our kids had a hard time choosing which of these destinations was their favorite – just one more sign of a great trip! Here are three must-see Montreal attractions for kids.
WHAT TO DO IN MONTREAL, CANADA WITH KIDS
The Biodome is a small zoo that features the different ecosystems of the Americas. There are several exhibits specific to Canada, like the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Laurentian Maple Forest. Our kids’ favorite was the penguin and puffin exhibit because there were so many different birds to watch in close proximity.
I enjoyed the open-air rain forest exhibit, where there are no barriers between visitors and the exhibit’s inhabitants, which include multiple species of primates, many types of birds, and supposedly seven sloths (they were hiding). I imagine this warm exhibit is quite popular in the middle of a Montreal winter!
2. RIO TINTO ALCAN PLANETARIUM
We didn’t spend a lot of time here, but astronomy lovers could easily spend a whole day poring over the exhibits and watching the shows. We all enjoyed the 20-minute show We Are Stars where visitors can choose to sit in Adirondack chairs or in over-sized beanbag chairs in the center of the room. The bean bags were really comfortable, but some of our group had a little motion-sickness afterwards. We also watched One Day on Mars, but collectively felt it wasn’t as interesting as the first show.
There may be different double features available during your visit. Check the show times on the website as the shows are offered in both English and French.
Visitors can walk a short distance from the Biodome and Planetarium to the Insectarium which is located inside the Botanical Gardens. I was pleasantly surprised by the expansive collection of live insects. Several of the exhibits were unlike anything I have seen before. We especially enjoyed the open-air leaf-cutter ants exhibit where you walk under the stick bridge they use to transport their leaf-cuttings. Not for arachnophobics, the Insectarium will captivate most kids at its incredible variety of bugs on display. Truly remarkable!
All of these museums are in close proximity to one another and are all accessible from the Viau metro stop. There are several different packages available to purchase in advance online. We chose the Space for Life package, which allows you to come and go between all of the museums in one day. It also allowed us to attend the Jardin des Lumières (Garden of Lights) exhibit that evening, which is definitely worth a wander.
Sports enthusiasts might be interested to know that the Olympic Park of Montreal and the Montreal Tower are located right next to the museums. Visitors can ascend to the top of the tower in a funicular to capture some amazing views of Montreal and the St. Lawrence River. You can also purchase combo tickets on the Espace website above.
WHERE TO STAY IN MONTREAL
We chose to stay at Hilton Garden Inn Montreal Centre-Ville because it is adjacent to Old Montreal and less expensive than other options. The hotel has a fitness center and a pool AND is just a few blocks from a metro station. We managed to walk or use the metro exclusively during our stay, no car necessary. See all of the Hilton hotels in Montreal.
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.