In addition to the popular area of Old Montreal and the Old Port, families will find a cluster of attractions 4 km to the east of downtown, and easily accessed by metro.
This Space for Life cluster of attractions includes:
Montreal Biodome: This appealing attraction is housed inside a striking building, the former velodrome built during the 1976 Olympics. Visitors stroll through four different ecosystems, starting with a lush Tropical Rainforest. The Laurentian Maple Forest is the only indoor bio-display where trees actually change with the season: the maples change colour in the fall, lose their leaves, and get buds in spring (- though the winter is shortened thanks to some environmental tricks.) The Gulf of St. Lawrence area, shown above, is a fun zone to visit as both surface and underwater views are provided: kids love to see the diving ducks and egrets shoot downwards underwater. The stars of the Biodome, however, are the puffins and penguins in the Subpolar Regions.
Montreal Botanical Gardens (Les Jardins Botaniques de Montréal): Thirty themed garden areas extend over 185 acres. The gardens are beautiful to visit in summertime and include lovely pavilions in the Chinese and Japanese areas. Visitors in October, meanwhile, will find two popular attractions: the Great Pumpkin Ball and the Magic of Lanterns.)
Insectarium: located at the same site as the Botanical Gardens, this "bug museum" was a modest attraction at the time of a visit in 2010 but is undergoing a metamorphosis that is due to be fully completed in 2014 (though the attraction will be open meanwhile.) Look for ticket packages that include the Gardens, the Biodome, and the Insectarium.
Planetarium: Montreal's Planetarium is soon to have a new location adjacent to the Biodome, and a new identity as the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, opening in 2013. Expect the latest in museum design, with advanced technology and avant-garde multimedia shows.
Plan to spend a day enjoying these "Space for Life" attractions! Location is just steps from the easy-to-use metro, at the same stop as the Olympic Stadium, the Pie-IX station.
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