Family Attractions in Montreal

Montreal draws visitors from around the globe through all four seasons. This family friendly capital of Quebec has more to offer than you could enjoy in one trip. That’s why so many people make an annual visit. Whether you are here in the winter enjoying the Snow Festival or during the summer for Montreal’s International Fireworks Festival, there is no doubt that you’ll be astonished at the city’s beauty, friendliness and number of family attractions.

Montreal Planetarium (Planetarium De Montreal) is the largest planetarium in all of Canada. The three major shows each day, The Sky This Month, Main Exhibit and Feature Show all deal with new discoveries and events from the past 40 years. For an added bonus there is a new show, Extinctions, which shows how some earth species may have taken place through astronomical phenomena. Extinctions is scheduled for 2:30 PM every afternoon. Just for Children, the planetarium offers “The Quest for Galactium,” where kids ages 7 and up can explore the Milky Way.

The Snow Festival (or Winter Festival) is totally family orientated. If your looking for a cool winter family vacation destination look no further than Montreal and their Snow Festival. The festival lasts from January’s last Saturday until the second Sunday in February. Enjoy the beautiful views of Montreal as the family ice skates along an icy path beside the St. Lawrence. Play hockey or tube down the fourteen tubing slopes. Kids, ages 5 to 8 are offered free beginning ski instructions with all their ski equipment provided free. And finally, take a family sleigh ride at Parc Jean-Drapeau to complete your day.

Insectarium Montreal is a joy for kids who are mesmerized by the insect world. It’s a complete insect museum with both live and dead specimens. They’ll marvel at the live displays of tarantulas and scorpions. There are butterflies from around the world with a location map that shows just where, in the world, they can be found in their natural habitat. The whole family will enjoy learning the importance of insects on earth.

St. Leonard Cavern is estimated to be 15,000 years old. Take the 90-minute guided tour, which includes a slide show and interesting scientific information, but they are so busy during the summer that you will need to make reservations. This natural underground cave is 35-feet long and as deep as 8-feet at some locations.

Horizon Roc is a great place for the kids to burn off some of that extra energy as they climb and swing on the Tarzan Swings. There is lots of supervision to make sure the kids are safe and secure. Interesting surfaces for climbing take in mind all ages (3 and up) and climbing abilities. There are also two mezaines where you can keep an eye on your brood from above. And there’s free parking.

Just for Laughs Festival includes gala performances, comedy films, theater shows and open air venues. Every summer 14 countries comprised of over 700 artists work hard over eleven days to keep over 2 million people laughing. Although this event is fun for the whole family there are some evening events that are not appropriate for the under 16 age group. This is the largest festival of it’s kind in the world.

Montreal Bio Dome is home to four different ecosystems. This ecological zoo and science center is home to a lush tropical forest and polar worlds of the arctic and Antarctic. Their “Birdfest” is offered in April and they have a new attraction called “Moonlit Evening.” Especially for kids, ages 6 to 12 the bio dome offers “Nature Missions” which is an hands-on, interactive exhibit. Everyone will enjoy learning more about the plants and animals of the bio domes.

Montreal International Jazz Festival is a great Montreal destination for music lovers and families with teens. Although during this festival there is jazz being played throughout the city, there is a specific 5-block location that centralizes the Jazz Festival. The outdoor venues are all free to any who pass by and enjoy the music. There are also indoor performances that can be enjoyed for a fee. Have lunch or dinner outdoors and one of the many restaurants while you enjoy the jazz. Many CD’s featuring playing artists can be purchased very reasonably. So, if you hear someone you really enjoy you can take the music with you on the rest of your trip.

Mount Royal Park seems to be located in the heavens as you stand at the observation point and see the panoramic view of Montreal. If the kids want to take a closer look they can use one of the coin-operated telescopes. Take the drive up and park for a small fee while you enjoy the view. Or, if you are an athletic family, hike up to the top of the hill on foot. The park is called the “Jewel of Montreal” and you will see why when you visit. There’s plenty of room to picnic, take a jog and in the winter time you can ice skate and cross country ski.

Granby Zoo, located right off of highway 10, it’s a convenient stop over and a fun experience for the whole family. It’s just the right size so that the entire zoo can be viewed in a single day. Visit Misha, a four-year-old, zoo born tiger, Leo the western low-land gorilla who weighs in at 337 pounds and Kisumu, the 1993 Christmas baby giraffe who weighs over a ton. In addition the Granby Zoo offers an amusement park full of fun rides such as the Anaconda Roller Coaster, bumper cars, train and Ferris wheel to name a few.

Montreal Botanical Gardens is comprised of an extensive green house with plants from around the world as well as numerous outdoor themed gardens. The budding botanist in the family will find a scientific enjoyment to this expedition and the rest of the family will enjoy the natural surroundings. The gardens opened in 1931 during the height of the great depression. As the family peruses through the Chinese Garden, Japanese Garden, Alpine Garden and The First Nations Garden they will likely see many plants they had never imagined before. Everyone will be surprised by the beauty in the Orchids and Aroids Conservatory.