This nature preserve in the northwestern section of the Island of Montreal offers visitors a peaceful look at local plants and wildlife. The Parc Nature du Bois-de-Liesse, with its majestic hardwood forest, is a unique conservation park in an urban landscape. Its diverse ecosystem is home to a number of plants and animals that you can observe, including the American beaver, the map turtle and the flowering rush. In the park, the cardinal, chickadee, nuthatch and the dark-eyed juncos are also present in winter - perfect for budding birders. Visitors will have ample opportunities to observe wood ducks floundering in Bertrand Creek and on weekdays you may have this paradise to yourself and your young.
Also known as SOS Labyrinthe, it's the world's largest indoor maze - perfect for all-weather entertainment. The idea here is to solve a mystery while finding your way through an intricately designed maze. The maze features several obstacles (slides, tunnels, dead-ends, etc) that participants must climb over or under, and there are riddles along the way that participants must answer to figure out who is behind a series of art thefts and forgeries. Clever and fun for all ages. For an extra challenge, try the maze during blackout Thursdays starting at 7:30 pm. Check also for seasonal events - especially near Halloween.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: It a unique way to engage in group scavenger hunt games at reasonable prices in a historic district of Montreal.
Sherel's expert tip: Call ahead as this attraction is normally open only from the first week of May until the first of November and sometimes only weekends and holidays.
Thrills, spills and bragging rights are what it's all about on a visit to La Ronde. Part of the Six Flags family of amusement parks, the facility, opened as part of Montreal Expo '67, features 40 rides and attractions, including the Goliath, one of North America's highest and fastest roller coasters. Check the thrill rating for each ride online before you arrive. At night, the 15-story tower of Vol Ultime is illuminated by hundreds of multi-colored LED lights adding to the magic and excitement. The Vol Ultime ride offers the best views of Montreal and the surrounding areas if you can stand speeds that hit 35 miles per hour. It's easy to blow the travel budget in amusement parks so involve the whole family in the planning their own predetermined budget for park souvenirs and fast-food snacks.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: It's one of the largest amusement parks in North America.
Sherel's expert tip: La Ronde normally opens every year around mid-May so call to confirm hours and opening dates which are subject to change in the low seasons. Also, check opening and closing hours which vary by month and day.
Just because you're traveling, you don't have to abandon your usual exercise routine. Swimmers will be pleased with the Aquadome, which has two large indoor pools. You can do laps, but if you're just looking for some splashy family fun, there are several water slides as well. This place offers one of the best outings in winter, where kids can still enjoy swimming in all seasons. The admission charge is very affordable, the place is very clean, water temperature is always around 78 degrees Fahrenheit, the pools are Olympic -sized so even when it is very crowded all can enjoy. The slides are divided by age and a large water fountain keeps the kids amused.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This facility is large, very clean and provides hours of reasonably priced entertainment for kids and adults.
Sherel's expert tip: There are smaller warm water pools for toddlers too.
Located about an hour's drive southeast of Montreal, the Granby Zoo is a great day-trip destination, particularly if you have kids. Among the animals are chinchillas, poison dart frogs, stick insects, Amur leopards, capybaras, colobus monkeys, fishing cats, llamas, porcupines, kangaroos, snow leopards, meerkats, and numerous bird and reptile species. Special exhibits highlight sharks and lorikeets, and there's also a small park with rides for the kids. The waterpark features a Lazy River, the biggest wave pool in Quebec, and a children's water playground, all set within a replica of an Amazon rainforest village. Unexpected closures of certain exhibitions are not uncommon. Call before you visit.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Granby Zoo is the largest zoo closest to Montreal and includes a water park, an amusement park and a conservation program.
Sherel's expert tip: Try to visit on a weekday to cut down on driving in traffic and in spring, fall and winter, call to check which part of the zoo are open.
This nature park is also a true historical destination. Located along the Riviere des Prairies, at the very heart of the history of Sault-au-Recollet, the park offers historical elements, such as the site des Moulins ruins, the Maison du Pressoir and the Maison du Meunier. While picnicking, hiking or bike riding, discover the overflow dam waterfall of the Riviere-des-Prairies electric power station. Above all, don't forget your binoculars which you can use to observe the shorebirds, among other species. Fishing buffs can enjoy their favorite sport in the specially designated areas. In winter, make the most of the toboggan hill and the marked hiking or cross-country ski trails.
The Montreal Planetarium brings astronomy to Montrealers and visitors alike who appreciate the clear, light-pollution-free skies and the chance to handle samples of meteorites. The exhibit focuses on new events and discoveries from the past 40 years, especially in Quebec skies. The "Night Sky" is a 15-minute presentation where an astronomer points out all the major visible constellations. Exhibits focus on how astronomical phenomena may be responsible for the disappearance of some species, raising pertinent questions such as: Could we disappear? Will life continue to survive on Earth? Popular shows include "Planet 9, "Exo" and "Aurore" and allow visitors of all ages to explore the sun, planets, star clusters, star nurseries and gas clouds.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The state-of-the-art multimedia shows will keep kids enthralled and informed on all matters pertaining to planet earth's place in the solar system.
Sherel's expert tip: Afternoon visits are best as mornings are generally reserved for school groups. Best for kids over 7 but some of the films are suitable for ages 4+. Check the online schedules for film times and topics.
The Place Ville Marie Observatory offers a 360-degree view of Montreal, 607 feet above the city and a 44th-floor outdoor terrace for children to explore at will. A guide is always present to answer questions and strollers are permitted. Free audio recordings and a photography exhibit detail interesting tidbits of Montreal's history. The Observatory is especially appealing on moonlit nights and clear evenings where families can watch the sunset from the beautiful, spacious four-sided terrace over Montreal. No visit to the Observatory is complete without a stop into Les Enfants Terrible for lunch or dinner where the reasonably-priced fare offers local twists on favorite comfort foods incorporating local products from interesting new chefs in a scenic setting just below the Observatory. Fare reductions are available on adult tickets with purchases over 20.00 in the restaurant.
The Musee des Beaux-Arts, founded in 1860, is Canada's oldest museum and boasts some of the finest paintings in the country. Among its permanent holdings are artworks from Canadian artists and those created by European masters. In addition to kid-friendly programming, the museum also features native Canadian artifacts and a collection of period furnishings, along with drawings, engravings, silverware and works of art from ancient Asia, Egypt, Greece and South America. Temporary traveling exhibitions range from blockbuster shows to images from local photographers and examinations of art as a means for social and environmental change. An on-site restaurant offers a good selection of meals including a children's brunch menu.
La Grande Roue de Montreal is the tallest observation wheel in Canada - the equivalent of a 20-story building from where visitors can enjoy great views of Montreal and beyond, four seasons of the year. On a clear day, it's possible to see 28 kilometers or 17 miles away. Set on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, La Grande Roue de Montreal's 42 gondolas are specially equipped with climate-controlled cars with tempered glass windows for the best views of Old Montreal and beyond. This state-of-the-art Ferris wheel from the Netherlands with its glass floors is to Montreal what "The Eye" is to London, England.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Offers excellent views over Montreal from the comfort of climate-controlled spacious view cars similar to those found on the London Eye.
Sherel's expert tip: Book tickets in advance online as they can be used anytime. Consider the family package for two adults and two children or one adult and three children.