Best Things to Do with Kids in Montréal

Fun things for kids to do in Montreal and beyond

Montreal offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages but is especially well known for its kid and family-friendly offerings. From swimming pools to scary mazes and giant Ferris wheels, it's all here for kids to enjoy in Montreal. Several of the options listed here cannot be found anywhere else. This list also includes activities that all family members will enjoy including art museums with special programs just for kids. In and around Montreal, kids and adults can also visit an amusement park and a zoo along with museums devoted to the natural world including a planetarium. Whatever they're into, kids are sure to find it in Montreal. Within the city limits, Montreal has a wide variety of nature parks so kids can exercise in the great outdoors while learning about the natural world first hand. If you're visiting in the winter or happen to encounter a rainy day, we've listed plenty of activities that can be enjoyed indoors, rain or shine. Throughout the year, during school break times you'll find special family programming at many museums and often free admission for kids to many of these attractions.  When choosing a destination for your next family vacation, you can't go wrong with Montreal.


Visible by night thanks to its well-lit cross, Mont-Royal designed by Olmstead of Central Park fame is filled with hiking trails, and opportunities for various outdoor activities. It is also a natural haven for local flora and fauna and rare tree species. On top of Mont Royal sits Saint Joseph's Oratory, one of the world's most visited pilgrimage centers. The basilica's dome, second only in height to Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, reaches 97 meters. Its founder, Saint Brother André, the humble doorkeeper who inspired its construction in 1904 dedicated the edifice to Saint Joseph. The shrine includes the original chapel, a votive chapel, a crypt church, and the Basilica which can accommodate over 2,200 people. The votive chapel contains personal items left behind by thankful pilgrims in memory of a claimed healing. Its pipe organs and carillon composed of 56 bells celebrate the world's great composers.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: With lots of space to run free and a small lake filled with bright orange koi fish kids can happily spend hours here.

Sherel's expert tip: On Sunday afternoons (weather permitting) come to the tam-tam near the monument to Sir George-Étienne where locals gather to play music, sing, dance and hang out.

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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: Vaccination passports required for those 13 and older.Call ahead to confirm hours as this attraction is normally open only from the first week of May until the first of November and sometimes only weekends and holidays.

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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: Reservations required. Vaccination passports mandatory for those 13 and older.Check opening and closing hours which vary by month and day.

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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.There are smaller warm water pools for toddlers too.

Sherel's expert tip: Vaccination passports required for those 13 and older. Visitors must register online before visiting.

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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: Vaccination passports required for those 13 and older.Call ahead to check which parts of the zoo are open to visitors.

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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.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: This is a four-season destination that provides hours of physical activity for kids of all ages while exploring nature up close.

Sherel's expert tip: Bring binoculars to this popular spot for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Read more about Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park →

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. Visitors of all ages can explore the sun, planets, star clusters, star nurseries and gas clouds. Special "Astro Kids" programming includes creating a Moon Phase Observation Chart recording the day-to-day evolution of the Moon's appearance and mapping of the moon's visible face. Kids will also learn to recognize the seas and major lunar craters. "Building a Colony on the Moon", "Cooking up a Comet" and "Decoding an Extraterrestrial Message" are other included activities that are proving popular with the younger set. Other exhibitions focus 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?

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The state-of-the-art multimedia shows and hands-on activities will keep kids enthralled and informed on all matters pertaining to planet earth's place in the solar system.

Sherel's expert tip: Vaccine passports are required for all visitors over 13. Check the online schedules for film times and topics.

Read more about Plan–tarium Rio Tinto Alcan →

Site of the former World's fair, Expo '67, Parc Jean Drapeau is a huge space on two islands situated in the St. Lawerence River five minutes from downtown Montreal. The park offers lots of free (and paid ) activities including an aquatic complex, multi-use cycling, and hiking trails, a beach and public art. Favorite activities here include picnicking, bird watching and touring the extensive gardens. Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards can be rented and lessons are also available. In winter, there's ice-skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing too. It's home to the OSHEAGA festival and the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: It's free for all and offers family-friendly activities in all seasons (some of these may require addtional fees).

Sherel's expert tip: Check daily opening times online before heading down. Best to travel by Metro to Jean Drapeau Station or by bike and there is a BIXI (bike-sharing station nearby).

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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.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The museum offers special programs for kids of all ages.

Sherel's expert tip: Pre book your visit online. Masks are required for all visitors. Admission is free for those under 20 and the first Sunday of every month for Quebec residents of all ages.

Read more about Mus–e des Beaux Arts de Montr–al →

Old Montreal

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: Proof of full vaccinations now required for everyone over the age of 13.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.

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Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best,, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel