Mais oui! Montreal is an ideal destination for family-friendly travel. Safe and hospitable, the city also has an approachable exotic edge, thanks to its French language and culture that is irresistible to all. Here are some of Montreal's family-friendly highlights.
The Biodôme is one of Canada's most fascinating attractions. Certain to be of interest to all ages, the massive structure hosts a collection of more than 5,000 plants and animals, and it contains four of the major ecosystems of the Americas – the tropical rainforest, the Laurentian forest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the subpolar regions. Families can travel through these diverse regions of the world while experiencing each area's unique geology, flora and fauna. The rambunctious penguins in the sub-Antarctic area are always a big hit.
Have you heard the buzz? While it may not be every adult's idea of fun, what kid doesn't like to get up close and personal with a bunch of creepy crawlies? The Insectarium is one of the largest insect attractions in the world. There are more than 250,000 species on display, so be warned parents—it's not for those who are bugged by insects! There's BuzzGround, a play area, as well as a massive ant hill behind a glass wall so kids can see how these plough horses of the bug world work. But fear not, if insects aren't your thing, the Insectarium is right next door to Montreal's popular Botanical Gardens – so you can go smell the roses while your youngsters befriend spiders.
That smile, that hair, those clothes… Yes, it's everything you ever wanted to know about that iconic doll, Barbie. Montreal is home to the world's largest Barbie museum. And don't think it's just for little girls. What grown woman doesn't look back fondly on at least one Barbie doll she shared her childhood with? And let’s face it, many boys were forced by siblings or neighbors to play with the beloved toy at least a few times in their lives. Barbie Expo features over 1,000 different Barbies, including one-of-a-kind releases and original high-fashion creations from the planet's top designers.
Montreal recently added an intriguing event to its itinerary: a scavenger hunt through the city's historic center. With some buildings dating back to the 1700s, Old Montreal was one of the first urban areas built in all North America. Your professional guide will bring the city’s fascinating and unique history to life as your family members vie to see who can correctly answer questions about Montreal's storied past. Reservations are mandatory.
What is it about pirates that makes them so intriguing to people of all ages? Head to the Old Port of Montreal to channel your inner swashbuckler. Pint-sized pirates will enjoy crawling around the 100-foot long, life-sized replicas of a pirate and a royal navy ship. This theme park features seven aerial courses and a variety of obstacle courses to test your courage and stamina, so you can see if you have what it takes to become the Captain of your own pirate ship.
While it's about an hour outside of Montreal, this ever-popular attraction is definitely worth the drive. The well-designed zoo has a bevy of beasts including meerkats, snow leopards, spider monkeys and rhinoceroses. There are ample opportunities to interact with Granby's wild denizens during the zookeeper’s presentations and animal feedings. Best of all, the whole family can cool off after a long day of walking at the Amazoo Aquatik Park (and in the winter, there's an outdoor skating rink). Check the website to get a schedule of the day's specific programs and special events.
If your kids are bundles of energy and you're looking for ways to tone down some of their joie de vivre so you can finish off the day with a slow, romantic stroll through Old Montreal, then it's La Ronde to the rescue! The area was designed as an entertainment complex for Expo 67, where Canada celebrated its centennial birthday. Today, it's the second largest amusement park in the country and features dozens of rides – including 10 different roller coasters. For those who dare, the biggest attraction is the aptly named Le Monstre, which has the not-so-parent-pleasing pleasure of being named the tallest roller coaster in the world!
*All content provided in this blog is supplied by Sandra McGregor and is for informational purposes only. Barclaycard makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.
Image credit: iStockphoto
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