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The Insider Guide to the Montréal Biodôme

By LAURA PELLERINE

Photo: oijulia

One of Quebec’s most popular attractions, the Biodôme is the only place in the world that brings together four ecosystems from the Americas under one roof.

Get the most out of your visit with these 11 insider tips:

1. Time it right. The Biodôme gets insanely busy: go on weekday afternoons—the “slow” periods—if you’re concerned about crowds. If you’re planning a season to visit, autumn might be the prettiest time to see the Laurentian Maple Forest, due to the fall foliage. If fawning over fledgling penguins is your thing, go in March or early April (they hatch in January, but aren’t on display until March).

2. Go by Metro. There’s parking on site, but at $10 you might want to take the Metro; get off at the Viau station.

Golden lion tamarin (Photo: if-by-whisky)

3. See what others don’t. The Hyacinth macaw, Goeldi’s monkey, and the golden lion tamarin are endangered species and part of the Biodome’s conservation program—bring a pair of binoculars to ensure a good view when they’re not close by. Also, buy the $1 museum guide with illustrations of where animals can be found—it’s worth it and it makes a great souvenir.

4. Warm up in winter. The Tropical Rainforest is a perfect escape on cold or gloomy days with its temperatures ranging between 25°C and 28°C, palm trees and lots of natural and artificial sunlight.

5. Don’t check your coat. The Laurentian Maple Forest, with sugar maples and birch trees that change with the seasons, simulates the season outside. (Temperatures never drop below 0°C, however.)

6. Be wary of birds. The highlight of the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence ecosystem is the underwater exhibit: hundreds of fish swimming in 2.5 million litres of water. When on the second level looking at the fish from the “pier,” be aware that there are birds flying overhead, so look out for “surprises.”

7. Know the best times for animal spotting. Throughout the Biodôme, animals are most active early in the morning (9–10 am) and at the end of the day (4–5 pm). A favourite of the Polar World are the four species of penguins—see them eat at 10:45 am and 2:30 pm.

Penguins in the Polar World ecosytem (Photo: Márcio Cabral de Moura)

8. Ask the experts. Feel free to walk up to an interpreter (you can identify them by their explorer hats) and ask them for more information about the animals or plants.

9. Tips for kids. The Naturalia room is a space where children and the young at heart can touch plants and animals. A two-week kids’ camp is offered in summer (French only) and sleepovers are scheduled throughout the year.

10. More not to miss:

  • the gift shop: look for the Lego-inspired jewellery and great books and toys
  • International Contest Featuring Toys Made from Recycled Materials exhibit, on display until March 16

11. Extra credit. If you’ve got the time, you can keep sightseeing at the adjacent Montréal Insectarium and Montréal Botanical Garden. A Nature Pass will get you into all three for $31.50.

Details:
Montréal Biodôme
4777 Pierre-De Coubertin Ave.
514-868-3000
Early Sept.–late June, Tues.–Sun. 9–5; late June–early Sept., daily 9–6
$17.75 adults, $9 children, free for ages 4 and under (discount applies for Quebec residents)

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