Montreal Biodome building, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Top choice in Montréal

At this captivating exhibit you can amble through a rainforest, explore Antarctic islands, view rolling woodlands, take in aquatic life in the Gulf of St Lawrence, or wander along the raw Atlantic oceanfront – all without ever leaving the building. The five ecosystems house many thousands of animal and plant species; follow the self-guided circuit and you will see everything. Be sure to dress in layers for the temperature swings. You can borrow free strollers; and interactive exhibits are at small-child height.

After a 2019 makeover the space is bathed in natural light and features raised walkways. Penguins frolic in the pools a few feet away from groups of goggle-eyed children; the tropical chamber is a cross section of Amazonia with mischievous little monkeys teasing alligators in the murky waters below. The Gulf of St Lawrence has an underwater observatory where you can watch cod feeding alongside lobsters and sea urchins in the tidal pools. The appearance of the Laurentian Forest varies widely with the seasons, with special habitats for lynx, otters and around 350 bats.

The Biodôme is wildly popular, so try to visit during the week, avoiding the middle of the day if possible. Plan two hours to do it justice. You can bring a packed lunch for the picnic tables or dine in the cafeteria. In summer there are educational day camps for kids.

The Biodôme is unrelated to the Biosphère on Île Ste-Hélène.