Visiting Montreal’s Biodome and Tower Observatory
This weekend we went to the Olympic Stadium and visited two of the most popular tourist sites in Montreal: the Biodome and the Tower Observatory.
The Biodome is a must-see for anyone visiting Montreal, even more so if you have young kids or teenagers. In it, you step into four different ecosystems of the Americas: The tropical forests of Venezuela and Brazil, The Laurentiane forest (a replica of the forests of Quebec and Ontario), the Gulf of the Saint Lawrence (covers the region from Tadoussac to the Atlantic), and the Polar regions of the Labrador coast and Sub-Antarctic islands. In these ecosystems you find animals native to the regions they represent, many roaming around freely (like the monkeys and birds) – so the Biodome is both a zoo and aquarium.
Below: Entrance to the Biodome, right next to Viau metro
Our favorite ecosystem is the tropical forest, just because it is so different from any region you have here in Quebec. You’ll first be struck by the humidity when you walk in and it won’t take you long before you start sweating – the relative humidity is set at 70% which actually represents the the dryest time of year in the Amazon. It’s lush, green, and has some beautiful birds and colourful monkeys roaming freely through the trees.
Below: A few photos from the Gulf of Saint Lawrence ecosystem.
In the Polar ecosystem:
We bought tickets that combined the Biodome, Observation tower, and Botanical gardens/insectarium. It totalled $75 for the two of us – the ticket is valid for 30 days, so you don’t have to rush to see everything at once. On this day we visited the Biodome (which you should allocated 1 1/2 to 2 hours for) and the Observation tower. I’ve been in Montreal for 27 years but I’ve never been up the tower of the Olympic Stadium. The tower is recognized by the Guiness book of records as the “tallest manmade leaning tower in the world”. It took 2 minutes to go up with the funicular. Great views.
When coming back down, at the bottom of the observation tower, we smelled chlorine. We wandered through the building and found the Stadium’s Olympic pool. We were surprised to see that the doors were open.
Above: Olympic pool. You can see the Olympic insignia at the far left.
In all, we spent almost 4 enjoyable hours visiting the above. I recommend it to anyone. As a Montrealer though, I found it left me with a heavy heart. I remember taking my son to the stadium for baseball games – my friend Chantal was the Director of Scoreboard operations for the Expos and we were often invited to the huge booth way up above 3rd base to watch games. Chantal introduced us to a few players, coaches, and radio/tv personalities. That ended in 2004 when the Expos moved to Washington. A lot of people’s lives changed then. Looking back, they were special memories.
Below: other activities that might interest you in Montreal
Getting there. It’s very easy to get to the Olympic Stadium from downtown – a 10 minute ride on the metro to the Viau station. If you’re seeing the Botanical gardens it’s closer to get off the at Pie-IX station (note: it’s pronounced as “pi-neuf”).
The Biodome is very popular with school groups, don’t be surprised if there are lots of kids if you come on a weekday.
Related: What to See and Do in Montreal
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