Sunday, July 7, 2013

Friday Adventures in Montreal - The Biodome

One of the things I promised my kids this summer was that we would finally explore Montreal. We have been here for three years in August, but it has been a very busy time full of babies and job changes and studies. My oldest son loves exploring and adventures, including the traffic jams and getting lost and ending up somewhere different than you intended. This is good, because when you go places with me, this happens a lot.

In any case, in our weekly schedule (I might do a post about that too later) we have made Friday "Adventure Day". I will try to keep up with them on this blog as best I can.

This weekend is the Jazz Festival in Montreal, but I didn't feel up to taking four kids by myself to such an open area, so we opted for the Biodome. (Tip for Montrealers: if you go down to the basement and buy a year family pass, its only a little more than one regular family admission and you get full year access, plus free entrance to the Planetarium in November.) The Biodome is part of Olympic Park, which is across town from us, so we started the day with a big adventure on the bus, then the metro (the subway).
The three older kids loved the metro. Owen was not happy with riding on my back for 30 min. of underground.
Here is the Biodome - I love the Modernist concrete architecture around here (plus a Silvercity, of course). Is it just me, or is there something really Canadian about random, optimistic concrete structures? Two out of the three universities I attended were also full on Modernist concrete. I think it must have just been that everything was booming in the 70s.
But I digress. Here we are getting off the subway. The photo below is a great photo of me but not so good of Owen - have I mentioned that I got a haircut? I did. And I finally found a good hairdresser. Hooray!
In typical toddler style, Owen's favorite part of the Biodome was the puddles outside.
I love the colours and design in this poster (La Presse is the French Language daily newspaper in Quebec). I know, I'm such a quilt nerd.
When we got there, we had to wait in a giant line up, as it was Friday and the week of the Jazz festival and there were tourists everywhere. It was real fun with four small children. Fortunately banana bread came to my rescue - I had a whole loaf in my bag and we nibbled away at it while we waited.
In typical Jill fashion, we got all the way to the end of the line only to discover that you buy the year long passes down by the coat check - where there is abseloutely no line.

The Biodome is pretty cool. They have reconstructed a tropical rainforest, a maple forest, the Saint Laurence salt water coastline and the arctic. You can walk through and watch all the animals in their semi-natural environment.  My favorite feature is that under the habitats they have water tanks, so you can see the fish and beavers and things as well as the above ground action. There is also a beaver cam and a lynx cam, so you can still see them if they are in their dens. Things like that always amuse me.

 Of course at this point my camera ran out of batteries, but I did get a shot of the turtles in the rainforest.
And at the very end, my kids' favorites - penguins. When Emma saw these she yelled, "Wow! Penguins really DO exist!". Again you can see in the water, too, so you can watch the penguins swim by.
In the lobby there is presently a display of cool birdhouses - this mosaic-ed one was my favorite.
After our tour of the Biodome we went to the Naturarium, a kids' room full of hands on nature props, microscopes with things to look at under them, and old stuffed animals. It was well worth the visit, and  I'm happy we have the year long pass, as some of the animals were sleeping or had just had babies.

We then did the whole metro / bus trip again, which went just fine. All in all, a successful first adventure. It really is nice to have kids at an age where these sorts of things are actually fun - not just a huge headache for me. I really do enjoy older kids.

So, hopefully I'll keep you updated on our summer adventures.

Oh, and my husband is mending up fine. I'm still on duty for most of the house / kids stuff, but at least he can do things for himself now.

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