Updated February 24, 2016
Please see our festivals page for dates of the many other festivals in the Montreal area.
Also see the city site's portal page of all its activities for kids.
The Biodome, Planetarium, Botanical Gardens and Insectarium are all located around the Espace pour la vie (Space for life) in the Olympic Park and can be seen conveniently on a single visit. Consult the website for package deals on entrance fees. Adjacent to the Botanical Garden is Maisonneuve Park, a large green space with plenty of room for a picnic or just a pleasant walk (or cross-country-skiing and snowshoeing, in wintertime).
This magnificent garden includes Chinese, Japanese and First Nations gardens, greenhouses, a touch garden with braille labels for the blind, alpine garden, arboretum and more. There are day camp activities for different age groups all summer. These activities are in French only and are ongoing, requiring registration – there isn't anything specifically for tourist children passing through.
In early spring, butterflies are set free to roam around inside the biggest greenhouse. In autumn, throughout September and October, the Chinese garden is lit with thousands of lanterns and is a very popular evening visit. Winter brings Christmas decor and choral concerts to the greenhouses.
If you're a Montreal resident you can get the Accès Montréal card for $8 yearly which offers discounts on entry fees for these installations and many other local services and attractions.
Four eco-zones: tropical forest, Laurentian forest, polar world and St. Lawrence marine ecosystem. Essentially, this is an indoor zoo.
4777 av. Pierre de Coubertin
9 a.m.-5 p.m. (summer closing 6 p.m.)
Rates vary and can include package deals with the Botanical Garden, Planetarium, Insectarium and Olympic tower.
The Biodome is scheduled to be closed from September 2016 till December 2017 for a major renovation. If you've been putting off visiting, maybe you should drop by in summer 2016.
A bug's world. Popular field trip for schools.
4581 Sherbrooke East (inside the Botanical Garden)
Metro Viau or Pie-IX
The Insectarium is inside the Botanical Garden and access is included with some Botanical Garden tickets. The building is scheduled for a major renovation and expansion starting in 2018.
Opened in April 2013, the Planetarium has two separate theatres as well as exhibits on space and astronomy.
The Montreal Science Centre is located in the Quais of the Old Port, which has many other summer features like bicycle, quadricycle, Segway and inline skate rentals, an urban beach (no water access), boat rides, food trucks, the Amphi-Bus, an outdoor skating rink in winter (with ice skate rental), and ethnic and other festivals throughout the summer.
Science displays and IMAX cinema. Adult access to exhibits is $20 and it's less for kids and seniors – the website has the full price list and various deals.
King Edward Pier in the Old Port, at the foot of Saint-Laurent Blvd.
The Expo 67 islands in the St. Lawrence are the site of adult attractions like the Casino and auto racing on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – site of the Grand Prix du Canada in June – but they also contain acres of parkland, La Ronde, the Biosphere and a public beach. They're also the site of the annual winter Fête des neiges festival in January.
Big traditional amusement park now operated by Six Flags: games and rides, fireworks festival in June and July. Seasonal.
Metro Jean-Drapeau or bus 767
Website has details on schedules and rates
Interactive exhibitions and multimedia presentations about water and ecosystems inside the geodesic dome on Île Sainte-Hélène.
160 chemin Tour-de-l'Île, Île Sainte-Hélène
In 2013 there was news that the Biosphere museum would be closed, but the website now says "the museum is still open to the general public, and will remain so." The building itself, originally the U.S. pavilion from Expo 67, is worth a visit to see the massive geodesic dome and for the views of the surrounding river and the city.
Grande bibliothèque (big library)
The Grande bibliothèque on Berri has a spacious children's section below street level. There are spring break events and a summer day camp. Any resident of Quebec can join the library for free. Events are all in French, but some books and materials are in English and parts of the website are available in English.
475 de Maisonneuve E. at Berri
takes place from February 27-March 6 in 2016 to coincide with many students' spring break. Some films are in French and some in English.
is a May festival of live shows for younger children, all in French.
English-language professional theatre for young audiences, both classics and new scripts staged regularly downtown for families and school groups. 514 845-9810.
Films accompanied by talks about other countries and their cultures. In French only. Downtown Montreal events are held at the Salle Pierre-Mercure, 300 de Maisonneuve East, but shows are also held elsewhere in the Montreal area and throughout Quebec and New Brunswick.
See website for schedules and rates
Aquadôme and public swimming pools
Municipal pools are listed by borough on the city site.
Tour boat company offers different kinds of river trips during the summer season.
Rafting and jet-boating (minimum age 6) over the rapids of the St. Lawrence River. Summer only.
The West Island
Cap Saint-Jacques park, the Ecomuseum and the Morgan Arboretum are located fairly close together. Technically accessible by public transit, they're a long haul from downtown.
Insect repellent is recommended in mosquito season – i.e., late spring to midsummer.
The Ecomuseum is a private, non-profit, 11.3-hectare educational wildlife park where you can observe and study indigenous fauna and flora in their natural habitats.
21125 Chemin Ste-Marie, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue
9 a.m. to 5 p.m every day except Christmas
Adults $15, seniors $12, ages 3-15 $9
Pets are not admitted.
Trees and wildlife. Cross-country skiing trails in season.
150 chemin des Pins, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day
Adults $6, seniors $4, children $3-$4.
Website has details on how to get there. Dogs restricted.
Beach in summer, cross-country ski trails in winter. Organic farm, lots of green space for hiking, cycle paths, two historic houses.
20,099 Gouin Blvd. West, Pierrefonds
Bus 68 (but unless you live in that direction, it's a long, long ride).
A number of major parks are located in different parts of the Island of Montreal and all offer picnic spots, cycling, walking, cross-country skiing in season, nature observation, and various seasonal events scheduled throughout the year.
The closest provincial park to Montreal, the Îles de Boucherville are accessible via the L-H-Lafontaine tunnel by car, and by ferry from east-end Promenade Bellerive in summertime. They offer trails for walkers and cyclists through fields and woods and even a few farms.
Atrium Le 1000 de la Gauchetière
Has a year-round indoor skating rink which rents out skates and has various admission deals – see their website.1000 de la Gauchetière West
is an indoor karting track in east-end Montreal that allows anyone over 3'6" (106 cm) to drive a kart, and allows shorter kids to ride with an adult. They also have a paintball area.
Also in Laval at 2025 Autoroute 440
Both locations open 24/7
is at the corner of Decarie and de la Savane. Their limit is 4'4" (132 cm) and/or 8 years old.
Hockey, soccer and football games
The event, held on September 25 in 2016, includes, besides the main race, a "p'tit marathon" of 1 km for younger kids and a 5 km run for students, and other shorter-length trials.
Museum activities for kids
Some of Montreal's museums have day camps, workshops and school outing possibilities for kids.
- The Musée d'art contemporain offers a day camp during spring break.
- The McCord Museum of Canadian History offers family activities, including workshops and special arrangements for birthday parties.
- The Pointe-à-Callière museum has an education section listing day camp and other activities for kids.
- The Cosmodôme in Laval has space-focused day camps for different age groups.
Simulation of the freefall experience.
2700, avenue du Cosmodôme, Laval
Exporail Canadian railway museum
The Exporail railway museum in Saint-Constant on the south shore has a large collection of train-related exhibits and has special events throughout the year.
110, rue Saint-Pierre, Saint-Constant
Re-creation of Canadian homestead life in the 1860s.
13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg ON K0C 1X0
A modest-sized zoo with more than a thousand species on display. Adjacent to it is the Amazoo water park.
1050, boul. David-Bouchard, Granby, QC
Park presenting technology and technological history with emphasis on hydroelectric power stations. River cruises and other tours.
Hydro-Quebec's museum about electricity generation.
2001, boul. Michael-Faraday, Sainte-Julie
Water slides galore.
350 rue Saint-Denis, Saint-Sauveur
Water slides, a beach, picnic areas.
322 Montée de la Baie, Pointe-Calumet