Friday, June 28, 2013

Escape to Montreal, la deuxième partie

Cocktail Friday will have to wait till tomorrow. It's been a very busy week and there's been little cocktailing going on around here. But I have a recipe Grandma C&G emailed to me that I need Mr. C&G to try out so I'll have that for you tomorrow.

On our last trip to Montreal we weren't able to visit two of our favorite places, the Biodôme and the Insectarium in the Olympic Park. A civic workers strike closed the complex for six months during prime tourist season, March until December, in 2010. Some renovations were made during the break and they reopened with updated exhibits and new baby penguins (I guess it was a very productive strike). This past April a brand new Planetarium opened in Olympic Park and it's at the top of Little C&Gs must see list.

The Biodôme contains four ecosystems all under one roof. The tropical rainforest is very cool to see in this northern city, while the maple forest and the gulf of St. Lawrence look a little more like home for us Mainers. The sub-polar ecosystem is home to everybody's favorite animals, the popular penguins. On our last visit to the Biodôme Little C&G was still in a stroller and promptly fell asleep as soon as we paid our fare and crossed into the tropical rainforest. Not even the screeching monkeys or the high humidity of the rainforest could wake him.

The new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is next to the Biodôme, and with it's futuristic design you won't miss it. Exhibits explore our search for life out in the universe, along with two different planetarium shows in their state of the art theater.

A fifteen minute walk across the park will bring you to the Insectarium, North America's largest insect museum (yuck). With over 160,000 different specimens of creepy crawly things it would be a huge hit with the little C&Gs. I, however, would definitely sit that one out. I'd happily wait for them in the "Buzzground" playground or the nearest cocktail bar.

Also nearby is the beautiful Botanical Gardens, with plenty of blooms to check out indoors and out. This summer the Gardens are hosting outdoor sculptures made entirely of various plants and flowers.

The Olympic Park area is very easy to get to on the Metro, Station Pie-IX and Station Viau are on either side of the park. If animals, bugs, and botanicals aren't your thing there are plenty of other activities to check out in the Olympic Park. You won't miss the giant tower complex, which you can ride up for a panoramic view of Montreal and the St. Lawrence valley. Or to take a swim in the sports center, check out their schedule online. I'll get to the great food and cocktails of this chic city in my next Montreal post, so stay tuned.

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