Welcome to the Biodome, Montreal’s indoor five-ecosystem oasis. Odds are, you’re probably not planning to drive all the way from the Rainforests of Brazil to the Labrador Coast of Canada anytime soon. Lucky for you, both can be found under one roof in the heart of Montreal.
Growing up, the Biodome was one of my favourite places. Montreal is a short drive from where I live, so I visited a few times and was super excited to have the opportunity to revisit this incredible place!
The Montreal Biodome is CLOSED until December 2019
Here are some other ideas for your Montreal visit!
- 3 Days in Montreal Itinerary
- Things to do Montreal in Winter
- The Best of Old Montreal
- Exploring Mile End Montreal on a Food Tour
Conservation of Plants and Animals
The Biodome focuses of education, conservation, and research. What does that mean, exactly, and how is the Biodome contributing to the world and wildlife protection in a positive way?
Here’s an example. I learned that quite a few animals who call the Montreal Biodome home are part of conservation programs. The Golden Lion Tamarin Monkey (pictured below) is one example. The population of these little guys dropped below 150 in 1969. Today, there are around 4,000 thanks to places like the Biodome.
500 live in captivity, and this is essential to preserving the species. Deforestation destroyed many areas that these monkeys used to live in. Research teaches us how to best protect the species, and education for the general public reminds us that deforestation does have a direct impact on animals that we love! *Hint hint, recycling is important.*
Over 200 species of animals (and many more species of plant) live in the Biodome. They’re being well cared for and protected, and in some cases only exist today because of conservation efforts.
Inside the Montreal Biodome
The Biodome is made up of 5 unique ecosystems. When it first opened 25 years ago, the ecosystem concept was totally new. It’s definitely caught on since then!
Start off in the Tropical Rainforest, home to our above-mentioned monkey friends and many other animals that you have to keep your eyes peeled for.
From there, move in to the Laurentian Maple Forest. This is a typical Canadian ecosystem, that feels a lot like hiking in one of the trails near where I live. If you want to see the otters playing on their slide, go here first thing in the morning and then backtrack to the Tropical Rainforest afterwards. Otters typical play themselves out first thing in the morning, then go down for a nap. (Which is also adorable, so it all works out!)
The Saint Lawrence Gulf Coast is home to fish of all sizes and a few stingrays, and you can see them from underwater and from up above. When I visited there was also a stand about how to identify edible berries in the while. I honestly couldn’t tell one from the other, but I promise that I have many other skills that make me a valuable zombie-apocalypse team member.
Last but not least, the Labrador Coast and Sub-Antarctic Islands. These ecosystems are home to happy puffins, and a variety of penguin species. One of the species of penguins can swim at speeds of up to 36 km/h. I sat watching them play for who-knows-how-long, because it’s actually incredible impressive how fast they whoosh past.
Tips for Visiting the Montreal Biodome
The Biodome is nice way to spend a morning, and it let’s you get a feel for different ecosystems around Canada. This is particularly valuable if you’re not planning to spend months driving across this absolutely massive country. See some of beloved species in landscapes all in one place!
- How much time to spend at the Montreal Biodome. The Biodome only takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to enjoy. Walking distance from the Biodome are the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Planetarium, and the Insectarium. I’ve visited all except the Planetarium. The Insectarium is another short visit, while the Botanical Gardens takes hours to explore. If it’s nice out, head over there next.
- Visiting if you don’t have children. You guessed it – this is huge family attraction. Children love the Biodome, almost as much as I do. If you prefer to avoid large swarms of children, your best bet is actually to visit on the weekend. Strange but true! On weekdays, you’re likely to find yourself surrounded by summer camps, class field trips, and all that fun stuff. Get there right at opening on a weekend, and it’ll still be busy, but not overflowing.
- How to get to the Biodome. We used the Bixi bike system and paths to ride to the Biodome from our hotel in Old Montreal. It took about 45 minutes (so you have to stop and switch bikes halfway through) and the ride went through some lovely neighbourhoods. Uber works in Montreal, and there’s also a subway system.
- Here’s a funny tip; If you stand still for a little while, you’ll almost always end up with an area to yourself. Visitors tend to move in waves through the Biodome, so if you plant yourself in one place, or back track a little, you’ll usually end up with a couple minutes of just you and the ecosystem of your choice.
Have you been to Montreal? Does the Biodome sound interesting to you? Let me know!
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Thanks to Escape Pour la Vie for inviting me to the Biodome! Opinions and ideas are my own.