Montréal Spring Break activities for families
Spring Break happens near the end of winter here in Montréal, March 4-11, so kids can slide down snowy hills and ice skate, discover nature’s wonders at the Space For Life, play games indoors and stay active and entertained with all kinds of special Spring Break activities.
Activities for the whole family
By early March, there's still time to enjoy classic Montréal winter activities, from sledding on the Mountain to bird watching at the Botanical Garden and ice skating next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Natrel Skating Rink or next the Olympic Stadium at the V Winter Village, featuring extra activities during Spring Break. Downtown sparkles with winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, Feb. 22 to March 4: enjoy excellent food, culture activities, the Art Souterrain exhibitions and a free outdoor site at Place des Festivals, where everyone can ride a Ferris wheel, go ice sliding, roast marshmallows and play with the high-tech ILLUMINART projections. Stay out past bedtime during epic all-nighter Nuit Blanche on March 3, with activities for all ages in venues across the city. Among the many free things to do this winter in Montréal, play video and board games in a fun atmosphere during Montréal Joue, Feb. 24 to March 11. Wow the kids with a bird's eye view of Montréal from the top of the Montréal Tower at Olympic Stadium, on the tallest observation wheel in the country La Grande Roue de Montréal or from 46 floors above downtown at the Observatoire Place Ville Marie.
Toddlers, pre-schoolers and beyond
A wild experience for all ages, the Space For Life museums bring a global bounty of natural wonders into the city. Thrill younger kids with the hundreds of butterflies, moths and caterpillars at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event, Feb. 22 to April 29. Identify insects at the Insectarium and explore the mysteries of the universe in exhibitions and immersive films at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Meanwhile at the Ecomuseum Zoo, spot over a hundred animals native to Québec – like bears, otters, wolves, hawks and caribou – in large outdoor spaces and an indoor area too, and be a zookeeper for a day during Spring Break. Kids can climb aboard historic locomotives and hear stories all about trains at the Exporail museum. Take playtime up a notch at indoor parks just for kids: 1 et 1 font trois in Hochelega, Bouge Petit Café on Papineau, not far from central Montréal find Kazoom Café, Kidzilla Fun and Ubisoft-run play centre Rabbids, while just off the island of Montréal kids run free at WooHoo!, Funtropolis and Zig Zag Zoo. And pick up the best Montréal bagels for a snack on the go.
Elementary school kids
Outdoors, try ice skating and snow-shoeing or just play in the playgrounds of Parc La Fontaine, Mount-Royal Park and Jarry Park. Along with the Pointe-à-Callière museum's kid-friendly exhibitions Pirates or Privateers? and Passion: Hockey comes a week of free Spring Break activities outdoors, including hockey and lacrosse for the whole family. Or skate indoors at Atrium le 1000 downtown and go swimming and bounce around in the aquatic playground at the huge Olympic Pool. Beyond the city centre explore nature at beautiful Parc-natures like Boise-de-Liesse, Pointe-aux-Prairies, l’Île-de-La-Visitation and Cap-Saint-Jacques. And be sure to visit a cabane à sucre for a traditional Québécois meal and sleigh ride during the late-winter and early-spring sugar shack season.
Shows and museums
Among the many indoor family activities in Montréal throughout the year, this spring's signature circus show Coups de Coeur thrills Feb. 22 to March 4 at La Tohu circus centre, Montréal International Children's Film Festival sparks young minds March 3-11, kids’ favourite Disney characters put on skates for Disney on Ice’s Dare to Dream show at the Bell Centre March 7-11, and clown, juggler and comic acrobat Jamie Adkins performs A Fool’s Errand at Place des Arts March 6-10. Join free Spring Break workshops and tours among other special activities at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts or the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, while at the McCord Museum you can go on a Topsy-Turvy Storyland adventure and the Stewart Museum in Parc Jean-Drapeau offers indoor games and outdoor curling over the break. The Montréal Science Centre is a must for educational entertainment, from their interactive Indigenous Ingenuity and Human exhibitions to big-screen adventures in the IMAX® Telus Theatre. And budding fashionistas will love seeing Barbie as herself and as celebrities through the decades at the Barbie Museum downtown.
Pre-teens and teens
Rock climbing is a physical challenge and a mental workout no matter what your age – let kids scale the walls at Centre d'Escalade Horizon Roc indoor climbing centre, featuring special spring break activities for kids as well as the Acro∞Parc high-ropes obstacle course and 25-metre zip line for ages 8 and up. Climb into the cockpit of the Aerosim Expérience full-scale flight simulator and fly around the world for a while. Or find out what it’s like to jump out of a plane at indoor wind tunnel SkyVenture Montréal. Catch some serious air with every jump at state-of-the-art trampoline park iSaute. The Saint Lawrence River rapids may still be frozen, but the waves never stop at indoor surfing centre Oasis Surf. For teens with a need for speed, race over to Action 500 Karting & Paintball, the largest indoor go-cart centre and paintball arena in Canada, or Vortex Racing where racing simulators offer up to 2.5 Gs of force. See how video game skills transfer into real life accuracy at massive bowling, billiards and laser tag centre Boulz Eye and downtown’s laser-tag lair Laser Quest. Experience how combat meets archery in an intense game of DodgeBow or learn how to fight like a Jedi at The Force Academy. Play glow-in-the-dark mini-golf at Putting Edge or opt for sports of a different stripe at the Ministry of Cricket & Other Homeless Sports. Engage in some serious mind games as you work together to get out of tricky scenarios at A/Maze Montréal, Missions Morpheus, Échappe-Toi Montréal and Escaparium escape games. And when the day is done, refuel at these great family-friendly restaurants.
Robyn Fadden, blogger
Robyn Fadden is a Montréal-based writer and editor who searches out city secrets, new bands, life-changing art and things to do with her perpetually active kid. Robyn has covered major events for HOUR, MUTEK, ARTINFO, CKUT 90.3FM and more.