Kid-friendly museums in Montréal

Robyn Fadden

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.

This article was updated on January 24, 2022.

With visitors of all ages in mind, Montréal's museums constantly reinvent themselves with new multimedia exhibitions, hands-on workshops and educational activities that defy expectations. Among the many indoor activities for kids in Montréal, museums rank high, whether your kids love science, the animal world, fine arts or the thrill of stepping into the past.

 

Dig into history

An expert in creating educational exhibitions and activities for kids – and their parents! – the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, in Old Montréal, takes us back to Montréal's very beginnings in multimedia and interactive exhibitions that make history come alive. This winter, climb into a clown car, test your balance and delight at the hundreds of pieces of circus history in exhibition Its Circus time!, sail the high seas with Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers?, and even stroll through a stone sewer built in the 1830s!

Downtown's McCord Museum explores the diversity of Montréal’s history in its main exhibitions, often with interactive elements: brighten your day with radical fashion exhibition Parachute: Subversive Fashion of the ‘80s and trace the cultures of indigenous peoples in new permanent exhibition Indigenous Voices of Today: Knowledge, Trauma, Resilience

 

Step back in time

Montréal's history museums go out of their way to bring history to life for kids of all ages. In Old Montréal, the Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal opens a portal to 500 years of history, tracing the city's past in its exhibitions (including the original home of Claude de Ramezay, a Governor of Montréal in the 18th century), an engaging multimedia circuit and, in summer, a beautiful French colonial garden.

Kids can climb aboard different types of train cars and peek into railway history at Exporail / The Canadian Railway Museum – this year, the museum also features Train, a Railroad to Dreams: A World in Miniature, an exhibition of model trains with a Montréal twist. And young fashionistas can see Barbie through the decades at the free Barbie Expo downtown.

Inspire creativity

In the heart of the historic Golden Square Mile in downtown Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts masterfully curates its collections and hosts a roster of high-quality international exhibitions and workshops for all ages – the museum is also simply a magical place to explore, ranging across multiple floors and incredible buildings.

Among the current major exhibitions, How long does it take for one voice to reach another? highlights major works in the Museum's permanent collection that touch on love, loss and other emotional subjects that have affected us all over the past year, as well as Ecologies: A Song for Our Planet, the photographs of Yousuf Karsh and over 100 works by Nicolas Party. A bonus: entrance is free to those 20 and under.
 

Discover the natural world

While Montréal's hands-on science and nature museums are temporarily closed (including the Biodôme, Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, Biosphère and Montréal Science Centre), the Montréal Botanical Garden's outdoor gardens are open throughout the winter: spot birds and other wildlife along the snow-covered paths.

Also outdoors, see several of Québec's indigenous animal species in their natural habitats at the conservation-focused Ecomuseum Zoo, including wolves, hawks, caribou and other magnificent creatures at the only zoo on the island of Montréal.

 

Robyn Fadden

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.

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