Indoor family activities in Montréal
When you’re travelling with your kids, indoor-fun options are a must no matter what the season. Montréal saves the day with all kinds of activities, from adventurous physical feats to skill-testing games and educational entertainment.
Fun and games
If you’re out and about exploring sights and museums downtown, take a play-break at the Montréal Forum’s bowling alley, games centre and billiards room or catch a film at the multiplex. Stretch your legs at year-round indoor skating rink Atrium Le 1000, go swimming and bounce around in the aquatic playground at the huge Olympic Pool or play glow-in-the-dark mini-golf at Putting Edge. There's more fun in the dark at Laser Quest's high-energy games of hit-or-miss. Combat meets archery in an intense game of DodgeBow. Kids of all ages are welcome to navigate the obscure mazes at Laser Game Evolution. And bowl, play pool or aim to win at the largest multi-level laser tag arena in Québec, Boulzeye.
Engage in some serious mind games as you work together to get out of tricky scenarios at A/Maze Escape Game, where reality-based tests—from a prison break to an alien maze, plus an interactive game with actors—challenge each team to come up with solutions in a white-knuckle countdown. Get into more exciting problem-solving and code-cracking fun with the cinema-inspired Missions Morpheus escape games and the mysterious scenarios at “Emporium of Escapism” Escaparium. And less tense but just as fun, find your way through the Old Port's SOS Labyrinthe in the daytime.
Explore the planet and beyond
No matter what their age, kids will be wowed by the wonders of the outside world indoors at Space for Life, where the secret life of insects comes to light at the Insectarium, the vastness of the universe is within reach at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and tropical weather never ends at the Botanical Garden Greenhouse. Over at Parc Jean-Drapeau, tour the geodesic dome of the Biosphère environment museum and learn about local history at the Stewart Museum. And indoors and outdoors at the Ecomuseum Zoo, spot over a hundred animals native to Québec – like bears, otters, wolves, hawks and caribou.
Climb the walls
If you’re a family who thrives on physical challenges, reach new heights at indoor rock climbing gym Horizon Roc Climbing Centre, with dozens of top-rope climbing and rope-free bouldering routes, short intro-to-climbing classes for all ages. Horizon Roc also features the Acro∞Parc high-ropes obstacle course and 25-metre zip line for ages 8 and up. Refuel at these great family-friendly restaurants.
Geek out with the gang
Got budding or full-fledged geeks in your gang? Then a trip to the Montréal Science Centre is a must for interactive educational entertainment, from hands-on creativity labs to giant-screen adventures in the IMAX® Telus Theatre. History buffs will love the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of History and Archaeology's Pirates or privateers? and Archaeo-Adventure interactive exhibitions. Learn how to wield a lightsaber and fight like a Jedi at The Force Academy or book a game of Quidditch, cricket, soccer, archery-battle, nerf-battle and more at The Ministry of Cricket & other homeless sports. Kids can climb aboard historic locomotives and hear stories all about trains at the Exporail museum. Young fashionistas can see Barbie through the decades at the Barbie Museum downtown. And in October, KidCon brings kids' favourite characters to life alongside bouncy castles, a marketplace and more.
See a show
Montréal is not only home-base to Cirque du Soleil but several other acclaimed circus troupes who perform year-round and at July's MONTRÉAL CiRQUE FESTIVAL. Catch an acrobatic circus show at La Tohu circus centre and see incredible dance, theatre, opera, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal or Broadway hits at Place des Arts. Geordie Theatre creates shows that really connect with kids and Centaur Theatre presents children's theatre on Saturday mornings. Sit in on storytelling and other literary events at the Blue Metropolis Children's Festival. In the springtime, the Montréal International Children's Film Festival sparks young minds with new international films and the Society for Arts and Technology immerses families in multimedia journeys under the 360-degree Satosphère dome.
In the driver's seat
Let kids get behind the wheel and drive to their hearts’ content at Action 500 Karting & Paintball, the largest indoor go-cart centre and paintball arena in Canada, with 5 asphalt courses covering more than 73,000 square feet, equipped with juniors-only courses and double carts for parents to accompany kids. Or fulfil that need for speed at Vortex Racing in the West Island, where racing simulators offer up to 2.5 Gs of force in a realistic race-car experience.
Climb into the cockpit of the Aerosim Expérience full-scale flight simulator with a professional pilot instructor and choose from thousands of destinations, views and weather conditions—a 60-minute junior package lets 13 to 16-year-olds fly a Boeing with friends or family as passengers. On the other hand, find out what it’s like to jump out of a plane without actually jumping out of a plane: SkyVenture Montréal is an indoor wind tunnel that lets anyone age 5 and up experience the thrill of a free-fall. Or catch some air with every jump at state-of-the-art trampoline park iSaute.
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.
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