We’ve visited various science museums in other cities, but had never gone to the science centre just 25 minutes from our house.
“That won’t do!” I said to no one in particular.
They were a bit dinosaur-d out, and both boys didn’t seem all that enthused when I mentioned going to the Dinosaurs Unleashed exhibit. Oh.
Spirits shattered, I waited for the new BODY WORLDS: Animal Inside Out exhibit to open and asked them again. “Ya!”
We ended up leaving the toddler at home since we were going to be out at nap time (tired toddlers out in public are never a good idea) so I brought my 8-year old and his 7-year old cousin.
I generally swear a lot when I get excited, and *&$*%@%##!! was it ever cool. Not just the Animals Inside Out section, but the permanent exhibits are FANTASTIC. I’d heard varying comments about how it’s just for kids, or only young kids, or that adults might be bored. But I had so. much. fun. Both boys loved our visit and got to touch, build, listen, and conduct their own experiments. And dare I say, learn! I’d say the centre is for families and kids 4ish to young teens. But really, if you enjoy science, biology and and hands-on learning, you’ll find it interesting.
I should have thought ahead and bought our tickets online, because even though there was no line up (we were there right when they opened), I stood there forever trying to figure out what we wanted to see and if a year membership might be a better savings option. I ended up getting us just the day admission, BUT if you decide later that you’d like the yearly membership, keep your receipt and it can be used towards the cost.
There are various ways to save money on the price of admission, including using the Montreal Passport, your CAA or AAA card, ASTC and CASC memberships, or by purchasing a single or family membership. Admission to the Science Centre is free for children 3 and under.
To be honest, both boys were pretty weirded-out by the Body Worlds temporary exhibit. While it’s interesting and there are some hands-on activities, I don’t think they were quite prepared for seeing real animals displayed from the inside out. The more than 50 animals on display (caribou, sea creatures, horses and tons more) have been peeled back layer-by-layer, revealing the muscles, blood vessels, internal organs and skeletons.
Younger children may be either horrified or intrigued. I’d use your own discretion on whether you visit this part or not.
The permanent exhibits are where we had the most fun.
We were the only ones in the ground-floor Clic! which is geared for children between the ages of 4 to 7 years old. Surrounded by shapes and colours, interactive lights, a kid-sized house, and a build-your-own car track; little kids can visit all the different areas touching, building, and creating. It was here where I though “Damn, my 3 -year old would LOVE this.” and felt mildly guilty about not bringing him. Sorry Bud!
The bright hallway outside has mega foam blocks where I contemplated making a little nest, but the boys were already bounding up the stairs to visit the next room.
The 2nd floor is where you’ll find Fabrik, Human, Science 26, Cargo, and The Windmills of the Imagination.
We started with Science 26, which is 26 scientific stations/26 letters of the alphabet. We moved from one to the other, sometimes working together, sometimes alone. We played in water, stood inside giant soap bubbles, watched our hair stand on end, sat on nails, watched how our hands conduct heat, and even saw a chemistry show (available in English or French.)
We almost missed the percussion room, so make sure to see that too.
Down the hall is Human, with a view into our evolution and activities for the senses. I could have stayed here longer, but the boys had seen the entrance to the Fabrik-Creativity Factory and were eager to see what it was about. This high-tech playground is a hands-on workshop complete with tools, and bins of building materials. Kids 6 and up (the suggested age) can engineer their own inventions at the different stations. Build a ship that will roll with wind power, create an object that will slide down a clothesline, and configure a sea-worthy boat out of odds and ends. My boat sank.
Before heading out, you can check out the rates, hours, and other info HERE. We parked at the King Edward Quay, because it was convenient, but it was also a fortune. Now I see that I could have gotten $5 off. Doh! There’s street parking in nearby Old Montreal, but trust me, you’ll lose your mind trying to find a spot, especially in the summer.
There are tons of food options around, including a café right near the ticket counter, as well as a nice food court just across the road, and food trucks and other restos all along the Old Port promenade. Still want something to do? You can read our posts about our afternoon at the Old Port, or spend some time in the Old Port Playground.