This National Historic Site has been on my to-do list for a couple of years, and we finally got over here the other weekend to enjoy the forest walk, learn about aboriginal culture going back 5000 years, and to see the temporary exhibits in the small museum.
Besides one other small family, and some people doing an actual archaeological dig in the forest, we had the entire place to ourselves. Which was lovely and also a little strange.
After paying our $35 family entrance fee (gulp), we grabbed a map and started off with the forest walk through the sugar maples and towering hickory trees. Bug spray and water is a must, and I was proud of myself for remembering both as I chased after the kids trying to spray them to dissuade the swarming mosquitoes.
The paths are decidedly NOT stroller friendly, as there are steep hills, stairs, and some bumpy terrain. But it’s totally doable is you’re carting along a little one in a carrier. I was looking forward to seeing the lookouts – there are three pictured on the map – but all three were completely grown over so there was zero view of the river below. However, near the end of our walk we did find stairs down to the rapids and had a small view there of the raging river.
When we paid we were told about a kids’ activity that was happening in the afternoon, and passed by it on our walk (it was a pretend dig), but the times just didn’t work out for us, so we looked around the interior of the museum instead, where both boys loved the interactive (and beautiful!) temporary display on minerals.
I was surprised that we couldn’t actually see any of the artifacts that have been dug up on the site since they were in a locked laboratory, so that was kind of disappointing.
In short, we liked it, but would have liked it more if it was less expensive, and/or had more activities or artifacts to see. What I should have done was checked the calendar before going, or called to see if there were any special activities happening, and at what times.
Things to note:
-Zipping down highway 30 from the West Island is always easy, even with the couple of minutes waiting to pay at the toll booth, and at just over $3 it’s an easy and quick commute. Also, I’ll do anything to avoid any of the bridges going to the South Shore!
-Bring bug spray, water, hats…
-For all info including opening dates and hours, prices etc, make sure to check the museum’s website. The only part not updated is the temporary exhibits section.