Surely one of the most interesting and unique “museums” gracing the beautiful city of Montreal, Quebec – the Montreal Biodome is a magnificent experience for those who enjoy wildlife and nature.
Housed within the velodrome within the Olympic Village (used during the Montreal summer olympics of 1976) the biodome offers access to four fully populated ecosystems:
The Tropical Jungle – Boas, Tamarins, Ibis, and Macaws
The rainforest ecosystem is the first stop on the tour of the Montreal Biodome, and does not disappoint. Upon entry, tourists will immediately feel the warmth and humidity that is the hallmark of the tropical rainforest, alongside a variety of over a hundred species of animal and nearly as many in terms of appropriate vegetation.
The tropical rainforest ecosystem is vastly impressive, with the authentic environment being utterly convincing and tropical birds flying overhead as visitors stroll the pathway. Lucky tourists might even spot a crocodile, or a cute little orange tamarin swinging tree to tree!
The Laurentian Forest and the St. Lawrence River Ecosystems – Temperate Climates
The Laurentian Forest and St. Lawrence River Ecosystems follow the tropics, and are a cool breeze to most tourists visiting from the same types of climate themselves (far from the equator). Trees and soil feature prominently in the foliage here, with large hewn stones seeming to naturally blend in with the artificial surroundings to such a point that it once again becomes hard to tell you are within a synthetic environment.
One of the most popular features of these two climates is the beautiful river otters that can be found playing and floating around near the first bend in the pathway. Other intriguing animal and other wildlife comes in the form of a few beavers (who also have a fully constructed dam with an interior camera places inside) as well as small sharks and skates.
The Arctic and Antarctic Zones – Penguins of All Stripes (Macaroni, Rockhopper, Gentoo, King)
While other animals grace the smaller and completely enclosed arctic and antarctic climates (for obvious reasons, the environments cannot be freely roamed as per the other ecosystems) – the main attraction for tourists in perhaps the entire Montreal Biodome would have to be the penguins!
An opportunity to see real, live penguins of four different species is both exhilarating and rare. The penguins are playful (particularly the rockhoppers, who live up to their name by jumping up and down the stepping stones provided in the enclosure) and love to swim in front of the assembled crowd. Seating is placed a mere few feet away from the plexiglass viewing area and many tourists choose to stay for half an hour or more – simply watching the little birds swim, play, and call out for food during feeding time!
The Montreal Biodome is an extremely unique opportunity to meet wildlife on their own terms and to experience climates and ecosystems that normally escape our largely urban, manufactured landscapes. A must-see for visitors touring the city of Montreal, Quebec!