The Montreal Biodome is one of the most unusual tourist attractions in the world. Originally built in 1976 to house Olympic Games events, it has evolved into a showcase of ecosystems as they might be. The Biodome holds four such areas, representing different ecosystems of the Americas.
The Tropical Forest
In the tropical forest section, visitors can walk through a replica of a South American rainforest. Here one can find hundreds of plant species as they exist in those dense jungles. Macaws and marmosets play among the trees, as you sweat out the high humidity. Tamarins laugh at you while you feel as if you’re in the real thing.
The Laurentian Forest
A replica of a North American wilderness, this section holds dozens of trees, brush, and other flora from the area. Here you can see how the changes in Fall affect the more than 200 species of animals amid 4,000 trees and plants. Come see the changing colors in Autumn, then visit in the Spring to observe all the new growth and activity.
The Saint Lawrence Marine Ecosystem
Modeled on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, walking through this area provides an encapsulated view of the terrain of which Montreal itself is a part. The cool breeze is just what you would expect when looking out over the river, and the plants are all authentic and appropriate.
Representing both the north Arctic and the south Antarctic areas, the Polar ecosystem shows lifelike displays of the conditions at those extreme points of the planet. Polar World contains puffins and penguins gathered from zoos all over the world.
All the sections are maintained at the proper temperature and humidity to suit the individual ecosystem they model. Since the exhibits feature living species, they are ever-changing. Come back two years later and you’ll see quite a different view.
In every case, the tours are self-guided but there are lots of sources of information to add to the visitor’s enjoyment. An inexpensive audio guide is available that will fill you in on all the nooks and crannies that form each of the unique systems. Discussions of flora and fauna (plants and animals) really bring the place to life.
There is knowledgeable staff throughout the facility who can answer any questions the sights or guide might bring to mind. At the Info-Ecosphere desk, friendly staff is pleased to hand out literature, provide information about the ecosystems within and chat about what you’ve seen. Staff is easily recognizable by the pith helmets they wear.
Supplies and gifts are available at the shop. After the visit, enjoy the restaurant or cafeteria while the kids play in the Naturalia game room.