Whether your kids want to get out in the snow or play games indoors, find fun, memorable and even free things to do for every kid at every age during Spring Break in Montréal, February 27 to March 6.
Downtown Montréal sparkles during MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, February 18 to March 5, especially at the winter festival’s free outdoor site outside Place des Arts in the Quartier des spectacles – ride an illuminated ice slide and Ferris wheel, play games and activities, roast marshmallows over fire pits, see music and circus performances and much more. On February 27, let the kids stay up late for all-nighter event Nuit Blanche, with indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment for all ages. Check out the art brightening up underground passageways linking downtown Montréal skyscrapers and malls (Complexe Desjardins, Place Ville Marie, Place Montréal Trust, Centre Eaton) during Art Souterrain. Outdoors, walk, run, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the city’s big parks – Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau – on March 2 watch the world’s top cross-country skiers compete in Ski Tour Canada 2016, with Mount Royal’s Beaver Lake Pavilion the start and finish point. And explore nature beyond the city centre at the sprawling and beautiful Parc-natures Boise-de-Liesse, Pointe-aux-Prairies, l’Île -de-La-Visitation and Cap-Saint-Jacques (home to a rustic sugar shack during the late-winter and early-spring ).
Thrill toddlers and pre-schoolers with the antics of monkeys, capybaras, penguins, sloths and more wildlife at the Biodôme and with the hundreds of butterflies, moths and caterpillars at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event, both at the at the Space for Life nature complex. Circus centre La Tohu drums up free spring break activities in a play zone specifically for little ones, while older kids play movement-based games from noon to 5 p.m. every day, and everyone can go see the circus show Remous Remis, March 1 to 5 at 10 a.m. or Jamie Adkins’s hilarious and acrobatic Circus Incognitus at 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. And the Jeunesses Musicales Canada children’s music series offers workshops and concerts just for kids, including several for 3 to 7 year olds, February 27 to March 6.
Over 115 animals native to Québec – like bears, otters, wolves, hawks and caribou – await at the Ecomuseum Zoo on the western tip of the island of Montréal, where kids 7 to 12 years old can be a “zookeeper for a day” during Spring Break. IMAX films bring nature into astounding view and animatronic dinosaurs roar at the Montréal Science Centre, where science and tech is hands-on at the Clic! zone for curious young minds and Fabrik Creativity Factory. Also in the Old Port, visit the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, where kids can go on a simulated archaeological dig, investigate Agatha Christie and swashbuckle on the high-seas in the Pirates or Privateers interactive exhibition – and on March 6 attend the boat-horn Port Symphonies outside. In Parc Jean-Drapeau, the historic Stewart Museum hosts snowshoe walks, kid-friendly tours, and 18th-century style curling on natural ice.
Young artists can join free Spring Break workshops and tours and see short films at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, while downtown’s McCord Museum features interactive activities and historical toys at their Mister Rabbit’s Circus exhibition. Kids who love games can play the days away at Festival Montréal Joue, sharing the latest in board games, indie video games and games with a physical component, and more, February 20 to March 6. Sit still for a spell at the International Children’s Film Festival, screening short films and holding workshops February 27 to March 6. And kids’ favourite Disney characters strap their skates on for Disney on Ice’s 100 Years of Magic show at the Bell Centre, in English on March 3, 4 and 6.
If your kids are climbing the walls, take them to one of the biggest indoor climbing centres in the world, Horizon Roc, where they can learn to rock climb, play in the Acro-parc aerial obstacle course, balance on slacklines and practice parkour – as well, from March 1 to 3 kids 7 to 13 years old can join the learn-to-climb day camp. Who needs the ocean to surf? Kids can learn how to hang ten on the serious indoor waves at Oasis Surf. For teens with a need for speed, race over to Vortex Racing simulated race centre and Action 500 Karting Paintball, the biggest indoor karting track in Canada. And see how video game skills transfer into real life accuracy at massive bowling, billiards and laser tag centre BoulZeye and downtown’s laser-tag lair Laser Quest.
The Barbegazi Winter Action Sports Festival is a must for its spectacle and its playfulness – see pro snowmobile and lumberjack competitions along with snow skating, fat bike racing and activities for the whole family, at the Olympic Parc Esplanade, March 5 and 6. If space fascinates, the multimedia shows and interactive exhibitions at the Planetarium at the Space for Life offer the most entertaining astronomy lessons around. And Académie du Chocolat welcomes budding pastry chefs and their parents into the kitchen to make delicious desserts. On the topic of food, stay well fed during Spring Break at Montréal’s best kid-friendly restaurants.
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