The Cosmodome in Laval, Quebec is the crown jewel of the city’s family offerings. Since 1994, the space science museum has been Quebec’s top destination for future astronauts and their science-loving families, committing to providing “edutainment” that teaches children about outer space in a fun and interactive environment. Among the center’s offerings are an immersive virtual space mission, a vast collection of space artifacts and memorabilia, NASA-like simulators, and more. If your journeys in Quebec take you to Laval, a 35 minute drive outside of Montreal, the Cosmodome is a stop that should definitely be on your family’s itinerary.
Planning a trip? Here's what to expect on your next visit.
4D, VR and Immersive Digital Experiences
The Cosmodome offers a number of digital experiences that will make every visitor feel like a real space explorer. For those interested in getting up close and personal with outer space, hop into the Cosmodome’s 4D cinema booth, where you can buckle up, put on a pair of goggles, and experience a journey to Mars, an alien invasion, and a walk on the moon. The booths seat two, so a parent or guardian can join in on the fun.
For a larger group experience, families can take part in an interactive virtual mission, in which teams of two are challenged to accomplish an astronaut-like task in an allotted period of time. Players can choose between five different missions, all of which contain educational elements and are suitable for all ages. Each mission lasts 60 minutes and reservations are only required for groups of ten or larger.
For children who want to experience life as a cosmonaut, the Cosmodome offers two summer space camps: the Endeavor Camp, a five-night camp, and the Atlantis Camp, a two-night camp, both for ages 9 to 15. For the duration of the camp, campers get the opportunity to stay at the Cosmodome overnight in bunk beds modeled after actual space modules. In addition, children get to take science workshops, experiment with NASA-like simulators, participate in an interactive virtual mission, and, for Endeavor Camp campers, participate in two space missions aboard the Cosmodome’s Endeavor replica spaceship.
The only requirement? Campers need to be at a minimum height of 4’2 and at a maximum weight of 220 pounds.
Space Science Center
Over 60 interactive terminals, a real moon rock and a genuine Apollo mission space suit are just some of the displays found in the six sections of the Cosmodome's Space Science Center, an interactive museum within the Cosmodome where visitors can explore the solar system, experience satellite communication and trace the development of rocket models. Nearby, various simulators allow participants to leap long distances and experience a "real" moonwalk. A state of the art theater suitable for classroom instruction, film screenings and corporate presentations shows a film featuring rare NASA footage and computer-generated images that transports viewers 250,000 miles away from Earth.
The Space Science Center even features a life-size replica of the Endeavor space ship, which was built in 1987 as a replacement for the loss of the Challenger shuttle, and flew a total of 15 space missions until it was retired in May 2011.
What to Do Nearby
The Cosmodome is centrally located and just a quick drive on the highway to a number of restaurants, including Pizza Gourmande and Enoteca Monza for pizza, Sukho Thai for Thai food, La Belle & La Boeuf for burgers, and 3 Brasseurs for bistro fare. For shopping, the Centre Laval is home to over 130 boutiques and major retailers, and includes a food court and free wi-fi. In addition, there are a number of other family-friendly activities just walking distance away.
How to Visit
The Cosmodome is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, with earlier summer hours beginning at 9 a.m. from the last week of June to the first week of September. With the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the Cosmodome is open on all school holidays. Children under age 6 get in for free, and a family rate for three missions and entry to the exhibition costs $110 CAD. Individual rides on a training simulator cost $10 CAD, and individual tickets for both the 4D experience and a space shuttle tour run for $5 CAD.