Montreal Zoo Guide

Canadian Lynx

marianna armata/Getty Images

In Montreal zoos, you won't find lions lying in a makeshift savannah. But you will catch golden lion tamarins swinging on tree branches. Tigers? Fat chance. But you might spot a lynx, a feline predator indigenous to Canada.

What's different about Montreal zoos is their smaller scale and focus on featuring wildlife native to the Americas, like an indoor recreation of South America's muggy tropical forests, regions north of the South Pole or a wildlife park filled with 115 species native to Quebec.

And the best part? All of Montreal zoos including its outdoor zoological park are open year-round, even in the dead of winter.

01 of 04

Montreal Zoo Meets Botanical Garden: The Biodome

Parrots at the Biodome

Daniel Mennerich/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Montreal Biodome is an indoor zoo, an aquarium and a botanical garden wrapped into one, a series of indoor ecological systems which recreate regions in the Americas and poles, showcasing animal species as well as plant life indigenous to each area. 

The Biodome mimicks habitats so closely visitors get to experience the appropriate temperature and humidity levels of each showcased ecosystem.

In other words, the public not only gets to see what life is like in each region but actually feel what it's like too.

02 of 04

Ecomuseum: A Zoo, a Wildlife Park

wolves at the Ecomuseum

nuria mpascual/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The Ecomuseum Zoo wasn't always the wildlife park it is today, having opened its doors in 1988 after years of work revitalizing an area that was wetlands once upon a time.

But that precious ecosystem went out the window with the '60s, when the grounds became landfill as one of Montreal's major autoroutes, Highway 40, was being extended to the west. But the resulting eyesore didn't last too long.

The St. Lawrence Valley Natural History Society entered the scene as stewards, a non-profit organization founded in 1981 whose main focus and raison d'être centered on rebuilding the land, hence the Ecomuseum's modern metamorphosis into a thriving zoological park.

03 of 04

Montreal Insectarium: It's Technically a Zoo, Sort Of


Chris Cheadle/Getty Images

It might be a bit of stretch calling the Montreal Insectarium a zoo considering the nature museum only features arthropods and a chunk of the 150,000 specimens on display are dead, but you will find living breathing scarabs, tarantulas and scorpions among the hundred or so live species showcased on site.

The Insectarium is very kid-friendly with interactive displays and attentive staff passionate about the subject, featuring live species from across the globe.

04 of 04

The Redpath Museum: Not a Zoo at All, But...

stuffed lion at Redpath Museum

Ron Levine/Getty Images

So the thing with the Redpath Museum is its animals are technically dead. Some are even prehistoric.

But the free admission museum will undoubtedly appeal to zoo enthusiasts with its penchant for zoology and paleontology, having collected nearly three million objects covering a wide array of natural sciences, showcasing dinosaur bones, assorted fossils, and taxidermied animal specimens.

To add to its cabinet of curiosities are Egyptian mummies, a shrunken head, and other ethnological surprises.