Sunday, March 26, 2017

Biodome de Montreal

Posted by Stu On November - 16 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011

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Waaaaaaay back in high school, some of us took a 4-day trip to Quebec, with sightseeing in both Montreal and Quebec City, and I always wanted to go back.  So for our 2011 fall trip, we decided to combine two of our proposed vacation spots – Quebec and the Thousand Islands.

One of the places visited during my original trip was the Biodome in Montreal, and I decided to return to see if it was as cool now as it was when I was 16.  Somewhat like an indoor zoo, the Biodome attempts to completely recreate five different climate areas found in North and South America – tropical rainforest, Laurentian maple forest, Gulf of St. Lawrence, Labrador coast, and sub-Antarctic islands.  Each area is climate controlled, so when you walk into the rainforest, it feels like you’re in an actual rainforest; our camera lenses fogged up when we first entered.  This is a very different zoo than most, almost an exact opposite; instead of walking past animals in cages, you’re forced into their habitat.

The Biodome was originally one of the buildings used in the 1976 World Olympics and is right next to the Montreal Olympic Stadium and the an observation tower, which just so happens to be the world’s tallest inclined structure.  You can pay to take a ride up.  I did on my original visit, but we skipped it this time because the weather was pretty bad and the view wouldn’t have been worth it.

Fun fact:  the final scenes of Warm Bodies were shot outside the tower.

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Flash photography is not permitted in the Biodome, so some of the pictures are admittedly blurry.  It was hard taking pictures of moving animals, many with some sort of barrier between us, without flash.

The first biome is the tropical rainforest.  Again, it’s hot and humid, and there are monkeys and birds scampering over your head.  Maybe.  Usually they just chill in one spot.  Of course, any dangerous animals are not accessible.

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These guys were walking around, untying people’s shoes.

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The next area was the Laurentian Maple Forest (aka North Woods).  Like the rainforest area, this forest mimics the weather of its real counterpart, so it was a bit chilly when we walked in.  It was quite dramatic going from a hot jungle to October-temperature woods.

The landscapes are amazing.  It really looks and feels like you’re outside.

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The next area is the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  There are several tanks of sea life, including the obligatory touch tank.  Pseudo-cliffs and rocks make the seabirds feel at home.  They have free range of the area, so watch out for poop.  The temperature in here was pretty chilly, but the Biodome does not match the actual temperature of the gulf, probably because most people wouldn’t want to walk through it.

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The Labrador Coast/Arctic and Sub-Antarctic share the same room but on opposite sides.  Both are contained, so no, you aren’t walking through freezing temperatures.  But much to my wife’s dismay, the puffins and penguins aren’t roaming around freely.

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You can check out the Biodome’s site (in English) here.

I had more stops planned for Montreal, but again, the weather was pretty gloomy. The forecast was looking nicer for Quebec City, so we headed there instead.

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