Friday, April 3, 2020

Biodome de Montreal

Posted by Stu On November - 16 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011


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.




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.












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


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.






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.







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.







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.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Touro Park “Viking Tower”

Posted by Stu On August - 26 - 2009

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I had been meaning to get to this one for a number of years, but it was usually out of the way.  Since we were touring a mansion in Newport, I finally had a chance to get to the “Viking Tower” in Touro Park.  Nobody seems to be clearly sure of its age or who built it.  There are 2 major sides to the theory of this structure’s origin – some people think it’s the remains of some sort of mill from the 16-1700’s, while others feel it was built much earlier – around 1000 – by Vikings.


The tower, windmill, or whatever it was sits in the middle of the park, surrounded by a small fence.  There are lights at its base, and a statue of William Ellery Channing – a prominent Unitarian from the 1800’s – is nearby.




I found a 360-panoramic of Touro Park.  Kinda trippy.

…wow, ‘trippy’ isn’t in my spellchecker.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2008

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This bridge, right next to Fort Knox, is one of only 3 of its kind in the world. Visitors can ride to the top and get a 360-view from the 42-story tall observatory. On a clear day you can supposedly see up to 100 miles.

Yeah…that’s pretty far down.

Popularity: 3% [?]

High Point

Posted by Stu On November - 27 - 2008

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Not really a whole lot to say about this one. This is the highest point in New Jersey, and to celebrate this fact, they built a large phallus on it. High Point is 1,803 feet above sea level, and the tower is an additional 220 feet. Unfortunately, the tower was closed the day we visited.

I actually attempted to visit this place quite a number of years ago. As we pulled up, the rangers closed the park right in front of us because a thunderstorm was rolling in.

Quite possibly one of the most strangely worded gift shop signs I’ve ever seen:

Popularity: 11% [?]

Bowman’s Hill Tower

Posted by Stu On September - 27 - 2008

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Found in Pennsylvania’s part of Washington’s Crossing State Park (just up the road from the Revolutionary Soldiers’ graves, actually), is a 125′ tall tower on Bowman’s Hill. It was completed in 1931 and is in honor of George Washington, as well as the hill’s significance as a lookout during the Revolution. There’s not much else to say, other than the view from the top is nice. I was a bit bummed to find out you have to take the elevator up; no one is allowed to take the steps anymore.

When we came to this park in 4th grade, a group of us were at a nearby picnic area and saw the tower up on the hill. We attempted to climb up the side of the hill, but it was a bit too steep and one of us came tumbling right back down. He got cut up pretty good too. The teacher was pissed. It was funny.

You only climb 23 steps from the elevator to the top.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Belle Mead General Depot

Posted by Stu On August - 26 - 2007

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Fair amount of photos. Go walk your dog. Or cat. Or ferret.

This was somewhat of an accidental find. We learned of an unused water tower with a geocache on top of it. Somehow Bill from LostinJersey found out an entire abandoned depot was not far from it as well. We decided to explore the depot area before going to the water tower.

Our goal far off in the distance.

At the time, we didn’t know what the place was or how long it had been abandoned. It turns out it’s the Belle Mead General Depot and it was abandoned sometime in the 1960’s. Mercury was stored here as well and according to some sources is currently leaking into the ground.

There weren’t too many buildings – one big one and a couple little ones. The area was huge and we did a good amount of walking. There are also several torn up rail lines.

Most of the buildings were far in the back.

Ah, finally…..the water tower.

The ascension.

The depot from the top of the tower…

Popularity: 7% [?]

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