For an up-close animal experience – and a different take on a “traditional” zoo, take a peek at Montreal’s Ecomuseum Zoo. It houses over 115 species, all originally from within Quebec’s St. Lawrence Valley. This includes this lovely red fox (see photo), playful otters, black bears, caribou, hawks and owls – among many others including nocturnal creatures and reptiles.
Most local Montreal children may be familiar with the zoo from school/class visits – but whether you live in the area or are just visiting, the Ecomuseum Zoo is a good option if you’re looking for fun, nature-related things to do in Montreal, for kids or adults.
There is a walking trail through the forest area in the zoo. Located on 11 hectares on the western end of the island of Montreal, the Ecomuseum (21125 Chemin Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue QC) is open 364 days a year (except for on Christmas Day, Dec. 25). Keep in mind the majority is outdoors – so dress for the season (but the arctic fox in his white winter coat is worth the trip – see photos here).
If you are not thrilled at the idea of animals being kept in captivity, you may find comfort in that all the animals at the Ecomuseum Zoo are there because they wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild. The Zoo provides a safe haven for animals that were orphaned or injured, and have been rehabilitated at accredited rehabilitation centers and zoological institutions. When they can’t be released, the Ecomuseum (operated by a non-profit organization, the St. Lawrence Valley Natural History Society) takes them in – providing refuge for these local creatures while also encouraging education and conservation.
A few tips for your visit: Some of the animals tend to be more active when the weather is cooler (earlier or later in the day/season) so you may want to plan your visit accordingly. And make sure to pack a snack or lunch, since there isn’t a place that serves food (but there are places to sit and eat if you bring one with you).
The Ecomuseum Zoo is a simple, smaller-scale zoo, so visiting and doing a self-guided tour won’t take a full day (approx. three hours). To make this outing into a day trip, consider combining the Ecomuseum with a visit to one of the nearby parks (incuding Cap-St-Jacques Nature Park’s, which has a nice beach), or a visit to the watefront village of St. Anne de Bellevue.
Photos provided by Ecomuseum Zoo
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