Keeping kids active and happy is what March Break is all about in Montreal, March 3–11, 2012. Pry kids away from the TV and video games for at least a few hours with a day of high-tech fun at the Montreal Science Centre, art workshops at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, circus tricks at the TOHU circus centre, and natural wonders at the Biodôme and Botanical Gardens. And make the most of the end of winter with outdoor activities at Parc Jean-Drapeau…
(new technology meets dinosaurs) The Montreal Science Centre is always a great place for good family times, but March break amps up the science action. This year’s Technofollies program, March 3–11, puts new technologies into kids’ hands with workshops in digital technologies such as 3-D and stop-motion, games, including the new Pokémon Black and White versions, an organic orchestra and interactive family challenge The Great Race, shows and entertainment that challenge the minds of 8–14 years olds – and active games get kids moving too, playing sports, making laser murals and becoming a rock star. Shift from the future of technology to the distant past at the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibition and dive into the wondrous waters of IMAX film The Last Reef 3D. (circus acts) Kids get into the act at Montreal’s one and only circus centre TOHU this March break. Every day from March 5 to 9, starting at 1:30 p.m., TOHU offers free games and events: outdoors, kids can slide on kicksleds, play old-time games, build snow castles and snowmen, and indoors get a guided tour of TOHU’s massive, circular stage space and learn a few circus tricks in workshops. Meanwhile, every day at 2pm, see world-renowned clown, juggler, hand-balancer, acrobat and former member of Cirque du Soleil and Cirque Éloize, Jamie Adkins in his new show Circus Incognitus, playing to March 11.
(winter park life) A mere five-minute metro ride from downtown Montreal, Parc Jean-Drapeau is a natural oasis in the middle of the St-Lawrence River – and is open to winter sports (hockey included, of course) and other family- and kid-friendly activities (human foosball? Yes) from March 3 to 11. The Québec Ski Area Association teaches downhill skiing to kids for free – or opt to sled down the hill instead. Equipment rental of skates, snowshoes, sleds and skis is available on-site. For a small fee, ride the zip-line or the tube-slide, a dog sled or a horse-drawn sleigh. Also at the park, the Biosphère Environment Museum offers free entry to its Wild About Nature hands-on exhibition as well as short films, a photobooth, Inukshuk building and a bistro-lounge with hot chocolate and waffles to warm the body and soul. And for warming at a later date, pick up some Quebec-made jams, pates, maple syrup and more at the Week-ends Gourmands set up at the entry to the Jean-Drapeau metro station.
(artistic action) From March 7–11, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts puts on a March break spread for children and their parents, full of free activities that go along with museum’s current exhibitions. Dive into the carnivalesque world of American cartoonist turned painter, photographer and composer, Lyonel Feininger – admission is free for children aged twelve and under when accompanied by an adult, and during spring break, tickets are two for one – and free activities include guided tours (March 10–11, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.), afternoon art workshops (collage, origami and more), a gallery game and a musical event. As always, the museum’s regular collections – including the new Claire and Marc Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art – are open to visitors free of charge.
(nature nutures) March Break at the Montreal Biodôme means a little more than the usual natural wonders of the indoor ecological centre: the Behind-the-scenes Rally takes families into places that are usually off-limits to the public, letting kids talk to veterinarians, animal handlers, plant and insect specialists, river divers and researchers about the work they do in the Biodôme’s polar-to-tropical ecosystems. Nearby at the Botanical Gardens, get up close with butterflies and the science behind their evolution at the Butterflies Go Free exhibition and learn, in the sweetest way possible, about where maple syrup comes from while indulging in maple treats at Sugaring-off Time at the Tree House.