| by KATE POCOCK|
Family Travel Ink
Montreal's Top Ten Family Vacation Experiences
Montreal's Biodome: half-aquarium and half-zoo, Montreal's most popular attraction displays four different eco-systems of forest, tropical rainforest, the St. Lawrence gulf and an Antarctic polar world. Watch for sloths, monkeys, penguins and a working beaver lodge.
The Insectarium: this world-renowned collection of 160,000 insects-both alive and dead-fascinate all ages. A summertime butterfly tent opens onto the expansive Montreal Botanical Gardens with its Tree House interactive facility.
Cosmodome and Space Camp Canada: just north of the city in Laval is Canada's only overnight Space Camp for kids as well as an impressive Space Science Centre Museum.
La Ronde amusement park: on Île Ste-Hélène at the Expo 67 Site sits the tallest wooden twin-track roller coaster in the world-Le Monstre-and 30 other rides. Children's theatre, swimming pools and summertime fireworks displays.
Stewart Museum at the Fort: time travel back to the days of the Voyageurs and first settlers at this small fort on Île Ste-Hélène. During the day, kids can sign up to become Fraser Highlanders or Marines to sling a musket and do chores. At night, there's a rollicking historical banquet dinner on site.
Family Cycling: the bicycling magazines have declared Montreal to be the most cycling-friendly city on the continent and the city's hundreds of kilometers of bike paths prove it. Vélo Québec has info 514-521-8356 has maps and guidebooks of routes. On the Lachine Canal Bicycle Path, you can take in a free weekend 90-minute tour of the canal. Rent bikes at the Old Port at Vélo Aventure.
The Montreal Science Centre: a state-of-the-art tribute to Canadian inventions such as the Snowmobile and a multi-media hands-on laboratory for kids to explore space, the human body and other scientific preoccupations. Don't miss the interactive space mission.
Olympic Tower and Aquatic Centre: a trip to the top of the world's tallest tilting structure on a cable car can be exciting. On a clear day, get a great view from the 890-ft. tower that once served as the Velodrome for the 1972 Olympic Games. Six swimming pools of the Aquatic Centre are under the tower.
The Old Port area: strolling and biking in summer; skating and dogsledding in winter. It's a people-watching place.