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To infinity…and beyond! – Montreal Planetarium

Full moon as seen from Earth's Northern Hemisphere

Full moon as seen from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere

Finally, after two years of construction, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is open to the public. It opened this weekend (April 6th, 2013) to great reviews! There are two theaters (recommended for 7+ years) that offer multimedia presentations and a collection of meteors are on display. My toddler is way too young to appreciate the shows but I’m sure he’d be delighted with the pictures and kid-friendly displays. Rates are as follows: Adults $15; Seniors (65+) $14; Students (18+ with ID) $11.25; Kids (5 to 17) $7.50 and Family (2 adults/2-3 kids) $42. Kids under 5 are free.
The Planetarium has now moved to the Space for Life alongside the Biodome, Botanical Gardens and Insectarium–the largest concentration of natural science museums in Canada.

Link to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium official site:

http://espacepourlavie.ca/en/planetarium

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Morgan Arboretum — And now for a freebie. In honor of Earth.

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I feel like I’m being a little West Island-centric here but this (free!) activity is too good to ignore.  Morgan Arboretum and Montreal Families Magazine have teamed up to offer free guided tours through the great forests in honor of Earth Day (April 22nd). I had the great privilege to enjoy this forested retreat while studying at John Abbott College and McGill University. The 245 hectare wildlife reserve is situated on McGill’s MacDonald campus in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue and is home to a surprisingly large number of birds, mammals and creepy crawlers.

How do we teach the next generation about caring for our Earth? I’m a huge supporter of recycling and composting, buying local whenever possible and generally reducing my carbon footprint–but do our children truly understand why we need to keep our planet healthy? Honestly, leading our day-to-day lives mostly indoors (especially in the winter), it is difficult to understand why Nature needs protecting.

Here is the perfect opportunity to get out, educate and entertain. By mentioning the Montreal Families article (link below), you will be guided through the trails by a naturalist who will explain the forest and answer all your questions. The event will run on Sunday, April 21st from 9am to 4pm.

http://www.montrealfamilies.ca/Montreal-Families/April-2013/Fun-ways-to-protect-the-planet/

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed.

Admittedly, it’s been quite a few years since I visited the Arboretum. When our family plans weekend or day adventures they usually include our whining brute of a dog and so this amazing place has been crossed off the list due to its no dogs policy. I have heard whispers of a limited number of permits sold on a yearly basis that would give you access with your furry friend but I’ve never explored that option.

I’m really excited to revisit the forest after so many years. Now, as a mom, I will blushingly admit that the outskirts of this forest used to be our “hangout” spot so it’ll be nice to see it again through new (old) eyes. Here is a link to the park’s trails:

http://www.morganarboretum.org/Downloads/arbomap_trails.pdf

The man-made bird feeders are a great addition as they make bird-watching really fun and the kids can point out the birds very easily. It’s not rare to see a line-up of bird and wildlife photographers with their super lenses sitting patiently for the elusive owl or hawk to make its presence known. The sugar shacks are open around this time of the year so you might be lucky enough to get a sample of the delicious maple taffy. A few of the shacks also serve light lunches.

Let’s hold our next generation’s tiny hands and show them exactly what we are fighting to keep healthy. Even if it’s just for an hour or two, at least your family will experience the fresh air and hopefully spot some of the wildlife. And if you absolutely can’t get out, I highly recommend some weekend reading: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Address: 150 ch. des Pins, Ste. Anne de Bellevue

https://maps.google.ca/maps?saddr=Montreal,+QC&daddr=Morgan+Arboretum,+150+Chemin+des+Pins,+Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue,+QC+H9X+3V9&hl=en&sll=45.432056,-73.952175&sspn=0.034874,0.084543&geocode=FT5otgIduKed-ykNt2QcVBrJTDHv7x8hODFOZQ%3BFY0wtQIdrJSX-yklxgRDwznJTDHaeViGu9xx7g&oq=montreal&mra=ls&t=m&z=11

Below you will find a few links about the Morgan Arboretum:

http://www.morganarboretum.org/fma/

http://www.montrealfamilies.ca/Montreal-Families/April-2013/Fun-ways-to-protect-the-planet/