Ok, now that we have your attention, we need to talk about something really cool in Montreal… FREE DINOSAURS! Yeah, we weren’t kidding!
Part of McGill University, The Redpath Museum is truly a near-hidden gem in Montreal. Admission is absolutely free, although voluntary donations are appreciated and encouraged, and they have dinosaurs. Among other things.
In fact, the “other things” list is pretty extensive and goes beyond the museum collections.
But let’s start with the collections. The permanent collection houses fossils of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts, including a full-sized Gorgosaurus, which, to those of us non-paleontologists looks just like a T-rex. It is massive and it is amazing. In the words of one recent five-year-old visitor, “WHOA!” Yeah. Whoa. It doesn’t matter how old you are, a massive dinosaur is always awesome.
Aside from the dinosaurs, the museum also houses an impressive mineral and geological collection, including an outdoor geological garden, which is a fancy name for a rock garden, but it’s also a pretty fancy rock garden. There is also an exhibit on endangered and extinct species, which gives you a truly up close and personal look into what we lose when we lose a form of life.
If you’re interested in Quebec beyond our somewhat tumultuous political landscape, the museum has curated an extensive exhibit on Quebec’s biodiversity and how the land, sea, sky and everything living on and in it works together (or sometimes doesn’t). It’s a beautiful and fascinating side of our province that gives you a new appreciation for where we live.
Looking to expand your perspective beyond Quebec? The World Cultures gallery takes you on a tour of ancient Egypt (including three mummies as part of the second largest Egyptian antiquities collection in Canada), the Mediterranean, Mesoamerica and parts of Asia, Oceania, South America and Africa.
Not enough for you? The museum itself happens to be the oldest building in Canada to be specifically built as a museum. It was gifted to McGill University in 1882 by sugar baron, Peter Redpath. The coolest part about that is that this guy not only has his name on a museum, iconic sign and bags of sugar in practically everyone’s home… he has also gone down in history with the awesome title of “sugar baron”. Sweet.
The building is architecturally stunning and has been used as a backdrop in movies and commercials, as has the impressive interior. Additionally, the original collections were started by some of the same people responsible for the Smithsonian.
The museum staff also host amazing family-friendly activities and workshops on the weekends for a very reasonable fee (most are $5-$10 for kids and free for parents). These events let kids ages 4 and up get hands-on experience in a variety of fields and areas of scientific research and experimentation.
They also host a number of public talks and documentary film screenings for adults and students.
Pretty amazing, right?
You won’t be disappointed!
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