Only one post again this month. I really need to work on writing more so that I can rid of the backlog and so that my writing doesn’t get any worse. Anyways, continuing on in Canada…
Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, located in Montreal, Quebec
(Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium)
The Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday from 9am to 5pm, and Thursday to Saturday from 9am to 8pm; the planetarium is closed on Mondays. (But during the summer, the planetarium is open on Mondays so check its website for the most current hours.) Admission to the planetarium is 20.50CAD, which is approximately 16USD. The Rio Tinto Alcan planetarium is part of the Space for Life complex, thus there are a variety of packages that one can purchase to visit the many attractions in the area. Admission to the planetarium is also part of the Montreal Museum Pass, so if you are interested in visiting other museums in Montreal, the pass is worth looking into. If you happen to be in the general area of the Space for Life complex, then walking to the planetarium is the best choice. However, if you are farther away, public transportation is a good option, as both the metro and bus have stops nearby. Driving is another option if you aren’t close by, however you’ll have to pay 12CAD for parking. Visit the other museums in the Space for Life complex or the sites in the area to make it a fun day out.
The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is located in a small building containing a first floor and a basement. The basement is an underground walkway connecting to the Biodome. The first floor contains the exhibits and the two theaters where the programs are held. The planetarium contains two exhibits, “Exo, Our Search for Life in the Universe” and “Mars Rocks”. The “Exo” exhibit is an interactive exhibit that explains how planets are found, and the chemistry and composition that planets need for life to possibly form on them. Whereas the “Mars Rocks” exhibit contains a large variety of Mars rocks and meteorites, and details how these rocks came to be on Earth. The exhibits were quite simple, but informative. (I’m a big astronomy fan, so they were a bit simple for my taste, but still worth seeing.) The planetarium has at least two different programs playing in the theaters on a daily basis that are complimentary with admission. The programs are double features, one show in each of the theaters, and are available in both English and French. (You have to reserve a seat for the shows when you get there, so go early if there’s a particular show you want to see; and if you want or need to see it in English, go there first thing in the morning, as the English versions are typically in the morning and the seats get filled quickly.) The two shows that I saw when I visited (which are no longer playing) were interesting and informative, and one was even live-narrated (don’t think I’ve seen one with a live narrator; the narrator was very good, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was live if I didn’t see the narrator).
My usual travel buddy and I spent about 2 hours at the planetarium; the two shows together took up 1 hour, about 20-30 minutes for the exhibits, and the rest of the time was spent waiting on lines to see the shows (you don’t have to wait on the line since you already reserved a seat, but if you want a specific seat, then you wait on line.) As always, other people may take more or less time depending on their interests, but you really can’t spend less than 1 hour as that is the allotted time for the shows, unless you wish to skip them. The Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is actually quite small with only two exhibits, but the double feature shows make up for the cost of admission. (Many planetariums include one complimentary show with admission or are free to enter, but you have to pay for the show.) The planetarium is a good family day trip idea as the exhibits are interactive, so the children will be entertained, and the shows are fun and engaging for everyone. Anyone who likes astronomy will want to take a visit, as well as the general population, just to see what else is out there. Space is a vast and mysterious place, so take some time to learn a bit more at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan.