Perhaps March 31st was not the ideal day to plan a first visit to the Laval Nature Centre, with the season being in that “indecisive” phase… the sun is warm but the wind is cold, snow on the ground and buds on the plants, ice on the water so you can’t paddle, but the ice is too thin to go skating. Nevertheless, off we went to see what was to be found at the Centre.
Parking on site costs $7 for the day, but the Centre is surrounded by residential streets so free parking can be found if you accept a short stroll to the grounds. The grounds themselves are expansive and could easily take the better part of the day to explore fully, however, we limited ourselves to main attractions – the farm, the greenhouse and the playground (all free to visit).
The farm really surprised with a fun variety of domesticated animals to pet and feed. The farm boasts everything from small rabbits and guinea pigs and rodents and fowl to larger beasts like llamas, horses, cows, and a pig that was almost the size of a cow! Next to the farm are deer and a pony ride.
A few steps away from the farm is a large playground with swings, slides, climbing structures and more. Definitely a nice stop to let the kids go off and burn some energy while you enjoy a snack (in better climate).
Also next to the farm is the greenhouse which surprised us with a small assortment of live amphibians, birds and fish. The kids not only enjoyed the impressive variety of plants, but also enjoyed discovering what creatures might be found around the next corner.
Though we didn’t have a chance to visit them, the Centre’s grounds also hold a boating / skating pond, a couple of snack counters, an interpretive area, and performance area, a few playing fields, a number of gardens, a climbing / sledding hill, a swimming pool and night-sky observatory!! There will certainly be a lot to look forward in a future, warmer visit.
The Laval Nature Centre can be found at 901 avenue du Parc, Laval, about 20 minutes drive from the city center. For more info phone 450 662-4942 or visit http://www.centredelanature.laval.ca