This summer is a terrific time to take the family for a visit to the provincial capital. Quebec City is celebrating its 400th anniversary and will be abuzz with performances and exhibits all summer long. In addition to the anniversary festivities, there are loads of fun family activities available in and around the city. Here are a few of the most popular attractions.
Get to know Canada’s aquatic wildlife at the Aquarium Park of Quebec, situated on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, just 15 minutes from Old Quebec City. Visitors can walk through the various ecosystems that are home to walruses, reptiles, polar bears, amphibians, and invertebrates.
There are several daily activities worth catching, including morning snack time for the polar bears and afternoon training sessions with seals and walruses. For more information call (866) 659-5264 or go to www.sepaq.com/paq/en.
The waterfalls at Montmorency are just a few minutes from the city centre and are higher than Niagara Falls. Visitors can enjoy views of the falls, the St. Lawrence River, and l’Île d’Orléans during a cable car ride that takes them to the top, and bike riders can use the cable cars to access the cycling paths at the top and bottom. There are also several playgrounds, hiking trails and picnic grounds on site. For more information, call (800) 665-6527 or go to www.sepaq.com/ct/pcm/en.
If the kids can stay awake past sundown, you’ll want to stick around Wednesday and Saturday evenings for the Loto-Québec International Fireworks competition that takes place from July 19 to August 6. For more information, call (418) 663-3330 or go to www.lesgrandsfeux.com.
Mont Ste. Anne
A gondola ride at this mountain resort, located 40 km east of Quebec City takes visitors to the lookout with stunning views of Charlevoix, the St. Lawrence River, Quebec City, and the Laurentian mountains. There are 32 km of hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty, from a 15-minute tour of the summit to a two-hour hike to the top.
There are also extensive mountain bike trails, ranging from easy to extreme with bike rentals available on site. Enthusiasts can watch the Mountain Bike World Cup finals, which will be held here from July 12 to 27.
Golfing, canyoning (rappelling down the side of a waterfall), camping, paragliding and the Jean Larose falls are additional summertime activities. For more information, call (888) 827-4579 or go to www.mont-sainte-anne.com.
Valcartier Vacation Village
Cool down at this giant water park located 20 minutes from Quebec City. Valcartier features 35 water slides, an Amazon River tube ride, a pirate ship adventure, a giant wave pool, and many other water attractions. Karting, maxi-golf, and trampolines round out the activities. When it’s time for a rest, there are three daily acrobatic diving shows to watch.
Families with older children can try white water rafting on the Jacques Cartier River (participants must weigh 90 lb. or more) and the very bravest of thrill-seekers can try body boarding down the same river, conditions permitting.
The water park is open from June 6 through August 26. For more information, call (888) 384-5524 or go to www.valcartier.com.
The Musée de la civilisation offers indoor family fun with a little learning thrown in. There are interactive, hands-on exhibits for children, and period costume workshops with sets and props that allow the whole family to dress up and play. For schedules, call (866) 710-8031 or go to www.mcq.org/en.
Another rainy day option is a visit to Mega-Parc, an indoor amusement park with an IMAX theatre. Call (418) 627-5800 or go to www.mega-parc.com/en.