The Montreal Insectarium plunges visitors into an unknown and fascinating world where they can learn all about insects—nature’s champions. The Insectarium is one of the largest in North America and is home to more than 250,000 specimens, both living and naturalized.
The Montreal Insectarium was opened in 1990 to showcase the fascinating world of insects. The museum was the first in North America to be devoted solely to entomology and serves to educate the public on the diversity of insects and the vital role they play to keep the balance of nature.
The Insectarium was started by bug collector and former notary, Georges Brossard. In 1985, he met with Botanical Gardens director Pierre Bourque to present his collection of thousands upon thousands of insects that Brossard had collected from more than 100 countries. Bourque partnered with Brossard and his wife, Suzanne, to organize exhibits at the Botanical Gardens to feature this collection. The exhibits were accompanied by educational opportunities to explore the world of insects more in-depth and featured lectures and public fundraising events. In 1986, Brossard donated the collection to the City of Montreal and plans were devised to construct the first insectarium in North America.
The Botanical Gardens was chosen as the site of the insect museum which opened to the public in February of 1990. In 2000, the Insectarium reached a milestone of having served an average of 400,000 visitors annually. The newest exhibit was added in 2011 that added an additional 3,000 naturalized specimens to the collection and 100 living insects.
The Insectarium is open 7 days per week with hours that vary depending on the season. Admission to the Insectarium also includes entrance to the Botanical Gardens. Children under 5 are always free and there are group rate options for families.
There are more than 250,000 specimens at the Montreal Insectarium that represent over 100 countries in the world. From butterflies to beetles, ants, grasshoppers, moths, and even arachnids, there are thousands of different species to learn about at the museum. The collection is also outlined with photographs on the Insectarium website.
There are two permanent exhibits at the Montreal Insectarium and several temporary exhibits that are rotated throughout the year. Special exhibits are detailed on the venue website. The insects in exhibit displays are displayed in cases and vivarium.
We Are the Insects- The exhibit provides immersive education on where insects live, what they look and sound like, how they eat, defend themselves, and reproduce. Visitors will also learn about the evolution of insects and how they have survived millions of years on Earth. This space explores the vital roles that different insects play in our environment. There are both live and naturalized insects to be seen in the displays that feature creatures and habitats from all over the globe.
Atta Ants- This exhibit showcases insects that form societies and communities to survive. Atta Ants explores the world of ants and their individualized roles in the social organization of their communities. Visitors will learn the theory of collective intelligence and how these insects work together to serve a singular purpose.
The Montreal Insectarium offers special programming throughout the year that features lectures, workshops, classes, and special activities to engage students and families in the wonderful world of insects. Reservations are required for most activities. A brochure is published annually detailing the events that will be held at the Insectarium.
Field Trips- The Insectarium is especially popular for elementary education students. Field trip programming is planned for classes that want an experience that is more in depth than a self-guided tour. Class programs last 45 minutes with presentations on topics such as how insects adapt to different environments, the jobs insects have in our environment, how insects survive winter, bug identification, and get hands on with a variety of insects.
Butterflies Go Free- In the spring months, visitors are welcomed into the Greenhouse of the Botanical Gardens to witness hundreds of butterflies in free flight. A 10-minute presentation called Bug Bites is available for students visiting the green house. Reservations to visit the Butterfly house are not required and the program is offered hourly.
Popcapsules-Volunteers are stationed throughout the museum who will pop up and offer more information about the insects in displays and share secrets of the insect world with you. Volunteers present in French language only.
BuzzGround- This playground outside of the Insectarium is a space for discovery and exploration. Families can hang out around the aquatic life pond, stroll through the prairie, and walk interpretive trails to learn more about insect habitats. There is also a Fun Zone where children can play games based on age and a Picnic Zone where families can eat.
The Botanical Gardens features a dining area called Space for Life that is accessible to visitors of the Insectarium. This space features snack bars, Gardens of Light Café, Botanical Gardens Restaurant, and a picnic space. There is also a special group area for schools who wish to eat at the insectarium.
4581, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, Quebec H1X 2B2, Canada, Phone: 514-868-3000