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  • Writer's picturePatrice Gagnon

4 Best Zoos to Get Great Animal Pictures In and Around Montreal

Updated: Apr 25

When you travel to Montreal your first thought is not animal photography. Montreal is a place filled with amazing cityscapes and some great culture and entertainment experiences. However, Montreal does have some great animal experiences as well. There are many zoos around Montreal each unique and offering great opportunities for some very good animal shots.

As a local photographer, I have been to all the zoos around Montreal and I've decided to write an article ranking them by the quality of the photos you can take there. The best animal pictures in my opinion, are pictures of animals that are in a natural looking setting. Therefore, I have prioritized places that have better environments for their animals.

All Zoos in my list are under one hour away by car from Montreal.

Here are the top zoos for animal Photography in Montreal:

1. Ecomuseum Zoo

2. Parc Safari

3. Zoo de Granby

4. Biodome de Montreal

Raccoon at Ecomuseum Zoo in Montreal
Canon EOS 60D 250mm f/5.6 1/500s ISO 3200

Ecomuseum Zoo

I believe that this place is by far the coolest place in Montreal to get some great animal pictures. It is located on the island at the tip near Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. Here you will find animals in very natural enclosures that make for some very good pictures. A lot of the animals will be at eye level as well which makes it a lot easier for photographers to get some good pictures.

Here you will find:

- Black bears

- Eagles

- Coyotes

- Wolves

- Lynx

- Raccoons

- Foxes

And much more, all in natural looking, very picturesque environments.

If you do come to the Ecomuseum, I would also recommend staying in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue after your visit and exploring a little bit of that historic little village located on the island of Montreal as it is very beautiful and there are some very nice restaurants by the canal. You can even get some cool sunset shots by the water.

Tiger at Parc Safari in Montreal
Canon EOS 60D 123mm f/6.3 1/100s ISO 100

Parc Safari

For a great Zoo experience, I would say that this place beats all other places on the list. At Parc Safari you will have a portion inside your vehicle where you will drive around inside animal enclosures. Animals will be able to come to your car and you will be able to touch them and even feed them appropriate food so you can interact with the animals up close. This is cool way to get some up-close shots as well as to get some fun family pictures. Unlike some other safaris, I find this one to be very safe for your vehicle.

After the Safari you will then have a portion of the zoo that is walkable and includes the Predator enclosures as well as a farm and a deer park.

The predator enclosures are pretty cool because they are made of glass and you are able to get up close and personal with the Lions and the Tigers as well as many other predators. This can make for some very cool portrait shots of animals although it will be hard to get a picture without the fences that surround the enclosures in the background.

The farm portion is really cool as well, because most of the enclosures are at the height of children which means that you can easily get pictures without annoying fences or stained glass in the way. You can get up close and personal with the animals which includes all sorts of typical farm animals as well as strange and rare birds.

As for the Deer Park I believe this is the best place for photography in Parc Safari. You can feed the deer with appropriate food which means that the deer will come to you and they will get really close to the camera. Because of this I do not recommend a telephoto lens for this portion as you can get some really neat pictures of the deer which will be very, very close to you. It is also very fun to be able to interact with the deer on a personal level.

To attract the animals to you at Parc Safari, I recommend bringing some celery. Celery is an accepted food by the park for feeding the animals and it is also very popular among the animals. Animals love the celery so this can help you get more pictures and have an overall better experience at the park.

You should also know that there is a water park so if you get hot during the day put on your swimming trunks and have a bit of a swim before moving on to other parts of the park.

Tiger at Zoo de Granby in Montreal
Photo by Alex Guillaume on Unsplash

Zoo de Granby

Zoo de Granby is your typical Zoo. You will find all the popular animals in this zoo and there are also some great additional facilities such as rides and water parks. Coming here can be a really fun experience and a great day for a vacation in Montreal.

However, from a photography perspective the zoo is not the best place for quality animal pictures. It is simply a very popular zoo filled with people that can appear in your pictures and the enclosures are not the nicest ones as they make it very obvious that you're in a zoo.

However, if you want to get a lot of pictures of a lot of different animals this is a cool place to go and you will definitely get your money's worth.

One thing that I would like to note is that the Zoo de Granby is open during winter. If you are in Montreal during winter, this can be a really cool place to go for pictures as some of the animals will be outside in their enclosures which will be filled with snow and makes it a lot more natural looking. It can create some very unique and really cool pictures with some very rare animals.

Puffins at Biodome de Montreal
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Biodome de Montreal

Please note that the Biodome is closed for renovations until Fall 2019.

The Biodome de Montreal is the most popular zoo in Montreal. It is located near two metro stations inside the city of Montreal which makes it a very easy place to go for travelers to Montreal.

The zoo is a lot different from the other zoos on the list as it is an inside zoo with very beautifully recreated ecosystems. I would highly recommend coming to this place if you are visiting Montreal as it is quite a unique Zoo and I haven't seen other places like it elsewhere.

During your visit you will be fully immersed in different ecosystems such as the rainforest, Canada's natural habitat and even the North Pole. It is a cool place and you can get up close and personal with the animals.

However, it is not the best place for pictures as you are inside, and the lighting is not the best. Oftentimes you are above the animals which make it obvious that you are inside a zoo. When animals are at eye level, you will be behind a glass which make it very hard to take some good pictures without the annoying reflection on the glass.

If you come to the Biodome I would recommend pairing your visit with a visit to the Planetarium, the Insectarium and the botanical gardens which are some staples of Montreal tourism and some great places for photography.

Hopefully, you enjoyed the post and found some useful information. I would love to see your pictures from any of these locations so just comment a link below so I can check it out.

If you have any questions or additional advice for other travel photographers, please sound off in the comments below!

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