Today it rained. All. Day. It could have been a lazy day at home (and that was certainly tempting), but I called the school to let them know that Leila would be absent because we were taking a field trip. After breakfast and packing lunches (and, oh yeah, a good half hour of Noah messing around with his mini shelter from Building Club and a stop motion animation in the works), we set off downtown through the rain. Nonstop rain.

insectariumOur first stop was the Insectarium. It wasn’t exactly planned, but that’s where we got parking, and since it was STILL raining, we ducked inside. Montreal’s Insectarium is small, but man, if you take the time to read everything, and ask questions of the staff and watch the live specimens, you could easily spend hours here. It felt a little extra special this time, too, as we had had the chance to meet Georges Brassard in the summer (and he’s the entomologist who designed the Insectarium). We were looking at it with new eyes.

The kids were especially interested in the tarantulas, the ants, and some baby spiders that were riding on their mother’s back! Also on display were some costumes from Cirque du Soleil’s new show, OVO—insect costumes displayed with iPads that showed a clip from the show. It looks so fun. I would love to take the kids, but with the cheapest tickets over $60 each, we’ll have to wait until it comes out on DVD.

We ate our lunch in the Insectarium lobby before scurrying across the Botanical Gardens in—you guessed it—the rain to the greenhouses for the Great Pumpkin Ball. The winners this year were really superb, but the others less spectacular than in previous years (we thought). We watched the witch Esmerelda perform a little song before heading back out.

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And while the school groups filed out of the Great Pumpkin Ball and into their busses, we visited the other greenhouses armed with a new set of tools gained from our Télé-Botanica online course. Everywhere we looked, we saw plants adapting to their environments in different ways: trees with roots extending above the ground and acting as multiple trunks to anchor in flimsy soil, carnivorous plants needing insect protein to survive in nutrient-poor soils, plants with big leaves to maximize sun exposure and the release of water in shady but humid environments. We saw a few examples of plant interactions (albeit only the beneficial ones)—and discussed why there were only these in the greenhouses. It felt really good to be able to apply knowledge gained from that online course to something physically in front of us.

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On our way home, we stopped at the Grande Bibliothèque to stock up on books and CDs for the car.

When we got home…it was still raining. That didn’t stop Noah and the boy next door from taping up their hockey sticks and making passes in the driveway until it got so dark they couldn’t see each other anymore.

And, of course, my day wouldn’t have been complete without Leila reading to me in French. She claimed she had to assume this position so I could “just look up” and see the pictures. So much easier that way.