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Landing a jumbo jet, skydiving, experiencing zero gravity at space camp and surfing. Sounds like enough adventure for a lifetime, but you might be surprised to learn these are just some of the fun things to do in Laval, Quebec—and best of all, you can try all of them in a single day.
The city located just outside Montreal is the perfect place for adrenaline junkies, where the doors of otherwise unassuming buildings lead to experiences even daredevils couldn’t dream up. Better yet, the action-packed activities are located so close together that you can try them all in just one day. Here are some of the best indoor activities in Laval that are guaranteed to get your heart racing.
When it comes to thrills, it’s hard to beat SkyVenture indoor skydiving. The centre’s vertical wind tunnel is like skydiving without the terrifying jumping part, making it ideal for those with a fear of heights.
My experience began with meeting our cheerful instructor Guillaume, who walked our group through what to expect in the chamber, how to position our bodies and the hand-signals used inside—the most important one being “relax!”
After gearing up with a wind suit, helmet and ear plugs we headed into the simulator, and the engines start roaring as winds between 160 and 260 km/hr funnelled through the chamber. I was one of the first in line, and quickly found myself being waved to the doorway by Guillaume, who motioned for me to cross my arms over my chest and tip forward. Just like that, I was flying!
That first round in the simulator was spent getting accustomed to the feeling of floating in mid-air, experimenting with how just a slight bend in my chin, arms or legs dictated whether I sunk toward the mesh net below or suddenly shot skyward. I couldn’t wipe the grin from my face as I defied the laws of gravity—or perhaps it was the gale force winds freezing my smile into place. Regardless, what a rush! The two-minute session flew by (pun intended *groan*), and before I knew it Guillaume was guiding me back through the doorway to solid ground.
Fortunately the fun wasn’t over yet. After everyone else had flown once it was my turn to head back in, where I got to put my newfound aerial skills to the test. Guillaume let me fly around the chamber and press up against the windows like a little bird trying to escape, then reached out to spin me in circles. Seconds later I got the ultimate thrill as he grabbed my suit like we were doing a tandem skydive, and we burst all the way up to the top of the chamber then free fell straight down.
WATCH: SkyVenture indoor skydiving
My breath completely left me, then a mix of exhilaration and delirium set in and I started giggling like a maniac from pure delight. We shot up and down three times, closing the 45-foot gap in just seconds before finally navigating towards the doorway to get back on solid ground. The full experience may have only lasted a few minutes, but the thrill of flying at SkyVenture is something one doesn’t soon forget.
Ever wondered what goes on in a cockpit? You can find out first-hand at AeroSim Experience Laval, one of the first places in Canada to offer professional level flight simulators to the general public. An actual pilot explains the different controls and instruments inside an exact replica of a Boeing 737 cockpit, and after choosing your final destination you’re free to take the controls.
I chose to “land” in Male (MLE for the aviation geeks out there), not only because the Maldives is pretty much my favourite place on earth but also because I knew the runway is located on a tiny island at sea level which provides some major eye-candy.
My “co-pilot” Mathieu was stationed next to me, and his ongoing commentary provided a glimpse into the kinds of things captains take into consideration when landing a jumbo jet, as I soared over the sparkling turquoise water and white-tipped sailboats straight for the Maldavian capital.
But as you can see from this video of my experience…I’m much better at sitting on planes than flying them.
WATCH: Flying a Boeing 737 at AeroSim Experience
After I—I mean, Mathieu—safely landed the airplane, the next stop was to check out another highlight of AeroSim Experience: their Fly Fighters program. There, visitors can take control of a Fighting Falcon F16 jet fighter simulator, reproducing missions including reconnaissance, monitoring and of course fighting.
AeroSim Experience packages range from a 30 minute express flight with instruction, to a two-hour long haul where you can experience taking off from one airport, flying, then landing in another.
Fun fact: AeroSim Experience also offers aeronautical therapy in collaboration with the CNRC, which can help desensitize those who have a fear of flying.
What kid doesn’t dream of going to space camp? You can do just that at the Cosmodome in Laval, a museum dedicated entirely to space exploration and astronautics.
Designed with interactivity in mind, highlights include a zero-gravity simulator, a 4D experience simulator based on the story of skydiver Felix Baumgartner who jumped from a helium balloon 120-thousand feet high, and a permanent exhibit about all things space exploration. This place is a hit with kids of all ages, and is one of the great things to do in Laval in the winter.
Be sure to sign up for one of the three hour-long virtual missions such as The Impossible Dream, where guests race through Star Trek-worthy capsules channeling Russia and America’s race to the moon.
The last stop of the day should be Maeva Surf—because baby, you’re going to get wet. The indoor facility proves you don’t need an ocean to enjoy a day of riding the waves, thanks to massive pumps that create artificial surf.
Maeva Surf offers a number of different packages, with most including a 30 minute training session which is perfect for those who haven’t seen much of a surfboard before.
Once you get accustomed to navigating the constant tide on a bodyboard, you can test your skills and attempt to stand up on a real surf board. Best of all, instructors help you out by holding the other side of a rope for balance, and the mesh surface below the water is similar to a trampoline so it won’t hurt when you inevitably fall into the churning waves.
Maeva Surf is a fantastic spot to learn the sport of surfing thanks to the consistent waves, and the perfect place to cap off an adrenaline-driven day of adventure in Laval.
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Globe Guide explored Laval in collaboration with Tourisme Laval. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles.
Wow all that looks so much fun. Next time we visit Laval we most definitely will be checking out these cool activities. I think the surfing and the vertical wind tunnel would be so much fun!
Too bad there is nothing like SkyVenture in Calgary.
I know right? If there was I’d be there every weekend! 🙂
These all look like awesome adrenaline pumping activities! I did the indoor skydiving in Spain and it was a lot of fun, especially when the instructors do some aerial acrobatics with you.
So fun! It would have been great to get to try out some tricks of our own- probably not something you can do during your first time out though.
Sounds like fun. I have tried the Warehouse, which is an artificial surf track much like Maeve. I found real surfing to be a little easier, at least easier to fall (lol). I wonder about the wind tunnels too. I am an aeronautical engineer and I keep thinking that it wouldn’t be hard to modify your flight suit to increase your static margin (the distance between your center of gravity and your center of pressure). A larger static margin would increase your natural stability until you get the hang of it. (think a tail on a kite). Great choice on airports BTW. Always good to get eye candy and the steady sea breeze doesn’t hurt. I have heard that Sedona is an amazing place to land but it probably wouldn’t fit a 737.
Hahah glad you liked my airport choice! Whereabouts is the Warehouse? I’ve never actually surfed before, so I thought Maeva was a great place to start learning thanks to the continuous wave.
Wow, these all look like fun adventures, I think they are all pretty cool and would love to experience all of them especially the sky venture
When I was at n my 20s I did an indoor skydiving trip in Nevada but have never done it after that day. I would love to revisit this adventure and actually thinking for going to Quebec this winter, will keep Sky Venture in mind.
The look on your face in the Sky Venture says it all! You look like you’re having a blast!
Teeehee, I was like a maniac I was laughing so hard!
Haha wow what a way to spend your day, I bet you left all of those experiences with a massive smile on your face. I want to go do them all, right now ? Mr Austin on the other hand would struggle with anything height related. Then again he did do the world’s longest zip line haha. And I love the sound of surfing without the risk of shark bites, thumbs up to that ? Look forward to your next post, Mr Austins (www.360honeymoon.com)
Hahah yes, no sharks is definitely a perk of indoor surfing!
I’ve always wanted to try the air tunnel experience. I don’t think I could stay on the surf board and could imagine hurting myself!
Hi Laura! The good thing about the indoor surfing is you don’t really get hurt when you fall, because of the trampoline-like surface 🙂
So fun! I’ve always wanted to try Skyventure. I’d probably end up hurting myself if I tried Maeva Surf, though. I have no balance.