Many travelers miss downtown Moncton, 115 mi/185 km east of Fredericton, because they stop on the TransCanada Highway at the Magnetic Hill—a naturally occurring perceptual illusion that will have you convinced your car is rolling uphill—it even looks like the stream is flowing uphill.

Or they visit the adjacent Magnetic Hill Zoo (with tigers, lions and camels) or the Magic Mountain Water Park (waterslides and other theme-park attractions). Some even come for the Tidal Bore on the Petiticodiac River, but, unfortunately, its name is all too accurate. The bore is a wall of water that moves upstream at high tide, but it's not worth waiting around to see.

There's more to Moncton, however. Kids love the Crystal Palace amusement park, which has a carnival atmosphere year-round. The University of Moncton is the province's major French-language college—it's like a minitrip to a Paris university. Its museum and art gallery are the main attractions for visitors. The city has plenty of shops downtown and at suburban malls. We like to grab a snack or drink at one of the downtown cafes.

Moncton is a good base for a couple of day trips, too. The Rocks Provincial Park (Hopewell Cape) is where you'll find the famous "flowerpots"—eroded rock pillars that have trees growing on top of them. Be aware that if you go at high tide—which, at 55 ft/17 m, is very high, indeed—you won't be able to walk on the beach at the rocks' base—it's underwater then. (You can also rent a kayak and see the flowerpots from the sea.)

Another popular area near Moncton is Parlee Beach, in Shediac, known for its warm water, lobster and annual sand-sculpture contest.

Among Moncton's notable events are the Jazz and Blues Festival (June and July) and the World Wine and Food Festival (late fall).

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