Imagine this — you’re cruising through the foothills of Moncton, New Brunswick, you descend an incline, when suddenly your car starts to go backwards. Believe it or not, you’ve just stumbled onto New Brunswick’s most enduring tourist attraction: the Moncton Magnetic Hill.

This unique optical illusion has captivated residents and visitors since 1931, when newly constructed roads revealed the hill’s strange properties and local drivers shared the experience of drifting uphill. Soon, people were coming in from the surrounding towns to see the bizarre phenomenon for themselves, and in time, the Moncton Magnetic Hill spawned its own cottage industry with thousands of visitors yearly.

The area around the hill itself has been built up with a variety of other attractions, including the Magnetic Hill water park, Magic Mountain Fun Zone, Magnetic Hill concert site, and you can visit the Magnetic Hill Zoo’s animals.

The Moncton Magnetic Hill Explained

For decades, the mystery of the Moncton Magnetic Hill remained just that — a mystery. A range of hypotheses arose over the years, running the gamut from gravitational distortions to magnetic fields. 

However, in 2010, the secret was revealed by a Japanese scientist named Kokichi Sugihara, who successfully recreated the optical illusion that occurs on gravity hills like the one present in Moncton for a contest.

Pretty amazing, huh? While at first glance, the slopes appear to be going downwards, a change of orientation reveals that the slopes were inverted the whole time. The same principle applies to the Magnetic Hill: though you appear to be going uphill, you’re actually going down a slope, and the specific orientation of the hill’s angle makes it appear you’re shattering the laws of gravity. 

Though the mystery is revealed, it’s still a pretty cool phenomenon to experience for yourself.

Magic Mountain Water Park

Magic Mountain Fun Zone, the Moncton Magnetic Hill Water Park

After taking your car down (or rather up) the Magnetic Hill itself, you can then zoom down the waterslides of Magic Mountain Fun Zone, the Moncton Magnetic Hill water park. Originally built in 1986 alongside the Magnetic Hill, the water park features 11 water slides and three pools suitable for all ages. 

The largest water park in the Maritimes, some of Magic Mountain Fun Zone’s most popular attractions include the 400ft long Tornado slide and a Lazy River that circulates around a recreation of a steam ship. For the truly fearless, you can test your daring with the Kamikaze, featuring speeds of over 60km/​ph and a straight drop. 

Magnetic Hill Concert Site

Image by Stu Pendousmat via Wikipedia.

Visiting the Moncton Magnetic Hill Concert Site

If waterslides and historic optical illusions don’t catch your fancy, you can always catch a show at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site. While the outdoor festival ground has hosted acts ranging from the Rolling Stones to AC/DC, the Magnetic Hill Concert Site most famous guest might have been its first: Pope John Paul II.

That’s right, the Magnetic Hill Concert Site was originally built for the Pope’s 1984 visit to Moncton, where he led one of the largest papal masses in Canada’s history. Transitioning to a music venue in the 90s, historic Magnetic Hill concerts include the 2008 Soul2Soul II Tour with Faith Hill and U2’s 360° Tour.

Magnetic Hill Zoo Animal

The Moncton Magnetic Hill Zoo: Animals & More

You and your family can spend a fun day exploring the zoo’s four unique zones spread across 40 acres around the Magnetic Hill. With over 600 furry, scaly and feathered residents, the Magnetic Hill Zoo’s animals range from the majestic Andean condor to the less-majestic Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

Be sure to visit the zoo’s youngest residents, the Magnetic Hill Zoo jaguars. Born in August 2019, a contest was run to name the two newest Magnetic Hill Zoo jaguars. The cubs were eventually christened Loki and Jasper by popular demand, though we hope the former doesn’t take after his Nordic namesake.

Magnetic Hill Winery

The Pull of the Moncton Magnetic Hill

Evolving from a simple sideshow attraction to a massive entertainment complex, the draw of the Magnetic Hill is the same as it always was: a chance to experience something unbelievable. It’s an opportunity that’s attracted tens of thousands of visitors over nearly a century, and it remains a point of pride for the people of Moncton.

Besides, you can always visit nearby attractions, like the Magnetic Hill water park, Magic Mountain Fun Zone, the Magnetic Hill Concert Site, the Magnetic Hill Zoo and the Magnetic Hill Winery.

Keen to experience more of the city? Time your visit with some of the best events happening in Moncton.

Special thanks to the staff at the Comfort Inn Magnetic Hill in Moncton, NB for their suggestions.

Choice Hotels in Moncton