This July we had a wild family adventure at Parc Omega in the Outaouais Region of Quebec. There are probably a lot of jokes to be made here about wildlife and family for instance. And I am not above cracking wise on occasion but this adventure was enjoyable from start to finish and it was a highlight of our family trip to Quebec. No jokes or puns needed. Just pure education and fun and memories made together at Parc Omega.
The best part of travel writing and blogging is sharing adventures with my family and creating memories. We began our family trip this year in Gatineau Park and spent a couple of nights in the city of Gatineau, fourth largest city in the province of Quebec. We had one of our greatest adventures ever zip lining at Arbraska Lafleche in Val-des-Monts and then we headed North towards Montebello. But first Parc Omega.
I had heard great things about this adventure travel destination and we were all excited to visit and see the park for ourselves. Something about seeing animals up close makes everyone feel young again. What child does not love a wildlife adventure?
Parc Omega was easy to spot from the road to Montebello and signage is abundant. Thankfully the lineup of cars and vans waiting to get in moved fast. We listened for directions. Where bears are involved we want our children to have a healthy respect for how you behave. We also wanted to be sure everyone was safe. Rules are clear. Signs are everywhere telling you where you can park and get out to stroll around and where you should simply observe from the car or van.
[tweetthis]Traveller tip – stop at Park House to buy a bag of carrots for the animals in Parc Omega #Outaouaisfun #travel[/tweetthis]
You know how some wildlife parks have you ride through the grounds in your van or car and you worry about monkeys or other climbing animals doing damage to your vehicle? This is not that place. Parc Omega has North American and European animals, flora and fauna only and it is a very fluid flow to the entire atmosphere. The grounds are really well kept and spacious and all of the enclosures are integrated into the natural landscape. The wapitis greet you as soon as you drive in. But they are gentle and the worst you can rally expect from them is slobber on your windows as you feed them carrots.
One of my favourite Parc Omega features was the fact that they have their own radio broadcast. As soon as and you enter you get a map with instructions on where to tune in on Parc Radio. 90.1 or 88.1 depending on which language you wish to listen in. The taped radio show is informational and useful. I enjoy that passive learning that gives children a chance to grow their little brains while not realizing they are being taught.
I was unsure of how much time to allocate for Parc Omega and expected we’d fill a few hours exploring. But we didn’t really want to leave and with 2,200 acres of wildlife and hiking paths to explore we could have spent 6-8 hours easily. In the end we stayed a good 4-5 hours. We saw bison, elk, wapitis, ibex, moose, deer, wild boars, foxes, timberwolves, musk oxen, coyotes, goats, bears and more. We watched two short shows so we could learn more about Parc Omega.
We were a bit surprised to learn that there are numerous rescued animals and birds like racoons, owls, hawks and turtles that had broken wings or busted shells, even broken limbs or limbs that were missing. That made us like Parc Omega even more. After the raptors and rescued animals show we took a short walk to the show featuring the timberwolves. That was a huge hit. We arrived well before the show started and when there was nobody else around we climbed the lookout area where you are allowed to observe the wolf pack. I was concerned we might not see any wolves being active. It was a hot and muggy day, but we spied about seven before the crowd showed up and the area got really busy. There were also many wolf pups which were adorable.
There are many things I admired about Parc Omega, but another one is the design of the space. It is simply brilliant. Everything is built with natural materials. The wood structures make the space look like it is completely harmonious with the property and the animals themselves.
Where there is opportunity to climb an observation lookout structure, do so because it often puts you at eye level with the animals, which is amazing. The kids loved that. You are not looking in through cages or barriers, but inside the environment itself watching from a safe space.
After the shows, we took a hike through the forest to the other side, which is clearly marked as a petting zoo kind of area.
My daughter found a kitten inside the barn. I was a bit concerned she’d try to sneak it home. There were also many kids (baby goats) which were sweet as could be. There are horses and also a beautiful garden past the barn.
[tweetthis]Travel tip – wear good walking shoes to Parc Omega. There is a lot of hiking. #travel[/tweetthis]
This is the point where I need to mention that there is also a wagon ride to get to the petting zoo area. But we like to exercise and keep the kids moving, so we walked as many places as possible.
Back to the van for the last couple of areas in the park. First stop. Moose. Now I can honestly say there were a few animals on my list of things I NEEDED to see. I had a short checklist and the top of it was a moose. I have never seen a moose in all my life and I am Canadian so I was pretty happy to spy this guy. We had much debate about antlers at that point and pretty sure we did not resolve it, but that’s for another day. Moose are impressive creatures.
There was a mountainous area with Alpine Ibex (shown below) and they were pretty friendly. They’d approach the van looking for food. So we each had a chance to take snapshots of these guys. Again, I really loved that each particular animal was in a space that looked authentic. These Ibex were climbing rocky mountains.
Last on my list – well everyone’s list for the day at Parc Omega – was Bear Valley. I was hanging onto the edge of my seat hoping like mad that we’d be able to spy some bears before we left. We have never seen bears up close, and that’s a good thing, but this day was magical. We saw several bear families running around and saw their homes too. BUT, I didn’t really get any stunning shots to write home about kind of thing until right before the exit – this guy.
That bear and moose made my checklist complete. I captured some decent pictures and we loved the day we spent at Parc Omega. I assumed we were completely finished at that point because we were exhausted, but my husband still wanted to check out Trout Lake and The First Nations Area.
The totem poles and carvings were incredible and there were more deer of course. In this area you will find more hiking trails and a spot where you can feed the fish, or feed the deer. It is very picturesque for photos.
Parc Omega is a gem. It is a must see spot for families.
Parc Omega is about 80 kms north of Ottawa-Gatineau area.
It is about 110 kms to Montreal
and 80 kms to Mont Tremblant
It is affordable, educational, very family friendly and open year round. There are many opportunities to camp on site. There are three prospector tents, three Witents (circular shelters that combine the best features of a yurt, teepee and igloo), a cabin on stilts, two log cabins and ten teepees. @ParcOmega
We were guests of Tourisme Outaouais while in Montebello and Gatineau and we thoroughly enjoyed the entire visit. My opinion is always truthful.