Our family is not hugely into Halloween - for no particular reason, though the Little Man has always found it more scary than fun and so we downplay it for his sake and ours. It wasn't a huge event for me when I was a child, so perhaps that's partly why we don't do the haunted tractor rides, the pumpkin patch or the parties.
We do, however, have a mad, mad love affair with Fall. Jake, now five, shares in this enthusiasm for Autumn. The last two months have seen our weekends full of family related activities as mundane as cleaning out the garage and as pleasant as visits to out of town relatives. Needless to say, Jake's been begging for a weekend activity centered around him, so this past Sunday his Nana and I took him to Parc Omega.
He'd visited with a day camp over the summer, but was frustrated by the height of the bus windows and his inability to reach the animals in order to hand feed them. Since then he's been asking to go back. At just over 8 months pregnant, I'm not up for wandering around a museum for hours or hiking through Gatineau Park. But Parc Omega was a great option since you can both drive through the park, and stop from time to time to meander along the walking trails.
We saw caribou, red and white-tailed deer, bison, timber and arctic wolves, coyotes, wild pigs, blue herons, geese, beavers, moose, blue jays, raccoons, black bear, goats, ibexs, foxes, skunks and more.
Hearing Jake's squeals of laughter as the caribou and deer ate carrots he fed them through the car windows warmed my heart. It was a perfect fall day and a lovely drive through Quebec, surrounded by beautiful hills ablaze in colour on one side and the Ottawa river on the other.
If you go . . . Parc Omega is near Montebello, about a 45-60 minute drive from Ottawa. If you want to enjoy the walking trails, wear comfortable clothes and shoes! The park is open year-round with prices ranging from $15-$18 per adult and $13-$7 for children depending on their age and the season.
Carrots are the preferred food of choice for the animals because they're healthy and easy to feed (long enough that little fingers don't need to worry about being nipped). You can purchase them in the gift shop, or bring your own. (We brought 6 lbs and went through them in minutes - I do wish we'd brought more!)
There is a canteen on-site, though like many tourist attractions, the prices are a little high. You can bring your own picnic lunch and eat at a variety of spots throughout the park.
Depending on how busy the park is and how quickly you choose to drive through it, plan on spending at least a couple of hours meeting all the animals along the way.
Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match. She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 5 year old son, Jacob. Probably in reverse order. She also blogs.