Family Travel: A Trip to Parc Omega

My family ended the summer with a trip to Parc Omega in Montebello, Quebec. My daughter, who is now ten, had never been before, and it had been on our to-do list for way too long! I have only ever heard good things about Parc Omega, so honestly, I don’t know what took us so long to visit!

What to expect when you arrive at Parc Omega

Parc Omega.jpg

You know you have arrived at Parc Omega because of the impressive arched sign at the entrance. Upon arrival you receive a warm welcome as well as a map explaining where everything in the park is and what you can expect. You can then drive up to the park house for refreshments and a bathroom break or head right onto the Car Trail. We were immediately greeted by elk and red deer. They were standing in the middle of the road just waiting to be handed carrots! It was suggested to us to snap the carrots in half for the larger elk and deer and snap them into quarters for the white-tailed deer and fallow deer, since they have smaller mouths and teeth. This also prolongs your carrot supply. My daughter took it upon herself to adjust the size of the carrot based on the size of the animal in question.

First Nations Trail

Our first stop was the First Nations Trail. All year long, the First Nations trail makes for a great family walk. Throughout the walk you can learn the history of 11 of the First Nations of Quebec through beautiful totem poles made by a Native American artist. My daughter loved learning about the creatures on each totem pole and what they stood for. Each totem illustrates the intimate relationship between aboriginal peoples, nature and their culture.

First Nations Trail, Parc Omega

First Nations Trail, Parc Omega

The First Nations Trail is about 1km (about a ten-minute family and stroller friendly walk, in the summer) and is surrounded not only by the totem poles representing the 11 First Nations, but also beautiful forest and of course, wild deer anxious to be fed. There are also picnic tables, tipi-shaped shelters (a great picnic spot on a rainy or sunny day!) as well as a picturesque waterfall, which makes for a memorable social media moment!

At the end of the trail is the Thunderbird. As noted on the Parc Omega website, the Thunderbird is a symbolic emblem often represented in first nation groups, marks the end of the trail, when passing under his wings you will benefit from its powerful protection. My daughter thought this was pretty cool and made sure all of us did it.

First Nations Trail picnic table Parc Omega

The Car Trail

After visiting the First Nations Trail we slowly made our way past Beaver Lake and the meadows. We fed many elk, deer, wild boars, as well as admired the buffalo and even a couple of raccoons we saw trying to steal some leftover carrots from deer. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed having animals of all sizes try to stick their heads through our half-opened car windows in an attempt to get as many carrots as possible. She made sure each of them got a piece of carrot and patted the nose of some of them too. There is more than 15 km of car trail covering animals representative of much Canada’s wilderness including meadows, hills, and lakes.

Car Trail Parc Omega.jpg

Colonization Trail

The Grey Wolves

The wolves observation area has two levels that allow you to observe the wolves in their natural habitat. Three times a day there is a show in which a guide shares facts about the wolves as well as feeds them. He explains the hierarchy of the pack as well as answers any questions members of the audience may have.

We watched the wolves walk around their area for nearly an hour. There were three cubs present and we found it very fascinating to watch them try to exert their strength with the older wolves in the pack. If you have never seen wolves up close and want to learn more about them, Parc Omega is the place to go!

Grey Wolves at Parc Omega

Kids Shows

During the summer, there are also kids shows taking place at various times. There was a wild birds show as well as a skit that took place while we were there. The little ones found the skit very funny – and the older kids loved the wild birds show.

KIDS SHOW.jpg

The Enchanted House

This original and unforgettable wood sculpture is created by artist M. Therrien. It is a must see! The detail in the house is unbelievable and whether you are 2 or 102 you will appreciate it as well as the many other wood sculptures that are located within the Colonization Area.

Enchanted house Parc Omega.jpg

Playground and Aerial Park

Take a break and enjoy this unique playground and aerial course for older kids and adults alike!

Aerial Park at Parc Omega

The Old Farm

Whether you take the five-minute wagon ride or take the ten-minute walk to the Old Farm, it is a must see. There are sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, pony rides and more waiting at the farm. There is also a small coffee shop and a playground. When we were there, the farm’s garden was in full bloom and was simply stunning!

Bunnies at old farm.jpg
Old Farm Parc Omega

Tips & Suggestions


Buy carrots

  • You can purchase carrots in the park house for $3 a bag. We easily went through four bags in the course of the day, but one bag of carrots per child would do (us adults were having fun too).

Don’t forget the wild boars!

  • The wild boars are friendly too and they will take carrots, but we were told by a friend to bring apples, and when we rolled an apple their way – they devoured them. Just be gentle and don’t throw them at them – we gently tossed them near them and they would work their way over. It was very cute watching the younger ones play-eat with the apples.

Other tips

  • Plan to spend an entire day at Parc Omega. The First Nations trail area took us about an hour to walk, take pictures, read and savour. It is a beautiful and serene area.

  • Take your time driving through the park. Remember, everyone is there to enjoy the animals and the scenery, so be patient with other drivers and feed as many of the hungry wild deer, elk and caribou as you can.

  • The Colonization Area is a popular stop. We spent nearly three hours here! We brought a picnic lunch, which intrigued the deer in this area, but we also splurged on soft serve ice cream and poutine -yum!
  • Arrive early. The Parc is definitely a full day experience, so plan to come when the doors open and spend the day exploring, taking pictures of the many animals including the adorable arctic foxes, cinnamon bears, and arctic wolves.
  • Parc Omega is open year round. We very much look forward to returning in the winter to see the changes in landscape, snowshoeing as well as visiting the “Cabane à sucre!”
  • Stay overnight. Parc Omega has cabins and lodging available for an overnight visit – this is something we will be looking at for future visits! Imagine being able to feed deer right outside your door!
Arctic wolves

Arctic wolves

Cinnamon bears

Cinnamon bears

There is so much to see and do at Parc Omega. It is a fun way to get to know the animals of Canada’s vast and varied landscape, as well as learn more about the First Nations and their culture. The park is clean and the animals look well cared for. I look forward to our next trip to Parc Omega.

Have you been to Parc Omega? If so, share your favourite memories and moments with us!

Feeding Deer at Parc Omega

Disclaimer: We received free admission to Parc Omega for the purposes of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own... and we will be back!

Autumn at Parc Omega

by Carly

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.

March: What you might have missed

Spring is here... I think... maybe.... sort of.... some days....  yay! :) Here's what we talked about this past month.  (In case you want an email reminder, subscribe to our newsletter. We send out this recap, plus some information about upcoming events in the city!)

Activities for kids

We visited some polar bears and penguins at the Museum of Nature, went shopping at Value Village, explored Chinatown, and enjoyed the cold to do some tobogganing. We learnt how to throw a Fiesta of a birthday party, build things with marshmallows and spaghetti and about the fun to be had at A Gym Tale. We also saw the horses at the RCMP stables and conducted some science experiments.

The Ottawa Public Library also told us all about the Spring break programs.

Cooking

We had lots of great recipes this month for food kids love, like oatmeal and waffles and cupcakes! We also had a great post on how to cook (and keep safe) with kids in the kitchen.

Crafts

We had more crafts than usual this month (because it was too gross to go outside I imagine ;))

We talked about what to keep in your rainy day survival kit, we turned books in art, made murals, and streamer paper mache.

Out of town ideas

This one isn't too far out of town, just near Montebello.  Parc Omega is open year round and a great place to visit in the winter!

Parents in the Capital

We introduced a new bi-weekly series of posts introducing you to bloggers, who are also parents, in Ottawa.  This month we met Yumi and Ezmy and we look forward to meeting many more!

Parenting Tips

We heard about the Multiple Birth Association sale and talked about the importance of checking for change tables and highchairs at your favorite restaurants.

Social Media Monday

Blog syndication - how and with what do you do it?

Sponsors

We welcomed three new sponsors this month - The Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, the Canada Agriculture Museum and the Cow Guys.

Please remember to visit our sponsors.  They're great Ottawa businesses and they help us continue to provide Kids in the Capital to you. :)

Sugar Bushes

It's Sugar Bush season and this month we heard about Proulx Farm andStanley's Olde Maple Farm. (Have you been somewhere else? We'd love to hear about it!)

Have a great April everyone! And don't forget, if you want to share an activity, event, service or attraction for kids you love in Ottawa email us at kidsinthecapital(at)gmail(dot)com to blog for Kids in the Capital.

Enhanced by ZemantaEveryone have a great April!