How can I describe our day experience at Omega Parc? Way beyond expectations! This 15km drive-through adventure is like a safari expedition to discover the wildlife of Canada. The park has more than 15 species of animals (like deers, elks, wolves, foxes, bison, turkeys, boars and many more) from different habitats: meadow, forest, mountain, lake and boreal region. You can actually make contact with (most) of the animals by feeding them with carrots (only) when you drive along the path. This review is about our experience during wintertime. Summertime is more likely to be busier / high season with more activities like picnic stations, more hiking paths, a farm, playground etc.
Address: 399 Route 323 North, Montebello, J0V 1L0, QC
Car: Drive about 1h30 west from Montreal, direction towards Ottawa
Opening time: All year long, from 10am. Closing time depends on the season
Entry fees: ticket price depends on the season (high/low season). Check online for exact tariff
Baby stroller not relevant as most of the time is spent inside the vehicle, station 11 during wintertime would not be possible
On a winter day, we decided to visit this park we heard so much about. The weather was extremely cold but super sunny. At the entrance of the park, you pay the entrance fees at the drive-through booth, you receive a map of the park and your first stop will be the first right turn on the road ahead in a big wooden house (Park House). There you will find a restaurant, a small indoor playground and a souvenir shop where you can buy carrots!
A pack of carrots costs about 2.5$ including tax. Don’t make the mistake we did. We bought only one pack and we realized after the first 2 minutes while feeding the animals from our car that obviously it is not enough when the drive goes through many km along very hungry and excited animals. Keep in mind that the park is asking not to feed the bison. Our kids were super excited to see all these big animals from close proximity and we were laughing so much when we tried feeding them. The animals stick their noses inside the car and all our windows were full of saliva…..Our girls tried to feed them and they were pointing non-stop when they spotted a different specie.
At the wooden chalet, there are beautiful views over a lake and many bird feeding houses on the deck, where you can watch the birds around. On the lower floor, there is a small indoor playground for rainy and cold days. At the boutique, we also bought a small guide which gives an overview of all the names of the animals you will encounter with a short description. Do not forget to tune on the radio frequency of the park (you can choose English or French channels). This is a great way to learn about the history of the park and about its wildlife.
We cleaned well the kids’ windows (remember? it was very cold so our windows were icy and foggy) and we headed on our way. Keep the park map next to you as you will need it. The indications at some junctions were not 100% clear and you can end up circling the route few times if you don’t read it correctly.
The first junction you have is either to continue on the car trail with the animals or to stop at number 4 on the map – First Nations Area. We decided to continue and we left it for the last place to visit at the end of the tour.
Along the way you see many animals roaming freely, except for the carnivore ones (such as wolves, foxes, bears), who are visible but within an enclosure. Follow the number signs along the way to keep track with the map (some areas are circular and you can skip them if needed – number 10 and 15).
At number 11 – Colonization Area, there are many parking spots as there are several stations to visit. The new wooden house – Lumber Camp offers a place to rest, have a snack, rent snowshoes during wintertime and it also sells carrots. Unfortunately the carrots we bought there were frozen and the animals refused to eat it.
Although we have not visited the place yet in the summer, there are definitely more things to do at Colonization Area during that time of year. During our visit, the Sugar Shack and the farm were closed. During the summer there are also animal shows near the wolf enclosure. We visited the wolf enclosure and then tried to walk on the snowshoeing path (there are two paths in Omega park for this), but there were no obvious signs (snowshoes symbols) where to start it, we were a bit wandering around and finally gave up.
We went back to the car, continued the tour and once we passed number 20, we reached again the initial junction where we headed to the First Nations Area, we parked the car and walked to see the beautiful totems. Unfortunately, the option to circle Trout Lake was closed due to the amount of snow. The nice small lake was frozen.
We finished the super exciting day again at the Park House for the restrooms before heading back home.