Parc Omega: A Guide to Quebec’s Safari Park

Parc Omega is a safari park. It’s the perfect place to visit if you want to see some of Canada’s wildlife. We so seldom get to see animals in the wild, even those of us who are avid outdoors people. Parc Omega gives you this opportunity and allows you to interact with animals that should otherwise be given a wide breadth in the wild.

This post provides you with information about the park, its animals, and location. It also gives you some idea of when to visit, what to bring, and what to expect.

Location

The Park is located near Montebello, Québec approximately an hour drive from Ottawa and 1.5 hours from Montréal.

On Arrival

The entrance to Parc Omega will lead you to a small kiosk where you will pay the entrance fee. Upon payment, you’ll receive a map with the location of the various animals. Signs near the entrance tell you to tune your radio to the Parc Omega station. Doing this will get you a broadcasted tour from your car’s audio system. The broadcast teaches you about the park’s animals and gives you some history of First Nations in Canada.

At the kiosk, the park staff will inform you of any specific instructions for your stay. For us, this included instructions not to feed the male animals because it was mating season. They also told us to be cautious on our drive up a specific snow-covered hill. After paying the fee and receiving any special instructions, your safari adventure begins. The car tour is relatively short. Depending on how often you stop and feed the animals, it will take you 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.

If you didn’t bring any carrots with you to feed the animals, you can pick some up at the Park House. It is located at the beginning of the drive. You are not permitted to feed the animals anything other than carrots.

The Animals at Parc Omega

The park boasts over 15 species of animals. These include black bear, cinnamon bear, rocky mountain goat, alpine ibex, coyote, moose, gray wolf, black wolf, caribou, arctic fox, musk oxen, red deer, white-tailed deer, fallow deer, raccoon, and prairie bison. You’re also likely to encounter different species of birds. We saw ravens, chickadees, vultures, wild turkeys and a blue heron.

What to Expect

Unlike a zoo, which often cages animals in small quarters, the animals in Parc Omega are given larger and more natural enclosures. This means that you won’t always get an up-close view of some animals like the bison, wolves, or bears. But it’s better for the animals this way. That being said, these are much smaller territories than the animals would have in the wild.

The deer, elk, caribou, and boar have the full range of the park minus the enclosed areas which house their predators. The behaviour of these free roamers is more like domesticated animals than their equivalents in the wild.

There are a couple animal shows put on by the park. Try to catch the wolf show, it runs a couple times a day and you can learn lots about the park’s wolves. The park guide will explain wolf pack dynamics using “alpha behaviour theory.” The theory will hold true for the wolves kept at the park but it is not true for wolves in the wild. You can check out my post about wolf pack dynamics to learn more.

In the summertime, the park also hosts a birds of prey show. I’ve never seen the show myself, but it is well-reviewed online.

What to Bring

While you can buy food at the park, I suggest that you pack a lunch which will save you both time (waiting in lines) and money. There are three picnic areas at Parc Omega. They are located at the Park House, Land of First Nations, and Land of the Pioneers. Don’t be surprised if the animals join you at your picnic!

Bring your camera. You will get some amazing shots of the deer, elk, caribou, and boar regardless of whether you are snapping photos on your phone or DSLR. If you want up-close shots of some of the other animals, you might need a zoom or telephoto lens.

Bring appropriate footwear for the weather conditions. You have to walk a short distance to see the gray wolves and there is a short trail in Land of the First Nations that is nice to visit.

Finally, if you have animal allergies, pack some allergy medication.

When to Go

The entrance fee to the park varies depending on the season. You do not pay by car but by person. The price can be steep but a family rate is available (2 parents and 2 children).

Each season will be a slightly different experience at Parc Omega:

In fall, the park has the added bonus of beautiful autumn foliage. Keep in mind, you won’t be able to feed any of the male deer species from October – November. This is the mating season and they can become aggressive if fed.

The winter is the low season. The park fees are slightly lower and there are fewer people around. If you go on a weekday morning, you might find that you have the park almost all to yourself. The only animal you won’t be able to see is the bears which will be hibernating in their dens.

In spring, you may get to see newborns! Some people say the highlight of their trip was seeing baby bears who recently emerged from their dens.

The summer is peak season. The park is busier, and the entrance fee is more expensive. Peak summertime hours are from 11am – 2pm. It’s best to arrive earlier or later to try to beat the crowds. On really hot summer days, it’s possible that some of the animals will be seeking shelter from the sun.

A Word of Caution

Some people are concerned about their car being damaged by the animals. We’ve never had an issue with this, but it is possible. On our first visit, we noticed that a goat looked like it wanted to jump up onto our car. This would have likely resulted in damage. We just made sure to keep driving slowly so it didn’t have the opportunity.

I’m sure 90 percent of incidents of car damage are caused by people acting irresponsibly. For example, I saw an Instagram video of young people teasing some of the deer and then getting their car “hoofed” pretty badly as a result. Parc Omega is not responsible for any damages that may be caused by the animals.

Final Word

I hope you get the opportunity to visit Parc Omega! If you do, let me know in the comments section what you thought of the experience.

Finally, remember that this is a curated safari park. Please treat animals you encounter in the wild with respect – never feed them, give them lots of space, and try not to disturb them.

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