Back in July my family went on a road trip to explore the Outaouais Region of Québec located in the southwestern corner of Québec – just a short hop from Ottawa.
If you are looking for a fun destination for families within Canada, the Outaouais region is ideal. From National Museums, waterparks, local events and festivals, to visiting wild animals in their natural habitat, there are diverse options that are sure to make for an exciting vacation experience.
During our family adventure we checked out just a small sampling of the activities that the Outaouais Region of Québec has to offer. The activity that stood out most for our whole family was our visit to Parc Omega.
Parc Omega is a wildlife park that allows visitors to experience Canada’s wilderness from the safety of your vehicle. Visitors have the opportunity to drive along a winding 15km road in the 1500 acre park and discover bison, wapitis, bears, fallow deer, moose, wild boar, wolves and more living in the wild. Not only can you watch the animals in their natural habitat, but you can also feed them and get up close to the deer.
Our first stop within the park was to check out The First Nations area including Trout Lake and the walking trail where hikers are able to learn about the history of 11 of the First Nations of Quebec and take in the natural beauty all around.
A gorgeous sculpture of a Thunderbird marks the head of the 1 km trail, and when passing under his wings you fall under its protection according to First Nations lore.
We first encountered deer within the First Nations area, and they are shy and will look to you eagerly for carrots which are available to purchase from The Park House.
There are also a few Tipi shaped shelters and longhouses along the trail that are perfect for picnics.
Along with 11 diifferent and beautifully sculpted totem poles representing each of the first nationas are several Inukshuks that wonderfully illustrate the relationship between the aboriginal peoples of Canada and nature.
Back on the car tour again we encountered many animals eagerly putting their heads inside our vehicle in search of carrots. This delighted the girls despite all the slobber. It is a truly unique experience to watch a magestic looking elk walk up to your car and literally come face to face with you.
We were initially a little worried about driving our own vehicle through the park but there was no need to be worried although animals were everywhere as we drove through the park.
Along the way you will find alpine ibex and bison, wolves, bears, Arctic foxes, caribou, coyotes, wild boars and muskox along with buffalo, moose and wapitis. I was surprised during our trip by just how much bears love carrots – to the point where one of the bears eagerly stood up on its back legs to “ask” our guide for some.
There is a stopping point about mid-way through the drive that offers more animals, trails, refreshment, activities and other attractions.
The kids loved the chance to get out of the car and feed the gentle white-tailed deer carrots. Trust me, the kids never got tired of feeding the animals so bring lots of carrots when you go on your own trip!
At the stopping point you will find a beautifully sculpted Enchanted Forest House by artist Michel Therrien that kids and adults alike will truly become enchanted with.
It’s the perfect spot for a mid-day treat of ice cream before continuing on with other activities like a suspended walkway through the trees, trading post, history museum, and free live shows.
One of the most amazing areas in Parc Omega is the new Wolf Observatory. The Wold Observatory is two levels offering an amazing natural theatre with an immersive experience with wolves. It was incredible to see the wolves inwith each other and the two pups in their pack.
The kids loved this area too and were delighted by one of the wolves “following” them from the other side of the partition (not understanding that the wolf saw them as prey.)
Where else would you be able to see wolves so up close and yet from complete safety?
Our last stop within the stopping point was a tractor ride to the Old Farm featuring a petting zoo, pony rides, refreshments and even a playground for children.
After returning to our car we made our way through the rest of the drive which mostly featured the predator species and gave out the last of our carrots along the ride once we encountered more elk.
We definitely recommend this Parc Omega for any family – kids and adults alike are sure to love this unique attraction found in the Outaouais region of Quebec! I can’t think of a better way to inspire a love for nature and the bounty of it we have here in Canada. Truly a great attraction, I cannot say enough good things about Parc Omega, it was definitely the highlight of our trip!
Since our girls are young ( 3 and 5 years old) we loved that we did not have to walk fair but that there were opportunities to get out of the car and explore on foot as well.
If you plan on going I would plan to make a day of it as there is so much to see and experience, although you could certainly drive around the park in an hour or two if you skipped the stopping point and hikes. There is also the option of staying overnight in one of Parc Omegas accommodations.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary visit to the park in order to facilitate this review. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.