Omega Park – The Bear Necessities (From Your Car!)

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My personal favorite at Omega Park: the stinky snorting wild boars!

Last year around this time, my family had the great opportunity to visit Omega Park. My son wasn’t able to verbally express his excitement but his face clearly showed his joy. I highly recommend Omega Park for families looking for a weekend day trip only 1.5 hours outside of Montreal.

Omega Park is situated in the gorgeous region/municipality of Montebello. Known for the largest log structure ever built, Le Chateau Montebello is stunning and deserving of its own blog post. Beautiful through all the seasons, my personal favorites are spring and fall; the colors of the new and/or dying foliage is spectacular. The air is crisp in the fall and moist and alive in the spring–definitely worth at least a drive through the area!

Omega is a wildlife park that is unique amongst the “safari park” genre in that its animals are all native to the Canadian forests. The park is open year-round and animals can be seen roaming through 1,800 acres of their natural habitat. Filled with trees, rivers, lakes, swamps and rolling hills, the area itself is a fun drive and it’s nice to see the animals in their (simulated) native environment.

I would recommend making this a full-day adventure. The area around Omega Park has tons of places to explore and the park itself can take anywhere from 3-4 hours (longer if all the animals approach the car windows). Also, make sure you bring bags of carrots, apples, celery and other hard veggies. Trust me, the animals will love you and you’ll get plenty of photo opportunities. Make sure to leave the dog at home; they have a strict no pets policy (for good reason!).

3 warnings before your trip: 1. If you are worried that your car might get damaged–it should be fine but you never know–don’t bring your spotless car. Our family van is, well, a family van, so we were never worried about any damage and luckily everything was fine. The animals know their boundaries and they are all slow and meandering–these are wild animals that are very used to human contact. 2. If the thought of a large drooling beast sticking its head into your driver/passenger window scares you–don’t open the window. Start out small: try feeding the deer first. They are…let’s say…a little less daunting than a buffalo head the size of your child. 3. Allergies! If anyone in your family suffers from allergies, I would recommend taking a preventative anti-histamine.

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Feeding the animals at Omega Park

Most animals, with the exception of the bears and wolves, are free-roaming. They are all used to cars and humans and they know the drill: wave the carrot out the window and they will approach. Please make sure to supervise your children while they feed the animals. I know the animals don’t mean to bite but sometimes a tiny hand holding a carrot can’t be seen.

Omega Park also has a bird of prey section that performs live shows in the summer. If you walk along the designated foot-paths, you will reach the mini-farm area. Your kids can pet the goats, sheep, pigs, etc and they offer pony/horse rides for a fee.

A friendly goat at Omega Park's mini farm

A friendly goat at Omega Park’s mini farm

Omega offers two radio stations (English and French) that provide information on the animals in the park. They also have a picnic area or a fast food cafeteria–brown bag it for a healthier (and cheaper) lunch. Make sure to check the weather forecast; even though you are in your car on a rainy day, the animals might not be as inclined to come out of the forested areas. Enjoy!

Location: Highway 323 North, Montebello, Québec JOV 1LO

Website: http://www.parc-omega.com/en/

Coupons! http://www.parc-omega.com/coupon1-en.cfm

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