Parc Omega has long been a favourite attraction — especially for safari lovers — in Montebello, Québec, located about an hour’s drive from Ottawa, the Laurentians and Mont Tremblant.
Operating since 1991, it’s become home to a large range of animals native to the northern hemisphere. And you can see them all from your car. As you slowly drive along the 15-km road through this 890-hectare wildlife park, you’ll be approached by deer, elk and wild goats. You can also observe bison, bears, moose and wolves in their natural environment from a safe distance (if you care about your car and don’t want to get hurt).
Some of the cheeky inhabitants in the park will shove their oversized and often stinky heads into your car window, sniffing out their favourite carrot snacks. Prepare to get elk snot and drool all over your car windows! Little, adorable baby boars will also appear out of bushes, scampering after their own treats, always just a little too late to the party compared to the greedy deer.
And with the recent addition of lodging, the park has now been elevated to a luxe glamping retreat where you can observe the wildlife in comfort. So forget about safaris, here’s why you should visit Parc Omega instead.
It’s more than just a car safari
Over the years, the park has expanded and installed more interactive attractions such as the addition of trails, where visitors can park their cars and walk around designated sections of the park, getting even closer to the animals. But it isn’t just about the animals — there’s also an on-site restaurant, children’s indoor play area and gift shop. There’s something for everyone.
You can sleep in the heart of Quebec’s wilderness
Rather than leaving at closing time, visitors can now stay the night in a selection of wi-tents, (round, wood-based tepees) cabins and yurts, which offer visitors the chance to sleep under the stars while listening to wild coyotes howl. Each property has been smartly designed, and features intricate carvings, bear-themed lamps and cozy, optional linens (you’ll be charged extra for bedding, but you can opt to bring your own).
It’s camping, only better
Chunky, wooden rocking chairs and matching tables add to the ambiance of the accommodations, and animal silhouettes cut into the window shades wake guests up as the sun rises. This is essentially rustic camping for city dwellers.
Creature comforts are included
To make life a little more comfortable, solar-powered electricity charges the lights, toaster and coffee machine. There’s even a pizza restaurant just a short drive away in the town of Montebello if you don’t feel like cooking your dinner on the campfire. There are also showers available at the main house as well as cooking facilities and games for the kids if you’re craving a few more modern conveniences.
You’ll have amazing views
We stayed in the house on stilts, which can accommodate up to seven people. It’s a large, palm leaf-roofed cabin with two enclosed bedrooms joined by a covered living area that overlooks the bear enclosure. What a view.
Prepare for exclusive experiences
Guests are treated to private animals feedings on boardwalks that are suspended above the ground, giving an amazing view of Canada’s native wildlife. We watched as the wolves polished off their dinner and learned a few fascinating facts about pack life — like how the iconic howl can only be initiated by the alpha male.
You can bring the whole gang along
Even if you choose one of the smaller lodging options, you can reserve two or three wi-tents to create your own little campground neighbourhood right in the heart of Montebello’s wilderness.
As night closed in, my little one fell asleep on his Goldilocks-inspired bed, and we sat on the balcony, sipping our hot chocolate as we watched a bear climb a low tree, just a few metres from us.
Staying over at Parc Omega makes for a very pleasant, not to mention uncommon, weekend away.