a peek inside the fishbowl

09 Jan, 2017

Homeward bound, with a winter visit to Parc Omega

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy|travel talk

Our Christmas holiday now seems like it happened very long ago. Sigh. I am wrapping it up with this final post. All in all, it was a pretty great little getaway. I’m glad we did it. Not only was it a really nice opportunity to do something new and reconnect as a family, but it was a good mental break from work and the business That Is Generally Life.

On the way back to Ottawa we decided to drop by Parc Omega. We’d been there in every season but winter, so we bought a couple of 5lb bags of carrots and went on our way.

If you are familiar with Parc Omega you already know it’s a kind of animal safari. Well, have you ever been in the winter? I think it’s my new favourite time of year to go. Seriously.

  • The animals are just as cute.
  • They are just as hungry.
  • The ones who are lurking in the forest are easier to spot because the leaves are off the trees.

We arrived at lunch. I wasn’t sure if the little restaurant would be open. The website wasn’t really clear whether it was open in the off-season, but it was, much to my relief. (Otherwise, we’d be eating crackers and clementines for lunch.) Speaking of food, I should mention that carrots are available on site and are reasonably priced as well. I think a 1lb bag was $2.50.

My goodness, is it ever fun to feed the ungulates. This was the first member of the welcoming committee to greet us:

Parc Omega

Some of them make the cars seem very very small, don’t they?

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

It’s very hard not to take 600+ photos. It’s just so.darn.funny. Especially if you have captured a photo of one who looks like he is smoking his carrot and trying to look cool doing it:

Parc Omega

… or of the kid who never listened when mom told him to chew with his mouth closed:

Parc Omega

This gang of toughs looked like they were about to highjack our car and drive away with it, CARROTS AND ALL. You know the one lurking behind the tree is up to no good, right?:

Parc Omega

… because these ruffians can take you down:

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

And they always want MORE. If you don’t fork it over, they give you the staredown, or make their presence known. Big time.

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

The other animals are experts at the vehicular shakedown as well:

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

FYI, you’re not supposed to feed these guys, even if they stare deep into your soul.

Parc Omega

Parc Omega

I tweeted out a few photos during our visit and received a good question in return: how are the road conditions at Parc Omega?

Well, I’ll tell ya.

We drive a Toyota Prius, which is not exactly built for rough winter conditions; it’s light and sits low to the road. A few years ago we switched our all-season tires to summer tire/winter tires rotation and it was one of the best decisions we ever made. I wasn’t worried that we may not fare well on the dirt-packed slopes at Parc Omega. And then we hit the bison/musk-ox loop. We finished the loop and waited behind a couple other cars. And waited. And waited.

There was a hill up ahead and we could see three or four cars doing weird things on the road: driving forward, reversing, repeating. After some time I got out of the car and walked ahead to see what was going on. Apparently, those cars were stuck part way up that hill and couldn’t make it all the way up without getting stuck on the ice. Each car, in turn, had to reverse down the hill to get a better start. In the meantime, a crew was called to sand down the road.

When it was finally our turn to take a run at it, we were told to start at the bottom of the hill and NOT STOP until we reached the top. It was actually kind of fun, to tell you the truth.

After this little part of the adventure was over we continued our drive through the park, stopping at the picnic and walking areas, which are about halfway through the driving route. They’ve added new buildings since we’ve been here last, including a snack bar and snowshoe rental too. There was a fellow who was carving some gorgeous wooden benches with animal motifs. I wish I had thought to take a photo.

It was a memorable visit! I’m glad we went. Have you ever been in the winter?


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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