When was the last time you roamed in the woods hoping you could see some wild life but didn’t? Now is the time to place yourself among about 1000 wild animals on their own stomping grounds?
Although many of us have never heard about it, the Zoo Sauvage of St. Felicien, in Quebec, has an excellent outdoor zoo that can give you the outdoor experience you’ve been looking for.
In addition to the walking trails you can hitch a ride on a screened ‘train’ for a 7 km trip through the North American large animal section of the park. The Nature Trail Park is a large area and designed so that you get the distinct impression that you are trekking through the northern forest a long, long way from civilization.
Here, the human animal is confined, and the wild animals run free. Run free of course is more of an exception than the rule. Loafing, or grazing, seemed to be what we saw most of the time.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and you certainly get close-up views of some of Canada’s biggest mammals. When you are held back by bison crossing the trail, you might hark back to the days when buffalo herds were so numerous that they held up trains for a day or more.
Back on a nearby knoll you may see some wolves keeping an eye on you as they rest and the little ones frolick on the grass. The musk ox is an animal that few of us have seen, but here there are several of those huge lumbering beasts.
The walking sections of the zoo take you through the Arctic for a glimpse of a polar bear, or into the mountains with the Bighorn sheep, the cougar and the Canada Lynx. Another trail passes through Asia for a glimpse of the rare tiger. Visit Mongolia to see a two humped camel, and a yak. The mixed forest trail shows us the great bald eagle, beaver, and the fisher. The Mini farm is a special area for kids with domestic animals and fun with water fountains.
One adventure you might like to sample is Walking in the Land of the Caribou. A guide takes you deep into the forest where you can take the opportunity of canoeing as the sun goes down. To top it off you spend a night in the forest in a prospector style tent. You will enjoy a meal cooked over a campfire composed of the olden recipes of those who lived on the trail. Oh, did I forget to mention that the night stop is in the middle of a caribou compound?
Well, it is, and the munching you hear just outside your tent isn’t the cook finishing off the remnants of the meal. It’s going to be several very large caribou who want to get to know you.
A visit to this zoo is a great way to spend a day or two.
Happy RVing !
This will be one of the tours in a Touring North America guide book about Eastern Canada.
For more than four decades James Stoness has travelled the roads of North America, photographing and writing about what he has seen. His travel articles and beautiful pictures have been published in several magazines and newspapers. He is also the author of five western novels. Visit his website at: www.stonesstravelguides.com