The Dinosaur Trails
7 Helpful Map Pages “Scotty” the T. rex So you wanna be a Dino Hunter
The Northern Trails Golf Gems Campground Directory
Photo & Selfie Contests
Waterton Lakes National Park Itâ€™s unbelievable such a place exists
The Park is Open Free admission for 2017
mywaterton.ca Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park: UNESCO World Heritage Site and the worldâ€™s first peace park
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Experience the Dinosaur Trails Welcome Welcome to the premier edition of Experience the Dinosaur Trails, an annual visitor’s guide to the fossils, unique landscapes and outstanding attractions within Western Canada. Readers familiar with our Experience Travel Guides & Maps brand will immediately recognize the similarities between this and our other three travel guides. In addition to our yellow & black header and compelling stories, we’ve included maps, and more maps: because everyone loves maps! We cut our dinosaur teeth on a Paleontology story that we ran in the 2011 edition of Experience the Mountain Parks. Check it out in the archives section of our Mobile Library.
So when one of our reps, Ray Johnson, suggested that we launch a new dinosaur guide, we were keen. Let’s face it everyone loves dinosaurs! Typically, dinosaur bones are exposed through erosion of the soil by wind and water. That’s why many fossils are found in river valleys. It’s encouraging to know that most bones and tracks are found by amateurs. Think of it. You might find a whole new species of dinosaurs and have it named in your honour! We know that Experience the Dinosaur Trails can help you enjoy your visit, and we are truly honoured to be of service. We sincerely hope you have a magical time. To view a mobile-friendly copy of this magazine, on your mobile device, check out our Mobile Library at ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Library.
Lee Hart is a long-time
Allen R. Gibson
Calgary writer. He began his writing career working as a newspaper reporter in his home province of Ontario before moving west 45 years ago. While the first half of his career he worked as a writer and editor with various weekly and daily newspaper, for the past 28 years he has specialized as a writer and editor for agricultural
is a writer and marketer who loves the mountains and travel. He’s has been happily promoting Western Canadian tourism since age six. His company, StarMedia Services, provides branding and marketing services to businesses and tourism organizations. He can be reached via
publications. (“Scotty” the T. rex pg 6)
(So you wanna to be a Dino Hunter pg 10)
Dr Shannon Tracey is a researcher and professor in beef production and a scientific and technical writer/editor. She has had amazing opportunities to travel to every continent except Antarctica. She and her husband, Copeland, live in Sherwood Park, AB. They love camping and revel in poking about in the small towns of Alberta, unearthing hidden gems. (Experience the Jurassic Forest pg 36)
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Tanya Koob is a
Andrew Penner is
Calgary-based freelance writer and lover of all things adventurous in the mountains. She spends her weekends gliding through snow or water. She has an 8 year old son and loves hiking, camping, and exploring the backcountry with her husband and son. Visit Tanya’s Blog where she chronicles her adventures
an independent writer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta. His work has been featured in Westerworld, Westjet Magazine, Golf Magazine, Golf Tips, NBC.com, and many leading golf and lifestyle publications. When not travelling or working, he enjoys reading, movies, and just chilling out in the backyard with his wife, Dawn, and their four boys. (Golf Gems around the Dinosaur Trail pg 22)
(Spotlight on Dinosaur Provincial Park pg 18)
Experience the Dinosaur Trails Welcome to the 2017 - 2018 Edition of Experience The Dinosaur Trails Welcome to the 2017-18 edition of Experience the Dinosaur Trails. Use it to plan your holiday and as your companion once you’ve arrived. CMI Publishing is a div. of Complete Marketing Inc., a privately owned company with offices in Calgary, Alberta. We specialize in the production of our Experience Travel Guides & Maps in print as well as digital formats. Printed copies are delivered to our network of distribution outlets throughout the region. Travellers are encouraged to pick up a FREE printed copy through these outlets or use a mobile-friendly copy of this, or any of our current or archived guides from our Mobile Library at ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Library. We wish to thank the Canadian Badlands Tourism, Alberta Parks, Chinook Country Tourist Association, Travel Alberta, and all of our advertising partners for their support. Special thanks to Ray Johnson, one of our reps who in the spring of 2016 suggested we launch a dinosaur magazine. Sadly, Ray retired last fall after being injured in a rodeo accident, but we are very grateful for his suggestion. Please support our advertisers and sponsors. If you get the chance, kindly mention where you saw their ad. Without their support this guide would not be possible. Publisher: Bob Harris, CMI Publishing Bob@cmiPublishing.ca Ph: (403) 259.8290 Designer: Christine Karchewski email@example.com Maps: Rob Storeshaw firstname.lastname@example.org Book Keepers: Helen Foulger & Adrienne Albrecht email@example.com Circulation Managers: Dan Clements Ian Klein Warren Pearson Kelly & Dale Schultz Melissa Williamson
Editor: Larry Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales Reps: Dan Clements, Dan@cmiPublishing.ca Allen Gibson, Allen@cmiPublishing.ca Joseph Macdonald, Joseph@cmiPublishing.ca Melissa Williamson, Melissa@cmiPublishing.ca Circulation: Through most Visitor Information Centres, AMA travel offices, Chinook Country Tourist Association, retail stores, attractions, and hotels & motels in the region. For a complete list: experiencedinosaurtrails.com/our-distributors Cover photo: Taken by Bob Harris within the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Share Your Experience: Upload your photos and videos to be eligible to win great prizes: ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Contests
Win a Grand Prairie Escape with your posse! Upload and Share your Selfie avel Alberta Courtesy of Tr
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Table of Contents Communities Brooks 16 Calgary 20 County of Newell 17 Devil’s Coulee 12 Dinosaur Provincial Park 18 Drumheller 32 Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park 34 Edmonton 34 Gibbons 36 Grande Cache 39 Grande Prairie 39 Grasslands National Park 9 Medicine Hat 13 Milk River 12 Red Deer 34 Saskatchewan 6 Three Hills 34 Tumbler Ridge 44 Waterton 2 Wembley 42 Writing on Stone 12
Specialty Pages Accommodations Guide 27 Campground Directory 46 Golf Gems around The Dinosaur Trails 22 Jurassic Forest 36 Reader Contests 48 Reader Survey 3 Royal Tyrrell Museum 28 “Scotty” the T. rex 6 So you wanna be a Dino Hunter? 10 Where Dinos Come to Life 21
Map Pages Central Alberta 37 Dinosaur Trail Map 24 Drumheller & Area 31 SE Alberta 13 SW Saskatchewan 9 The Northern Dinosaur Trails 38
“Scotty” the T. rex, Just Part of a It wouldn’t be obvious to travellers today driving the roads which cut across the wide open crops and cattle country of southern Saskatchewan, that if they’d made the trek some odd 100 million years ago they would have needed a canoe for a long and perhaps very hazardous trip across the flat landscape. Saskatchewan was no vast agricultural prairie crop land in those days. During what’s known as the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago) it was covered by the shallow muddy Western Interior Seaway. Palaeontologists have learned
much over the past 100 years about the vast array or prehistoric creatures ranging from marine reptiles, razor-toothed fish, and plant and meat eating dinosaurs that lived on, in, or near this extensive water body. While deer and antelope may abound today, the dinosaur-era “wildlife” is obviously long gone, but fortunately visitors to various communities within southern Saskatchewan can still get a glimpse of what these creatures, extinct for 65 million years or more, were like.
The provincial museum is a good starting point to explore the dinosaur trails The Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina is an excellent place to start your journey down Saskatchewan’s dinosaur trail, says Jill Svienson, a communications consultant with Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. Established in 1906, the natural history museum offers many exhibits and programming in Life Sciences and First Nations, but the Earth Sciences section reveals the age of the dinosaur. Among the displays is a Mosasaurus from the late Cretaceous Period when giant reptiles ruled the sea. These mosasaurs
were nothing to sneeze at; fossils found in areas between Saskatchewan Landing and Riverhurst show they were up to 10m in length. A close relative of the lizards, the mosasaur had a flattened tail for propelling itself through the water, and flippers for steering. The exhibit illustrates what a full-size mosasaur might have looked like, lunging toward its prey. Saskatchewan’s fossil records show the province was home to both carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs, including meateaters like Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex), horned dinosaurs like
Photo courtesy of Paul Austring and Tourism Sask
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Saskatchewan Dinosaur Experience Triceratops, and duck-billed dinosaurs like Edmontosaurus. In fact, following a province-wide contest involving leading provincial fossil exhibits, “Scotty” the T. rex in 2016 was named the provincial emblem for Saskatchewan. Some favourite museum features among many young families include Megamunch, a half-sized robotic Tyrannosaurus rex, and the Paleo Pit. Unlike his ferocious ancestors that lived here over 65 million years ago, Megamunch greets children with a “friendly” roar during their visit. The Paleo Pit is a playroom just for kids and their parents/guardians. Take a break from the museum galleries and enjoy some prehistoric play together using the puppet theatre, colouring table, climbing structure, discovery wall, puzzles, play tables and book nook. Next Stop Eastend The Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina sets the tone, but to have a close up and more personal connection with Scotty, it is off to the museum’s satellite location in Eastend, along Hwy 13 in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan. At the T. rex Discovery Centre you’ll see the fully erected, life size, skeletal structure of the first T. rex found in the province.
That story begins on August 16, 1991, when then high school teacher, Robert Gebhardt from Eastend joined the museums palaeontologists on a prospecting expedition to the exposed bedrock along the Frenchman River Valley to learn how fossils are found and identified in the field. Within hours, Gebhardt discovered the base of a heavily worn tooth, and a tail vertebra, both suggesting that they belonged to a T. rex. Three years later, museum palaeontologists began excavating the T. rex, one of the largest known carnivorous dinosaurs. More than 6,000 people visited the excavation site during 1994. The 65-million-year old skeleton was named Scotty and is the first T. rex found in Saskatchewan. As the individual bones were removed from the rock, Scotty provided new information both about T. rex and about the Cretaceous period. Casts made from the bones were used to construct a replica of the T. rex. This Discovery Centre provides visitors an up close look at a wide range of dinosaurs and their fossils. By Lee Hart For more information visit royalsaskmuseum.ca/locations/trex-discovery-centre.
L and and sk y, put together like nowhere else
TourismSaskatchewan.com Saskatchewan’s dinosaur trails will lead you to amazing dark sky preserves and incredible prairie vistas.
12371_Tourism SK_Dino Trails Guide Insert Ad_P3.indd 1
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Saskatchewan isn’t just a one-dinosaur town
T. rex Discovery Centre Photo Courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan/Paul Austring
Big Bert, Pasquia Regional Park Photo Courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan/Rob Weitzel Graphic Productions
While a T. rex meeting can be very impressive it is not the only dinosaur experience to be found in Saskatchewan. Along with stops in Regina and Eastend, just get the car back on the road, and you’ll be amazed at what you find, in places you didn’t expect to find them. Many of the pre-historic creatures are honoured with statues and adopted as community mascots.
Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre in Herschel is a good place to start to learn about the short-necked Plesiosaur and other “fabulous fossils”. ancientechoes.ca
In Ponteix, located just off Hwy 13, meet “Mo”, the Ponteix Long-necked Plesiosaur (a giant marine reptile) - only ever found in Saskatchewan the erminonatator ponteixiensis is known from a single skeleton found near this community. It was a fish-eating reptile that lived 78 million years ago when the province was a shallow inland sea. Mo is estimated to have been about eight metres long, over half of which was its neck. See the “Kyle Mammoth” Woolly Mammoth – Mammuthus species (sp.), along Hwy 4 at Kyle. This 12,000-year-old giant has been the pride of the region since the 1960s. Just north of Hwy 7 at Herschel, you will learn more about the Short-necked Plesiosaur - Dolichorhynchops herschelensis is only known from the single specimen collected near the community. While it is considered one-of-a-kind, this genus is known from other specimens throughout North America. The
In the Cypress Hills area you can discover the Brontothere Megacerops species. A rhino-like mammal from 35 million years ago found in southwest Saskatchewan, an area known to provide the best record of animal life in Canada during that time period. In Saskatchewan, Megacerops has been found mostly around the eastern flanks of the Cypress Hills. This particular specimen was found northwest of Eastend in 1971. Near Eastend, learn about Thescelosaur - Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis – this plant-eating dinosaur is known to be from the Frenchman River Valley and was first discovered in 1968. Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis was recognized recently as a new species that is unique to Saskatchewan. If you are travelling to northeast Saskatchewan you can learn more about “Big Bert” - Terminonaris robusta. Big Bert is the most complete and best-preserved specimen of this 92 millionyear-old crocodile was discovered along the banks of Carrot River in 1991. By: Lee Hart
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Experience Grasslands National Park
The hills are a year-round destination, with some of the least-expensive downhill skiing around, great hiking and views. The park also features a family-friendly zip line experience, golf and accomodations. Visit CypressHills.ca. This is also the area for Fort Walsh National Historic Site, a place to experience life as it was in the 1800’s, and the T. rex Discovery Centre in the town of Eastend, where you can meet ‘Scotty,’ the first full-size T. rex skeleton found in the province. He’s a real monster at almost six metres tall and more than twelve metres long, with a very massive skull approaching two metres (6.5 feet) in length! A couple of hundred kilometers further east in Saskatchewan, and right on the Montana border, is Grasslands National Park. Here you have the chance to see the prairies as they existed before farms and ranches, on one of the few remaining natural
Swift Current Medicine Hat
Shaunavon ALBERTA SASKATCHEWAN
Between Alberta and Saskatchewan, an amazing place to stop is Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, whose hills stick boldly out of the flat prairie. There’s a reason for that - they are the hard rocks of the very southern edge of the glaciers advance in the last great ice age.
EASTEND GRASSLANDS NATIONAL PARK Havre
grasslands in all of North America. Once near extinction, a herd of over 300 plains bison (often called buffalo) now roam in the Park’s West Block. To see live video feeds of these beasts, visit Explore.Org. The day we looked, a wolf was curled up in the snow, surveying his domain. Grasslands also features a dinosaur dig outing each summer. Details can be found in our So You Wanna Be a Dino Hunter’ article. (See pg 10)
RE! LIVE THE ADVENTU NTURE! E V A E L B A IT R É V E VIVEZ UN
Take advantage of free admission to Parks Canada places for the entire year in 2017. Profitez de l’entrée gratuite aux lieux de Parcs Canada durant toute l’année 2017. Fossil Fever & Badlands Blast: August 16 - 20 La fièvre des fossiles et Bouffée d’air frais dans les Badlands: du 16 au 20 août
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So you wanna to be a Dino Hunter?
a shows Wendy Slobod
off ‘her’ dino
Amelie experiences the dino-thrill at Devil’s Coulee museum, near Warner, Ab
The advice given from leading universities would be to take multiple math and science courses in high school, and do dinosaur projects on the side for science fairs and such. Then, if you’re serious about pursuing a career as a dino hunter, follow that up with a string of degrees – the Paleontological Research Institution suggests a double major in biology and geology. And a good reading knowledge of German, French or Russian comes in handy. Also, a grounding in statistical analysis along with solid computer skills. And… Or. You could just take a long walk and keep your eyes down. Seriously. Because ordinary folks with an interest in fossils and a keen eye have been responsible for some of the most famous dinosaur finds in Western Canada, and they have earned the dino names to prove it!
There’s a big, bad ancient world out there Talk to people who grew up in Southern Alberta, and you’ll be amazed how many have stories about dino bones and fossils. Some remember rolling Ammonite fossils, which today are mined to make gemstone-quality jewelry (Ammolite), down coulees into rivers, or as ballast for their canoe. “Growing up in Warner, Ab, we were always finding pieces of dinosaurs as kids,” says Candace, the mom of the fascinated little dino hunter in the picture. “It wasn’t a big deal.”
Today, digging up dino bones is against the rules, since it ruins the opportunity for scientists to learn from your find. Dinosaurs, are dated not by the fossils themselves, but by the ground in which they lie! So if you DO find a T. rex head sticking out of a hillside, report it to any of the universities or museums in this guide and they’ll send someone out to have a look. Taking pictures, with your GPS turned on of course, is a great idea! Dino selfies, after all, are the height of cool. One of the people who might arrive to check out your find is another resident of the tiny town of Warner. She DID think it was a big deal to find ‘stuff’ on the badlands when she started searching for native artifacts as a young girl. These days, she’s famous for her ability to spot fossils where others see nothing. “Some people,” says renowned dino-hunter Wendy Sloboda, “just never grow out of their childhood fascination.” Sloboda discovered what turned out to be a clutch of dinosaur eggs on the Milk River ridge when she was just 11 years old. Wendy’s mom remembers the day clearly. “We had all gone down the hill ahead of her, and she stopped, like she always does, to look at stuff. And when she found the eggshells, she screamed! She was sitting there, practically hyperventilating.” Today, Wendy has been called ‘one of the best dino hunters on the planet,’ and made international headlines with her recent
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So you wanna to be a Dino Hunter? discovery of a brand new horned species: the Wendiceratops pinhornensis. Named in her honour, the giant beast lived about eighty million years ago. Wendy was so thrilled with the honour she sports a tattoo of the beastie. ￼ ￼ While Alberta remains her favourite hunting ground, Sloboda is headed to Greenland this summer to follow up her discovery of dino footprints there during one of her previous expeditions, which have taken her all over the world. “Right now I just do it because I enjoy it,” she says. “It’s good exercise!” Another famous Canadian dino-hunter, Phil Currie, describes the life of a dino hunter as involving LOTS of exercise: “walk, walk, walk, walk, dig, dig, dig, back to camp for a meal.” It can be grueling work. Paleontologist Tim Tokaryk says that, after 35 years of dino hunting, his body is worn out. But his fascination remains. While in high school, he got hooked when volunteering at Edmonton’s provincial museum. He started skipping math to work on fossil prep, but sadly the scientist in the next lab was married to his math teacher! Busted.
Wanna learn more about dinos? The University of Alberta: Dino 101, is available on app stores. It is a 12-lesson overview delivered from museums, fossil-prep labs and dig sites. The first lesson is free! ualberta.ca/courses/dino101 Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum: Near Grande Prairie. Open year-round. dinomuseum.ca Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur & Heritage Museum: Warner, Ab. Dino dig site tours are available certain days May to September. devilscoulee.com Royal Tyrrell Museum: Spend a “Night at the Museum” with a sleepover at the Royal Tyrrell! Families with children ages 5 -13. tyrrellmuseum.com Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park: “Fossil Fever” Aug. 16-20, 2017. Join a dig with McGill University palaeontologists. Cost $73.60/person - To register/book camping, email: email@example.com.
“When the Royal Tyrell was being created, they needed lots of helpers. And since I was big, and didn’t mind moving large objects, I got hired,” he recalls. Today, he oversees the T. rex Discovery Centre. “Within an hours drive,” he says, “I can hit almost 75 million years of continuous dinosaur history.” It’s unique because there are both land and water dinos here.
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Northern Albertan teacher Al Lakusta, was out doing the ‘walk, walk, walk’ part of fossil hunting back in 1974, when he noticed what turned out to be a huge ‘bonebed’ or graveyard of dinosaurs that got the whole world excited. Aside from getting his own dino, Lakusta inspired a campaign, in which Canadian actor Dan Ackroyd helped raise funds to build Alberta’s newest dinosaur attraction, the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. Conde Nast Traveler ranked this facility as one of the world’s most interesting new museums – the only one in Canada on the list! While in Western Canada when you’re not looking at the great views you should be looking at the ground! Keep your head down. New dinos are waiting to be found. By: Allen Gibson
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See pg 26 for more infomation on Black Beauty
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Experience Southern Alberta Devil’s Coulee, Writing on Stone Provincial Park and the Milk River Visitors planning a multi-day badlands tour should travel a couple of hours south to The Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum, located in the small Village of Warner. Here, visitors get the rare opportunity to see dinosaur eggs with their own eyes and to learn about the nesting site of some duckbill dinosaurs. Dinosaur eggs were found along the banks of the Milk River containing small embryonic skeletons inside them. By visiting the museum, you can actually see a Hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) nest and embryo. The museum also contains ancient fossils, dinosaur models, and a mural which shows dinosaurs caring for their young. This is a great way to learn about the family life of dinosaurs and to learn about how the ‘momma dino’ took care of her nests and eggs. The museum runs two hour tours during the summer season into the heart of Devil’s Coulee where visitors can “learn to identify fossils in their original setting. You can discover the geological forces that shaped the coulee.” (Source: Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum.) Museum and all tour information can be found at devilscoulee.com While in the Milk River area, visitors should take the time to stop for a hike and do some exploring in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Áísínai’pi National Historic Site, it is another fascinating region in Alberta’s Badlands. The park is located in the grasslands of Southern Alberta and gives us a glimpse into the cultural history of First Nations Peoples. The park
Guided Museum & Site Tours Make your own dinosaur footprint
contains “the largest concentration of First Nation petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) on the great plains of North America.” (Source: Alberta Parks, Writing-onStone Provincial Park) Hiking, camping, and paddling on the Milk River are popular activities in this park. Guided tours can be arranged to explore the park trails with an expert guide. For more information visit albertaparks.ca/writing-on-stone.aspx.
Ammolite and the Southern Alberta Mines Ammolite is an opal-like organic gemstone formed by natural forces from the fossilized shells of ammonites, extinct mollusks or ancient squid-like animals. Ammonites can be found all over the world with Canada’s largest amount found along river banks in Southern Alberta. There are several places in the area where Ammonite shells and Ammolite gems can be seen including the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller and Calgary’s Glenbow Museum, which displays several items containing Ammolite. One open-pit commercial mine operates in southern Alberta and supplies 90 percent of the world’s supply of the precious Ammolite gem. It should be noted that a permit is required to collect Ammonites so you can’t just go exploring on your next canoeing trip in hopes of bringing some of the shells home. Ammonites, and all fossils, are protected by the Historical Resources Act and require proper permits in order to protect the fossils for future generations. By: Tanya Koob
Visit Devils Coulee to discover the dinosaurs of Southern Alberta, and experience the spectacular badlands landscape of Writing-on-Stone/ Áísínai’pi.
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Hike the Hoodoo Trail or take a guided Rock Art Tour.
Experience Medicine Hat Kindersley
Dinosaur Provincial Park
World’s Talle st Teepee Courtesy Tr avel Alberta and Mike M orrison
St. Mary Reservoir Milk River
Warner WARNER Writing on Stone Provincial Park
The town of Walsh is located adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway, just west of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. The friendly staff in the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre here are eager to answer your questions.
The Crowsnest Highway is the most southerly of three major roadways that link the Prairies to the Pacific. Referred to often as simply “The Crow”, it runs through Lethbridge, westward to the Crowsnest Pass, at the British Columbia (B.C.) border.
Medicine Hat is strategically located 40 minutes west of Walsh on Hwy 1, at the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3). Its location has served it well for more than 125 years. Historically, Medicine Hat was a railroad town, one of three important hubs that served the Canadian Pacific Railway as it helped to “Open the West” in the 1880s.
With a population of 92,000, Lethbridge is the 4th largest city in Alberta and perhaps the windiest city in Canada. Located just 2 hours west of “The Hat”, Lethbridge is only one hour from the Canada/USA border. American visitors often arrive in Lethbridge from Montana via Hwys 15 and 4 through the Coutts border crossing. The history of Lethbridge is steeped in aboriginal Culture. If this appeals, visit Fort Whoop-Up and be sure to stop at Fort Macleod.
Today, “The Hat” has a population of 63,000 and it is referred to as Canada’s sunniest city. It is still strategically located for travellers, about 2 hours west of Swift Current and 3 hours east of Calgary. If you want to visit several of the attractions in southeast Alberta, consider using Medicine Hat as your hub, from which many are easily accessible as day trips. If you wish to linger, Medicine Hat offers some very good accommodations. The most visible landmark here is the world’s tallest tepee! Originally constructed for the Calgary ‘88 Olympics, this 20 storey structure is a tribute to Canada’s First Nations people. History buffs will want to tour the Medalta Potteries factory which will be celebrating its 105th birthday in 2017. Explore this National Historic Site at your own pace with the help of a costumed interpretive guide.
Fort Macleod, home of the Museum of the North-West Mounted Police, is one of the oldest communities in Alberta. The popular Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is 30 minutes northwest of Fort Macleod. If you make it to the Crowsnest Pass, be sure to visit the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and explore the Bellevue Coal Mine. From here, it’s a short drive south from Pincher Creek to the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. For more info pick up a copy of our sister publication, Experience the Mountain Parks. Or, if you are heading north, select a copy of Experience the Cowboy Trails and follow Hwy 22 from Hwy 1 at Lundbreck Falls.
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Experience Medicine Hat
Take the Path to Culture and Nature in Medicine Hat!
Celebrate Canada’s 150th by exploring a vibrant new city rich with art, culture and history. Making your way to and through Alberta’s Badlands this summer? If your family is keen on learning about the uniqueness of the area, consider adding a few days to your itinerary to get acquainted with Medicine Hat. “The Hat” is one of Alberta’s best kept secrets. It’s true. This hidden gem of a city provides a fresh and enriching experience, especially for first timers! With several fun and inviting stops the whole family will enjoy, the kids won’t even notice that they are learning. Shhh!
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Experience Medicine Hat
Dive headfirst into mud at Medalta
Culture Comes Alive at the Esplanade.
Pitch a tent in the city
The perfect place to start is in the heart of the community in the city’s Historic Clay District, home to famed National Historic Site, Medalta.
Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre volunteers and staff are eager to help visitors discover Medicine Hat. In the permanent Museum, guests will see how the city came to be, through the many stories and artefacts within. Right next door, the Heritage Gallery regularly features travelling exhibits, and, this summer, will display photographs of what it was like in the pioneers’ days in a small prairie town called Robsart. Around the corner, the bright 3,000 square foot Art Gallery showcases the finest contemporary art from here and beyond. And finally, a stop at the Archives reveals an immense heritage through its more than one million documents and photos showcasing the community’s story. The dedicated Archives Reading Room staff are more than willing to help you access your own story or connection to “the Hat”.
Wait what? Well technically in the city, however just far enough off the beaten path to question its name, is the full-service municipally run Gas City Campground. Found just off Highway 1, it’s the ideal location to set up camp for one night or one week, while still close enough to city attractions.
The galleries are all accessible Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday Noon to 5:00 p.m. Plus, when attending a performance in the state-of-the-art Theatre, a free visit to the galleries is yours to enjoy.
The 2017 camp season opens on May 5.
In addition to learning about the early processes of pottery production and Medalta’s place in Western Canada’s industrial revolution, Medalta offers visitors a variety of lively hands-on experiences. So go ahead, get a little dirty! Medalta’s conversion into an industrial heritage museum begs exploration. Go back in time with an interesting and interactive tour (self-guided/ guided). Check out the famous crocks in the brick and tile plant, head inside iconic beehive kilns, and then slip underground to see a live excavation site and a variety of artifacts from the production lines! Before leaving, take a spin through the contemporary, brick and lightfilled space of the 3,500 square foot Yuill Family Gallery, which features local and national exhibitions. Interested in meeting local artisans? Be there on a Thursday for the Market at Medalta. Featuring scads of local wares and products, it runs 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. Cool fact: Medalta was the first Western Canadian industry to ship manufactured goods to Eastern Canada! Medicine Hat became a true epicenter, cementing its place in Canadian ceramic industry. medalta.org 403.529.1070 713 Medalta Ave SE
A marvel of contemporary Canadian architecture and a gem in the community and region, the building beckons you in to experience Medicine Hat’s arts and heritage through artefacts, performance, exhibitions and more. The Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre awaits your arrival. esplanade.ca 403. 502.8580 401 1 St SE
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Positioned above the east bank, adjacent to the South Saskatchewan River, these popular grounds provide easy access to 117 km of the community’s paved trail system perfect for walking and biking. The family oriented campground is well maintained and treed, and provides well-spaced gravel and paved sites for any size RV. Even the family pet is welcome as an off leash dog park is nearby! For those who need connection beyond nature, don’t fret as wifi is available. NEW – Book your reservation online today medicinehat.ca/index. aspx?page=1950 403.529.8158 402 11 Ave SW
Experience Brooks and
Located on Hwy 1, about an hour northwest of Medicine Hat, the City of Brooks has a population of 14,400, offering a full range of services for travellers.
one of the country’s largest man-made lakes; and Dinosaur Provincial Park, a World Heritage Site and home of the field station of the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
History of Brooks It’s said that this area was used as a buffalo hunting ground by the Blackfoot and Crow. Homesteaders moved into the area in the 1880s. By 1904, Canada Post wanted to establish an office in the settlement, but the community was still unnamed. So through a Canada Post sponsored contest, the new area was named after Noel Edgell Brooks, a CPR Divisional Engineer.
Built in 1974, The Brooks and District Museum is situated on seven acres of land on the east side of the city. The museum is organized to be a “Walk through the Ages”. Their collection includes exhibits portraying the life of early ranchers, the war years, the N.W.M.P., the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and the Eastern Irrigation District. The museum also houses displays recognizing the early ranching community including John Ware, the first black cowboy.
Brooks is surrounded by the County of Newell which is known for great camping, fishing, and hunting. Sites to see include: the Brooks Aqueduct, a National/Provincial historical site; the Crop Diversification Center, a research center that supports the horticultural industry; the Brooks and District Museum, representing life in this area from 1900 to 1950; Lake Newell,
Cory the Dinosaur stands outside the museum and represents the Corythosaurus Casuarius, a species native to the area some 70 million years ago. This creature got its nicknames “Helmet Lizard” and “Hooded Duckbill” because of its distinguishing feature, a hollow skull that may have allowed the animal to
Experience the Brooks Medieval Faire If your dinosaur trails travels find you anywhere near Brooks this summer plan to take in the festivities at the 14th annual Brooks Medieval Faire August 12th and 13th, 2017. Watch the international invitational jousting tournament, sword fighting, medieval clothing and mythical creature contests and lots of performers. You might even spot a dragon. Visit brooksfaire.com for more information
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The County of Newell swim and remain above water level. This dinosaur typically weighed about three tons. Cory was moved to the museum in November 1977, so stop by and wish him a Happy Birthday!
used as half of the park’s name. What was a large depression containing water became a beautiful lake with 69 km of shoreline, a shaded campground, and a lovely beach.
The Brooks Aqueduct National and Provincial Historic Site is an enormous concrete structure that spans across the parched prairie landscape like a giant centipede. Get your camera ready as you walk along the new wetland interpretive trail and listen to birds in their natural habitat. brooksaqueduct.org
Kinbrook Island became a Provincial Park in 1951. It was later expanded to include all of the islands on the lake to protect nesting sites for White pelicans, Double-crested cormorants and Canada geese. The Kinbrook Marsh Trail winds through wetlands and provides excellent bird watching opportunities, you may even see Mule deer, coyotes, badger, and beaver.
Within Southern Alberta’s farming and ranching country there is an oasis of water, trees, and beaches. It is Kinbrook Island Provincial Park, and it is an oasis just 15 km south of Brooks. When the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1883, the Brooks area was in the early stages of settlement. Due to the limited amount of rainfall in the area, the CPR began construction of an irrigation system in 1910, and a dam was constructed on the Bow River diverting water through a series of canals and reservoirs. The reservoir that is now Lake Newell is so large it took 3 years to fill. It was the local Kinsmen Club that initially planted trees here. To honour their work, the “Kin” from the word Kinsmen, was
The park today has 170 campsites, a sandy beach, 2 playgrounds, a concession, shower and laundry facilities, a boat launch and several picnic areas. Check the Alberta Fishing Regulations and cast your line for Lake Whitefish, Northern pike and Walleye. To make your campsite reservations go to reserve.albertaparks.ca Kids of all ages will love Dinosaur Provincial Park. It can be accessed off Hwy 36 north of Brooks, then follow the road signs to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dinosaur Provincial Park is famous for its fossil finds, engaging experiences, and breath taking Canadian Badlands landscapes.
Ambrose Fung Photography
DISCOVER one of the world’s largest dinosaur fossil collections, on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. UNCOVER dinosaur fossils near Brooks with a Guided Excavation Package at Dinosaur Provincial Park. To learn more, visit canadianbadlands.com. Search #mybadlands on Instagram for more travel inspiration.
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Experience Dinosaur Provincial Park
Courtesy of Tanya Koob
Courtesy of Travel Alberta
Courtesy of Alberta Parks
Dinosaur Provincial Park has always been one of my favourite early-season destinations for a spring camping trip. By April or May the weather is usually great as the badlands warm up and dry out for another camping season. We’ve been visiting this park for many years and have always enjoyed spending our days hiking, biking, climbing hills, or playing in the river without ever having to leave camp.
Courtesy of Tanya Koob
this unique provincial park gives us a “detailed window into the end of the Age of the Dinosaurs when they dominated the face of the earth.” He goes on to describe how “a visit to Dinosaur Provincial Park is the best chance to see what was actually going on at this time on earth with the history all recorded in the fossils and rocks.”
Dinosaur Provincial Park is located north east of Brooks in Southern Alberta and is reached in an easy 2-1/2 hour drive from Calgary. It is important to know that this park is not near Drumheller, which is located 2 hours to the north and west. Visiting both areas is certainly manageable in a weekend, but would require some advanced planning.
Exploring the Badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park While many Albertans will be more familiar with the badlands in the Drumheller area, Dinosaur Provincial Park gives visitors the rare opportunity to access a vast amount of undisturbed badlands - in its ‘natural’ state. There have been no coal mines or industry built within this provincial park allowing for a very natural badlands experience.
This provincial park is recognized internationally for having one of the highest densities of fossils from the late Cretaceous Period anywhere in the world, with over 50 dinosaur species and 150 complete skeletons found in this park. Brad Tucker, formerly Executive Director of the Canadian Badlands, says
The best way to explore the unique badland landscape here is through a guided tour. A large part of the provincial park is accessible only with a guide in order to protect the fossil resource. There are a variety of interpretive tours including hiking to a fossil bone bed, fun prospecting tours with an expert
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Experience Dinosaur Provincial Park to search for fossils, explorer’s bus tours, or even participating in a real dinosaur excavation - one of the few programs of this kind in Alberta. The park’s interpretive programs aid visitors with the goal of seeing real fossils “in the wild”. Tucker explains “you can’t just look at this landscape without getting expert guidance to tell you where to find a fossil, how to read the landscape, and how to interpret the area.” Reservations for programs are highly recommended and can be booked at dinosaurpark.ca by clicking on “Guided Hikes and Tours” to see the tour descriptions and season schedule. Guided tours run from the May long weekend through to the October Thanksgiving long weekend. Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park The provincial park campground is open year round and offers a rare opportunity to camp in a valley surrounded by badlands. Enjoy self-guided hiking on 5 family-friendly interpretive trails, bike or drive the 4 km Public Loop Road, stop to visit 2 outdoor fossil display buildings, or go exploring in the “free scramble zone” inside the loop road. Brad Tucker says, “Dinosaur Provincial Park is a great place for children to climb to the top of a ‘mountain’ in 5 minutes, to discover secret caves along with hidden nooks and crannies. There is a new surprise around each corner.”
Other popular activities in the park are canoeing or kayaking on the Red Deer River. Paddlers launch their boats from the Steveville Campground and float back to their Dinosaur camp in a leisurely 14 km trip. At a relaxed pace it takes a few hours and I’ve done the outing on a stand up paddleboard. Besides the guided hikes and bus tours, the park also offers theatrical programs for families and a more serious “Speaker Series” for adults throughout the summer. This programming enables park visitors to learn how the unique badlands environment was formed and why the fossils are here. Comfort camping is also an option in the park for people who want to enjoy a traditional camping experience but may not have the required gear. Canvas wall tents can be reserved and allow visitors an easy means of camping without having to haul out a trailer, sleep on the ground, or clean up camping gear at the end of a weekend. The tents come equipped with bedding, a heater and a fridge. The park provides you a chance to enjoy the fun aspects of camping like listening to the coyotes howl, watching the stars and cooking outside over a campfire. Reservations are recommended for campsites throughout the summer months. Book online at Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca with a 90-day window that begins in February. Comfort Campsites are bookable for the whole season starting in February. By: Tanya Koob
Authentic Dinosaur Digs
Step into the old west
Hikes & Family programs
Famous Steak-Pit Clean Comfortable Rooms The Waterhole Tavern
Campground, Visitor Centre
Located 10 km South of Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park thepatriciahotel.ca
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48 km NE of Brooks
Experience Calgary Telus Spark building cityscape in the background. Courtesy Travel Alberta and Telus Spark
erta Travel Alb Courtesy Telus Spark and
Calgary is located at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers, and has a population of 1.2 million people, making it the largest city in Alberta. This vibrant city’s history dates back to 1875 when the North West Mounted Police found the ideal place to build a fort. Colonel James McLeod came up with the name “Fort Calgary”, after his home in the Scottish Highlands. Visit Fort Calgary today to discover the rich scarlet history of the North West Mounted Police. It is located just east of downtown on 9th Avenue South. Calgary is home to many other world-class attractions. Telus Spark is a science museum that is located just north of the Zoo on St. Georges Drive. Back in 1967, it was founded as the Centennial Planetarium, making 2017 their 50th Anniversary. They kicked off the celebrations with a Star Trek event at the beginning of February, and the party will continue all year. Because 2017 is also Canada’s 150th birthday, Spark will be celebrating 150 years of innovation. For more information about the exciting events and exhibits they will be hosting be sure to check out sparkscience.ca. As a cultural cornerstone in Calgary for 50 years, The Glenbow Museum is where extraordinary art and artifacts from around the world connect with intriguing stories from Western Canada. A permanent gallery, Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of
Alberta presents the story of Southern Alberta through the stories of 48 mavericks. Adventurous and hard-working, these spirited men & women helped shape Alberta into what it is today. It is open Tuesday - Saturday: 9am - 5pm and Sundays from noon - 5pm. A must-see on any visitor’s itinerary is the Calgary Tower. It opened to the public on June 30, 1968 as the tallest structure in Calgary. Located 191 metres above the downtown core, on the Observation Deck you’ll experience a spectacular 360° view of the bustling city, the majestic Rocky Mountains, the foothills, and the prairies. Dine in the rotating restaurant or stand on the amazing glass floor for a birds-eye view of the city streets below. The Calgary Tower is open 364 days a year from 9am - 9pm (10pm during the summer). Other attractions include Heritage Park, Canada Olympic Park, Calaway Park, Spruce Meadows and the Military Museum. Plus Calgary hosts a number of annual festivals and events. Every July, The Calgary Stampede hosts more than 1 million attendees to the greatest outdoor show on earth during a 10 day celebration of our authentic western heritage. Launched in 1912, 2017 marks the 105th anniversary of this major event. To learn more, pick up a copy of Experience the Cowboy Trails.
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Experience the Calgary Zoo
Photo Courtesy of L. Thomas
The Calgary Zoo Prehistoric Park is open from the May Victoria Day weekend until October 31st each year. Opens daily at 9am, with last entrance at 5:45pm Entrance to the Prehistoric Park is included in the general admission. Admission fees are $24.95 for ages 16-59 years, $22.95 for seniors (60+) and $16.95 for children (3-15 years) When visiting the Calgary Zoo on the north bank of the Bow River, you would expect to see lions and tigers and bears, but dinosaurs? Yes, dinosaurs! The iconic ‘Dinny’ the Dinosaur has been welcoming visitors to the Prehistoric Park since the 1930’s, when it was known as the Natural History Park. Dinny, a 118-ton replica, was one of 56 dinosaur sculptures that were initially installed in the Natural History Park on the west side of St. George’s Island. Fossils found in Southern Alberta in the Red Deer River valley region inspired these models. It is rumoured that the sculptor added to Dinny’s brontosaurus bulk by filling his stomach with mystery contents, ranging from parts from a Model T, some lumber and even outhouse parts. Since 1987, he has been officially classified as an Alberta Historical Resource. As the years passed, the landscaping of the Prehistoric Park was enhanced with fauna and rock formations to recreate an environment reminiscent of the Mesozoic Era from 225 to 65
million years ago. Various dinosaurs from Alberta, that lived 75 to 65 million years ago, can be found prowling in habitats ranging from mountains to swampland, volcano to hoodoos, and from the Canadian Shield to an inland sea. If you look closely, you can catch glimpses of Ankylosaurus, Pterosaurs, and, Edmontosaurus among others. The main features in the Prehistoric Park were unveiled to the public in 1984; in 2015, major renovations and improvements were undertaken to enhance visitor safety, update the environmental features, and allow more interactive programming and concessions. The Prehistoric Park Classroom and the Karsten Discovery Centre contribute to the Park’s interactive learning experiences. In the long-term Master Plan, the Prehistoric Park will be gradually changed to include new animal experiences; in the meantime, an exceptional dinosaur experience awaits visitors to the Calgary Zoo. By: Dr. Shannon Tracey
For more information visit calgaryzoo.com/animals/prehistoric-park 21 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experience Golf Gems
The opening hole on the Old Course at the Wolf Creek Golf Resort
The short par-3 12th at Paradise Canyon
The closing par-4 at Sirocco in evening light
It’s a warm Chinook wind that howls over the hills across the Oldman River Valley and, thankfully, on the par-5 13th hole at the beautiful Paradise Canyon Golf Resort in Lethbridge, it’s right at my back. I pull the head cover off my driver and try to launch one to the moon. I catch it solid and hit, perhaps, the longest drive of my life. Paradise Canyon is a riverside gem and one of the premier resort courses in Alberta. The layout has it all: driveable par-4s, dramatic downhill tee shots, reachable par-5s, and short-andsweet par-3s. All encased in a sublime natural setting along the postcard-pretty Oldman River in West Lethbridge. Long drives aside (I hit plenty of short, nondescript ones as well), my entire whirlwind golf tour through rural Alberta has had many moments to remember. As I found out, when you’re
blazing an uncharted golf “trail,” the road becomes your own. And, not surprisingly, there are hundreds of options. Considering the quantity, quality, and the diversity of the golf offerings in the southern and central regions of the province, choosing where to play can be a dizzying proposition. From Lethbridge to Leduc, and everywhere in between, there are dozens of courses that merit a visit. Mountain-forested, desert, parkland, and sprawling prairie courses are all represented. If it’s truly a golf getaway, plan your trip around the courses you want to play. Everything else comes into focus when you have a general “trail” to travel. Making a list of “must sees” is also important. And, of course, allow plenty of time to smell the flowers along the way. Road trippin’ when you’re rushed and behind schedule can seriously dampen the experience!
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Around the Dinosaur Trails So what are those top rural Alberta courses you’ll want to plan your trip around? Here’s a few of the courses I chose on my recent trip and my reasons why. Sirocco Golf Club, Calgary Cruising through the pretty and pastoral confines of Pine Creek Valley just south of Spruce Meadows, the Sirocco GC is a secluded, semi-private course that never disappoints. From the gorgeous clubhouse on the hill, the massive gently-rolling greens, and the difficult finishing run that swerves along the creek, Sirocco is the type of course you could play every day and never tire of its beauty and challenge. sirocco.ca Paradise Canyon Golf Resort, Lethbridge The peaceful riverside setting at Paradise Canyon is tough to beat. The layout features numerous perched tees, beautiful bunkering, and plenty of rock-solid holes that careen along the river. Without a doubt, this is one of the best places to play in southern Alberta. On your way down from Calgary, you can visit the Bar-U Ranch, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, or historic Fort McLeod, to name a few! playinparadise.com Desert Blume Golf Club, Medicine Hat If isolated holes framed by creeks and steep-walled coulees sound appealing; you’re going to love Desert Blume. The bold, contemporary design features plenty of elevation change and a dramatic collection of one-of-a-kind desert holes. For some reason, it often flies under the radar. But make no mistake, every facet of your game will be tested at Desert Blume. Pack your A-game! desertblume.com Dinosaur Trail Golf Club, Drumheller The word “unique” hardly does this one justice! Buckle-up for an amazing roller-coaster ride through the badlands on an eclectic and exciting back nine. With fairways that careen through the ancient coulees, rock formations and greens that
hug deep ravines, this is an experience to savour. While the front nine couldn’t be more different (it’s traditional parkland golf), the two nines at Dinosaur Trail yield one of Alberta’s most interesting golf experiences. diosaurtrailgolf.com Wolf Creek Golf Resort The two exceptional courses at Wolf Creek – The Old Course and The Links Course – serve up the quintessential rural golf experience. Rustic and unpretentious with design themes that includes sod-walled pot bunkers, massive waste bunkers, and grass-capped dunes, (inspired by the old world Scottish game) Wolf Creek is an exhilarating place to play. If you can, walk the course(s), play in any weather conditions, and revel in the timeless traditions of Wolf Creek. wolfcreekgolf.com Innisfail Golf Club, Innisfail This club, which boasts three terrific nines, is, without a doubt, one of the most scenic places to play in Alberta. Gently rolling terrain, glass-smooth lakes, and towering trees provide the stage for some of the best golf holes in Wild Rose Country. A warm and inviting atmosphere with a gorgeous new clubhouse, and exceptional course conditions make this a “can’t miss” course when planning your rural Alberta golf tour. innisfailgolf.ca Regardless of where you choose to play rural golf tours through central and southern Alberta are bound to bring rewards. Hopefully you take time to visit a few of the “extras” along the way. And, just as hopefully, when the wind is at your back, you hit plenty of long, straight drives and all your birdie dreams come true. Photos and Story by: Andrew Penner
For more great golfing in Western Canada Visit ExperienceDinosaurTrails.com/Golf 23 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
14 TUMBLER RIDGE
Fort St. John
Hudsonâ€™s Hope Dawson Creek
16 JASPER NATIONAL PARK
13 12 WEMBLEY GRANDE 43
Dinosaur finds; Dig sites, bones, eggs See pg 26
Dinosaur Attractions see pg 26
Experience The Dinosaur Trails
ALBERTA BRITISH CO LUMBIA
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL 4 PARK
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park
St. Mary Reservoir
Midland Provincial Park
RED DEER 8
Fernie Crowsnest Pass 3
Rocky Mountain House
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
Fairmont Hot Springs
Radium Hot Springs
JASPER NATIONAL PARK
ALBERTA BIA COLUM BRITISH
GRASSLANDS NATIONAL PARK 1
Dinosaur Trail Map Keys Attractions Along the
Some of the Famous Dinosaur & Fossil Finds: Dig Sites, Bones, Tracks & Eggs:
Dinosaur Trails 1 Grasslands National Park: Open year-round, this park has two separate blocks. Visitor centre open late May to mid Oct., reduced hours in spring/ fall
2 Eastend - The T.rex Discovery Centre: Located along Hwy 13. Home to “Scotty” the T. rex. Opens May 20, 2017
St. Mary Reservoir
3 Warner - Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur and Heritage Museum Contains dinosaur eggs, dinosaur models. Open mid-May to Sept. 4 Dinosaur Provincial Park: UNESCO World Heritage Site. Open year round. Visitor Centre is open 9 – 5 Sun. to Thur., 9-7 Fri. & Sat. during summer season. 5 Calgary - Calgary Zoo: Its Prehistoric Park features life-sized dinosaurs. This park is only open from Mar 23 –Oct 31 and part of it will be closed during 2017. 6 Drumheller - “The Dinosaur Capital of the World”: Visitor Center is at the foot of the World’s Largest Dinosaur, Open 10-5:30. 7 Royal Tyrrell Museum: Open year-round, hours vary seasonally. visit tyrrellmuseum.com 8 Red Deer - The Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery: Collections include archaeological and paleontological artefacts. Open 10-4:30 Mon to Fri and 12-4:30 on Weekends. 9 Edmonton - University of Alberta Paleontology Museum: Houses two extraordinary collections. Open 8-4 Mon to Fri. Groups of five or more call (780) 492-3265 in advance. 10 Royal Alberta Museum: New and expanded facility that is scheduled to reopen in early 2018.
“Black Beauty” (A reproduction of its skull can be seen in the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre) Wally’s Beach, an area that is usually beneath the waters, has been exposed during construction, revealing tracks of extinct beasts including muskoxen, camels, and woolly mammoths.
Milk River The Wendiceratops pinhornensis, which was approximately six metres long, was found in a bone bed near Milk River by legendary dinosaur hunter Wendy Sloboda in 2010.
Hilda - Largest dinosaur graveyard found in Alberta Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park Once an important hunting ground for the ancient Plains Cree, it’s now famous for its dinosaur fossils and rich bonebeds of the Albertosaurus.
Burgess Shale Some 230 million years ago, what is now the Rocky Mountains actually formed the ocean floor. The first discovery was made in August 1909, when Dr. Charles Doolittle Walcott visited the mountains overlooking the town of Field, B.C. Over the next 16 years, Walcott collected more than 65,000 fossil specimens from the area. They now grace the halls of some of the world’s greatest museums.
Grande Cache Although west-central Alberta has not had many dinosaur skeletons, more than 10,000 dinosaur footprints have been uncovered in coal mines.
11 Jurassic Forest: Located close to the Goose Hummock Resort, 3 km north of Gibbons.
The remains of 3 dinosaurs were discovered on Aug. 18, 2010 by City of Edmonton workers digging a new sewer tunnel 30 metres underground
12 Grande Prairie - The Grande Prairie Museum: Admission is FREE! Summer: Mon to Fri: 8:30-8:30; Sat & Sun: 10-6
13 Wembley - Philip J Currie Dinosaur Museum Summer hours: Tues to Fri 10-8; Sat & Sun 10-6 14 Tumbler Ridge - The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery: In the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. Summer: Open 9-5
In 2011, dinosaur bones were discovered at a Suncor Energy mine. The fossil turned out to be one of the best preserved Ankylosaurs in the world. “All the armor is in place as was skin and other soft tissues”
Hudson’s Hope This area is the richest site of fossils and footprints in the world. Hudson’s Hope Museum display is one of the finest collections in the area.
“Black Beauty, a magnificent Tyrannosaurus rex from the Crowsnest” Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) is the most famous dinosaur, partly because it has been known to the public since 1905, and because it is such an awesome animal. It is one of the largest, if not THE largest carnivorous land animal, and was one of the last and most specialized dinosaurs. One day in 1980, two secondary school students were fishing in the Crowsnest River close to the Crowsnest Pass. The fishing was not good, but they did find many black dinosaur bones in the banks of the river. One of their teachers contacted
me about the discovery, and we became involved in an enormous excavation after recognizing that the boys had found an all-too-rare T. rex. The specimen became known as ‘Black Beauty’ because of the beautifully preserved black bones. It is one of the few that has travelled around the world, and has been on display in various Canadian and Japanese cities, plus Singapore and Sydney, Australia. This amazing dinosaur can seen at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller. Dr. Philip J. Currie
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Accommodations Guide You’re going to discover lots of excellent attractions and amazing experiences during your adventure along the Dinosaur Trails, so don’t be surprised if you are tempted to linger a little longer. After all, now that you’re here, why not unplug and soak it all in? Make some more precious memories. Your kids (or grandkids) will be all grown up before you know it. Life is short and you may not get back this way again, even with the best of intentions. When was the last time you took a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Can you even remember? About a third of our readers are camping or RV’ing. If that’s you, check out our Campground Directory that is
located on pg 46 and reserve an extra night now. If you are looking for a comfortable hotel for the night, or a few nights, please consider staying with one of the fine properties listed below. Remember, without the support of these businesses, it wouldn’t be possible to produce this travel guide for your use. This lodging section is a new feature in our Experience Travel Guides. We’ve launched it because the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association is going to stop producing their annual Accommodations Guide. We believe that travellers, such as yourself, still want this important information in a printed guide. If you agree, please drop us a note, or better yet, tell the staff at your hotel or campground.
good food, good people 403-823-9189 visitlastchancesaloon.com Call for BEST room rate! 403-823-6495 or 1-888-823-6495 | innsatheartwood.com 320 N. Railway Ave. East, Drumheller AB
Heartwood Inn and Spa
Grande Prairie’s Premier Hotel Complimentary Breakfast Buffet Complimentary Return Airport Tax
We offer the best in comfort and luxury 10639-110st, Grande Prairie | 587-259-0425 | encoresuites.ca
11201 – 100 Ave, Grande Prairie 780-539-6000 | 1-800-661-7954 paradiseinngrandeprairie.com
High speed Internet ● Business Centre ● Exercise Gym Bar One Urban Lounge ● Swimming Pool / Whirlpool On-site Denny’s ● Shark Club Sports Bar & Grill
Centrally located in Downtown Grande Prairie 780-513-5555 ● 1-800-SANDMAN (1-800-726-3626) www.sandman.ca ● 9805–100 St
Free Hot Breakfast Buffet Indoor Pool/ Hot Tub/Waterslide Courtesy Shuttle Restaurant and Casino near by
The finest hospitality in the heart of Northern Alberta 780-538-3900, Toll Free: 1-888-875-4667 serviceplusinns.com, 10810–107A Ave, Grande Prairie
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Kitchenettes with full size Fridge, Microwave and Utensils
Restaurants onsite Complimentary hot buffet breakfast Mini Fridges & microwaves in every room Pet friendly rooms also available
Experience The Royal Tyrrell Museum World-class exhibits capture the essence of a 180 million-year long dinosaur stampede Anytime your tired bones are feeling a bit lazy about getting out to see the sights of southern Alberta, a relatively short drive to Drumheller for a look at the oldest discovered-in-Alberta dinosaur fossil (approx. 112-110 million years old) soon to be on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, will no doubt put some youthful vitality in to your step. The nodosaur (which was an armoured dinosaur) fossil found at a Suncor mine site in northern Alberta in 2011will be among many work-site fossils featured in a new display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum called Grounds For Discovery. Along with the oldest, as mentioned, the display will feature dozens of “some of the most interesting and beautiful “ fossils ever found in Alberta, says Lisa Making, the museum’s Director of Exhibits and Communications. Grounds for Discovery, which will open in 2017, will feature fossils found at dozens of construction and industry job sites
over the past 32-year existence of the museum. For the first time in the new exhibit, many of the fossils that have been in storage at the museum will be on display. Seeing a 112-110 million-year-old fossil (and many quite a bit younger in paleontological terms) tests the imagination to really understand how old that is. When you look at the big picture, even that 110 million years, is just a “moment” in time compared to the 3.9-billion-year-history of life on Earth. All of this is explained at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The nodosaur (A Greek name for nobby lizard) roamed the woodlands of North America 112 to 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. The herbivores, described as one of the armoured dinosaurs, were about 5m, and weighed about one ton. It’s pushing the limits of scientific definition, but for a mental image think of a very large armadillo.
Photo Courtesy of the Royal Tyrrrell Museum
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Continued on pg 30
Experience The Royal Tyrrell Museum
New for 2017 at the Royal Tyrrell The main attractions at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller
“The display will highlight some of the most spectacular fossils we
are millions of years old. If you have never been, or haven’t been
have recovered through our partnership with the construction,
for a while there is always something new to see in the 4,180 m
mining, and oil and gas industries, and highway construction,”
says Lisa Making, director of exhibits and communications. “All have worked with the museum in the recovery of some of the
Taking centre stage in 2017, will be a new exhibit called Grounds
most beautiful and scientifically important finds in Alberta.
for Discovery. It will showcase many of the fossils that have been discovered during excavation work for construction and industrial
“The nodosaur fossil is not only the oldest, but it is a stunning
activities, at job sites in Alberta.
specimen that is extremely well preserved. So we are excited about that, but the whole display will be spectacular.”
One of the features of Grounds for Discovery, opening in mid-May 2017, will be a fossil of a nodosaur, an armoured dinosaur and
The Grounds for Discovery exhibit will replace the long-standing
the oldest one ever found in Alberta dating back 112-110 million
and popular Lords of the Land exhibit at the museum. It follows
years. The nodosaur, which is believed to have been about 15 feet
on the heels of the Foundations introductory exhibit that opened
long, and weighed one ton, is among the armoured dinosaurs
in May 2016, providing visitors with background context for the
with large scale plates. This fossil was found at a Suncor mine site
journey through time as they explore the rest of the galleries.
in northern Alberta in 2011.
Continued on pg 31
over drumheller … the World’s Largest Dinosaur, with a newly-painted exterior, is designed for dino-enthusiasts of all ages to explore, inside and out. Climb 106 stairs inside the giant T-rex lined with beautiful murals to admire the breathtaking badlands from her gaping jaw!
a must-see attraction!
WorldsLargestDinosaur.com 1-866-823-8100 | OPEN YEAR-ROUND! 60-1st Avenue W. Drumheller, AB
29 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experience The Royal Tyrrell Museum
The fossil of the nodosaur is just one of the thousands of pre-historic creatures, in many of senses of the term “brought to life” at the Royal Tyrrell Museum located six kilometres west of Drumheller, just off Hwy 9. Ranked as one of the top palaeontology museums in the world, the 11,150 m2 Royal Tyrrell, was opened by then Premier Peter Lougheed in September 1985. It opened with a blockbuster 500,000 visitors the first year, and the interest has never let up. The museum hosted some 465,000 visitors from 150 countries in 2015, contributing to a total of about 12 million visitors over the museum’s history. The dinosaurs are obviously the star of this pre-historic show having roamed over the world, and much of what is now North America, during an estimated 180-million year period often referred to as The Age of Reptiles. The first dinosaurs appeared some 245 million years ago during the Triassic Period. This was followed by the Jurassic Period 208 million years ago and then starting 146 million years ago were the new kids on the block — the dinosaurs of Cretaceous Period. T. rex was the headliner at the end of this period, before the curtain closed on the era about 66 million years ago.
So in keeping with that timeline, it was only yesterday that in 1884 a young geologist by the name of Joseph Burr Tyrrell (pronounced TEER-uhl), working for the Geological Survey of Canada, stumbled across the skull of a 70-million-year-old dinosaur near Kneehill Creek. This is not far from the site of the present museum. It was the first of its species ever to be found. A few years later it was identified as the Albertosaurus sarcophagus (“flesh-eating lizard from Alberta”). Although Tyrrell later went on to become a mining consultant in Dawson City, that find in 1884 launched a 132-year era of a palaeontology study, investigation and discovery in Alberta, which continues today and is centered around and showcased at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The museum is accessible to all. Located in the heart of the Canadian Badlands, that extend north from the U.S. border to roughly the Stettler area of east central Alberta, Drumheller is about a 90 minute drive northeast of Calgary, and about a three-hour trip southeast from Edmonton. Story by: Lee Hart All Photos Courtesy Travel Alberta & Royal Tyrrell Museum
Royal Tyrrell Museum hours vary seasonally. May 15 - August 31; Open 9am to 9pm (including holidays) September 1 - 30; Open 10am to 5 pm October 1 - May 14; Tues thru Sun 10am to 5pm (closed Mondays) Along with reasonable admission rates for adults, seniors and youth, the facility offers free parking. With so much to see, it is recommended you plan on a minimum two to three hour visit. 30 | Enter our Photo & Selfie Contests
Experience The Royal Tyrrell Museum
New for 2017 at the Royal Tyrrell
Cont’d from pg 29
Foundations provides an understanding of palaeontology, the
museum’s experience, includes the beginning of a very exciting
importance of fossils, and the museum’s role in protecting and
$9.3 million expansion project.
preserving Alberta’s rich fossil resources.“ Announced in 2016, the expansion will add about 14,000 square “Foundations offers visitors a dynamic, interactive experience
feet of space on two levels that will provide an additional hands-
that explores the science of palaeontology and Alberta’s leader-
on learning area, classrooms, and a distance-learning space. The
ship role in the study and preservation of some of the of some of
museum is a key heritage tourism attraction for the province and
the best fossils in the world,” says Making.
a significant economic driver for southern Alberta. The expansion, which will create short and long-term employment, is expected
Coming up later in 2017, visitors will also want to check out
to be completed in 2019.
what’s new in the Fossils In Focus exhibit. It is a display regularly updated to showcase some of the most recent fossil discoveries,
Along with the new attractions, the Royal Tyrrell will continue its
new publications and latest in palaeontology research.
more than a dozen public programs for visitors of all ages. These programs include digs for actual fossils on the museum property,
While it’s not an exhibit, some of the other new activities at the
video presentations, interpretive walks through the badlands,
Royal Tyrrell Museum in 2017 that will eventually add to the
fossil casting, and even overnight camp-ins in the museum.
For a full list and details on activities visit tyrrellmuseum.com Stettler
OPEN MID JUNE TO LABOUR DAY
Atlas Coal Mine
Adults: $55.00+GST • Children 12 and under: $45.00+GST Two to three passengers at a time
Drumheller Visitor Information Centre Home of the World’s Largest Dinosaur
FOSSILS, SOUVENIRS, PICNIC AREA, HIKING
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Contains more than 130,000 fossils
Mountain View Helicopters
See Horseshoe Canyon like you've never seen it before
Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre
HORSESHOE CANYON HELICOPTER TOURS
It is a hands-on interactive dinosaur museum for kids
(403) 334-4354 INFO@MVHELI.COM MVHELI.COM
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Photo Courtesy of Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre
Photo Courtesy of Jungling Works
Photo Courtesy of Dinosaur Valley Express Trolley
There are many other attractions in the Dumheller area that provide remarkable experiences! Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Centre It is a hands-on interactive dinosaur museum for kids, offering Fossil Dig - Dig up a dinosaur and take home a real fossil; Mineral Mine - Take home a vial of real minerals and learn how to identify the them; and Wall Climb - a 25-foot wall climb using an auto belay guided by an instructor. One of the outstanding features is the 7m tall full motion animatronic T. rex. A smart phone tour will guide you through the exhibits. Visit fossilworld.com
Dinosaur Valley Express Trolley This attraction invites visitors to enjoy a 3-hour guided tour on a unique 1920’s-style trolley ride connecting them to local area attractions. Featured sites include the hoodoos, the suspension bridge at Rosedale, and the vintage Last Chance Saloon. An onboard interpretive guide provides interesting facts and insights about this incredible region. The hoodoos tour allows us to see the results of millennia of wind and water erosion on sedimentary rocks. Looking like petrified mushrooms, they have a protective rock cap which shelters their shaft from disintegrating at the same speed as the surrounding sandstone.
The Star Mine Suspension Bridge crosses the Red Deer River in Rosedale, just outside of Drumheller. It is a 117-metre-long pedestrian suspension bridge. Constructed in 1931 for the coal workers, today the bridge is a favourite among residents for fishing. Enjoy hiking as you view the spectacular scenery. Along the 6 km stretch of highway to The Rosedeer Hotel and The Last Chance Saloon you cross 11 bridges once used to transport coal through local mining communities. This gauntlet of bridges actually holds the Guinness Book of World Records title as the most found within the shortest distance! The Rosedeer Hotel opened in 1913 in the dusty boomtown of Wayne, Ab. Back then, the population topped out at over 2,500, but has dipped to just over 2 dozen since the mines shut down in the 1950’s. The Last Chance Saloon is family friendly, serving snacks and beverages. The Bee’s Knees confectionary and the Sage Shoppe are just next-door. Two tour times are offered daily. Tailor-made tours can also be arranged, such as group tours, birthday parties, retirement parties, weddings, whiskey tastings and more. For more info visit dinosaurvalleyexpress.com
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Experience Drumheller The Canadian Badlands Passion Play My husband and I attended this event last July. Although we have read the narrative of Jesus Christ’s life in the Gospel of Luke many times, it was an enthralling experience to see it come to life. The Canadian Badlands Passion Play is one of Canada’s largest annual outdoor theatrical events. The play site, just outside of Drumheller, forms a natural backdrop very similar to the Israeli countryside. People are drawn to the Canadian Badlands Passion Play from all corners of the world to experience firsthand who Jesus was. Attendees are carried back 2000 years to witness the dramatic portrayal of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in an acoustically superb natural amphitheatre. The hundreds of actors and musicians performing this play are all volunteers, but they are incredibly talented and devoted. They race over hills in the set that would challenge a mountain goat, all the while delivering their lines superbly. The Passion Play is a 3-hour outdoor event performed over 6 weekends in July and August. It is advised to book tickets with reserved seating in advance.
There is a cash-only concession available with a variety of meal and snack options. The show goes on regardless of the weather, so visitors are counselled to prepare accordingly. The amphitheatre is extremely sound-sensitive so children under the age of 6 may not attend. The site is wheel-chair accessible. Parking is available on-site on a first-come, first-served basis, or you can book a seat on a bus to bring you to the site from a restricted number of stops in Drumheller. For more details visit canadianpassionplay.com
Valley Doll Museum, Gift Shop & Jungling Works At the Valley Doll Museum and Gift Shop, Linda Schuler has 1000 enchanting antique and vintage dolls displayed. For more information, visit valleydollmuseum.com. At nearby Jungling Works, Debra Jungling cites a friend’s challenge to share, rather than hoard, her photographs of the natural beauties around Drumheller as the inspiration for the gorgeous fashion accessories and home décor items digitally printed with these images featured in her store. For more info, visit junglingworks.com. By: Shannon Tracy
Come check out the selection of native collectibles, genuine moccasins, trapdoor underwear, dreamcatchers and many other unique items. Enjoy the gallery of local artists work. If you are looking for one-of-a-kind gift you’ll find it here!
Eat In and Take Out Bake Shop and Deli
87 Bridge St., Drumheller
SIDE BY SIDE 175 - 3RD AVE W., Drumheller A Shopping Adventure !
THE FAUX DEN
Home Decor Kitchenware Gifts
Owners Tom and Amie invite you to experience their wide selection of old and new gift items unique to Drumheller Valley. With a down-home friendly attitude the Faux Den will take you on a journey of the history of the valley through antiques, souvenirs, garden ornaments, toys, t-shirts, fossils, unique jewelry and lots more. With a salute to farming, mining and the railway, there is something for everyone.
Featuring Canadian Crafted Products inspired by the Wonders of the Badlands and designed by owner/artist Debra Jungling
403-823-2208 www.junglingworks.com 299 1st Street W Downtown, Drumheller
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Experience The Red Deer River
The Royal Alberta Museum building in Edmonton Courtesy Travel Alberta & Kim Vanderhelm
One of the world’s premier beds of cretaceous dinosaur bones stretches for 200km along the Red Deer river valley. However, the Red Deer River has a total length of 724km. It originates in Banff National Park and flows east through the foothills to Red Deer. As the river leaves Red Deer, it cuts across some of the best farmland in Alberta and in so doing for the past 12,000 years, has carved a canyon as much as 200m deep.
insect fossils have been found here area as well as the remains of many extinct fish species, crocodiles, and mammals. On Hwy 11, the Joffre Bridge crosses the Red Deer River. In
After turning south, the Red Deer River runs through Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, so-named because of the unusual land formation; a flat-topped mesa called a “dry island”. The flat rangelands abruptly drop 50 – 60m to the Red Deer River. Your kids will be amazed! Dating back 2,800 years, Aboriginal people used this drop as one of the highest buffalo jumps Alberta. Dry Island Buffalo Jump is a Provincial Park that represents the northern end of the Canadian Badlands. Boreal and grassland species come together. White spruce are found only steps away from prickly pear cacti. More than 150 bird species have been spotted in this park, which is a day-use area only with camping available at nearby Tolman campgrounds. But the Badlands are not the only fossil trove on this river. Just outside the Red Deer city limits, plant fossils were first collected at the confluence of the Blindman River in 1888. Cliffs here are renowned for their 60 million year old fossil beds. Many 34 | Enter our Photo & Selfie Contests
DELUXE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
Guide showing a skeleton to a family at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton Courtesy Travel Alberta & EEDC
1914, Mr Barnum Brown, known as “the greatest dinosaur hunter of the 20th Century,” discovered vertebrate fossils in this area. Although the site remained largely undisturbed until 1977 when Betty Speirs uncovered well-preserved fossils. Then in 2001, a road-widening crew discovered the remains of a pantodonts, an obscure group of bear-sized herbivores that lived 65 million years ago when mammals began to diversify following the demise of the dinosaurs in ancient Alberta. Centrally located, Three Hills is a great place to stay while exploring Central Alberta. With a population of 3,200, there are numerous services, campgrounds and hotels in the area. Check out the Kneehill Historical Museum & Visitor Centre and if you are here during the first weekend of June, attend the Annual Cruise Weekend & Bracket Racing. It is one of the largest car shows in Central Alberta. The Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary marks the time when, 65 million years ago, there was a sudden global change in the environment, devastating many of the animals and plants that were alive at the time. It is marked by a thin layer of sediment, called the Boundary Claystone. One of the best sites in the world to see this claystone is a 15 min. drive north of Three Hills to Trochu. Dinosaur bone beds are found almost accidentally within Western Canada regularly. However, sometimes construction
workers uncover dinosaur bones. This happened in August 2010 when the remains of an Albertosaurus and Edmontosauruses, were discovered by City of Edmonton workers digging a new tunnel 30m underground. To study these fossils, the Royal Tyrrell Museum worked with the Royal Alberta Museum of Edmonton. The Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) closed in December 2015, as part of planned relocation to a new and expanded facility on 103A Avenue now scheduled to reopen in early 2018. The RAMs new Natural History Gallery is expected to continue to contain spectacular minerals and gems; dinosaurs, sabre-toothed cats and even a mammoth. Once complete, the new RAM will be one of the province’s greatest cultural attractions and the largest museum in western Canada. royalalbertamuseum.ca Thinking of seriously pursuing a career as a paleontologist? The University of Alberta in Edmonton offers a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Paleontology, which studies fossils and ancient life forms. It is an interdisciplinary program designed to give you a strong background in paleontology, earth sciences and biological sciences. Philip J. Currie is a Professor here in the Faculty of Science and the Canada Research Chair in Dinosaur Paleobiology.
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Experience The Jurassic Forest
Embarking on the Discovery Trail of the Jurassic Forest, you might believe that you’re just taking a serene stroll along the boardwalk meandering through this 40 acre natural preserve near Gibbons, Alberta. That is, until the roars, chirps, and howls of dinosaurs start reverberating through the trees. As you round the bend, you glimpse a pair of Edmontosaurus duckbilled dinosaurs reaching for the tree-tops. They lived alongside T. rex and named in 1917 for the Edmonton Formation (today called the Horseshoe Canyon Formation). Just around the corner, an Albertosaurus, a true home-grown “Alberta lizard”, bares its chisel-like teeth alongside a large Styracosaurus looking for other members of its herd. Located on Hwy 28 approx. 40km north of Edmonton, this seasonal tourist attraction set in a boreal forest is a hidden treasure waiting to be unearthed.
As you set out on the two-1km loops, you will encounter more than forty animatronic dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. There are walking, running, and flying dinosaurs plus plant-eaters and carnivores. There are creatures that look deceptively like dinosaurs, but are not. There is even a Triceratops laying eggs. The wooden boardwalk trails are wide and easy to navigate with strollers or wheelchairs / motorised scooters. Two side trail extensions feature animals other than dinosaurs: In the north extension, “Taking Flight” traces the anatomical and physiological adaptations necessary for flight. In the south “From Scales to Fur” describes the development of mammals. Placards along the route give a lot of information about the dinosaurs, including their habitats, their diets and their habits. The information is not limited to the fossil record – the flora and fauna of northern Alberta are also featured. Depending on the amount of time you linger at each factoid post or stop at each exhibit to take pictures, it will take you one to two hours to navigate both loops. Guided safaris led by expert Jurassic Forest staff are available. Folks of any age will enjoy a full day at Jurassic Forest. Launched in 2010, this edutainment venue set in a “living forest” features an interpretive centre, a basic concession, and a gift shop. A playground and mini-golf course round out the opportunities for fun. There is plenty of scope here for unique school outings, birthday parties and corporate events. Frequent special events, guest speakers and charity partner events further expand the centre’s offerings. Story and Photos by Dr. Shannon L. Tracey
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Wonderment, Adventure and Education Wembley
GRANDE GRANDE PRAIRIE PRAIRIE
Jasper Rocky Mountain House
Admission is purchased at the gate; child (2-12), youth (13-17), adult, senior (60+), and family (2 adults + 2 or 3 children) are available. Check jurassicforest.com for hours and rates. A 40-ACRE PREHISTORIC PRESERVE, JUST MINUTES FROM EDMONTON AND MILLIONS OF YEARS FROM THE PRESENT!
Seasonal memberships available. If you are exploring in and around Edmonton, admission to the Jurassic Forest can also be purchased as part of the Edmonton Attractions Pass, which gives admission to 15 of the most visited attractions in the city and region exploreedmonton.com Please note, pets are not allowed. 37 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Experience the Northern Dinosaur Trails
Northern light sky in Grande Prairie Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta & Jeff Bartlett
As Sherlock Holmes exclaimed to Dr. Watson in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, “The game is afoot!” And what a foot it is! In northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Colombia, the footprints of thousands of dinosaurs are preserved at numerous track sites snugged up against the Rocky Mountains. These footprints represent a unique category of fossils known as trace fossils. Unlike the body fossils, such as bones or shells, which are the preserved remains of the animal itself, trace fossils preserve a record of an animal’s activity. According to Dr. Richard McCrea, paleontologist at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, BC, over the course of its lifetime, an animal could produce millions of tracks; as a result, it is actually more common to unearth the fossilized tracks of animals than to stumble upon their skeletal remains.
Fort St. John
Dawson Creek 2 52 43
Through the study of dinosaur trackways, we can learn how dinosaurs moved and interacted with their environment. The trackways also show which dinosaurs roamed solo and which moved about in groups. These trace fossils are named for the trace itself and not for the animal that made the trace. 38 | Enter our Photo & Selfie Contests
WEMBLEY GRANDE WEMBLEY
ALBERTA BRITISH CO LUMBIA
In fact, the conditions for producing a track site are not the same as those factors which would promote the fossilization of the bone in a skeleton. Tracks will most frequently occur in a rock that is very hard and resistant to erosion. It is not difficult to envision these conditions being met in the many deposits and formations in the Rockies.
According to Dr. McCrea, an initiative is gaining a toehold to one day link these many track sites together in a northern dinosaur trail. Let’s take a walk on the wild side and visit some current stops on the northern leg of the dinosaur trail.
Fox Creek 40
Grande Cache Hinton
Experience Grande Prairie As we hotfoot it over to our next stop at the Phillip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum (PJC) we take a moment to cool our heels at the Grande Prairie Museum and “Bones and Stones” Exhibit and the Heritage Discovery Centre.. The “Bones and Stones” exhibit features a replica archaeological dig site of the Edmontosaurus and aboriginal artifacts; Robert Cochrane collected the specimen featured in the exhibit in the 1950’s. Other gallery exhibits include prehistoric stone artifacts used by the Aboriginal people to settle this area, transportation artifacts, including a replica train station, and military displays.
rta sy Travel Albe Photo Courte berta Al of t en nm & Gover
A hop, skip and jump from the museum will take us over to the Heritage Discovery Centre. It portrays the vast history of the Peace Region from the Mesozoic Era, to the last Ice Age, the Aboriginal and Metis settlement, the arrival of the pioneers and the subsequent development of local resources. An animatronic model of ‘Piper’ the Pachyrhinosaurus and a replica of a Pachyrhinosaurus skull are of interest to dinosaur enthusiasts. A number of other fossils are also on display, including some on loan from the local college. A program area is available for hands-on learning experiences. Both sites are in Muskoseepi Park in Grande Prairie and are open year-round, 7 days a week. Please contact the museum for hours of operation for specific holidays.
Photo Court esy Travel Alb erta & Governm ent of Alber ta
Tracks-O-Plenty Around Grande Cache Roughly a 1-1/2-hour drive south of Grande Prairie Image to be placed
along highway 40 sits Grande Cache. There is a significant dinosaur track site in this area with more than 10,000 tracks! At the moment, it is not accessible to the public because the site is located in a coal mine. But plans are in the works to develop this location as a tourist attraction, in the future.
Check in periodically for future news on this development at: grandecache.ca
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Experience Grande Prairie
Grande Prairie, Alberta
Photos: Phillip J.. Currie Museum - Canadaâ€™s newest award-winning dinosaur museum. Eastlink Centre: One of the largest Adventure Aquatic facilities in Canada.
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eauch ght C. B
Experience Grande Prairie With one of the youngest averageage populations in Canada, Grande Prairie has family facilities and attractions that are state of the art. Eastlink Centre – One of the largest Adventure Aquatic facilities in Canada! 250,000 Sq.ft of awesome fun. Learn to surf, tube down the lazy river, go crazy in a dino-themed water park set up for all ages - even babies. Jumpyard Trampoline Park - The Jump Yard is 20,000 square foot Indoor trampoline park with wall to wall trampolines, massive foam pits, and even trampoline dodgeball. Down To Earth Farms Petting Zoo - Interact with the gentlest animals ever. The variety of animals is impressive and even Lil’roo the kangaroo will be happy to see you. Spend the day on the farm feeding, petting and riding or have a picnic and enjoy the incredible view. Laser Tag Arena- Providing the most advanced equipment in the industry, Laser Tag Central provides ultimate fun for the whole family. Challenge every skill level. Come have a blast.
Luv 2 Play Indoor Playground – Café and arcade. Features three levels of crawl tubes, slides, interactive games, video, and special area for crawlers & toddlers, and it’s all kept very clean! Nitehawk Adventure Park- Year- round camping, water ramp, walking trails, or rent a bike and experience the most vertical mountain bike park in the Province.
To Earth’ Kids will love getting ‘Down
Muskoseepi Park – This incredible park follows Bear Creek and features over 28km of trails for walking, biking or roller blading with very scenic views along the way. There is also an outdoor playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, miniature golf, skateboard park, new splash park, large picnic areas, fishing pond and much more.
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Experience The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum & Sean Trostem
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta & Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Photo Courtesy of Lloyd Dykstra
What does the Stay-puft Marshmallow Man, the paranormal monster from the 1984 movie Ghost Busters, have to do with dinosaurs near Grande Prairie? The Canadian-born movie star Dan Aykroyd has hunted them both. Inspired by his 2010 participation in a dig in the area with his dinosaur-obsessed daughter, Danielle, and wife, Donna Dixon, Aykroyd became an ardent supporter of the museum. The hunt for dinosaurs in Wembley, AB, about a 20-minute drive west of Grande Prairie, starts back in 1974 when school teacher Al Lakusta discovered the Pipestone Creek dinosaur bone bed. Today, Pipestone Creek is shallow, and often dries up in the heat of the summer. However, 75 million years ago it was a different story. Pipestone Creek was a turbulent torrent racing through a land of active volcanoes and hulking dinosaurs. A flash flood swept thousands of these giants down river; their carcasses jammed up in a bend in the river, eventually becoming fossilised skeletons melding into the landscape. An amateur fossil collector, Lakusta was astounded to find that his rudimentary bone bed excavations yielded dinosaur bones. With the proper permits in hand Lakusta, along with a friend or family member, returned again and again to the bone bed. He’d stuff the fossils into his backpack and, once home, clean them in his bathtub and store them in his basement. On Labour Day 1974, while exploring Pipestone Creek he and
his friend, Ernest Svrcek, Lakusta noticed rib fragments in the creek bed. He clambered up the bank and discovered a seam of fossilized bones. There he discovered the remains of a new species of dinosaur, officially christened Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai in honour of his find. At the time of Lakusta’s discoveries, northwestern Alberta was not known for its dinosaur bones. As a result, he excavated and stored the bones himself. Much of his original collection was consigned to a storage room at Grande Prairie’s Museum. He also sent specimens to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which then attracted the attention of Dr. Philip Currie, Alberta’s, and, arguably, Canada’s, pre-eminent paleontologist. Currie began an official excavation of Pipestone Creek, which was nicknamed the “River of Death”, in 1986. The density of bones established the site as one of the richest in Canada. Dr. Currie and his U of A colleagues note the team has removed 3,500 bones of Pachyrhinosaurus — including 14 skulls — from the site so far. Others found include: skeletons of four distinct age groups of Pachyrhinosaurus ranging from juveniles to full-grown dinosaurs; the carnivorous theropod dinosaur; hadrosaurs (duck billed dinosaurs); tyrannosaurs (predatory dinosaurs); nodosaurs (armoured dinosaurs); plesiosaurs (marine reptiles); and, pterosaurs (flying reptiles). And the excavation continues.
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In Wembley, Alberta One well-preserved hadrosaur fossil caused a stir in 2013 as it contained “mummified” head crest skin impressions from the duck-billed Edmontosaurus regalis - this fossil confirmed for the first time the existence of a cockscomb, or a fleshy head crest. It’s assumed the comb, similar to the bright-red combs sported by modern-day roosters, could have played a role in the mating habits of Edmontosaurus. Given the value of the Pipestone Creek bone bed to the world of paleontology, it soon became apparent that a new museum was needed to house and display the fossil. A site was chosen in Wembley. The amazing architecture of the museum draws on an abstraction of the palaeontological excavation experience with two massive concret retaining walls and supports pushing back the earth to reveal the main gallery wall. Inaugurated in September of 2015, the museum features extensive gallery spaces, two classrooms, the 60-seat Aykroyd Family Theater, research and collections areas, the Dine-O-Saur restaurant, the Kaleidosaur gift shop, an outdoor discovery fossil walk and large outdoor playground. The permanent exhibits use both conventional displays and modern technology, transporting the visitor 360 million years back to the Pipestone Creek bone bed and the devastation of
the flood plain. The gallery houses some of the most interactive technology for paleontology anywhere in Canada. The museum also hosts educational programs (which including field trips), a K-12 school program, temporary exhibits, public programs (including learning how to prepare dinosaur bones in the fossil lab), and a lecture series. Given the bone bed is almost football-field size, many more dinosaur fossils and their mysteries have yet to be discovered. Just back in March of 2016, Boreonykus certekorum was the newest dinosaur named from the Peace Region. This raptor dinosaur, (dromaeosaur), was described by Dr. Phil Bell and Dr. Philip Currie. Similar to their more famous raptor cousins, the Boreonykus were generally big dog-sized predators. The Pipestone Creek bone bed site is open to the public, which is unique and exciting. This summer, the museum will host visitors’ tours to the bone bed, located about 18 km from the museum. Camping is available near the site at Pipestone Creek Campground and at the Saskatoon Island Provincial Park. Numerous hotels and motels are available in the Grande Prairie region, and there are hotel packages featured on the museum’s website. By: Dr. Shannon Tracy
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta & Mike Seehagel
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Experience Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia
Mark Turner (left), and Daniel Helm (right) celebrate their discovery of an ankylosaur trackway. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Richard T. McCrea
Dr. Lisa G. Buckley (left) and assistant Marissa Gilbert (right) working on B.C’s first dinosaur excavation on Quality Creek, July, 2003. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Richard T. McCrea
About 200 km west of Grande Prairie across the BC border lays Tumbler Ridge. In 2000, two boys literally took a step in the right direction to live out every junior paleontologist’s dream. One footloose and fancy-free summer day, Mark Turner (11) and Daniel Helm (8) were tubing down Flatbed Creek near Tumbler Ridge; they fell off and once ashore they walked back upstream on bedrock. Noting some unusual depressions on the banks, they became convinced they were dinosaur tracks. Although sceptical, Daniel’s father Dr. Charles Helm, a family physician, ultimately contacted Dr. Philip Currie, then the renowned Curator of Dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, and palaeontologist Dr. Rich McCrea, western Canada’s authority on dinosaur footprints. In 2001, McCrea’s on-site investigations confirmed the prints were part of the trackway of a heavily-armoured ankylosaur. As a bonus, he discovered British Columbia’s second-ever dinosaur bone right beside the footprints. This was one of the few known places where footprints and bone were discovered together in the same rock layer. This was also by far the oldest dinosaur bone material in western Canada, and very few bones from this age of rock are known worldwide. These discoveries, and others made by enthusiastic locals, served as catalysts for the formation of the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF), with Dr. Helm as one of its main proponents. In 2002, the TRMF led a prospecting tour in a deep canyon along Quality Creek. Wayne Sawchuck, a local naturalist,
A hadrosaur fibula overlain by a rib at B.C’s second dinosaur excavation, Aug. 2012. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Richard T. McCrea
accompanied McCrea and his team on this prospecting tour. While Wayne was asking about the type of sediments dinosaur bones are preserved in, they arrived in an area with coarse sandstone rocks with lots of fossil plants. Both found bones however, Wayne was first. Ribs, vertebrae and a fibula embedded in the block represented a colossal find as the first concentration of dinosaur material in BC. Several other large sandstone blocks close to the first creek held a total of 20 exposed bones. In the days following the dinosaur bone discovery, several more bones were found high above the fallen bone-bearing blocks. The more they looked, the more they found. The site turned out to be a treasure trove of dinosaur tracks and the bones of theropods, hadrosaurs, ankylosaurs, crocodiles, turtles, fish, a freshwater ray and a smattering of bivalve shells. The bones from this Kaskapau Formation (Turonian) proved much older than any others found in western Canada. This initial exploration of the Quality Creek canyon spurred a launch of a fundraising drive to support an excavation of this site in 2003. At that time, the board of the TRMF posed the following question to themselves: “What if we wanted to keep these specimens here in BC? What would we do with them?” Taking one step at a time, displays were created in the Tumbler Ridge Community Centre. Guided Tours were then offered and trails were built to the dinosaur footprint field sites. The Board of Directors formulated a plan to create the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre.
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A ‘Hotbed’ of Dinosaur Footprints In the four years between 2007 and 2011, Dr. McCrea and Dr. Lisa Buckley, an expert in the identification of dinosaur bones, excavated a site in the Wapiti Formation which they discovered while prospecting the site with Dr. Federico Fanti, an Italian geologist. Immediately, a theropod [a meat-eating dinosaur] digit was recovered. A kilometre farther along, more bone from a lambeosaur was extracted. Recognizing the abundance of paleontological phenomena in the Tumbler Ridge region, UNESCO designated the area as the first global geo-park in western North America in 2014. UNESCO recognised that the Cretaceous dinosaur tracks (many of global significance), Triassic fish and marine reptiles, and a Cretaceous dinosaur bone bed with unusual features and are of particular importance. In 2016, McCrea, Buckley, and their team began excavation and analysis of The Six Peaks Dinosaur Track Site from the Gething Formation (Lower Cretaceous - between 117-115 million years ago) near Williston Lake west of Hudson’s Hope, BC. Over 1,000 footprints were excavated in a 700m2 area. As early as the 1920’s, geologist F.H. McLearn had reported dinosaur tracks in the nearby Peace River Canyon, which were among the first dinosaur tracks to be reported from Canada. In
1930, the Peace River track sites were studied by Charles M. Sternberg; he described the first Cretaceous vertebrate tracks fauna in the world from these sites. A number of dinosaur track types such as those of small, medium and large, two-legged, meat-eating theropods, large plant-eating iguanodontids, and medium-sized, plant-eating ankylosaurs where discovered. In the 1960’s, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam was constructed across the Peace River. Even though the Peace River Canyon track sites had been granted Provincial Heritage Resource status in 1930, plans started 40 years later to build a second dam, the Peace Canyon Dam, and to create a reservoir (now called Dinosaur Lake) between the two dams, effectively dooming the track sites to be flooded forever. Before the reservoir was flooded, Dr. Currie and his team carried out 4 years of salvage work, sending the specimens to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. Not every person can make the rigorous trip to the various track sites and bone beds in northern BC, so the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre has developed the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge to exhibit and interpret the finds. By Dr. Shannon Tracey
For more information prprc.com The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation website is at: trmf.ca
The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Richard T. McCrea
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Kinbrook Island Prov. Park* May 8 - Sept 5 $26.00 - $33.00 169 • • • 13 km south of Brooks on Lake Newell. Winter camping Sept 5 - May 5 first come, first serve basis.
Tillebrook Provincial Park* May 8 - Sept 5 $29.00 - $36.00 85 6 km east of Brooks. Fall camping Sept 5 - Nov 30, first come, first serve basis.
Dinosaur Provincial Park* May 5 - Oct 9 $29.00 - $36.00 122 • • • • • • 48 km NE of Brooks. Winter camping Oct 10 - May 4. Interp programs visit dinosaurpark.ca or 403-378-4344.
Rosemary Municipal Camp. May 15 - Sept 30
Prairie Oasis Campground May 1 - Oct 15 $25.00 - $60.00 101 • • • • • A refreshing oasis on the prairies of Special Areas, marina, playgrounds, concession, coin showers/laundry.
Calgary & Area Calaway RV & Campground May 19 - Sept 5 $28.00 - $40.00 104 • • • 403-249-7372 calawaypark.com Calaway Park invites you to Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park and the Calaway RV Park and Campground! Spring Hill RV Park
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Clearwater Trading Year Round $25.00 - $35.00 47 • • • • 403-722-2378 clearwatertrading.ca Proud to offer you a seperate, private venue for all your events’ needs. Call us today! Check us out on Facebook @clearwatertradingevents.
Edmonton Shakers Acres RV Park Year Round $35.00 - $50.00 153 • • • • • 877-447-3565 We are conveniently located right at Edmonton’s doorstep where you can enjoy some of Alberta’s best known tourist sites. With 40 full hook up winter sites (Monthly Oct. to Apr.) and an onsite playground.
Fox Creek Iosegun Lake Campground May 19 - Sept 4 $25.00 52 • 780-622-3896 Iosegun Lake Campground is 10 kilometers north of Fox Creek. Rustic sites set amongst birch or spruce trees with good fishing and a nice beach. $25 per night or stay the season for $1500. Or reserve the popular group site at 780-622-3896.
Smoke Lake Campground May 19 - Sept 4 $25.00 49 • 780-622-3896 foxcreek.ca Smoke Lake Campground is 10 kilometres south of Fox Creek. A beautiful rustic setting with good fishing. One soon doesn’t miss the luxuries of modern life (running water, cell phone, electricity). $25 per night or stay the season for $1500.
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