The Dinosaur Trails
9 Helpful Map Pages Montana Southwest Saskatchewan Dinosaur Provincial Park Drumheller Tumbler Ridge
14 TUMBLER RIDGE
Fort St. John
Hudsonâ€™s Hope Dawson Creek
16 JASPER NATIONAL PARK
13 12 WEMBLEY GRANDE 43
ELK ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Fort GIBBONS 11 Saskatchewan
Dinosaur finds; Dig sites, bones, eggs See pg 4
Dinosaur Attractions See pg 4
Experience The Dinosaur Trails
ALBERTA BRITISH CO LUMBIA
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
WRITING-ON-STONE PROVINCIAL PARK
GRASSLANDS NATIONAL PARK 1
GREAT SAND HILLS
CYPRESS HILLS INTERPROVINCIAL PARK
DINOSAUR PROVINCIAL 4 PARK
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park
3 St. Mary Reservoir Milk River
Midland Provincial Park
RED DEER 8
Fernie Crowsnest Pass 3
Rocky Mountain House
Fairmont Hot Springs
Radium Hot Springs
BANFF NATIONAL PARK
KOOTENAY NATIONAL PARK
YOHO NATIONAL PARK
JASPER NATIONAL PARK
ALBERTA BIA COLUM BRITISH
Attractions Along the Dinosaur Trails See Map pg 2 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
Red Deer - The Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery:
2 Eastend - The T. rex Discovery Centre: Located along Hwy 13. Home to “Scotty” the T. rex. Opens May long weekend to labour day.
Edmonton - University of Alberta Paleontology Museum:
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. New Panda Passage opened May 7, 2018. 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
Collections include archaeological and paleontological artefacts. Open 10-4:30 Mon to Fri and 12-4:30 on Weekends.
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 reopened in 2018. 11 Jurassic Forest: Located close to the Goose Hummock Resort, 3 km north of Gibbons. 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
Some of the Famous Dinosaur & Fossil Finds: Dig Sites, Bones, Tracks & Eggs: Lundbreck Falls: “Black Beauty” (A reproduction of its skull can
Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park: Once an important
be seen in the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre)
hunting ground for the ancient Plains Cree, it’s now famous for its dinosaur fossils and rich bonebeds of the Albertosaurus.
St. Mary Reservoir: 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 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.
Edmonton: The remains of 3 dinosaurs were discovered on Aug. 18, 2010 by City of Edmonton workers digging a new sewer tunnel 30 metres underground
Fort McMurray: 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.
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Experience the Dinosaur Trails Publisher’s Welcome Welcome to the 3rd edition of Experience the Dinosaur Trails, a visitor’s guide to the attractions, fossil finds, and stunning landscapes within the Canadian Badlands, and beyond. In this traveller’s companion, you’ll learn about the history of, and discover incredible experiences within the region, through compelling stories & images. And you’ll love our user-friendly maps! You are about to enter into a fascinating world. Realize that the wheat fields of North America were once covered by a great Inland Sea. The climate was different. Rather than an arid temperate zone, this was once a tropical paradise.
Well, maybe it wasn’t a paradise for those being chased by an enormous T. rex, replicas of which we have all seen in movies such as Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Let’s face it – everyone loves dinosaurs! Dinosaur bones and tracks are exposed with the erosion of soil by wind and water, so be especially alert in river valleys. And most bones and tracks are found by amateurs. Think of it. Y-o-u might just find a whole new species of dinosaurs and have it named in your honour! We sincerely hope you have a magical time and are truly honoured to be of service. To download this, or any of our maps & magazines to your mobile device, go to experiencetravelguides.com/library Bob Harris
Lee Hart is a long-time
Allen R. Gibson
Dr Shannon Tracey
Karen Ung is a mother
Andrew Penner is
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 newspapers, for the past 30 years he has specialized as a writer and editor for agricultural publications. (Experience Special Areas pg 21)
is a writer and tourism marketer who’s enjoyed Western Canadian road trips since childhood.
is a scientific & technical writer/editor and an instructor in Human Anatomy and Physiology. She has had amazing opportunities to travel to practically every continent around the globe. She and her husband, Copeland, live in Sherwood Park. They love camping and unearthing hidden gems in Alberta. Reach her at
and married to her sweetheart. She loves maps, mountains, and mochas. With her Geography degree and experience leading backpacking trips in the Rockies, she is full of ideas on where to go and what to do. Her blog, Play Outside Guide, provides “everything you need to know to get outside and have fun” (aka @playoutsidegal) (Experience Alberta’s Badlands pg 22)
an independent writer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta. His work has been featured in Westworld, Westjet Magazine, Golf Magazine, Golf Tips, Golf Canada, and many leading golf and lifestyle publications. When not travelling or working, he enjoys reading, movies, and chilling out in the backyard with his wife, Dawn, and their four boys. (Experience the Calgary Zoo pg 28)
Now, he shares that love of the west with visitors through his writing and custom guided tours. Reach him at EightStarTours@gmail.com
(So You Wanna Be A Dino Hunter pg 8)
(The Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush pg 25)
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Experience the Dinosaur Trails Welcome to the 2019 - 2020 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, Travel Alberta, and all of our advertising partners and contributors, for their support. 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 Weston firstname.lastname@example.org Cartographer: Rob Storeshaw email@example.com Book Keeper: Adrienne Albrecht firstname.lastname@example.org Circulation Managers: Dan Clements Ian Klein Warren Pearson Dale Schultz Kelly & Carla Schultz
Editor: Larry Thomas email@example.com Advertising Sales Reps: Dan Clements, Dan@cmiPublishing.ca Allen Gibson, Allen@cmiPublishing.ca Joseph Macdonald, Joseph@cmiPublishing.ca David Saxby, David@cmiPublishing.ca Circulation: Free copies available through most Visitor Information Centres, AMA travel offices, retail stores, attractions, and hotels & motels in the region. For a complete list: experiencedinosaurtrails.com/our-distributors Cover Illustration: Created by Julius Cstonyi. Titanophoneus dawn. Digital painting. 2011 Share Your Experience: Upload your selfies, photos and videos to be eligible to win great prizes: ExperienceTravelGuides.com/Contests
Follow us @ExperienceTravel Guides Calgary, AB BMO Centre at Stampede Park
America’s largest and most realistic Dinosaur event. Our guests will walk through the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic periods and experience for themselves what it was like to be among living, breathing dinosaurs. For more info and tickets: jurassicquest.com
May 10-12, 2019
Table of Contents Communities Balzac 26 Brooks 20 Calgary 28 County of Newell 20 Devil’s Coulee 17 Dinosaur Provincial Park 24 Drumheller 34-39 Gibbons 40 Grande Cache 42 Grande Prairie 43 Grasslands National Park 13 Hudson’s Hope 48 Medicine Hat 19 Milk River 17 Montana’s Dinosaur Trails 10 Saskatchewan 12-15 Tumbler Ridge 46 Wembley 44 Writing-on-Stone 17
Specialty Pages A Family Weekend in Drumheller 32 Alaska’s Dinosaur Trails 49 Blackfoot Crossing 30 Campground Directory 50 Experience Alberta’s Badlands 22 Experience Special Areas 21 Jurassic Forest 40 Philip J. Currie Museum 44 Photo Contest 52 Reader Survey 5 Royal Tyrrell Museum 38 So You Wanna Be A Dino Hunter 8 Thagomizer 51 The Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush 25
Map Pages Edmonton, AB Edmonton EXPO Centre June 7-9, 2019 Saskatoon, SK Prairieland Park June 14-16, 2019
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Central Alberta 41 Dinosaur Trail Map 2-3 Dinosaur Trail Map Keys 4 Drumheller & Area 36 Montana’s Dinosaur Trails 11 NE British Columbia 42 Southern Alberta 16 SW Saskatchewan 15
Dawson (center) survey party in northern B.C., 1879.
So you wanna be a dinosaur hunter? Even today, hunting for dinosaurs can take you to some very isolated, off-the-beaten-path locales. Deep in the badlands of S.E. Alberta, Iceland, or up in the Yukon. Places, potentially, without much for roads.
But let’s go back to 1875. Roads? What roads? A trading post with food exists every few hundred miles – and to get there you are usually riding a horse, walking, or paddling up a river – tough, grueling work that needs stamina, strength, and self-reliance. Living off the land is not for sissies! Now, imagine you stand less than five feet tall, with a back deformity from tuberculosis of the spine which constantly gives you pain, and you are tasked with exploring thousands of
miles across the prairies and the Rocky Mountains of Western Canada. Would you be up for it? His physical issues didn’t stop George M. Dawson, one of the heroes of the European ‘age of exploration’ in the Canadian west. The tiny dynamo was renowned both for his mental prowess and his physical endurance, often staying in the field during winter months when other, lesser, men went home to huddle by the fire. Among his many discoveries were the first dinosaur bones in the west in what is now the province of Saskatchewan, followed by more in Alberta’s Milk River region. His finds were eventually identified as duck-billed Hadrosaurs. The many specimens collected by Dawson were to form the core of the department of vertebrate palaeontology of the present National Museum of Natural Sciences.
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A compatriot of George Dawson, Joseph Tyrrell, around the same time was mapping the Red Deer River valley further north near Drumheller, and there found the first complete dinosaur skull – the Albertosaurus. The Royal Tyrrell museum bears Joseph’s name, while Dawson Creek, B.C., and Dawson City, Yukon, are both named in George’s honour. Of course, Mr. Dawson was only the first EUROPEAN man to ‘discover’ dinosaurs within the Canadian prairies. The First Nations of the region had been finding bones for centuries. The Blackfoot called them “the grandfather of the buffalo.”
A job he loved George M. Dawson was the appointed geologist and botanist to the British North American Boundary Commission, mapping out the 49th parallel border with the United States, and tasked to report on ‘the lay of the land.’ His “Report on the geology and resources of the region in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel,” was published in 1875, sold out almost immediately. It was used in planning settlement, railway routes, mining, and oil exploration for decades.
diseases that had decimated the region, Dawson made richly textured additions to his geographical report on the islands. His careful recording of the Haida language, and the photos he took there in 1878, are considered priceless records, and can still be found in university book catalogues. “As an artist and poet, he was captivated by the beauty of the Haida totem-poles and by the intelligence and skills reflected in the construction of their villages. As a Darwinian scientist, George perceived a highly evolved culture... and he warned politicians of the Haida’s fully developed concepts of property ownership, which would demand consideration during the negotiations over railway lands.” 1. By: Allen Gibson
Like most scientists, Dawson was, after all, a realist.
Next, Dawson began a series of explorations in the north. His survey of BC strongly influenced the government in its planned route of the Canadian Pacific Railway. And his work in the early 1880’s mapped much of northern British Columbia and today’s Yukon Territory for the very first time. Fifteen years later, the discovery of gold near Dawson City turned it in to the biggest city west of Winnipeg. George had correctly predicted that gold was likely there based on the geology he saw.
Dinosaurs and Darwin Dawson was an exceptional student, despite, or perhaps because of, his physical difficulties. In 1872, George graduated with distinction and various awards from the prestigious Royal School of Mines in England. There, he was taught by one of Charles Darwin’s ardent supporters. He learned about the correlation between geology and the records of evolution and animal species distribution that the earth holds. At the time, the ideas of ancient dinosaurs, and of evolution itself, were very contentious, but they were ones Dawson supported. Dawson’s belief in evolution strengthened when he became captivated by the society of the Haida of the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii). Seeing all the deserted villages and the rapidly decreasing population of the Haida due to European
Dawson was an excellent artist and map-maker.
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Sources: 1. www.biographi.ca/en/bio/dawson_george_mercer_13E.html With thanks to Tim Tokaryk, Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and huge Dawson fan.
Experience Montana’s Dinosaur Trails
“Hello there.” Image courtesy Museum of The Rockies. Eastern Montana shares a lot of the same geological attributes as Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Thus, many of the kinds of dinosaurs you’ll find along our dino trails are also found along Montana’s Dinosaur Trails. Stretching from Glendive in the east to Bynum in the west, and anchored by the famous displays of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, there are many museums to visit. Most have locally-discovered bones and are small operations, but there are notable exceptions. Let’s start with the big kahuna. The Museum of the Rockies is located on the grounds of Montana State University. Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, it is the most visited indoor attraction in all of the state of Montana, and the place has some serious dino chops! Its long time curator, Jack Horner, who served as the technical adviser on all of the Jurassic Park movies is considered one of the world’s leading dino authorities. “It’s a mind-blowing experience here,” says marketing manager Alicia Thompson. “It kind of starts slow, with the beginning of time... then we jump to the Jurassic period. You go through a media centre with videos of our field digs, then around the corner [are] egg clutches, which started the whole idea that dinos were nesting animals. Then you turn another corner and you’re staring a full-size T. rex in the face!”
“People just stop!” she adds. “They look up and their mouth’s drop!” The Museum of the Rockies has the world’s largest collection of T. rex fossils, helping you understand the complete life cycle and behaviours of these meat-eating mega-predators. Tyrannosaurus rex means “tyrant lizard king,” and the Tyrant Kings exhibit presents the science and research of T. rex in a very big way. It includes the Montana specimen, which stands 12 feet tall and measures approximately 40 feet from nose to tail and would have weighed almost seven tons! This museum has an 1890’s “living history” farm, and all last summer featured the history of the world’s most recognized musical instrument – the guitar. It’s a great place for kids – in fact TripAdvisor ranks it the #1 thing to do in Bozeman! Admission only costs USD $9.50 to $14.50, and is good for two consecutive days if you really want to ‘dig in’ to the exhibits. For more information visit museumoftherockies.org Other notable stops are the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta, which offers the chance to go on dino digs all summer long. Just next door is the Phillips County Museum, where you can meet “Elvis,” a 33 ft long Brachylophosaurus fossil, one of the best articulated skeletons ever found.
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Share Your Dinosaur Experience You can find all the info you need to plan your trip or circle tour of Montana’s Dinosaur trail on Facebook at facebook.com/ MontanaDinoTrail. The map of the museums is online at mtdinotrail.org
Many of the smaller museums on the Montana’s Dinosaur Trail have locally discovered fossils, and many even offer free admission. Those include the dinosuar museum in Havre, which is adjacent to a native buffalo jump site, making for an amazing two-for-one experience.
Meet Phossil Phil
Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum, like the Great Plains Museum, is close to the Canadian border, and offers public dino digs running from half-day programs up to a twoweek long Paleo Training Course. By Allen Gibson
He hosts fossil/dino camps on the property where each camper receives some pretty cool take-aways, including a six-foot T. rex! Phil has one particular student who is a true dino expert and Phil shares a funny story. His student pointed out that while the name Brontosaurus is commonly used, it’s actually called an Apatasaurus.
We at the Dino Trails were pleased to hear from Phil Young, aka ‘Phossil Phil’ or ‘The Phossilator’, from Tennessee. Phil is a grade three teacher and a real fossil and dino enthusiast. He and his wife also have a small farm close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park where Phil has created a fossil museum he calls The Museum of Deep Time, which houses fossils he has uncovered across the southeast US.
“Apparently, the two specimens were found in different places by different palaeontologists and given separate names,” says Phil. Years later, scientists realized they were the same species, so the rule is the oldest specimen discovery gets priority, hence Apatasaurus wins. “For some reason though, the name Brontosaurus is in the psyche of most people, being the number two most well known name behind T. rex,” Phil adds. Thanks Phil for sharing the story and please do stay in contact, we think there’ll be more dino tales coming out of Tennessee worth passing along to our readers!
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Experience the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Photo Courtesy of james Morgan
Room being made for two-storey replica of the world’s largest dinosaur Something old is about to become something very new at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) in Regina as T. rex comes to the Queen city this year. Renovations have been underway since 2018 at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to accommodate a full-scale replica of “Scotty” — nickname for a 65-million year old T. rex. This skeleton was found in southern Saskatchewan 25 years ago. A replica of those remains has been on display at the T. rex Discovery Centre at Eastend, Sask. for four years. Now a lifesize copy of the skeleton is coming to RSM this spring. An RSM research team in Saskatchewan’s Frenchman River Valley originally discovered Scotty, the most massive T. rex in the world, in 1991. The fossilized remains were painstakingly removed – almost completely by hand – over the next twenty years from the rock in which they were embedded. With the hard work of employees, students and volunteers completed in 2014, a perfect replica was unveiled in Eastend March 2015.
With an investment by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Central Services and a grant from Heritage Canada’s Cultural Spaces Fund, the RSM launched a three-phase redevelopment of the facilities including a complete redesign of both its upper and lower gallery entrances and exits. The massive project to be completed by May 2019, will feature a two-tiered viewing and gathering space with Scotty as its star attraction. While “Scotty” may be the star at RSM in 2019, it is not the only attraction here. Established in 1906, the natural history museum offers exhibits and programming in Life Sciences and Saskatchewan First Nations, and a new addition to the Earth Science Gallery last year was the world’s only T. rex coprolite, more aptly – fossilized poop! This one-of-a-kind coprolite is famous, with a copy displayed in the Smithsonian Museum, and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest coprolite in the world. The RSM has the original, found in Saskatchewan, on display. By: Lee Hart
For more information visit royalsaskmuseum.ca 12 | Enter Our Photo Contest
Experience Grasslands National Park Located in southwest Saskatchewan, Grasslands National Park (GNP), is near the Montana border. It has two separate blocks. The West Block centres on the Frenchman River Valley and is a 90 min drive through Val Marie via the paved and recently resurfaced Hwy 4 south from Swift Current. For those travellers coming from Moose Jaw or Glasgow, MT, the East Block can be accessed through Wood Mountain on Hwy 18. Sky News magazine states that the East Block has “darkest skies in Canada” and “best star viewing.” It features the Killdeer Badlands and the Wood Mountain Uplands. Our Fossil Fever will be Aug. 14-18, 2019. On Saturday, Aug. 17 the ‘Badlands Blast’ family fun day concludes with a finale dinner that brings together the people who’ve participated in the Fossil Fever dig, along with the locals for a BBQ and a jam session dance party. During the dinner, a staff member dresses up as George Dawson, adding flavour to the event. He carries around some fossils and tells dino stories. The event is held in the Rock Creek Badlands ‘Valley of a Thousand Devils.’ There you clearly see the thin white line that separates dinosaur and mammal fossils. This demarcation is known as the KPG Boundary - the line of extinction. If you’re the adventurous type who loves solitude and nothing but the wind as your companion, strap on your gear and head
for the backcountry. With sweat dripping down your neck, you traverse the East Block wilderness. Within minutes, not a sign of human presence is anywhere to be found. Watch for hoodoos and quicksand on your way to the Valley of 1,000 Devils! You and your friends won’t want to put your cameras down as you walk where dinosaurs once roamed. Contact the East Block McGowan’s Visitor Centre at Rock Creek Campground prior to departure for safety and access information. (306) 476.2018 or firstname.lastname@example.org Are you interested in camping but prefer the comfort of a bed and arriving to a camp already set-up? Parks Canada oTENTik tents in the Frenchman Valley and Rock Creek campgrounds offer an easy and relaxing way to experience camping. This is a spacious blend of a tent and an A-frame cabin equipped with beds and furniture on a raised floor. Finding your way: • Cell phone coverage is not reliable in the park. • GPS directions are not always correct. Be sure to research your route ahead of time, including road directions to the block of the park to which you are travelling. • Visitor Centre: weather forecasts, road conditions, park maps.
Fossil Fever, Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada
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Fossil Fever, Photo Courtesy of Parks Canada
More Dino Fun in SW Saskatchewan The T. rex Discovery Centre is only a 90 min drive from Swift Current and an hour from Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. Visitors can check out the latest discoveries or take a virtual trip to Scotty’s quarry using the new virtual reality glasses. It is located at #1 T. rex Drive in Eastend, SK, and open daily from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm And while you’re on The Trail also plan to visit the Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre at Herschel (west of Hwy 4, northwest of Rosetown). There is an impressive display of marine fossils, many found in the nearby Coal Mine Ravine, that provide examples of creatures that lived in or near the inland sea some 65 million years ago. Photo Courtesy of Royal Saskatchewan Museum
For more experiences along the Dinosaur Trail plan to travel to the T. rex Discovery Centre at Eastend, Sask. (about a four hour drive southwest of Regina). Described as a “gem” of Saskatchewan’s southwest, the centre’s fossil exhibits feature marine reptiles, prehistoric mammals and impressive dinosaurs. The T. rex Centre is open yearly from the May long weekend thru Labour Day weekend and hosts family-friendly events throughout the year including Tea and Fossils and the Canada Rocks Event (July 1), Scotty’s (the T. rex) Birthday (Aug 16) and Fossil Fever (Aug 14-18).
One of the attractions in this venue is a fossil of a Short-necked Plesiosaur - Dolichorhynchops herschelensis found near the community. The centre also showcases artifacts of a more “modern” era — be sure to a take summer guided tours of petroglyph carvings, teepee rings and the rubbing stones left behind by aboriginal tribes that lived in the area some 1,600 years ago. Indoors are displays of these First Nations residents, as well as explorers and European settlers who came later. The centre is open daily from 9am to 5pm spring and summer. Winters are by appointment only. For more details visit their website at: ancientechoes.ca By Lee Hart
“Hunter of the Prairie Sea” Swift Current Museum’s main exhibit features “Hunter of the Prairie Sea” which is a Tylosaurus (TIE-low-SORE-us) skeleton, over 9.75 m (32 ft) in length. This Tylosaurus is nicknamed “Omaciw” (oh-matchee-oh) which means “hunter” in Cree. It was discovered along the south shore of Lake Diefenbaker near Herbert in 1994. Tylosaurs were the largest of the Mosasaur species which swam in the Great North American Cretaceous Seaway that enveloped most of the continent about 70 million years ago. Many different species of Mosasaurs (MOES-ah-SAWRS) prowled the oceans and seas. “Omaciw” was only one species of Mosasaur.
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Photo courtesy of Swift Current Museum
More Dino Fun in SW Saskatchewan Off Hwy 13 meet, “Mo”, the Ponteix Long-necked Plesiosaur (giant marine reptile) - Terminonatator ponteixiensis. Only ever found in Saskatchewan, it is known from a single skeleton found here. This fish-eating reptile lived 78 million years ago when this area was a shallow inland sea. Mo is estimated to have been about 8 m in length, over half of which was neck. At Kyle, on Hwy 4, see the Woolly Mammoth – Mammuthus sp. The Kyle Mammoth is a 12,000-year-old elephant-like giant that has been the pride of the region since the 1960s. In Cypress Hills you can discover Brontothere - Megacerops sp. 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. If you’re travelling to the northeast Saskatchewan you’ll learn about “Big Bert” - Terminonaris robusta – the best-preserved specimen of this 92 million-year-old crocodile was discovered along the bank of the Carrot River in 1991.
Swift Current is a full-service city of 16,000 people situated along the Trans-Canadan Highway, 170 km west of Moose Jaw. It is a terrific hub from which to explore The Grasslands National Park and all of southwest Saskatchewan.
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“Mo” the Ponteix Long-necked Plesiosaur Photo Courtesy of Shelley Banks
Experience Southern Alberta The town of Walsh is located adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 1), just west of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. The friendly staff in the Travel Alberta Visitor Information Centre located here are eager to answer your questions. Medicine Hat is conveniently located 40 minutes west of Walsh on Hwy 1, at the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3). It is still strategically located for travellers, about 2 hours west of Swift Current and 3 hours east of Calgary. If you are planning to visit the attractions in southeast Alberta, consider using “The Hat” as your hub. It offers some very good accommodations, including camping sites. The Crowsnest Highway is the most southerly of three major roadways that link the Prairies to the Pacific. Referred to as simply “The Crow”, it runs west from Medicine Hat, through Lethbridge, and the Crowsnest Pass, at the British Columbia (BC) border. With a population of 92,000, Lethbridge is the 4th largest city in Alberta, located just 2 hours west of Medicine Hat.
The Crowsnest Pass is noted as the southwesterly attraction on our Dinosaur Trails map, because of the important bones and tracks found in this area. When here, be sure to visit the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, the Bellevue Coal Mine, Lundbreck Falls, and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Pick up a copy of Experience Waterton Lakes National Park.
“Black Beauty, a magnificent T. rex from the Crowsnest” Tyrannosaurus 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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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 Devil’s 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.
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Experience Medicine Hat Making your way through Alberta’s Badlands? If you’re eager to learn about the uniqueness of the area, consider lingering for a few days in Medicine Hat. Truly one of the province’s best-kept secrets, this hidden gem offers a fresh and enriching experience. With several fun stops the whole family will enjoy, the kids won’t even notice that they are learning! First up: The Visitor Information Centre on Gehring Road. Come check out their Free-to-Rent bikes. They have 10 bikes that you can borrow on a first-come, first-served basis. They even have a few helmets, just bring your photo I.D. and have the bike back before we close. This is a great way to explore the city’s 115 km of trails! The Saamis Tepee was originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The main masts measure 215 feet (equivalent to a 20-story building!). The diameter of the tepee is 160 feet. There are 960 bolts holding it all together and the foundation weight is remarkable 800 metric tons. Make sure you check out the ten hand-painted storyboards that illustrate the history of First Nations heritage.
Another popular attraction is John’s Butterfly House. Walk through the doors of this tropical oasis, see the lush greenery and watch the multi-coloured butterfly soar through the air. It is truly a magical time, and so much fun to explore. The Esplanade Museum opened in Riverside Park on July 4, 1951. Today it is home to more than 25,000 artefacts which chronicle the lives, and values, of the people who built and shaped the community. While you are here, grab a brochure and take a self-guided Historic Walking Tour. Learn about some of the first buildings in Medicine Hat and many of the businesses that filled them through their lifetime. Medalta is a community hub, innovative industrial museum, contemporary ceramics facility, and art gallery. Located within a converted century-old building, it has become an exciting place where cutting edge technologies, historic restoration and archaeology come together. They host many experiences for tourists and locals, including the ‘Beehive Kilns & Factory Tour’, ‘The Bricks that Built the Badlands Tour’, ‘Play in the Mud Experience’, and more.
Historic Medalta Building, Courtesy of Travel Alberta
Worlds Largest Tepee, Courtesy of Brendan Van Son @brendanvanson
Mad Hatters Coffee Roasters, Courtesy of Travel Alberta
Courtesy of Travel Alberta
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Experience Brooks & Newell Located on Hwy 1, an hour northwest of Medicine Hat, the City of Brooks has a population of 14,450 and offers travellers a full range of services. Brooks is bounded on the north by the Red Deer River and on the south by the Bow River. It is surrounded by the County of Newell, 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; Brooks and District Museum, representing life in this area from 1900 to 1950; Lake Newell, one of the country’s largest man-made lakes; and Dinosaur Park, a World Heritage Site and home of the field station of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Brooks Museum was built in 1974. Their extensive 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. Cory the Dinosaur stands outside the museum and represents the Corythosaurus Casuarius, a species native to the area some 70 million years ago. One of its major distinguishing features is a hollow skull that may have allowed the animal to swim and remain above the water level.
Dating back one century, Brooks Aqueduct is an enormous concrete structure that spans across the parched prairie landscape like a giant centipede. Learn why the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the Brooks Aqueduct as part of the Eastern Irrigation District. Get your camera ready as you walk along the new wetland interpretive trail and listen to red-winged blackbirds in their natural habitat. brooksaqueduct.org Just 15 km south of Brooks, there is an oasis of water, trees, and beaches known as Kinbrook Island Provincial Park. In 1910, due to the limited amount of rainfall in the area, the Canadian Pacific Railway began the construction of an irrigation system. It was the local Kinsmen Club that initially planted trees here. To honour their work, the “Kin” from Kinsmen, was used in the park’s name. What was initially a large depression holding a small body of water became a beautiful lake with 69 km of shoreline, a shaded campground, and a lovely beach. Kinbrook Island became a provincial park in 1951. In 1952, the boundaries of this park were expanded to include all of the islands on the lake to protect nesting sites. The Kinbrook Marsh Trail winds through wetlands and provides excellent bird watching opportunities. Today, the park has 170 campsites, a sandy beach, 2 playgrounds, a concession, shower and laundry, a boat launch and several picnic areas.
Brooks Aqueduct Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta
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Experience the Special Areas When planning a holiday or even just a weekend get-away, the Special Areas may not be the first destination that pops into your mind. But this two million hectare region is an area of much history and many treasures. It is largely a flat, open, sometimes rolling landscape featuring short grass prairie, cattle and crops and about 5,000 people who call this centre of the Palliser Triangle home. The wideopen vistas of the Special Areas are breathtaking. In 1938, a federal government act created the initial Special Areas in Alberta, which at that time covered approximatly three million hectares — the Act was designed to manage farmland and communities largely abandoned by an exodus of early 1900s settlers driven out by drought and poverty. The farming practices of that time, coupled with two decades of drought, aggravated by the Great Depression of late 1920s and Dirty 30s, created the perfect storm of hardship for people in the arid region. Later, one historian described it as “a place where frogs lived for five years before they learned to swim.”
It’s about a 90 minute drive north on Hwy 4, from Medicine Hat to Empress and other nearby communities such as Acadia Valley and on up to Oyen. Coming from Calgary, and heading east it’s about a two-hour drive over to Hanna and onto the hamlets and villages of Richdale, Scotfield and Youngstown. And travelling southeast from Edmonton take Hwy 12 down to Veteran and nearby Consort then travel south to New Brigden, Sedalia and Little Gem. The region boasts more than thirty community museums and historical sites, three golf courses, annual events such as rodeos, and country fairs, and seasonal wagon rides, trail rides, nature walks and hiking trails. There are great hunting, fishing and boating opportunities and about twenty municipal, provincial and private campgrounds. Plenty of great local restaurants, crafts and artisans pepper the region. By: Lee Hart
Plan your 2019 travels in the Special Areas
If you appreciate wide-open spaces, the region welcomes all to experience the best that prairie living has to offer. First, you need to reach the Special Areas.
Free... spirits, of care, to experience.
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Experience Alberta’s Badlands My family has been planning annual trips to explore Alberta’s badlands for several years and we’ve come up with creative ways to get out and explore on foot, on bikes, and on the water. An adventure awaits you around every corner of your journey. Below are the five best experiences we’ve had exploring the Alberta Badlands:
Explore Dinosaur Provincial Park by Bike
Go Fossil Hunting in Dinosaur Provincial Park
If you’re camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park Campground try hopping on your bikes and touring around the 3.5 km Public Loop Road – a multi-use gravel road open to driving, hiking, or biking. While riding the loop, stop at the Badlands Trailhead for an amazing 1.3 km hike through a landscape of hoodoos and sandstone ridges.
On a recent trip, we wanted to do some “off the beaten path” exploring through the badlands. We chose the Centrosaurus Quarry Hike because it promised to be the most adventurous half-day tour we could undertake as a family.
After the hike continue on your bikes to reach two fossil display houses. The second house is also the start of the Trail of the Fossil Hunters, a short interpretive 0.9 km, out and back, hike to a historic quarry site. The Public Loop Road ends with one final trail to explore on foot, the Cottonwood Flats Trail, a 1.4 km hike along the Red Deer River. There are bike racks at all trailheads so bring a lock with you, and don’t forget your water and snacks because this tour can take a few hours if you stop often.
It proved to be an incredible experience, a 2.5-hour tour to see fossils in the “wild” rather than behind glass. Hundreds of bones scattered the quarry site we hiked to, and we enjoyed the accompanying interpretive lessons. I recommend booking tours in advance and suggest choosing a morning tour when it’s cooler outside.
Paddle the Milk River We have used canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddleboards on an 18 km stretch of the Milk River through Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park.
Biking in Dinosaur National Park
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Guided Quarry Hike
Experience Alberta’s Badlands
Paddling the Milk River
Floating down Milk River
If you’re camping in the Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park Campground, you can float two different sections of the Milk River from camp, both very easy and family-friendly without rapids or any difficult navigation required. The first stretch we paddle runs from camp to the Deer Creek Bridge, a short 8 km float. The second stretch the next day is from Weir Bridge back down to camp in a slightly longer 10 km float trip. Both trips are half-day outings and require a vehicle shuttle that you’ll have to set up yourself.
We signed up for a guided rock art tour, where we were taken inside the private reserve with an Alberta Parks Interpretive guide. (See pg 17) We got up close to view ancient petroglyphs and pictographs without fences around them (something you won’t experience on the public trails). I would recommend you make your booking in advance and suggest you choose a morning tour when it’s cooler.
Try Overnight Canoe Tripping down the Red Deer River
There are no boat rentals available in the park, so bring your own with you. Plan your trip for earlier in the season if you want river levels to be high enough to float. By August the river is usually too low for boat passage.
Paddlers can enjoy over 200 km of canoeing or kayaking down the Red Deer River Corridor from Content Bridge (121 km north of Drumheller by road) all the way down to Dinosaur Provincial Park in Southern Alberta.
Hike to View First Nations Rock Art in Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park
While my family hasn’t done the entire journey yet, we’ve enjoyed several weekends floating leisurely down this gentle river, spending our nights in riverside campgrounds.
We have always enjoyed exploring the Hoodoo Trail in this park, a 2.2 km out and back hike to visit the Battle Scene, a large rock tableau carved with aboriginal rock art. This park contains the largest concentration of rock art on the North American Plains, and is always a huge learning opportunity. On our most recent trip we opted for an interpretive tour, which gave us a more detailed history lesson, by explaining how the paintings were created.
Our favourite stretch, so far, has been from Tolman Bridge in Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park down to the town of Drumheller, in a two-day trip. We enjoyed 34 km of paddling, broken down into two easy days, with numerous stops to explore the badlands and hoodoos along the Red Deer River Valley.
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Photos and Story By: Tanya Koob
Experience Dinosaur Provincial Park Photo Courtesy of Christine Newman
It was way back in 1955 that the Steveville Dinosaur Provincial Park, as it was called then, was created. The nearby town Steveville, now a ghost town, was named after Steve Hall, a local homesteader. The world took note, across 24 years that is. Forty years ago this year, in 1979, the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its diversity in plant and animal life and for its paleontological value.
Patricia Hotel Step into the old west Famous Steak-Pit Clean Comfortable Rooms The Waterhole Tavern
The Park, covering over 73 square kilometers, was inscribed within UNESCO under the Natural category and is also considered a National Monument in Alberta. Historically, many of the fossils discovered in the park ultimately ended up in museums and personal collections around the world. That ended in 1985, and now all the â€˜findsâ€™ in Dinosaur Provincial Park are studied at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
The hamlet of Patricia is 20 km northeast of Brooks and minutes away from Dinosaur Provincial Park, making the hotel here a great place to grab a bite or crash for the night. The Patricia Hotel was built in 1915 and offers an authentic, rustic, western vibe with great food as well as bed and breakfast accommodations.
Located 10 km South of Dinosaur Provincial Park
The famous Patricia Hotel Steak Pit enables you to savour the taste of a tender, juicy beef steak or genuine Buffalo Steak with all the trimmings. You can even cook it yourself! The Water Hole Tavern features a dance floor, satellite TV, pool table, off-sale and Family Day Sunday.
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The great Canadian dinosaur rush of 1910-1917
Dr. Barnum Brown and the skeleton of a duck-billed dinosaur (type of Corythosaurus casuariusj, Oldman formation, Red Deer River, 1912.)
Although Canada’s first dinosaur bones were discovered in 1874 in the Killdeer Badlands of Saskatchewan, the glory time of dinosaur discovery was 1910-1917. Following a visit to the dinosaur hall of New York City’s Museum of Natural History in 1908, rancher John L. Wegener reported to the museum’s curator of palaeontology, Henry Osborn, that many similar dinosaur bones lay strewn about his property near Drumheller. Osborn commissioned the legendary Barnum Brown, who discovered the first Tyrannosaurus rex ever, to verify Wegener’s claims. Receiving a positive report from Brown, Mr. Osborn launched a full-on fossil-hunting expedition in 1909 and The Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush was on! Brown constructed a large floating platform between 1910 and 1911 to scour the banks and shores of the Red Deer River for dinosaurs that he could ship back to the ‘Big Apple’. However, the Government of Canada wanted to harvest the bone bounty of Alberta for Canada’s benefit as well. Charles H. Sternberg, a renowned private fossil hunter, was hired to undertake the fossil-hunting expeditions, along with his three sons.
Between 1912 and 1914, the Canadian and American teams worked feverishly to collect dinosaur bones near Drumheller and in the region now known as the Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP). For the most part, the rivalry between Brown’s and Sternberg’s teams remained a civil one, especially once they realized there were plenty of dinosaur remains to go around. In 1915, Ottawa dispensed Sternberg and his sons in two teams to explore both the Big Valley north of Drumheller and the Milk River in the far south of the province. The summer of 1916 saw The Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush reach its peak. Mr. Brown led his last expedition to DPP and Sternberg shipped some specimens to a British museum. With the First World War in full swing, the Government of Canada was less keen on palaeontology and so, in 1917, Sternberg led his last expedition in Alberta. The Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush of 1910-1917 resulted in the collection of thousands of fossils, many leaving the country to adorn the collections in museums from the U.S.A. to Europe. By Shannon L. Tracey
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Experience Calgary Calgary is located at the confluence of the Elbow and Bow Rivers, it has a population of 1.2 million people, making it the largest city in Alberta. In July, during a 10-day celebration of our authentic western heritage, The Calgary Stampede hosts more than one million attendees to the greatest outdoor show on earth. To learn more, pick up a copy of Experience the Cowboy Trails. This vibrant community hosts numerous other annual events, such as: the Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Beakerhead Arts, Science and Engineering Festival, FunnyFest, Folk Festival, Greek Festival, GlobalFest, the Calgary Fringe Festival, Summerstock, Calgary Pride, and many more. visitcalgary.com/things-to-do/festivals This young city’s history dates back to 1875 when a troop of North West Mounted Police (NWMP) found the ideal place to build a fort. In honour of his home town in the Scottish Highands, Colonel James McLeod came up with the name “Fort Calgary”. Located east of the downtown on 9th Avenue South, come discover the rich scarlet history of the NWMP. Other major attractions are located close by, including: The Telus Spark – a science museum with interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations and educational demonstrations; the Calgary Tower – stand on the amazing glass floor for a spectacular 360-degree view of the bustling city, the majestic By: Christine van Hal
By: Tanya Koob
Rocky Mountains, and the prairies; and Glenbow Museum – a key cultural cornerstone for 50 years. Other family-friendly attractions include: Heritage Park, the Military Museum, Spruce Meadows, Canada Olympic Park, Calaway Park, and the Calgary Zoo. Open 364 days/year, the zoo hosts about 800 animals from around the world. Already Canada’s most visited zoo, they expect 1.5 million visitors over the next year, in part because the Giant Pandas arrived in 2018 and continue to be a big draw! After many years of planning, and $100 million in upgrades, the Calgary Zoo opened its state-of-the-art Panda Passage in May 2018. Bringing the pandas was part of an international agreement signed in 2012 between China and Canada. “Not only is Panda Passage the most unique animal habitat we’ve ever created, but we have also renovated every corner of the zoo,” says Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO. Other important changes include the opening of an $8 million Land of Lemurs, a new wayfinding system, widened pathways, an expanded parking lot and new play features in Canadian Wilds and the Prehistoric Park. That’s right, when you visit the Calgary Zoo, you should expect to see dinosaurs! By: Royce Olsen
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Experience the Calgary Zoo
Just before noon, after traipsing through the ‘jungle’ for much of the morning, we crested the hill and came face-to-face with the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex. Frozen with fear, we just stood there, mouths open, and marveled at his size. He stood over five meters tall, weighed over 10,000 kilograms, and had razor-sharp teeth the size of bananas. Just then, a gory scene from Jurassic Park flashed through my mind. And I reached out to my children and held them close. Yes, dinosaur encounters are somewhat rare these days. But at the Calgary Zoo, thanks to the dozen, or so, dinosaur replicas that “lurk” in the Prehistoric Park, you can certainly imagine what life was like during the Mesozoic Era. While the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus rex is, perhaps, the main star attraction at the Prehistoric Park (your entrance into the zoo includes unlimited access to the park), there are many other dinosaurs that will grab your attention...and take you back in time. Besides the massive T. rex, the park boasts, among others, a Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, Plesiosaurus, and a Centrosaurus. The family-friendly park, was constructed
to replicate what life was like during the ancient dinosaur age. It also includes plenty of interpretive stops that provide insight into this fascinating era. Over 100 species of plants, more than any other park in the city, complement the variety of landscapes and add a unique authenticity to experiencing the Prehistoric Park. Swampland, hoodoos, badlands, volcanoes, and fossil beds have all been incorporated into the 6.5-acre park. Water cannons, a stage for special events, dino digs, and plenty of interpreters eager to share stories of this awe-inspiring era are also highlights. Unquestionably, Alberta is a hotbed for dinosaur tourism and palaeontology. (And, definitely, a visit to Drumheller and the Royal Tyrell Museum is a must!) True, we will never be able to go back in time and really experience what it would have been like to walk – or run for your life! – among living and breathing dinosaurs. However, thanks to the Prehistoric Park at the Calgary Zoo, the experience is just about as close as one could come. Photos and Story By: Andrew Penner
The Calgary Zoo Prehistoric Park is open from the March 22, 2019 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 $29.95 for ages 16-59 years, $27.95 for seniors (60+) and $19.95 for children (3-15 years)
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Experience Blackfoot Crossing
Siksika Blackfoot dancers standing in front of the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Interpretive Centre.. Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Katie Goldie
As we left Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park, with the many powerful experiences and exhibits still fresh on our minds, we decided we needed to do one last thing to commemorate a thoroughly enjoyable day. With my father-in-law, Gordon, navigating, I turned off the highway to follow the overgrown jeep trail to the grave of Chief Crowfoot. It seemed fitting, as the last rays of golden light flooded the plains, to pay homage to this great man, this great Blackfoot leader.
For many people in Alberta, “Crowfoot” is just a name that is somehow connected to First Nation’s culture. However, at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park you will learn “the truth,” and the significance about Chief Crowfoot, why he chose peace, why he persuaded the Blackfoot people to embrace change, and why, ultimately, he should be honoured. But, in terms of what you will discover at Blackfoot Crossing, learning about Chief Crowfoot is just the tip of the iceberg.
Unquestionably, standing by his grave, on a wind-swept bluff high above the sacred site where Treaty 7 was signed in 1877, was a powerful conclusion to the day. But, as we had already discovered, a visit to Blackfoot Crossing is a potent experience that can be savoured for many different reasons.
A day spent at Blackfoot Crossing is a journey, an adventure, which incorporates a wide variety of Blackfoot themes. From sampling traditional aboriginal food to strolling the sacred site (both indoors and outside along the valley trails), there is much to see and do.
Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park – which features a gorgeous, $27-million dollar building, clinging to the bluff overlooking the sacred treaty-signing site – pays homage to the Blackfoot people, their history, their leaders, culture, and the amazing stories that have not only shaped the Blackfoot people, but our entire country of Canada.
One of the highlights is exploring the impressive exhibit hall and viewing the many spectacular exhibits that document everything from daily life on the Great Plains to fierce battles and historic massacres. The nomadic lifestyle of the Blackfoot, influenced greatly by the movement of the buffalo herds, is a dominant theme. From their cozy tipi homes to their holistic
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Experience Blackfoot Crossing use of the buffalo, there is much to learn and appreciate from their ways. Sacred medicine wheels, buffalo jumps, dancing, drum circles, and interaction with other tribes, fur traders, and white settlers who invaded their territory is depicted through videos, historic pictures, artefacts, and impressive displays. On our visit, a local Siksika guide, Grant, led us through the galleries and provided plenty of additional stories and insight (especially on the famous signing of Treaty 7). This added greatly to the experience and I would highly recommend requesting a local tour guide to walk you through the exhibits and provide explanations that will truly go above and beyond. Guides are available throughout the day at only $3 per person. Other indoor attractions include a visit to the theater (short documentary-style shows run throughout the day), dancers, drummers, songs, and storytellers. It’s best to call in advance for the daily schedule. Additional fees may apply for some events and activities. Regardless of how you choose to explore Blackfoot Crossing, this 62,000 sq.ft., eco-friendly building, contains numerous architectural highlights that reflect Blackfoot themes and
Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Katie Goldie
symbols, and it’s fascinating to explore. Thanks to its numerous tipi structures, symbols, prairie colours, and the feeling that you’re on the edge of a ravine on a buffalo jump, the building is an architectural metaphor of the Blackfoot people. But, to get the most out of your day at Blackfoot Crossing, a self-guided outdoor tour of the site is a must. This sacred site along the banks of the Bow River is truly stunning in its natural beauty. A traditional meeting place for the Blackfoot people (and a river crossing, hence the name!), the park contains many trails, overlooks, monuments, archeological dig sites, and interpretive signage. There is also an ancient earthlodge site and a tipi village where you can book an overnight stay! Maps for your self-guided tour are available in the gift shop. Regardless of which path(s) you take at Blackfoot Crossing, you will certainly work up a healthy appetite! Thankfully, in 2019 the cafe will unveil a brand new menu that will feature plenty of tasty and traditional Blackfoot food – Bison burgers and bannock, anyone? Indeed, all five of your senses will be engaged on a visit to Blackfoot Crossing! For more information visit: blackfootcrossing.ca By: Andrew Penner
Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Katie Goldie
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Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta
Experience A Family Weekend in Drumheller
The wind tousles our hair as we clickety-clack down the track pulled by Linda, Atlas Coal Mine’s 90+ year-old locomotive. Jessica, our guide, tells us “there were 139 coal mines in the valley and 1.5 million boxcars; enough to go around the world” at the height of the coal boom. Across the Red Deer River, coal seams are visible in the badlands. Years ago, as a Geography student, I hiked those hills, sketched and labelled the rock layers, and wondered at seashells that were left behind when an inland ocean covered the land. Now, I witness the wonder in my children’s eyes as they take in the scenery, history, and recreational opportunities Drumheller has to offer.
easily got jobs by claiming to be 18, the minimum legal age to work in the mines. In the manager’s office, we keep an eye out for the paranormal. The office is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of Dr. Omer Patrick, President of Atlas Coal Mine and Johnnie Vasco, pit boy. On occasion, they have even untied visitors’ shoelaces or given them a push!
Atlas Coal Mine
Finally, it’s time to walk the gantry (ramp) to the top of the last wooden tipple in Canada. What’s a tipple? A processing plant where coal is sorted, stored, and loaded onto trains. “The tipple was the worst place to work,” Amelia declares. It was extremely noisy, dusty, drafty, and dangerous. At shift change 150 men called it a day and another 150 took over.
Of all the historic sites in the valley, Atlas Coal Mine gives the best picture of mining life when coal was king. In fact, it’s Canada’s most complete historic mine! Enthusiastic guides show off artefacts and share colourful stories about miners who lived and worked here. Memorable tales from the 1 km train tour involve trapper boys, rum smuggling, and how to trick ponies into pulling more coal cars.
After a picnic lunch, we don headlamps and hardhats for the Tunnel Tour. It gets darker and quieter the further we travel into the hillside. When we turn out our lights, we can’t see our hands in front of our faces! We are told tales of hazing rituals, rescue protocol, and the legendary Steamshovel Pete who shoveled 12 - 14 tons of coal per day for 70 cents a ton!
At the office, guide Amelia pays us our wages, tells us about the different jobs and how dusty coal miners were identified on pay day (by their voices!), then lets us in on 1930s hiring practices. It was a little dodgy to say the least. Teenage boys
East Coulee School Museum Kids will enjoy the scavenger hunt (don’t forget to claim your prize!), being a pioneer student (watch out for that strict school marm!), and having homemade pie in the Willow Tea Room.
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Experience A Family Weekend in Drumheller
For a one-of-a-kind experience, sign up for the Mine and Dine program in partnership with the Atlas Coal Mine. Be a 1937 miner for a day (gear up, make your own brass tag, go into the mine, and earn a commemorative pay cheque), then head to East Coulee School Museum to make noodles from scratch and enjoy a Hungarian family-style meal!
Hoodoos Trail Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit Drumheller’s most impressive hoodoos, ten mushroom-shaped geologic wonders 1-3 m tall, backdropped by badlands. Interpretive signs along the 500 m trail reveal how the hoodoos formed.
Drumheller Cool off at the spray park, climb inside the World’s Largest Dinosaur, then bike to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The 7 km ride goes through Midland Provincial Park and McMullen Island Park. After visiting Canada’s pre-eminent dinosaur museum, hike the scenic Badlands Interpretive Trail (1.4 km loop), then visit The Little Church. DinoWalk is a fun stroll around town. Look for replicas of 20 dinosaurs discovered in the area. Start at the Info Centre. Whether you spend a day or weekend here, there’s tons of fun to be had, history to discover, and world-class attractions to bring it to life. Start planning your Drumheller getaway now!
Drive or bike the 11 bridges to Wayne! The 6 km drive from Rosedale to Wayne is in The Guinness Book of World Records for having the most bridges per distance. Enjoy dinner and live music at the Last Chance Saloon (est. 1913), then get an ice cream at Jojo’s Haberdashery. Recognize the Rosedeer Hotel? Shanghai Noon and In Cold Blood were filmed here!
Photos and Story By: Karen Ung
Rosedale The 35.6 m long Star Mine Suspension Bridge was built in 1931 and spans the Red Deer River. Once used by miners, the bridge provides access to fishing and hiking. 33 | ExperienceTravelGuides.com
Photo Courtesy of Fossil World Discovery Museum
Horseshoe Canyon, Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Curtis Comeau
Photo Courtesy of Canadian Badlands Passion Play
Visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum is a “must-see” when in Drumheller, but many other attractions in the area provide remarkable experiences. The World’s Largest Dinosaur Step right up, folks, and see “The World’s Largest Dinosaur” in the heart of Drumheller. No, literally step right up – 106 steps to be exact. This fibreglass and steel model T. rex stands all of 86 ft (26.3 m) high and stretches out 151 ft (46 m) in length, approximately 4.5 times bigger than a life-sized T. rex. At the top of the 106 steps is a viewing area in the mouth of the dinosaur that can hold between 8 and 12 people at a time. worldslargestdinosaur.com
Fossil World Discovery Museum Discover where the past comes to life. This unique museum is filled with animatronic dinosaurs and fossil specimens, which will excite all ages. Our museum features hand’s on programs for children where they can dig up a dinosaur and take home a piece of bone or another fossil or Pan for minerals from all over the world like they did in the Klondike. It also features a 4 level Dino climb Zone, Crayon Creation Station, Apple iPad Stations and Kids Dinosaur Cinema. This is the place where Dinosaur Fun Happens.
The Canadian Badlands Passion Play Performed over six weekends in July and August, it is one of Canada’s largest annual outdoor theatrical events. Attendees are carried back 2000 years to witness the dramatic portrayal of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All within 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 while delivering their lines superbly. canadianpassionplay.com
Horseshoe Canyon and Horsethief Canyon Offering stunning vistas and scenic hiking trails, the Horseshoe Canyon is located 17 km southwest of Drumheller along Hwy 9. This glacier-carved “U” shaped lookout is surrounded by golden prairie and is a must-see attraction. There is a pathway leading to steps to the east of the parking lot and lookout. Numerous unmarked trails allow hikers to explore the valley and maybe even discover a dinosaur or two! traveldrumheller.com/attractions/horseshoe-canyon
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Experience Drumheller The more secluded Horsethief Canyon, located about 18 km northwest of Drumheller, offers endless views of layers of rock carved out of the midst of yellow canola fields. Adventuresome souls can hike deep into the valley where horse thieves used to go to rebrand their stolen animals. Just be careful, there are no interpretive signs and it’s easy to get lost. traveldrumheller.com/attractions/horsethief-canyon/
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!
Valley Doll Museum and 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 the website: valleydollmuseum.com. At nearby Jungling Works, Debra Jungling cites a friend’s challenge to share, rather than hoard, her photographs of the natural beauties in and 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 Dr. Shannon L. Tracey
SIDE BY SIDE 175 - 3RD AVE W., Drumheller
THE FAUX DEN 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.
Home & Gifts Featuring Canadian Crafted Products inspired by the Badlands and designed by Debra Jungling 403-823-2208 junglingworks.com 299 1st Street W
CELEBRATING 33+ YEARS
towering high over drumheller,
… the World’s Largest Dinosaur, 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!
The Fossil Shop
a must-see attraction!
Come touch the Past
collectors & preparators of fossils Fossils • Minerals • Jewellery • Giftware • Souvenirs Art for the Home
61 bridge street | 403-823-6774 | thefossilshop.com
1-866-823-8100 | OPEN YEAR-ROUND! 60-1st Avenue W. Drumheller, AB
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Experience the World’s Largest Dinosaur Officially opened October 13, 2000, The World’s Largest
In 2005, after the million-dollar project was paid for, the
Dinosaur was a millennium project. This attraction was
Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce established
the brainchild of a group of Drumheller business owners
the World’s Largest Dinosaur Legacy Fund. Since then, the
and through the determination of many volunteers and
Legacy Fund has reinvested over $600,000 into local capital
funding from many sources, the project came to fruition.
projects. These funds have included a $250,000 contribution to the construction of the Badlands Community Facility.
Owned and operated by the Drumheller and District
Now that’s something to ROAR about!
Chamber of Commerce, the towering 86-ft T. rex overlooks the beautiful Drumheller valley and the downtown core.
A befitting gift
Welcoming over 100,000 visitors each year, the unique
In the summer of 2018, CMI Publishing was invited to
attraction features paintings and fossils along the interior
sponsor the highly anticipated celebration to recognize
walls of the dinosaur for the young and young at heart
the two millionth visitor to The World’s Largest Dinosaur.
to experience. Less than 9 years after opening, the World’s
As friends and business associates, we were thrilled to be
Largest Dinosaur celebrated its one millionth visitor.
a part of this special occasion. CMI’s contribution to the
On August 27, 2018 Mr. Eran Rosenthal of Israel was the
prize package was two Diamond Willow hiking sticks
2,000,000 visitor to make the trek up the 106 stairs to
hand-crafted by our local business rep, Dan Clements.
the mouth of the dinosaur. We would like to thank Debbie for the opportunity to be Not only has the World’s Largest Dinosaur offered a year-
a part of this memorable event and wish her, and her staff
round tourism experience for visitors to Drumheller, it
continued success in the future. Congratulations from your
has also provided funds back to the local community.
friends at CMI Publishing.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kolafa, The Drumheller Mail
Photo courtesy of Patrick Kolafa, The Drumheller Mail
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Experience Royal Tyrrell Museum Visitors to the Royal Tyrrell Museum will have some new exhibits and some new territory to explore in 2019 as the 34-year-old facility prepares to open a $9 million expansion. The expansion was approved in 2016 and makes space for more displays, student education, and other improved facilities for the more than 450,000 visitors annually. The expansion project, described as being on time and on budget, will add about 1,900 m2 giving more space for the distance learning center, a handson discovery room as well as additional classroom and laboratory space. It also includes a large multi-purpose room that can be used for programming and conferences. In addition, this work will also provide for accessible washrooms, including a family rest area as well as a gender-neutral bathroom. Photo Courtesy of The Royal Tyrrell Museum
Facts about The Royal Tyrrell Museum The Royal Tyrrell Museum is located 6 km west of Drumheller,
The Royal Tyrrell, open year round, is reasonably accessible to
just off Hwy 9. (See map pg 36)
everyone. The museum is located in the heart of the Canadian Badlands at Drumheller â€“ about a 90 minute drive northeast
Ranked as one of the top palaeontology museums in the world,
of Calgary, and about a 3 hour trip southeast from Edmonton.
the Royal Tyrrell Museum opened in September 1985. Figures for 2018 show The Royal Tyrrell Museum welcomed more than
Along with reasonable admission rates for adults, seniors and
450,000 visitors, delivered public programs to over 35,000
youth, the facility offers free parking. Other visitor amenities
participants, presented more than 1000 school programs to
include wheelchairs and strollers, a cafeteria and gift shop.
almost 30,000 students, delivered 185 programs remotely
With so much to see, it is highly recommended that you plan
to over 6000 participants through distance learning studios
on a minimum two to three hour visit. For further information
and also launched a museum gallery tour app in six languages.
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Experience Royal Tyrrell Museum On the exhibit front, visitors are invited to check out several new attractions added in recent months • Technicians for the first time used 3D-printing to produce a specimen cast for display, in one of the most complex mounting projects the museum has ever undertaken, a re-created exploded skull of Daspletosaurus torosus. The skull is a unique disarticulated skull, where all the bones were found separately and were not crushed flat during fossilization. Living 77.3 – 75 million years ago here in Alberta, Daspletosaurus was a large tyrannosaur closely related to T. rex. The skull bones were first discovered in 2000 near the Milk River in southern Alberta, and it took until 2011 for all the pieces to be collected.
foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this fossil, at the time, represented a new species of horned dinosaur which was named Regaliceratops peterhewsi, meaning ‘royal horned face’. This herbivor, a member of the Ceratopsidae family, differs from other known relatives in the size and shape of the horns on its face and a distinctive, crown-like frill at the back of its skull. Nicknamed “Hellboy” due to the combination of difficult excavation conditions and hardness of the rock surrounding the skull, this specimen has provided exciting new information about the evolution of horned dinosaurs.
• The Palaeozoic Era exhibit reopened in July of 2018 with brand new specimens to highlight the diversity of animal life 514 – 252 million years ago. To showcase a greater diversity of animal life including new specimens from the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian periods, the museum redeveloped the Palaeozoic Era exhibit. Since the majority of rocks exposed in Alberta are from the Cretaceous Period, there is a small amount of Palaeozoic Era fossils here. This exhibit contains many original fossils and casts from Alberta, other provinces, and countries to display the incredible diversity of animal life 514 – 252 million years ago.
• The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s photographic exhibit known as ‘Perspectives’ reopened, featuring scientific illustrations.
• Regaliceratops (‘The Hellboy’) fossil, first unveiled at the museum in 2015, has now returned to a display in a new, permanent home in Dinosaur Hall. Discovered in the
• Fossils in Focus was refreshed in October of 2018. It features a number of new discoveries providing a stronger understanding of ancient Alberta’s diversity of creatures and plants. Fossils in Focus is a rotating display changing periodically to showcase some of the tens of thousands of fossil specimens at the museum. There are fossils of rodents, bony fish, duck-billed dinosaurs, palm leaves and many other terrestrial and aquatic creatures that lived 65 million years ago in places like the Sheep River, Spirit River, Castle River and in the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch area west of Sundre. All that and much, much more. By: Lee Hart
2 For 1
MUSEUM ADMISSION Pizza249.com
#75-3rd Avenue W Downtown Drumheller
Cannot use with any other offer. Valid for 2019 only
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Experience The Jurassic Forest
Embarking on the North or South Discovery Trail of the Jurassic Forest, you might believe that you’re just taking a serene stroll along the boardwalk that meanders through this 16 ha 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 in the path, a pair of Edmontosaurus duck-billed dinosaurs, reaching for the treetops, come into view Just around the corner, an Albertosaurus, a true homegrown “Alberta lizard”, bares its chisel-like teeth. He stands alongside a Styracosaurus looking for other members of its herd. As you set out on the two 1-km loops, you will encounter close to fifty life-like animatronic dinosaurs of all sizes and shapes.
The wooden boardwalk trails are wide and easy to navigate with strollers or wheelchairs / motorised scooters. There are also two side trail extensions: In the north extension, “Taking Flight” traces the anatomical and physiological adaptations necessary for flight, and in the south extension, “From Scales to Fur” describes the development of mammals. 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. Launched in 2010, this educational and entertainment venue set in a “living forest” features an interpretive centre, a basic concession, a gift shop, a playground and mini-golf course. Frequent special events for children and adults and guest speakers further expand this attraction’s offerings. Located on Alberta’s Hwy 28 approximately 40 km north of Edmonton or 360 km north of Calgary, this seasonal tourist attraction set in a boreal forest is a hidden treasure waiting to be unearthed. Story and Photos by Dr. Shannon L. Tracey
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Experience The Jurassic Forest Wembley
GRANDE GRANDE PRAIRIE PRAIRIE
Edson Hinton Jasper
Drayton Valley Rocky Mountain House
Fort Saskatchewan Elk Island National Park
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
A 40-ACRE PREHISTORIC PRESERVE, JUST MINUTES FROM EDMONTON AND MILLIONS OF YEARS FROM THE PRESENT!
and region. exploreedmonton.com Please note, pets are not allowed.
For hours and rates visit
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Experience Grande Cache
Photo Courtesy of Melissa Williamson
The footprints of thousands of dinosaurs are preserved at numerous track sites in the region. They represent a unique category of fossils known as trace fossils which preserve a record of an animal’s activity. Over its lifetime, an animal could produce millions of tracks; as a result, it is actually more common to unearth the fossilized tracks of dinosaurs than to accidently stumble upon their skeletal remains. Grande Cache is located about 430 km west of Edmonton. Dinosaur footprints were first discovered here in the 1980’s by staff at the former Smoky River Coal Mine when operations exposed the rocks in which the tracks were preserved. Many of these track sites were muddy bogs 90 million years ago, but due to the upheaval of the geological layers near the Rocky Mountains, the trackways are now located on steeply angled (between 40° and 60°) footwalls.
The Centre, which offers hiking guides, maps and loads of information about the Grande Cache area, also includes the Bighorn Gallery Gift Shop, the Esson Gale Art Gallery, and an intimate movie theatre. Alaska Highway
Fort St. John
Dawson Creek 2 52 43
Currently, public access to the trackways is restricted. Learn more about the fascinating history of these tracks through the exhibits at the Grande Cache Tourism & Interpretive Centre. Additional exhibits feature aboriginal heritage, fur trading, ice 42 | Enter Our Photo Contest
WEMBLEY GRANDE WEMBLEY
ALBERTA BRITISH CO LUMBIA
Thousands of footprints are congregated across more than 20 track sites. All show tracks of ankylosaurs, a heavily armoured, plant-eating dinosaur that had stocky legs and a short, heavy body. In some places, traces of meat eating, bipedal theropod dinosaurs are co-mingled with a dusting of bird traces. Mr. Jim Merrithew, Supervisor of Culture and Tourism for the Town of Grande Cache, says the diversity and profusion of dinosaur tracks is certainly not seen elsewhere in Canada and in only a few rare sites worldwide.
age artefacts, and full animal mounts, local industry, and tree and geological descriptions.
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) take a moment to cool your heels at Grande Prairie Museum and Heritage Discovery Centre. In the museum, the “Bones and Stones” exhibit features a replica archaeological dig site of the Edmontosaurus and aboriginal artefacts; Robert Cochrane collected the specimen featured in the exhibit in the 1950’s. Other gallery displays and exhibits include prehistoric stone artefacts used by Aboriginal people to settle this area, transportation artefacts, including a replica train station, and military displays. A hop, skip and jump from the Grand Prairie Museum will take us over to the Heritage Discovery Centre. It portrays the history of the Peace Region from the Mesozoic Era, through to the last Ice Age, the Aboriginal and Metis settlement, the arrival of pioneers and the subsequent development of local resources. An animatronic model of a Pachyrhinosaurus called ‘Piper’ and a replica of a Pachyrhinosaurus skull are of interest to dinosaur enthusiasts. A number of other fossils are also on
Heritage Discovery Centre, Piper Photo Courtesy GPRTA
display, including some that are 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.
Visit cityofgp.com for more information • Complimentary Hot Breakfast • Café and Restaurant on site • Fitness Center 12102 100th Street Grande Prairie stonebridgehotel.ca
in GRANDE PRAIRIE
• Beautifully renovated rooms • Pool Hot Tub and Sauna • 2 restaurants on site 11633 100 Street, Grande Prairie pomeroyhotel.com/grande -prairie
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Experience The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta & Mike Seehagel
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum & Sean Trostem
The hunt for dinosaurs in Wembley, AB, about a 20 min drive west of Grande Prairie, started back in 1974 when schoolteacher and amateur fossil collector Al Lakusta discovered the Pipestone Creek dinosaur bone bed. The Pipestone Creek is shallow and meandering today, often drying up in the heat of the summer, 75 million years ago it was a turbulent torrent racing through a land of active volcanoes and large hulking dinosaurs. A flash flood swept thousands of these lumbering giants downriver. Here their carcasses jammed up in a bend in the river, eventually becoming fossilised skeletons melding into the landscape. While out for a walk one day with a friend, Lakusta discovered a seam of fossilized bones in the creek, including the remains of what was eventually recognised as a new species of dinosaur, officially christened Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai in honour of his find. In 1986, Dr. Philip J. Currie, Alberta’s, and arguably Canada’s, pre-eminent palaeontologist launched an official excavation of Pipestone Creek. Due to the density of bones here, up to 100 bones per square metre, this site was recognized as one of the richest in Canada. In addition to unearthing hundreds of Pachyrhinosaurus bones, Dr. Currie and his colleagues at the University of Alberta have
Photo Courtesy Lloyd Dykstra
discovered bones from the carnivorous theropods, preditory tyrannosaurs, armoured nodosaurs, marine plesiosaurs, duckbilled hadrosaurs, and flying pterosaurs. The bone bed is almost the size of a football field so many more fossils and their mysteries have yet to be discovered. 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. In March 2016, Boreonykus certekorum, a new raptor (dromaeosaur), was described by Dr. Currie and Dr. Phil Bell. Given the value of the Pipestone Creek bone bed to the world of palaeontology, it became apparent that a new museum was needed to appropriately house and display the fossil finds. A site was chosen in Wembley, AB. Inaugurated in September of 2015, the Philip J. Currie (PJC) Dinosaur Museum features extensive gallery spaces, two classrooms, the 60-seat Aykroyd Family Theater, named for actor and museum supporter Dan Aykroyd and his family, research and collections areas, the Dine-O-Saur restaurant, the Kaleidosaur gift shop, an outdoor discovery fossil walk and large outdoor playground. In addition to regularly changing exhibits that focus on regional collectors
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Experience The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum and artists, it also boasts the only National Geographic theatre in Canada, with exciting new films brought in frequently and shown several times every day. Dinosaur fans of all levels will find things to engage them, with activities ranging from prehistoric art projects to handson authentic fossil preparation. The museum hosts monthly free lectures from experts in palaeontology and other fields, as well as symposia and other community-oriented events. A large variety of school programs, field trips, day camps, and drop-in programs accommodate a wide range of age. In addition to all the displays and activities available onsite at the museum, the Pipestone Creek bone bed site, located about 18 km from the museum, is open to the public. During the spring and summer, enthusiasts can learn how to prepare and excavate fossils in the Palaeontologist for a Day program. Camping is available at Pipestone Creek Campground and at the Saskatoon Island Provincial Park. Numerous hotels and motels are available in Grande Prairie for accommodation, and there are hotel packages featured on the museum’s site dinomuseum.ca
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.
Palaeontologist for a Day Program In our Palaeontologist for a Day program, you will join a real excavation and go shoulder-to-shoulder with field crews as we explore the Pipestone Creek bonebed for dinosaurs, and with them, the answers to what was really happening right here millions of years ago! You’ll start your day with a delicious breakfast and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum. You’ll be transported to the bonebed with the other dinosaur hunters, get equipped with a museum tote bag, water bottle, and real fossil hunting tools, then set about scouring the site for the next big discovery with the assistance of our palaeontology team. The program includes a hearty dinner and staff will follow-up with photos and an update on your find.
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Experience Tumbler Ridge
The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Richard T. McCrea
About 200 km west of Grande Prairie, lays the coal mining town of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. One footloose and fancy-free summer day in 2000, two local boys, Mark Turner (11) and Daniel Helm (8), were tubing in the rapids of the Flatbed Creek near Tumbler Ridge. After falling off their tube, they walked back upstream on bedrock. Noting some unusual depressions on the banks, they became convinced that they were dinosaur tracks. Although sceptical, Daniel’s father, Dr. Charles Helm, ultimately contacted palaeontologist Dr. Rich McCrea, who confirmed the prints were part of the trackway of a heavily armoured ankylosaur. It turns out that 100 – 75 million years ago swampy coastal forests covered the current Tumbler Ridge region. Their beaches and swamps helped to preserve footprints of the dinosaurs that roamed the forests. In 2002, a local prospector showed Dr. McCrea a bone he’d spotted in a large sandstone slab which had slid down into Quality Creek from the nearby cliff face. Ribs, vertebrae and a fibula embedded in the block represented a colossal find as the first massive concentration of dinosaur material in BC. 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; about 90 million years old) proved much older than any others found in western Canada to date. With such an explosion in the findings of dinosaur trackways and bones, Dr. McCrea spearheaded the creation of the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (PRPRC) in 2003 to excavate, prepare, research, interpret, exhibit, and store fossils from the BC Peace Region. Recognizing the abundance of paleontological phenomena in the Tumbler Ridge region, in 2014, UNESCO designated this area as the first global geo-park in western North America. The international organization cited the significance of the Cretaceous dinosaur tracks and bone bed, and the presence of Triassic fish and marine reptiles in making this designation. In 2016 the PRPRC published the analysis of T. rex trackways found in the region; it provides the first record of the walking gait of tyrannosaurids. In the summer of 2017, Dr. Helm and Dr. McCrea, along with palaeontologist Dr. Lisa Buckley,
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Experience Tumbler Ridge discovered avian trackways in this area in rocks of the Gates Formation (Lower Cretaceous, about 100 million years old). That year, coal mines operated by Conuma Coal Resources, Ltd. of Tumbler Ridge proved to be rich sources of dinosaur tracks. Several large ankylosaur and some theropod tracks were discovered in their Wolverine Mine. A BC chiropractor, Dr. Rick Lambert unearthed the first ever dinosaur skull discovered in BC beside a creek near Tumbler Ridge in 2017. Wandering down the creekbed after heavy rains, Dr. Lambert realized a rock formation that had caught his eye actually contained dinosaur teeth. Itâ€™s likely that these teeth form part of the skull of a massive tyrannosaurid-like Albertosaurus (around 75 million years old). Over 700 dinosaur bones have been found in the Tumbler Ridge region, including one articulated crested hadrosaur (lambeosaur) surrounded by over 40 tyrannosaur teeth. Over 1500 fish and marine reptile specimens have been removed from the mountains to the PRPRC, making its collection one of the largest in the world. The research centre has developed the 6000 sq ft Dinosaur Discovery Gallery in Tumbler Ridge to exhibit and interpret these extensive collections and unique fossil finds. The main central exhibit is surrounded by many numerous displays highlighting the incredible diversity of the regional fossil assembly, suitable for all ages. The Gallery also contains a small theatre and a well-stocked gift shop. Popular items include exact replicas of locally found dinosaur footprints and tyrannosaur teeth.
Dr. Buckley with fossil bird trackway, Photo Courtesy of Dr. Charles Helm
Hands-on experiences are available via educational programs, dino-camps and dinosaur trackway tours. The Flatbed Creek trackway site features deep prints, which include rare dewclaw impressions. The 4 km long hiking trail is rated as moderately strenuous. The Wolverine River trackway features shallower prints with well preserved skin impressions. Nocturnal guided tours use lantern light to bring out the relief in the prints. The 1-km long route is also moderately strenuous. A network of hiking trails near the PRPRC leads to numerous geo-sites, including spectacular waterfalls, mountain summits, sedimentary rock formations, caves and canyons. For more information visit: trmf.ca or (250) 242-DINO . By: Dr. Shannon L. Tracey
Wolverine Mine, Photo Courtesy of Dr. Charles Helm
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Experience Hudson’s Hope All photos courtesy of the District of Hudson’s Hope
Peace Canyon Dam
Dinosaur Footprints at WAC Bennett Dam Visitor Center
This road trip travels through the untamed wilderness and unique geological features of BC’s magnificent north country. In addition to learning more about dinosaurs and fossil finds, you can enjoy bountiful fishing holes, jaw-dropping scenery and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. Let’s get started… From Tumbler Ridge, travel north on Hwy 29 about 75 min to Chetwynd. This municipality is strategically located at the intersection of Hwy 97, a major east-west corridor between Prince George and Dawson Creek. Because this road was northeastern BC’s first connection to the rest of the province, Chetwynd has been a significant hub for the development of the region since 1952. Known as “Little Prairie” by the First Nations over 100 years ago, Chetwynd’s museum has retained that name. The Little Prairie Heritage Museum is located in one of the town’s oldest buildings and displays artifacts of the early times. A public art program, showcases over 50 chainsaw carvings spread throughout town with a downtown monument that declares Chetwynd the “Chainsaw Sculpture Capital of the World”. About an hour north of Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope was first settled in 1805. In 1942, construction of the Alaska Highway stimulated the local economy and major development came in the 1960s, when W.A.C. Bennett Dam was constructed to generate hydroelectric power. Shortly thereafter, the Peace Canyon Dam was built a few kilometers downstream. Until
Wooden Statutes in Henry Stege Park
recent years, Hudson’s Hope has marketed its extensive outdoor recreational opportunities as reasons to visit the area. However, the dinosaur tracks found in the area, should provide the town with a significant new tourism attraction. In the summer of 2016, field work began on Hudson’s Hope’s newest attraction the Six Peaks Dinosaur Track Site. The site is located just west of Hudson’s Hope and consists of nearly 1,200 tracks from at least 12 different types of dinosaurs. The area around Hudson’s Hope is one of the richest sites of fossils and dinosaur footprints in the world. You can get a unique prehistoric experience to view actual dinosaur footprints at Gething Creek. However, this is a remote area near the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, so we would recommend you stop at the Hudson’s Hope Museum. Their fossil display is one of the finest in the Peace River area. Established in 1794, Fort St John is BC’s oldest settlement and with a population of more than 18,000, it is the largest city on the Alaska Highway, at Mile 47. The drive east to Fort St John takes about 70 minutes. One hour south, with a population of a bout 12,000, Dawson Creek is known as the “Mile 0 City”, referring to its location at the southern end of the Alaska Highway. The city has been called the “Capital of the Peace”. It has an art gallery, museum and a heritage interpretation village.
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Experience Alaska’s Dinosaur Trails If You’re In The Area, Anchorage Museum Worth The Visit A little gem of a museum, a bit off the beaten path, features some interesting dinosaur exhibits. The Alaska Museum of Science & Nature is a hands-on facility in Anchorage featuring dinosaurs, Ice Age mammals, really cool gems, minerals and more. Their exhibits include ‘Alaska Polar Dinosaurs’ - an exploration of Alaska’s dino finds including bones, teeth, claws and eggs; ‘Bare Bones’ where visitors can compare the bones of modern and ancient animals; ‘Talkeetna Seaway featuring extinct sharks, flying Pterosaurs and more. The museum’s other exhibits include ‘Ice Age Alaska’ with mammals like mammoths, bison, American lions, saber tooth cats, short face bears, touchable wolves, giant beavers and even a whale! Our mission is to inspire, through many educational exhibits and programs, a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world, the sciences, and ourselves. This is a toddler-friendly facility that has activities for every age. Visitors will see skeletons of Hadrosaurs, Ceretopsians, large & small carnivores including Albertosaurs and raptors. There’s marine reptiles and flying pterosaurs too. Also on display are a wide variety of skulls representing animals from around the world, including a 2-headed one. “Rocks & Minerals Exhibit” features meteorites, fluorescent rocks, multi-coloured minerals and fossils from prehistoric forests such as petrified trees, sequoia leaves and palm fronds. Opened in 1994, the Alaska Museum of Science & Nature takes young and old alike on a learning adventure around the state. This museum fills a special need for science education focusing exclusively on Alaska’s unique geological, cultural, and ecological history. They have world-class collection, and created an exciting and interactive learning experience. If you ever find yourself wandering off the beaten path to Anchorage make sure you pay this sweetheart museum a visit. For more information check them out on Facebook or their website at: alaskamuseum.org/visit_us.html. By: Larry Thomas
ns Courtesy of Photos by James R. Eva
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27 403-362-5073 brooksmuseum.ca
Brooks & Area Kiwanis Campground
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.
Emerson Bridge Park
May 16 - Sept 5
$15.00 - $30.00
Rosemary Rosemary Municipal Camp. May 15 - Sept 30
Calgary & Area Spring Hill RV Park
Sundre & Caroline Coyote Creek Golf & RV
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.
Rocky Mountain House Rocky Mountain House May 16 - Sept 2 $35.00 - $120.00 43 • • • • 403-845-2412 pc.gc.ca/rockymountainhouse National Historic Site Sept 5 - Sept 29 Camp at the national historic site! Variety of options from Heritage Camping in Tipi’s and Trapper tents, to un-serviced RV camping and walk-in tenting on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. (Note Sept 5 - Sept 29 only open from Thurs - Sun)
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.
Grande Prairie Camp Tamarack RV Country Roads RV McGoverns Campground Nitehawk Wilderness RV County Campgrounds
Apr - Oct
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Every County campground has a golf course within a 20-minute drive! Visit county gp.ab.ca/EN/main/community/parks.html
For more Campground Information see our sister publications at ExperienceTravelGuides.com All Open Dates are weather dependant. All fees are subject to change without notice. *These campgrounds accept reservations.
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From the Neanderthal. Meaning: To whack. Mightily.
However, at least one famous cartoonist found science, and scientists, hilarious. And science has returned his appreciation of their work with some love of their own.
But such piffling details as 140 million years didn’t stop cartoonist Gary Larson, in a Far Side comic published in 1982, to depict a science class of Neanderthals being taught stegosaurus anatomy, with the lecturer pointing to the tail, saying –“Now this end is called the thagomizer… After the late Thag Simmons.”
Hence the ‘thagomizer.’
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term – a very small proportion of our readers, admittedly, but we know you’re out there – ‘thagomizer’ is used to describe the arrangement of particularly nasty-looking spikes at the tip of a stegosaur’s tail. Likely used for defensive purposes, the spikes would also have been deadly for any caveman. If, of course, cavemen had been around 140 million years earlier than they actually existed.
Science students thought so, and began using the term as slang for any spikey projections on dinosaur’s tails. Eventually, the term entered the lexicon, and ‘thagomizer’ is now the official term for the four spikes of a stegosaur’s tail. Granted, you still won’t find it in Webster’s. But, hey, paleontologists are nothing if not patient. You ever try uncovering a 20-foot skeleton with a 4-inch paintbrush? It’s no joke how much patience that takes!
It’s a well-known fact – or is it? – scientists are not usually known for their sense of humour.
By: Allen Gibson
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