southern alberta
Dinosaur Valley

In the Red Deer River valley 75 million years ago, Albertosaurus (a relative of Tyrannosaurus rex), chamsosaurs, duckbill dinosaurs, anklyosaurs, birds and crocodiles roamed through lush forests and swamps. Today, exposed sedimentary rocks are a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils – kids will have a field day in "Dinosaur Valley."

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (near Drumheller) – The Royal Tyrrell Museum, (four miles from Drumheller, along the North Dinosaur Trail) is one of the largest palaeontological museums in the world, with over 200 dinosaur specimens on display. It was named for Joseph Burr Tyrrell, who found the first dinosaur skeleton in the Drumheller area in 1884. The museum traces the origin of life on Earth from 3.5 billion years ago, to the present with displays of 800 fossil specimens.
The real fun is that you get all this in a lot of different ways: there are slide shows, video mini-theatres, computer stations and hands-on scientific experiments.
Don’t miss the Cretaceous Garden, an indoor garden, housing plants that grew in Alberta when it had a semi-tropical climate 65 million years ago. There’s also the Burgess Shale, an undersea environment from 530 million years ago: this display makes you a part of the environment. Dinosaur Hall and Ice Ages exhibits have stunning displays of fossil skeletons!
Historic Atlas Coal Mine (east of Drumheller) – Step into the life of a 1930's coal miner (teenagers worked the mines too). Climb up the 8 story high wooden tipple for screening and loading coal, and follow the kid's guide map through the site – mine offices, blacksmith shop, wash house, miner's shack, graveyard. Along the way there are things for kids to do – lower miner's baskets up and down, climb on pint-sized locomotives, screen coal with a shaker screen, parents can push your kids in an empty coal car (or bigger kids can push the car for themselves, to see what it was like for real). There are puppet shows (e.g. the day the pit pony saved the mine), story telling, and people dressed up in costume – find out how far your miner's paycheck would go. Open May – Sept.
Dinosaur Provincial Park (near Brooks) – The Dinosaur Provincial Park, a World Heritage Site, is the heart of the ""Great Canadian Dinosaur Rush," where amazing dinosaur fossils were excavated in the early 1900's. Not a large park (73 sq. km.), about two-thirds of it is a Natural Preserve you can explore on interpretive bus tours and hikes through the “badlands.”
Field Station Visitor Centre – Stop in the visitor center for maps, and don't miss the exhibits – dinosaur skeletons, cast of a big dinosaur footprint, mural of what Alberta looked like 75 million years ago, and watch paleontologists at work in the lab.
Guided walking tours include the “Fossil Safari Hike”, a 2.5 hour interpretive walk through a fossil site, where you’ll see fossils and learn about the dinosaurs who once roamed here. Or join a 45 minute “Lab Talk” tour where you’ll meet paleontologists in the Preparation Lab.
Or, if you'd rather go it alone, there are two outdoor dinosaur display buildings and several self-guided walking trails (some are accessible with strollers). Take the Badlands Trail for an easy walk among the "hoodoos" and other rock formations. Budding paleontologists will want to follow the Trail of the Fossil Hunters, where tons of fossils were excavated. Or, just bring a picnic and sit under the trees on the Cottonwood Flats Trail.

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