Drumheller, the dinosaur town
When we originally planned our road trip to Alberta, we agreed to visit only Banff and Edmonton. But a couple of weeks before our trip, my sister had related to me how people had been suggesting to her that we also stop over at Drumheller, which is only four hours away from Edmonton. We shouldn’t miss visiting Royal Tyrrell Museum, they said. And they had been raving about this place, which is actually a dinosaur museum. And so it got us all excited. BIL, hubby and mama had to ask for extra days off at work. I was on vacation that whole week anyway so I didn’t have to make extra arrangements at work.
We left Edmonton on Wednesday, at 5:20 a.m. It was raining when we reached Leduc and Camrose. By 9:00 a.m., we were entering Drumheller. We were delighted to see once again hills, but this time with flat tops. I don’t even know if that’s what you call them. They’re more of terrain and you could see how erosion has taken place there throughout the years.
The dinosaur on this welcome sign is the first one of Drumheller’s that we saw. That’s me behind its leg. Yes, that’s how big it was.
First thing we did was to try and check in at Travelodge. But as it turned out, they didn’t have a record of our reservations. The lady at the counter said that it was the third time that week that Expedia.ca screwed up their reservations. Or could it be because we only booked rooms at Travelodge the week before? Remember, we only decided to add Drumheller to our itinerary within the two weeks before our trip.
Well, anyway, the lady directed us to the Tourism Centre where she said somebody there could help us find vacant rooms at another hotel in town. As we drove there, we were amazed to see these two giant dinosaur structures. These were even bigger than the one we saw just in front of Travelodge. There was a sign that said, world’s largest dinosaur. It would be this one, which was right in front of the Tourism Centre. How big was it? Well, this was just the foot. So you can just imagine.
The receptionist at the Tourism Centre was able to help us book rooms at Drumheller Inn. But when we got there, there were no rooms ready yet. We would have to wait until after noon. So we decided to drive around town first. After seeing the world’s largest dinosaur, we were still amused to see the other dinosaur structures that were scattered all over town. I felt as if we walked into a filming of a dinosaur movie that has been temporarily abandoned.
I saw this big dinosaur mural just next to Reptile World. We thought of going inside, but I think it was I who suggested that we just pass that up and head to the Royal Tyrrell Museum already. I was too anxious to see the dinosaurs that these people had been raving about.
This is what the museum looks like outside. It is huge. 11,200 square meters. It is after all Canada’s largest dinosaur museum. My sister was told that it might take us four hours to cover the entire place. So we decided to eat lunch in the car and I changed to my flat shoes before we went in. I learned my lesson after our first shopping trip to West Edmonton Mall.
There are also dinosaur structures in front of the entrance. Reggie asked me to take this picture of him in that amusing pose. You should see our album. He took some pretty amusing and interesting pictures.
The museum was named after this guy, Joseph Burr Tyrrell. He discovered the skull of Albertosaurus near Drumheller in 1984. And the paleontology museum named after him opened in 1985 to instant acclaim.
Inside, there are interactive computers for both young and the not-so-young. There is also a preparation lab where you can watch museum staff prepare fossils for research and display through the glass windows. There are several galleries and exhibitions that bring you through geological time and the dinosaur ages. There are about 40 mounted larger than life skeletons of ancient dinosaurs. Some of the exhibits are die-cast but there are also fossils that are real.
It was quite an awesome experience but it didn’t take us four hours to explore the museum. Maybe for a dinosaur buff like Ross Geller, he’d be on cloud nine and he’d spend an entire day there, or probably sign up for one of the museum’s activities and programs. But for regular out-of-town visitors like us, two hours was enough. We were all beat after exploring the museum for a couple of hours. After all, we were up since 4:00 a.m., yours truly, since 3:00 a.m. And this was the fifth day of our trip. We couldn’t wait to get back home.
You can view our Drumheller album here.