The film Jurassic World took £330 million in the first few days of its cinema release, making it the most lucrative new release worldwide ever. If you don’t know about the film, it’s about a (fictional!) modern day theme park with live dinosaurs. Along with millions of other people, my 12 year-old son and I both enjoyed seeing Jurassic World very much. I think that there’s something about dinosaurs which is fascinating to both of us, and indeed to many people. We know that these creatures roamed Earth millions of years before we humans came on the scene. Dinosaurs have left us clues to their existence but we don’t have the full picture – we’re still searching for that.
I really enjoyed the morning we spent fossil hunting on the Isle of Wight, where many dinosaur fossils have been discovered. Our best find was some fossilised dinosaur poo – it’s the fossil with the black centre at the front of this photo:
This was thrilling to discover and every so often I spot it where it sits on a window sill at home. It reminds me that I’d very much like to go fossil hunting again and find a dinosaur.
Apparently Alberta in Canada is one of the very best places in the world to look for dinosaurs. I know this because BritMums and Travel Alberta have asked me to write about the region. I’ve not been to Alberta so I went to our local library to do some research.
Alberta is in Western Canada and is home to part of the Rocky Mountain range, swathes of open prairies and vast quantities of oil. It’s also where you’ll find the Badlands, so called because the soil there is bad for agriculture. Despite the poor soil the area is rich with coal and also with dinosaur remains: the soft rocks of the Badlands have preserved one of the world’s biggest deposits of dinosaur bones, as well as some eggs. Some previously unknown dinosaurs have been discovered there such as regaliceratops, also known as Hellboy, a horned dinosaur which was announced this year.
If you go to Alberta in search of dinosaurs these are some of the things which you can do there:
Dinosaur Provincial Park
The most spectacular part of the Badlands are in Dinosaur Provincial Park, 68 miles from the town of Drumheller. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and around 300 dinosaur skeletons have been excavated there so far. There are guided hikes and bus tours on offer at the park as well as bookable activities such as sessions in the palaeontology lab and fossil hunts. You can also stay at the park in ‘comfort camping’ accommodation which looks very well-appointed.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is near Drumheller. This world-renowned museum is named after Joseph Burr Tyrell who made the first dinosaur discoveries here in 1884. A highlight of the museum’s vast collection is a dinosaur hall with around 40 dinosaur skeletons – including Hellboy. The museum runs some fascinating activities such as guided walks where you can search for fossils and see real dinosaur remains, excavating for fossils using professional tools and techniques, making casts of fossils, and dinosaur story time for the under-5s.
The Dinosaur Trail is a 30-mile circular drive which starts from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology and takes you up to the rim of the mile-wide Red Deer Valley for some spectacular views and scenery.
The small town of Drumheller calls itself ‘the dinosaur capital of the world’. There are dinosaur creations to be spotted all over the place in Drumheller, including a 26-metre high fibreglass T-Rex which features in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest dinosaur. You can climb up inside the T-Rex to enjoy the view from inside its mouth. Drumheller sounds like it offers some cheesy attractions which kids would love.
Have you been to Alberta? Do you think that you’d like to visit these places with your kids and look for dinosaurs?
Disclosure: I’m working with BritMums and Travel Alberta highlighting the Alberta region as the place to go to make your dinosaur dreams come true. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit Travel Alberta for more information.
More Alberta Dinosaurs posts:
- Jurassic Road Trip – Family Adventure Project
- Family Friendly Dinosaur Hunting – Mummy Travels
- Dinosaur Adventures – Globalmouse
- Canadian Road Trip for Dinosaur Enthusiasts – Actually Mummy
- Dinosaur fan? Come and meet Hell Boy in Alberta Canada – Maris World
You know you’ve made it to he top when you’ve managed to collect some Dino Poo. Fossil hunting in Alberta is high up on my ‘Must Do’ list
Ickle Pickle says
This sounds brilliant – my sons would be very impressed with finding dinosaur poo! Kaz x
Ickle Pickle recently posted…Conkers in The National Forest
VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood says
This sounds so exciting. My little boy and the OH would love it!
VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood recently posted…Pick Your Own Strawberries – Sunday 19/07/2015
Yes, we loved finding out about Alberta too…I am going to have to plan a visit for my dino mad kids!! 🙂
Globalmouse recently posted…What my children say about…Cornbury Festival 2015
That’s so cool my gang have never been into dinosaurs which is a shame!
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Jen aka Muminthemadhouse says
This is something and somewhere that the boys would love to visit.
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Sarah Bailey says
Oh wow this sounds amazing – I have to admit I have a fascination with fossils.
Sarah Bailey recently posted…What do you put your energy into?
Oh gosh dinosaur poo! I think my eldest would love to do something like this.
Foz recently posted…Monsters in Bedroom
OOh well Dinosaur poo is not something I thought I would ever see…
Rachel recently posted…La Prairie Anti-ageing Rapid Response Booster Serum
utterly amazing , I would so love to go to this part of Canada
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Cathy (MummyTravels) says
I love discovering new sides to destinations – I had no idea this part of Canada was so perfect for dinosaur fans, but I think my daughter would love it here. We haven’t ventured much further than the Isle of Wight when it comes to finding dinosaurs or fossils, but this has shot high up the list.
Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Is the I Amsterdam card worth it?
I went to Alberta as a child but for skiing and everything was knee deep in snow. we love fossil hunting in Dorset and have found some brilliant ones
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Gretta Schifano says
I remember a fun day with the kids fossil hunting at Lyme Regis in Dorset. The coast there is great.
I always find it so cool to read about destinations that are actually in my back yard. Thanks for sharing.
Having lived in Calgary Alberta for the last 4 years, I can certainly say I haven’t taken advantage of Drumheller being so close! That being said, I have one word of caution for readers…. Don’t visit the Dinasaur Museum during a Canada Public Holiday. When we went for the first time, we felt like a bunch of sardines “fossilizing” into the crowd…. Packed parking lot, long line ups, and a tough place to chase a toddler.
On a brighter note – cool place! I also recently found out about the comfort camping/Glamping that’s you mentioned… But I think I’ll opt for the traditional camping when we get out there next.
Jamie recently posted…7 Places to Enjoy Glamping in Canada
Gretta Schifano says
Thanks for sharing that tip – if I’m ever lucky enough to go to Alberta I’ll make sure that I check out the Public Holiday dates and lie low on those days!
Hannah Wood (staveley) says
Such amazing I think all this and do love to look at fossils so fascinating .
This sounds incredible – I’m yet to visit Canada, but it sounds like my ideal place, with all the forests and mountains. Now I know there’s something my dinosaur-mad little boy would love, too!
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Erica Price says
The Badlands does sound fascinating. I hadn’t realised there was so much to see in Canada related to dinosaurs.
Erica Price recently posted…Keeping Up With Reading Over The Summer
This sounds like a dinosaur lovers dream destination! We found a fossil on the beach at Charmouth in Dorset. My son was so excited, as we’d been telling him on the lead up to the holiday about the Jurassic Coast, so was pleased it lived up to its name!
Michelle recently posted…How To Brew Coffee With A Chemex
This is definitely going on our family travel bucket list! I had no idea Alberta was so good for dinosaurs. We have a dinosaur mad 4 year old and lots of friends from Alberta so this looks win win for us!
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Jennifer Howze says
Gretta, I feel quite contented now that I’ve seen some fossilised dinosaur poo! There is something exciting about being someplace where dinosaurs have actually walked and flew. I’ve always wanted to visit the Badlands.
Jennifer Howze recently posted…How to celebrate the Fourth of July in London
Gretta Schifano says
It was very exciting to find! I’d like to visit the Badlands too, it sounds like a fascinating region.