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6 Amazing Facts about Dinosaur Museum Alberta

From visiting the world’s largest dinosaur display to exploring the dinosaur museum Alberta, Drumheller is filled with amazing activities for you and your kids to explore like;

1. Visit the World’s Largest Display

There’s no ignoring the world’s largest dinosaur near the Drumheller Information Support Centre. The T-rex stands 25 meters tall, which is a lot more impressive than it would have been in person.

2. Drumheller Spray Park

Dinosaur Museum Alberta
Image from Drumheller Spray Park

The Drumheller dinosaur-themed spray and fountain are free to enter and are next to the world’s largest display. It is open throughout the May long weekend till mid-September. On the way out to Drumheller Alberta from Calgary, you can also visit the Green Tree School which has an accessible playground.

The following are some reviews on Google of the place by visitors. Angelina Cleveland says “Even though it is a memorable experience, you do not have enough time to reach the top”. It’s a really fun place for kids to visit. Bring a hat and sunglasses because there’s a lot of green space.

3. Bernie and the Boys Bistro

bernie's & boys bistro
image by Bernie’s & boys bistro

Bernie & the Boys is a cute family-friendly restaurant. It is famous for its delicious burgers and many different flavoured milkshakes. You can also find sandwiches, subs, and pasta.

You need not worry if you see reserved signs on empty tables. They are simply making sure that customers order before they sit down. They are very famous for their fries.

Reviews on Google say that the place has delicious burgers, and shakes many different options, and excellent service. There are also a lot of positive reviews about the owner and the food portions.

4. Dinosaur spotting

Seeing dinosaurs throughout town will also be a big hit with the kids. If you’re travelling by car or walking, this is a very enjoyable activity.

5. Dinosaur Museum Alberta

The Dinosaur Museum located in Edmonton, Alberta, more commonly known as the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology is known for being one of the world’s most prominent museums in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. It was designed by a BCW architect in Midland provincial park and named the Royal Tyrrell Museum for Joseph Burr Tyrrell.

According to the provincial museum of Alberta’s program for the creation of the paleontology museum, the museum was established in 1981. After four years of construction, the Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology was finally inaugurated in September 1985. Following the bestowal of the title of “royal” by Queen Elizabeth II, it was renamed the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in 1990.

It has been expanded twice in the 2000s. In 2003, BCW Architects completed the first expansion, and Kassian Architecture completed the second one in 2019.

The museum dedicated exclusively to fossils holds a personal collection of 160,000 cataloged fossils with 350 holotypes making it a museum with the largest collection of fossils in Canada.

The museum displays around 800 fossils from its collection. As part of the museum’s scientific research, the museum’s fossil collection is used to analyze and document paleontological and geological history.

6. History of the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

Image by the Royal Tyrrell Museum

The government of Alberta considered building a dinosaur museum next to the provincial park in the late 1970s. In 1981, the government announced its plan to establish the museum but it was built in Midland Provincial Park near Drumheller, not in Dinosaur Provincial Park. Premier Peter Lougheed set up a network of museums and intervention centers as part of a much more comprehensive initiative.

This network is located in small towns and rural areas throughout Alberta. Around 30 million dollars have been allocated by the provincial government to build the Royal Tyrrell Museum. The development of this museum was mostly accomplished by David Baird, the first director of the institution.

As part of preparations for the opening of the upgraded museum, the Provincial Museum of Alberta implemented an extensive paleontology program. This included its staff and fossil collection in 1981. The museum workers were employed back in 1982 in a temporary office located in downtown Edmonton. They relocated to another temporary space in Drumheller.

6.1. History Before Opening:

Before its opening, the Tyrrell Museum was officially known as the Paleontological Museum and Research Institution. However, it was later changed in honour of Joseph Tyrrell, who was a geologist at the Geological Survey of Canada. A dinosaur fossil was discovered by accident in the Red Deer River valley in 1984.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum exhibits skeletal frames. Under the Canadian Dinosaur Project of the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, dinosaurs were identified for the first time. September 1985 marked the opening of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It also announced its participation in the China Canada Dinosaur project, the first meaningful collaboration between paleontologists from the West and China since the Chinese communist revolution.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum was given the royal title by Queen Elizabeth in June 1990. A museum volunteer group known as the Royal Tyrrell Cooperating Society was established in 1993. The group is responsible for helping fund research projects, exhibitions, doctoral fellowships, and other museum-related events. The museum building underwent another expansion in 2016, even though the plan to expand it was already underway in 2013.

6.1.The building of the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

The Dinosaur Museum Alberta building was designed to work as a research facility or laboratory. Although the original building was completed in 1985, it has been expanded twice. The structure was originally 11200 square meters in total space but after the first expansion approximately 4400 square meters of exhibition space was added to the structure. After the second expansion approximately 1300 square meters of space was added bringing the total area of the building to 12500 square meters.

Doug Craig was the lead architect of BCW Architects, based in Calgary, who designed the original structure. Although Craig was the lead architect he provided the director of the museum with a long list of 27 architectural requirements. In addition, many of these renovations included making the entrance easy to locate while passing through the driveway. In addition, these renovations included harmonizing the building with its surroundings and providing enough space for visitors to adjust the light inside and outside the building. The main structure has many different galleries with interactive displays, a gift shop, a theatre, and a cafeteria.

6.1.1. Building Architecture

The museum commissioned BCW architects to design the ATCO Tyrrell learning center. This was completed in 2003 and has several classrooms and offers distance learning technology to allow researchers to remotely connect with field sites and laboratories. Designed for students at all levels of education, it is suitable for those in elementary through post-secondary.

In 2019, a learning lounge will be added to the main building. Both Kassian’s & Associates and the government of Alberta collaborated to expand the Museum. Calgary-based construction firm LEAR was contracted to expand the learning lounge. Additionally, the expansion included accessible washrooms, a distance learning studio, laboratory spaces, rest areas, an interactive learning lounge, and additional classrooms.

6.2.The location of the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is located northeast of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, in the city of Drumheller. If you are in Calgary you can easily take a one-day trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. You can reach the museum via the North Dinosaur Trail. When you’re driving away from Drumheller, it’s marked on the right. The exact address of the Museum is: 1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller, Alberta T0J 0Y0, Canada

6.3.The Dinosaur Museum Alberta exhibits

In 2020 the museum presented thirteen exhibits featuring approximately 800 fossils permanently. The exhibit also includes relevant information, such as audio-visuals, interactive computers, and video programs about the item displayed. In this museum’s exhibition are also some famous works by artists such as Vladimir Krb. Fossils of a mammoth and a Smilodon are also displayed here.

Many of these are organized by geologic eras, exhibiting dioramas and specimens from those periods. There is Cretaceous Alberta, the Cretaceous Garden, the Cretaceous Period, the Cenozoic gallery, the Terrestrial Palaeozoic Era, and the Paleozoic Era. As a tribute to Joseph Tyrrell, who was the first to discover Albertosaurus, the Cretaceous Alberta exhibition features the diorama of the Albertosaurus pack. This diorama was inspired by 22 bone specimens found in Alberta.

Several exhibits are also organized around specific fossils, such as the Burgess Shale exhibit. The Grounds for Discovery exhibit features specimens found in industrial and commercial digs. In the grounds for discovery exhibit, the world’s largest display of Thyreophora, a fossil of a borealopelta discovered by workers in the Athabasca oil sands, is on display.

6.3.1. Other Exhibits:

Other exhibits from the museum’s fossil collection feature Fossils in Focus, Triassic giants, and the dinosaur hall. A tyrannosaurus skeleton, Camarasaurus, a Triceratops skeleton, an albertosaurus skeleton, and a black beauty skeleton are among the dinosaurs housed in the dinosaur hall.

Fossils in Focus is an exhibit displaying specimens from the museum’s research program. Shonisaurus is the world’s largest marine reptile and the owner of this exhibit, Elizabeth Nicholas, former curator of the Museum of marine reptiles. An impressive collection of dinosaur skeletal frames is housed in the Dinosaur Hall.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum also exhibits two interactive displays in paleontology, the preparation lab and foundation; the preparation lab exhibit allows visitors to see technicians preparing fossils for exhibits or research. Other exhibitions include the Cretaceous garden designed to show Alberta’s environment during the Cretaceous era by planting living vegetation that grew in Alberta at that time.

The learning lounge, inaugurated in 2019, is the newest exhibit in the museum and functions as an interactive and hands-on exhibit that displays dinosaur food and movement and allows visitors to interact with other organisms as well as a bronze statue of an Albertosaurus.

6.4.Programs at the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

The museum staff offers a guided tour of the surrounding Midland Provincial Park. Several outstanding programs are also offered at the museum, and students receive field training on the museum’s property. It also undertakes many digs for pay in the Drumheller area. In these programs, members of the public participate in bonebed excavations. The museum also conducts distance learning programs, providing educational programs for students.

As part of its moulding and casting program, the museum also creates replicas of specimens from its collection, which it provides to other museums.

6.5.Collection of the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

Image by royal Tyrrell museum

The museum had 350 holotypes by 2020, and 160,000 cataloged fossils, making it Canada’s biggest fossil collection. The museum’s unique fossil collection was recognized by Guinness World Records in November 2021. A fossilized Albertonectes with the longest neck ever recorded, as well as a fossilized Borealopelta with the best preservation, are among them.

The items in the collection are used for research and exhibition. Approximately 0.5% of the collection is on display in the museum. Most of the fossils date back to the Cretaceous period. Approximately 85 percent of the museum’s fossil collection came from Alberta. Besides the Cretaceous fossils of Alberta, the museum also holds fossils from the Paleozoic of the Canadian Arctic, Alberta’s Palaeocene, British Columbia’s early Cenozoic, and the Triassic.

The Museum has also acquired items through a variety of means, such as exchanges, salvage, purchases, industrial excavations, donations, and paleontologists donating their work to the museum. Most of the specimens were purchased in the 1980s when the museum had a large budget available for its opening. Around 3000 specimens are added to the collection annually.

6.6.Research at the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

Our research program at the museum is solely dedicated to analyzing and documenting Alberta’s palaeontological and geological history. It includes postdoctoral fellows, research groups, and a group of graduate students. The Palaeontological technicians of the museum oversee field works and prepare fossils for research and display. In 2015 the group collectively had over 150 years of experience. In the past, they have participated in collaborative or independent research projects at the museum, despite not currently being employed for this purpose.

Researchers at the museum have authored numerous research papers on vertebrates. As of 2015, its members had published papers on palynomorphs, invertebrates, and macro plants. Research program findings are displayed regularly in educational programs and museum exhibits.

Researchers on this team pioneered museum research in the early 1980s. The organization’s initial objective was to locate museum specimens for exhibition and collection. Following the completion of this demand, the research team’s focus switched to interpreting and documenting the geology and fossils of the dinosaur provincial park, Midland provincial park, and other sites in the province.

The museum has also conducted field research in areas like the Canadian Arctic, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Research collaborations between the museum and other institutions include the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, the Geological Survey of Canada, universities in Alberta, and other North American-based museums. Many of its research projects are based in Alberta.

It has also conducted some of its research projects outside the province. Ten externally funded and collaborative projects outside Alberta have been undertaken by the museum as of 2015. These projects have resulted in 75 research publications, beginning with the Sino-Canadian dinosaur project of 1985.

7. Parking at the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

The museum has a large parking lot that is free of charge. You can find your car in such an enormous area easier because parking areas are assigned. The museum provides a shuttle bus service to get visitors to their vehicles.

8. Facilities at the Dinosaur Museum Alberta

There are many facilities available at the dinosaur museum in Alberta. Typically, you’ll find a picnic area, a playground, a café, and plenty of restrooms, including ones for the handicapped.

9. Badlands interpretive trail

At the end of your trip, check out the Badlands interpretive trail. Discover Midlands Provincial Park’s badlands by following the interceptive signs along the trail.

10. Things to do near Dinosaur Museum Alberta

Royal Tyrrell Museum Alberta is close to a lot of cool things to do. The Bleriot Ferry, Horsethief Canyon, Hoodoos, and dinosaur spotting on Drumheller’s streets and the Rosedale Suspension Bridge are among the attractions in Drumheller. At the Drumheller Visitor Information Centre, you can climb the biggest dinosaur in the world.

11. Virtual tour of Dinosaur Museum Alberta

If you cannot visit Drumheller to tour the museum you can always check out the museum’s virtual tour. The virtual tour of the Royal Tyrrell Museum allows people to explore the museum when they are not able to travel in person.

12. Basics of Visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum with a Toddler

Admission to the Royal Tyrrell Museum is 21 dollars for adults, 14 dollars for children ages 7-17, and children under seven are admitted free of charge. You might be able to get a discount on your ticket if you visit over the weekend.

The washrooms have a sign that directs mothers who want to inquire about comfortable nursing facilities to the restroom. You can rest on the benches as well as on the seats in the dining area at the museum.

There are change tables provided in the washrooms for infants. The museum also has some healthy eating options available in its cafeteria.

13. Royal Tyrrell Museum Gift Shop

Image from the royal tyrrell museum shop

The gift shop at the museum has every kind of dinosaur gift you could want. There’s a dinosaur toy shop and a T-shirt store for kids. There are also souvenirs you can buy to take home.

14. Conclusion

You will need to take your stroller if you’re visiting Drumheller Alberta with young kids. This isn’t a place where you can rent one. Visiting early in the morning is a good idea since it becomes busier with time. It is better to explore the Badlands interpretive trail first to avoid the heat as it gets hotter in the summer months.



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