Drumheller is a small city located in the Red Deer River Valley Badlands. It is about a one hour and thirty minute drive northeast of Calgary. Thanks to the gullies and rock columns known as hoodoos that fill the valley, the landscape resembles a lunar in many ways. Long ago, it was a subtropical marshland where dinosaurs once roamed. Many fossils and skeletons have been discovered here over the years.
The main attraction of Drumheller is the Drumheller Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, 335 First Street East, which has displays of dinosaur remains as well as displays focused on the geology of the valley. The highlight of the museum is the 30 foot (9 meter) long Edmontosaurus. Be sure to begin your tour of the museum at the Tourist Information Centre.
Drumheller is also where the 48 kilometer (30 mile) Dinosaur Trail begins. This circular driving route leads visitors to many different places of interest, offering spectacular views of the badlands. Along the trail, you’ll come across the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology some 6 kilometers northwest of Drumheller. The building blends well with the surrounding landscape. The museum itself provides a fascinating account of the theory of evolution and also contains an extensive collection of fossils. In fact, it boasts one of the largest displays of dinosaurs in the world, including some that have been reconstructed with great care and attention. There is also a garden where the plants grown resemble the plants that would have grown in the days of the dinosaurs. Videos, computers, and interactive displays assist visitors in understanding the various subjects.
The Dinosaur Provincial park is yet another dinosaur attraction for those who can’t get enough. Located 140 kilometers (87 miles) southeast of Drumheller, the park is set in the Red Deer Valley badlands and has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is perhaps one of the world’s most impressive dinosaur graveyards. The park is filled with skeletons in full view, laying exactly in the same position and place they were discovered. You can visit the Field Station where many leading paleontologists work, doing research on their finds. The station has an interpretive display for visitors and is also the starting point for guided walks and bus tours. The best way to get to the park from Drumheller is to take Route 56, exit to Highway 873 at Brooks, and then follow the signs.
Carroll, Donald. Insider’s Guide Canada. Edison: Hunter Publishing, Inc, 1996. ISBN: 1556507100.
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