Alberta has a lot to offer dinosaur enthusiasts. The area around Alberta is known as the Badlands of the North. The erosion of the rocks which create the unique formations has revealed a unique glimpse into prehistory. The best Dino-tourism sites in Alberta are the Dinosaur Provincial Park, the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Alberta’s Fossil Trail, Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Center, and Jurassic Forest.
The Dinosaur Provincial Park has a unique setting with water and wind carved formations that form the backdrop for some of the most important fossil discoveries. Visitors to the UNESCO World Heritage Site can expect to see a diverse collection of late Cretaceous period, roughly 75 million year old, subtropical fossils including over 40 species. An astonishing 150 complete dinosaur skeletons have been discovered in the park. The fossils represent a time when the area was dominated by a subtropical river environment. The Dinosaur Centre is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM from October 9th to March 31st. Admission is $3 for an adult and $2 for a youth. Children under 7 years old are free.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum boast a stunning array of exhibits centered on dinosaurs that once walked the earth over 200 million years ago and swam in the sea about 375 million years ago. The Dinosaur Hall has one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world. Museum hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Sunday from September 1st through May 14th and 9 AM to 9 PM from May 15th through August 31st. Admission is $11 for adult and $6 for youth. Children under 7 years old are free.
For an unguided exploration of prehistoric life, visitors can travel through the badland’s area on Alberta’s Fossil Trail. The trail runs about 2,500 kilometers through nine separate paleontological sites identified by the Royal Tyrell Museum. One of the premier sites is Centre 2000, home to the Ceratopsians and a mass dinosaur bone yard dating to about 73 million years ago. The Midland Provincial Park has 72 million year old fossils of hadroosaurs, ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, pachycephlosaurs, ornthomimids, dromeosaurs, and theropods. A detailed list of all the sites along Alberta’s Fossil Trail is provided in a map available at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Fossil World Dinosaur Discovery Center is a museum featuring hands-on activities to assist in learning about the magnificent creatures that once roamed the earth. The star of Fossil World is the animatronic T rex. Activities include demonstrations, fossil digs, mineral mining, rock wall climbing, drawing, and cinema. Admission is $6. To participate in the fossil dig, the price is $12, and the mineral mine is $6.
Jurassic Forest has 40 acres of prehistoric dinosaurs to see including pachyrhinosaurs, troodon, spinosaurus, hadrosaurus, iguanodon, and many more. Visitors to Jurassic Forest can take a leisurely stroll through the dinosaur gardens, dig at the paleontological site, enjoy interactive family displays, participate in a scavenger hunt, or take the flora & fauna expedition. The facility has a play area catering to children two years and older and a picnic area. Admission of $13.33 for adults and $7.62 for children ages 2 to 12.
Each of the dinosaur activities is educational and sure to be a blast from the past. Alberta has a treasure trove of fossils for visitors to enjoy.