We were excited for a lot of our Alberta adventure this summer, but exploring the world of Dinosaurs was at the top of that list. We are big Dinosaur geeks, so we knew that exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park had to be on the top of our list, along with our visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Plus, we were camping in the park. How much more exciting could it get? More than we imagined.
When you watch Jurassic Park, you are imagining and world with Dinosaurs. When you’re exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park, you get to take it a step further and learn about and discover their bones. This really was the best way to learn about Dinosaurs — way more cool than any book you could read about them. It really helped to bring the imagination to life, and put into perspective how big they really were, especially for the kids!
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about two-and-a-half hours drive east of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; or a half-hour drive northeast of Brooks. Dinosaur Provincial Park is one of the richest Dinosaur fossil locales in the world. Fifty-eight Dinosaur species have been discovered at the park and more than 500 specimens have been removed and exhibited in museums around the globe. This justified its becoming a World Heritage Site in 1979. The park is situated in the valley of the Red Deer River, which is noted for its striking badland topography.
We wanted to get right in there to explore some fossils, so we booked the Explorer Bus tour, where they take you “behind the scenes” and teach you how to find and distinguish Dinosaur bones (Aero-like chocolate bar bubbles) from a rock. The girls were thrilled when they found a real Dinosaur bone! They were also full of questions, especially Madison. I was surprised when we saw a skeleton all mixed up in a big stone and she asked why the skeleton was all “broken”, since every time she has seen a Dinosaur, it has been perfectly laid out for display, or in a book. Love seeing how the minds of little kids work!
Our guide for the Explorer Bus tour was absolutely fantastic. He was super friendly, ready to answer any question, and super patient with the kids while he was helping them learn. You could see his passion for Dinosaurs, and that made it even more exciting, even for the adults.
* We chose the Explorer Bus tour because of the young ages of my kids. When the kids are older, there are also additional options and programs they can take part in. We will definitely be back when the kids are able to experience more of the programs!
The Explorer Bus Tour
Camping With The Dinosaurs
Our campsite here was one of our favourite camping experiences. It had the least light pollution of the majority of our Alberta campsites, and the stars were ready to shine bright. We could have stared up at the sky in amazement all night. Our campsite was also just a few minute walk away from the hike an employee suggested we take to explore more of the Badlands landscape. We could instantly see why the Badlands Trail was her favourite — fascinating views all around, and a super easy hike to do with the kids. It really did feel like their claim of it being “the largest and most spectacular area of Badlands found in Canada” was justified. We were told it would take 45 minutes. Even with us stopping to take photos, the blazing heat, and having three kids nearly five and under in tow, we finished in less time. We loved having our Dinosaur dreams under such a starry sky, surrounded by such a fascinating Badlands landscape.
There is so many things to see and learn when exploring Dinosaur Provincial Park. We feel like we only scratched the surface — there were many other tours to take and so much more to learn. We will definitely be making another trip back.