Exploring Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures At The Royal Tyrrell Museum

I always find the discovery of new dinosaurs or dinosaur facts to be a cause for joy. Learning about these mysterious creatures really makes you contemplate the mystery of life on earth. That is why I love dinosaurs. The thought of their existence blows my mind and completely fascinates me. It is all about imagining a world in which you could interact with the dinosaurs. The Royal Tyrrell Museum had been on my radar for so long!

My love for these prehistoric creatures rubbed off on the kids already, so I figured it would be a good time to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum during our trip through Alberta. I lost count how many times I had the girls turn around and say “This is SO cool!”, before running away again to learn some more. It felt like they made me read and explain every single information board to them and I loved how much information they were soaking in. This was the perfect museum to visit for one of the first stepping-stones in developing the kids’ knowledge of prehistoric natural history.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the science of palaeontology and has one of the biggest displays of dinosaur skeletons in the world. Their mandate is to be an internationally recognized public and scientific museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, presentation, and interpretation of palaeontological history, with special reference to Alberta’s rich fossil heritage. It really felt like it was a world class exhibit and interpretive centre and it was neat to learn about Alberta’s heritage of dinosaur fossil deposits.

Royal Tyrrell Museum

What we especially loved at the Royal Tyrrell Museum:

  • There is still a lot for small kids to see. With three kids five and under, the set up allowed them all to be able to learn different things about dinosaurs, wether it was by pushing a button to hear a noise, or to stand beside a massive dinosaur bone, there were more ways to learn about dinosaurs then just reading every information board (though the kids made me do that, too). So interactive!
  • You can stop at the archeologist lab and watch them working through the windows. The kids had so many questions to ask as they watched. Watching made them realize that it is a long process from discovery of a fossil to museum exhibition; fossils aren’t automatically ready to be displayed or studied when they come out of the ground.
  •  We found it neat to learn about the many different coincidences where fossils have been found. There have been some great accidental finds!

Know before you go:

  • Get there early, or a couple hours before closing to avoid lines. When we were leaving around lunchtime, the lines to get in were getting pretty big. When we wandered around, there was a lot of space to move around since it was less busy.
  • It is reasonably priced. Kids under six are free, adults are $19 – and there’s also a family rate of $48 (two adults and their children, up to eight people total).
  • The museum is very well laid out and the exhibits are well displayed. Give yourselves plenty of time if you want to read the information at every display
  • Pay special attention to how many exhibits are original fossils and not a cast. Most are original and local to the area.
  • The Royal Tyrrell Museum is in Drumheller, AB, not within Dinosaur National Park, which is actually 120 kilometres southeast of Drumheller.

Take a look at all the great dinosaur exhibits:

Royal Tyrrell Museum
A fun sight to see when we first walked in!
Royal Tyrrell Museum
So many different time periods to learn about – Alberta was such a different place in each one.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
This is an exploding skull of a Daspletosaurus. Discovered in 2000, the disarticulated skull took over ten years to collect. Since the fossil bones of this skull are extremely fragile, casts were made of some elements and the more delicate and complex bones were digitized and 3D printed. This was the first time such a technique was used on a dinosaur skull.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
‘Black Beauty’ Tyrranosaurus Rex
Royal Tyrrell Museum
We loved how interactive the museum was and the wealth of knowledge that was at our fingertips there!
Royal Tyrrell Museum
The displays were so well done!
Royal Tyrrell Museum
We loved walking among one of the largest collections of dinosaur skeletons in the world… especially this T-Rex!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Royal Tyrrell Museum
We thought this setup was super neat – you could see under the floor too. This exhibit showcased the 505-million-year-old underwater world. It features 46 creatures from the Burgess Shale, one of the most important fossil resources ever discovered.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
The sail on this animal’s back may have been for thermo-regulation, which would enable the sun to rapidly heat its body so that it was active earlier in the day than other animals. Dimetrodon was a member of a group of reptiles that gave rise to mammals and is often mistaken for a dinosaur.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
This is how we measured up!

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Royal Tyrrell Museum
That was one cool T-Rex!
Royal Tyrrell Museum
The dinosaurs even made Jacob’s head turn in amazement. Several times I was wondering what he was thinking as he cranked his head to take a look … This is a Stegosaurus.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Chasmosaurus – The large skin covered openings (Chasms) in the frill of this dinosaur would have made it too weak to use in self defence.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Regaliceratops Peterhewsi – This was interesting to see since it is a relative of the Triceratops. Its features are small horns over the eyes, large horn on the nose, large triangular bony projections that extend from the frill. It is interesting because those are the opposite features of a Triceratops.

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Royal Tyrrell Museum
Fun views using the mirror
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Always so much to learn

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Royal Tyrrell Museum
Woolly Mammoths are always such a neat sight. Those tusks!
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Though it is disputed what caused their extinction, it is said that most believe it was due to climate change.

 

If you find yourself exploring Alberta, make this a destination in your travels, not just an add-on. You can also purchase a two-day pass at a minimal cost increase from the one day visit. We wished we had more time to wander through once more. Next time we find ourselves in Alberta, we will definitely be back. I would love to see the difference in how the kids react now compared to when they are a little older. I’d also love to participate in some of the public programs when the kids are all of age; they sound like fascinating hands-on fun.

 

What have been some of your favourite dinosaur or museum experiences on your travels?

 

Disclaimer: We were guests at Royal Tyrrell Museum, but as always, our opinions are our own.