The arrival of our first house guests inspired a new focus to our explorations in Alberta. It was time to get to know some of the famous landmarks and tourist attractions. As proud new Albertans we were eager to “tour” our guests around some famous attractions within an easy drive of Calgary. First stop – Drumheller. Slightly later than a serious angler would leave to go ice fishing but still before the sun, the car was travelling east. Having ‘made good time’ (read ‘drove too fast’), we found the quiet and still asleep town of Drumheller. It was apparent that this is a dinosaur loving community. Statues of dinosaurs appeared on every corner and even on park benches! They were rich with colour and appeared in all shapes and sizes. What to do before a town opens for business? Coffee of course! Beside the purple dinosaur in a red scarf stands Cafe Ole. Fantastic cappuccinos, lattes and teas were served with a warm smile by a young barista.
Having warmed up and with a fresh caffeine fix, it was time to meet the World’s Largest Dinosaur. They’re not kidding, this is one LARGE dinosaur. The more adventurous of us, ventured into the beast and climbed the stairs up to its mouth. This lookout offered a great view of the surrounding town and beyond. Those of us who prefer to stay closer to the ground got the inside scoop from the wonderful people at The Drumheller Visitor Information centre (conveniently located at the base of the T-Rex).
Next stop – The Royal Tyrell Museum. Located a short drive out of town, this museum is a must see for anyone visiting Calgary. It was incredible to see and learn all about a time when dinosaurs walked the earth, soared the sky and swam in the seas. The attention to detail and thoroughness of the exhibits was impressive. This is the first museum where video presentations were absolutely riveting. No big surprise that we spent a significant amount of time in the Burgess Shale and early sea life exhibits.
The cold and treacherous footing, cut short our walk through the trails around the museum. Next stop – Horseshoe Canyon. Less than half a kilometre from the highway it seems impossible to miss. As you gaze out on the prarie horizon from the highway, the only indication of the impressive feature is the sign on the highway saying “park here”. This area is protected by a group of organizations and individuals lead by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The site is home to a series of hiking trails, leading visitors through the badlands and onto the canyon floor.
While this took us less than a day, it would be easy to spend days at the Museum and hiking the Canyon. Many thanks to Mum and Dad for joining us on this adventure and to Mum for some of the great shot of the Drumheller sign! This will definitely require another trip. Maybe when its warmer!