When you arrive in Western Canada, something draws you to the mountains – you need to get as close as possible. And we did, the first day there. I’m not sure the baby appreciated the views, though we took them in.
But if spending a day in the mountains wasn’t awe-inspiring enough, realizing you can drive two hours in a different direction and be in a desert wasteland is pretty mind-blowing too. We exchanged mountain breezes for dry, dusty heat. Streams and forests for cliffs and hoodoos. And looking up (at the peaks!) to looking down (at caverns, rocks and dinosaur bones!).
We drove to Drumheller and found th heat starting to seep into the car the closer we got. After a pit-stop for lunch at the Last Chance Saloon and a quick tour of some road-side hoodoos (with a brief climbing expedition for photos – don’t worry, all in sanctioned places!) we headed for the Tyrell Museum of Paleontology. The dinosaur statues that dot Drumheller’s main streets make you wish for one of two things: that you were younger, maybe a five-year-old boy, with a passion for dinosaurs so you can feel that full-body excitement of seeing dinosaurs OR that you are a palaeontologist arriving to make a big discovery. I was wishing that the baby was just a bit older (than 7 months!) to get excited about the trip.
When we arrived at 4pm, long after the school groups had left, we had the museum almost to ourselves. While the collection of dinosaurs is enough to rave about, it was hard to decide on a favourite part, so here’s my top three:
First, a window into the lab. You can see how dinosaur bones are uncovered and preserve. Real work happening right in front of you!
Second, the art room. Just beyond the lab there’s a room of displays set up just like an art gallery:fancy picture frames around the bones and dramatic lighting included. It’s a surprising room that makes you re-think what you are looking at.
Finally, instead of just illustrating the bones and sizes of dinosaurs, the Tyrell museum shows how they evolved and why some had such unique features. You can learn what bones can tell us about how dinosaurs lived and died.
At only 7 months old, Luca was itrigued but probably not as “wow’ed” as us, but he hummed and sung all the way through. At the very least, he was content. I think his favourite part was the garden greenhouse that featuredexamples of prehistoric, or prehistoric-derived, vegetation. But he was the most entertained on the way out. If you go, take a moment to take a few photos by the dinosaur statues just outside the Museum – you’ll be joined by Prarie Dogs. Yes, they even posed for our photos, reaching out for food and waiting for attention. We’ll be back for more photos when Luca is just a little older and the dinosaur bug has bitMany thanks to Laura D’Amelio for the guest post. Be sure to checkout her amazing blog exploring an Italian Canadian Life. You’ll love the stories and especially the recipes!