Pursuing the real dino deal
We’ve ticked Harry’s bucket, Crystal Palace pre-palaeontology dinosaurs, Walking with Dinosaurs, and the National History Museum off our dino bucket list, but now mine want the real deal. Alberta Dinosaurs.
They want to go roadtripping after Hellboy through the badlands of Alberta, Canada.
Dinosaurs have an enduring fascination for kids and grown ups, if you have older kids, perhaps Jurassic World has reignited a whole new interest in dinosaurs, but whatever the age of your budding palaeontologist, Alberta in Canada, a region known globally as one of the richest sources of dinosaur fossils in the world, is the place to go for a dinosaur adventure.
Letting the kids help plan holidays
My kids doing the holiday planning has crept in recently, until now their ideas had been limited to theme parks they’ve seen advertised on television, but my eldest took one look at HellBoy – the most impressive horned dinosaur discovery since Triceratops, found in Alberta – as I was writing this, and decided Alberta was absolutely where she wanted to go next Summer. I’m all for going for something that ignites their interest, Alberta seems like a huge opportunity for education and adventure. I love the idea of our trip having a purpose.
Why we would recommend Canada to families
Canada also happens to be my husband’s birthplace – his British parents went out there to work – and where we honeymooned, so it has always been a place we had planned to return to, with kids. We did a honeymoon road trip to visit Mr A’s birthplace in New Brunswick (I’ve yet to take him the few miles up the road to Carlton-in Lindrick where I was born), plus Montreal and Quebec, but we were very torn by visiting the Canadian Rockies. So when I spotted they are also in Alberta, you can imagine the road trip that started to unfold in my head. I’ve also reckoned that Carnival Cruise from Seattle to Alaska I’ve had my eye on isn’t out of reach from here, so this trip is ticking serious boxes for me.
I have such happy memories of Canada, staying in lodges in the woods, amazing hosts who made us so welcome, long open roads, eagles soaring above as we chatted happily on route to the next adventure. All that space made it feel like the longest time away together and the perfect start to a life of opportunity together. I would love my kids to have that feeling now too.
‘Located in the heart of Western Canada, bordered by the Rocky Mountains to the west and the prairies to the east, the province of Alberta is a vacation destination known for surprising even the most experienced travellers. The picturesque mountain towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are revered by hikers and nature lovers for their awe-inspiring terrain, jaw-dropping vistas and abundant Canadian wildlife. From exploring Calgary and Edmonton, lively cities brimming with music, culture and nightlife, to discovering dinosaur fossils in the mysterious Canadian Badlands, visiting Alberta promises an experience unlike any other.’ Travel Alberta
Today I am sharing a dream Alberta dinosaur adventure in Canada, I’ve found video tours where I can, because I think they work brilliantly for parents wanting to visualise how a trip might work, but also really help to capture kids imaginations ahead of a trip too. If you are planning a bigger trip and investing the funds, you want to dream it for as long as possible before, as well as after.
Start with this video, to get a sense of Alberta… remember to breathe.
Meet Hell Boy
Researchers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology announced the discovery of a of a nearly complete fossilized skull of a previously unseen horned dinosaur in Alberta. There are more than 35 dinosaur skeletons and fascinating galleries that recreate life in the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Alberta’s parries were lush coastal planes…you get a sense of the amazing setting, and of Hell Boy himself, in this short film- it gave all of us goosebumps.
Having seen what the Victorians thought dinosaurs looked like in Crystal Palace, and read about how much our ability to envision dinosaurs has changed since the first Jurassic Park film, the other thing that gave me goosebumps was this quote:
“The rate at which we are finding new species today is higher than any time previously. It is a very exciting time for dinosaur research in Alberta,” said Dr. Brown, Post-doctoral Fellow at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and co-author of the Current Biology article announcing the discovery.
Wouldn’t it be incredible to be part of a new discovery?
A Dinosaur Dig Experience
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, where the researchers from Royal Tyrrell Museum make their discoveries, here you can go on an amazing range of Alberta dinosaur experiences, using professional tools and techniques to search for fossils and see real dinosaur remains. There are age restrictions on some activities, which range from short sessions to 3 day excavations, but the best bit is there is a way to access dinosaur remains here for all ages. When I was younger I longed to be able to do this, so it would be a dream come true for me.
Why not take a video tour here and get a flavour of what the park has to offer?
I love the accommodation options here too, you can video tour the comfort camping, a kind of glamping safari tent, just like the fossil hunters would have used, except you have a fridge, heater and fan. In the video the ranger explains what wildlife to expect too, and points out the view of the badlands, the next thing on my list…
Road tripping in the Badlands
‘What did you do last summer?’
‘Road tripping in the badlands’.
Doesn’t that sound seriously cool? Your kids are going to love you even more for this bit…
The Canadian Badlands of Alberta is Canada’s “Wild West.” Take a striking scenic drive out into unique coulee landscapes and hoodoo rock formations. The badlands are named so because early settlers found the land to poor to farm, but the area is also home to some serious dino bad boys.
Follow the super cool Dino Doctors as they take to the Badlands to hunt dinos in these Dinosaur Clone-spiracy films, videos like this are sure to whet the kids’ appetites for adventure.
Travel Alberta recommend:
The Dinosaur Trail is a lovely, looping drive that closely follows both sides of the slow-moving Red Deer River, climbing twice to commanding viewpoints, Horsethief Canyon and Orkney Hill. This 48 km (29 mi) tour nicely combines the riveting intensity of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology with short walks, a ride on the Bleriot Ferry and the scenic majesty of the Drumheller Valley, including Midland Provincial Park and the Littlest Church.
There is a seriously enticing 108 mile Drumheller Valley Tour, (Drumheller is pictured above) also on the Travel Alberta website. I am already thinking Alberta would be the ideal place for a family RV adventure.
Drumheller also has the largest model dinosaur in the world, you can even climb inside, how cool! One thing I really remember about Canada was towns that had the largest something, from hammers, to shoes to dinosaurs, the Canadians know how to do things on a grand scale.
Also check out
Jurassic Forest, is a prehistoric dinosaur park that would appeal to younger children, that also features kid-friendly diversions like an adventure playground.
The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is due to open later this year, it is named after the renowned Canadian palaeontologist who inspired characters in Jurassic Park.
- A Jurassic Family Adventure in Alberta – Space In Your Case
- Jurassic Road Trip – Family Adventure Project
- Family Friendly Dinosaur Hunting – Mummy Travels
- Dinosaur Adventures – Globalmouse
- Looking for Dinosaurs – Mums do Travel
- Canadian Road Trip – Actually Mummy
Disclosure: I’m working with BritMums and Travel Alberta highlighting the region Alberta as the place to go to make your dinosaur dreams come true. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit Travel Alberta for more information.