The Alberta Badlands, Hoodoos and the Dinosaurs!
Our first night in the Badlands was spent at Dinosaur Provincial Park which is half way between Medicine Hat and Drumheller. This provincial park was absolutely stunning. It was fall, and the colours were beautiful and the landscape was breathtaking.
The park is located in the Red Deer River valley which helps form stunning coulees, hoodoos and amazing reddish striped rock formations. With the valley being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world the history of the region goes back seventy five million years to when these big creatures walked what was then a very tropical region.
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. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The park has lots of good information and even one “hut” has dinosaur bones still sticking out of the rock to see, which was very cool. We were are able to walk all around to view these amazing sites.
With the next two nights booked into an RV park in Drumheller we had to relocate into the “Dinosaur Capitol of the World” as they refer to themselves. The town itself boasts the “world’s largest” dinosaur that stands almost thirty meters high looking out over the Badlands. With numerous fun and colourful dinosaurs dotted around the town they have definitely embraced their history.
We were able to explore a little bit of the Red Deer Valley by bicycle as we cycled along the river for a nice ride. There is also a world renown paleontology museum located right in the heart of Dinosaur Valley called the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
The museum is named in honour of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, a geologist who accidentally discovered the first reported dinosaur fossil in the Red Deer River valley in 1884 while searching for coal seams.
One of the most popular is “Dinosaur Hall”, with over 40 mounted dinosaur skeletons, including specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus, Stegosaurus and Triceratops. You are actually looking at specimens that are millions of years old, amazing!! This was a very fun and interesting museum that allows you to walk amongst these giants.
As we were heading to our campsite in Banff National Park we were crossing paths with our friends Bob, Ann, Bear and Wags so we stopped at a Tim Hortons north of Calgary and had lunch with our Ontario/Arizona friends.