Jump back in time as many as 145 million years ago. A good portion of North America's midwest is a lush tropical habitat complete with a vast inland sea. Hiding within a grove of giant ferns, you feel the earth tremble at the approach of a Tyrannosaurus rex, king of the tyrant lizards. You work on your best disappearing act.
Fast forward to the present to stand in the same spot surrounded by the eroded barren landscape of the badlands, where the only remaining traces of that long ago time in Alberta are the fossils and dinosaur bonebeds that abound here.
Alberta’s "Fossil Trail" spans 2,500 km (1,553 mi) and begins with the lesser known badlands in northwestern Alberta. Move on a diagonal to southeastern Alberta into the heart of the Canadian Badlands. Even the name is mysterious and maybe that’s why you’re compelled to explore.
The Canadian Badlands has yielded some of the world's richest deposits of prehistoric fossils and dinosaur finds from the ancient seabed. Since the 19th century, many of the most important dinosaur discoveries in the world were unearthed right here, including our very own Albertosaurus.
Badlands. Bonebeds. Big. Here’s your Dinosaur Adventure checklist.
Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology
Plan to spend the better part of a day – or even two – at The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, just seven minutes from the town of Drumheller. This world class facility houses of the largest displays of dinosaurs on the planet. Learn why they call their T-Rex Black Beauty. Stay for a family sleepover and snore with the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Hall. Go on a genuine guided archaeological dig. Learn about the "last sea dragon," a 75 million year old sea reptile.
Dinosaur Provincial Park
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its bonebeds and much of the Tyrrell’s excavations take place through their field station here. Visit our page on Dinosaur Provincial Park to learn about all the incredible experiences to be found here.
Just south of the city of Grande Prairie, in our northern badlands is the Pipestone Creek area, home to the discovery in 1974 of a 73 million year old bone bed - a mass gravesite of the pachyrhinosaurus, a large plant-eating dinosaur. Much of this discovery has yet to be excavated. Fundraising is underway for the new Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum. Construction on the museum begins Spring 2013 with the opening slated for June 2014. Named after the man who co-founded the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, it will be a mecca for palaeontologists around the world. Stay at the Pipestone Creek Campground and take the museum’s Dinosaur Bonebed Tour, June through August.
For as close to a close encounter as you can get without being in a Steven Spielberg movie, go on a guided safari at Jurassic Forest, a 40 acre "prehistoric preserve" where gigantic animatronic dinosaurs live and breathe. Just minutes from Edmonton.