May 11th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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i'll be taking my sons ages 5 and 15 to the canadian rockies this summer and would like to spend a little time seeing the best of dinosaur country including the royal tyrell. my question is what would be the best experience for seeing any fossil beds in their natural setting or can we see any fossil digs happening? is there anywhere to view fossilized tracks in a creekbed for example?
vgronek is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Consider taking the guided hike to the Burgess Shale fossil beds at Mount Stephen. The hikes depart from the hamlet of Field, British Columbia. It's located in Yoho National Park, to the west of Lake Louise.

The hike to Walcott Quarry probably would be too much for your 5-year-old. Even in the case of the Mount Stephen hike, read the description before deciding if it's right for your family.

The Tyrrell Museum has a model of the ocean that subsequently became the Burgess Shale rock formation. The models of the sea creatures in the Tyrrell Museum's display are ten times their real size, for easier visualization.

The model in the Tyrrell Museum and the actual Burgess Shale rock formation each is more interesting if you have seen or know you will be seeing its counterpart.

Here is a website:

Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 07:09 PM
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Well, if it is dinosaurs you are after then the Burgess Shale is not what you want. That formation, while incredible in terms of showing the diversity of life in the Cambrian period, is of such an age that the limestone was deposited about 540 million years ago in the middle Cambrian.

Dinosaurs on the other hand did not appear until the mid Triassic Period about 230 million years ago. In terms of time, the Burgess shale fossils are probably 300 million years older.

The most prolific dinosaur bearing beds in Alberta are in the bad lands east of Drumheller.

Most of the dinosaurs finds are in soft Cretacious period formations that are in the range of 70 to 90 million years old.

If you look at the web site for Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta and as the web site for the Royal Tyrrell Museum, you will find opportunities to experience some field work.

I will warn you now that the badlands are very hot and very dry. Unprotected skin will burn severely in a very short time and dehydration is all too frequent.

I think if you want the best educational opportunity, look at the Royal Tyrrell Museum web site. The educational staff there in my experience is first rate and many programs are aimed at younger adults and children.

I don't know about track ways other than those shown in the museums. The Royal Tyrrell Museum has a large collection of tracks, but I don't know how many of them are open to public view.

bob_brown is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 03:20 PM
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you two are so helpful to so many...thanks for the great, detailed
vgronek is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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We went to the Tyrell Museum last Sept. As two adults we loved it and spent four hours in the museum itself.
The restaurant is soo bad. Franchising Mcdonalds would provide better food.
There is a short loop drive of the badlands, about an hour.
There are fake staged 'finds' tours for little kids. There is a guided hour long hike for the older one.
We stayed at the hotel listed here on Fodors. I think it is listed because it is the only one that is not branded.

The museum is well laid out with periodic sit and watch sites, washrooms half way through and at the end a scientific interactive display.
icithecat is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 07:31 AM
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The minining town of Grand Cache in Alberta has given paleontologists a very good chance to study dinosaur footprints.

Unfortunately, the location is well north and west of Edmonton which may be off of your route by a considerable distance.

Rich McCrea a paleontologist at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, has conducted research in the area around Grand Cache. He might be willing to tell you where you could spot trackways in the field. Usually such places are difficult to reach and require considerable effort to locate.

I think your best bet is to find out what is on display at various museums.

I do not know if the University of Alberta in Edmonton has any trackways on display.
bob_brown is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Dinosaur Provincial Park has a display of dinosaur bones "as found" with a shelter built around them to protect them from the weather and people. It gives a good perspective of what the paleontologists had to work with. I'd go there first, then to the Royal Tyrell. We took the bus tour in the provincial park but it was an abreviated tour because it had been raining and the planned route was closed.
rm_mn is offline  
May 15th, 2006, 06:06 PM
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thank you all for awesome ideas! cant wait to check out this beautiful corner of the world.
vgronek is offline  
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