Old Aug 19th, 2004, 09:58 PM
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Is it possible to see Drumheller and the Dinosaur museum on the drive from Edmonton to Calgary - if so, how long would it take from Edmonton? Is it worth it? or should it be done as a day trip from Calgary?
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 06:33 AM
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We drove from Banff to Drumheller, saw the Tyrrell Museum (2 hours max). It has static displays. My 10 year old wasn't as interested as I thought he would be, and he loves dinosaurs. Royal Ontario Museum dinosaur special exhibit was more interesting (computer animated dinosaur shown how it would look and walk when alive) but smaller quantity than Royal Tyrrell's.

The tour of the Dinosaur Park was very interesting and they allowed us to touch the dinosaur bones laying around on the ground. Pretty interesting to walk in the restricted area of the park. Tour guide was amazing! Tour is cancelled if it rains because it gets extremely slippery.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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you could do it in one long day. get an early start from edmonton. most kids love to visit the hoodoos and climb those. there is also a swinging bridge that you should see as well. i'd probably allow 6 hours total including the museum.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 07:34 AM
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I thought that the museum was fabulous! But it was very crowded when we visited, so it took took longer than it might have to see everything. We didn't mind as we had plenty of time, but you might feel rushed. I guess it depends how interesting you find it!
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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It's twice as far from Edmonton to Drumheller as from Calgary to Drumheller (approx 300 km vs. approx 145 km - depending on the route that you take), so if you want to have a pleasant relaxing experience and time to enjoy the Badlands and the Royal Tyrrell museum, I think that a day trip from Calgary is the best way to go.

Of course - it is possible to do the trip from Edmonton as long as you start really early in the morning - it's a three hour drive (one way) not including stops if you drive through Camrose and Stettler; it'll take slightly longer if you opt for highway 2 because that adds another 40 to 50 km in distance.

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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 08:19 AM
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Yes, I believe it's worth taking a detour to see the Tyrrell. The drive from Edmonton to Drumheller is 180 miles and, according to the www.freetrip.com trip planning website, takes 3 hours 15 minutes. Free Trip's suggested route uses secondary roads (good, paved roads), which makes for a shorter drive than Map Quest's suggested route that uses Hwy #2.

Free Trip's suggested route from Drumheller to Calgary is 82 miles and supposedly takes 1 hour 23 minutes. (The last time I took the same route that Free Trip suggests, which uses secondary roads, I got stuck behind a big, slow, agricultural vehicle, and it took more like 1 hour 45 minutes.)

I would say it takes a minimum of 2 hours to do justice to the museum's interior displays, and that's not counting extra activities one might undertake, such as the guided outdoor walks. But then I like museums.

My kids now are young adults, but when they were in elementary school they used to enjoy playing the computer games that are available in the museum. One of these games involved designing your own dinosaur. You might want to design a herbivorous dinosaur, for example. You had to choose from a range of jaw types, body types, leg types, and so on. The computer would tell you what was right and what was wrong with your design, e.g., the jaw you'd chosen would or would not facilitate the eating of plants, and so on.

Since my kids were little, the museum has added a mobile model of what was an ocean that now has turned into a rock formation known as the Burgess Shale near Field, British Columbia. You walk over the "ocean" on a transparent floor, so that you can look down and see models of ancient sea creatures (blown up to ten times their actual size, if I recall correctly) moving around in the water.

I like the room that has plants that are contemporaries of ours but also were contemporaries of the dinosaurs. Apparently they know what these plants were from pollen spores that are part of the fossil record. Grass had not yet evolved during the dinosaur era.

If you add an hour or so for lunch and a little browsing in the museum gift store, I think you're looking at a minimum of 8 hours from the time you set out from Edmonton until the time you arrive in Calgary, more like 10 hours if you add an outdoor walk onto that. But I think it would be time well spent.

A visit to the Tyrrell also could be done as a day trip from Calgary, but I think that visiting it en route from Edmonton to Calgary would be quite an efficient way of going about it.

Until September 6, 2004, the museum is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm. From September 7, 2004 to October 11, 2004, it is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. From October 12, 2004 through the first half of May 2005, it is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. During the winter it is closed on Mondays, except for Mondays that are public holidays, at which time it is open. It is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. For more info see


Hope that helps.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 08:21 AM
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Oops, didn't see you there, Borealis.
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Old Aug 20th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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You have the best driving advice up above from two residents of the area.

I can add that the back roads in Alberta are very easy to drive, usually with little traffic. I like to pick a direct route on paved roads because even the narrow roads have a good surface on them.

I have toured the museum twice and I find it very interesting. My main gripe was that I had hoped to find a good offering of books on dinosaurs in the museum gift shop. Nope. Had to order from somewhere else.

The exhibits are good. They are mostly geared for learning and not entertainment cartoon style. The educational interpretive programs for youngsters are well presented. I remember going to one done on the fossils of the Burgess Shale. The models used were designed to show up brightly under ultra violet light. They were accurately constructed done, and the museum staff had put together a cute skit to entertain the kids.

I would not believe Opabina and its 5 eyes had I not seen one of the fossils under a hand lens at the Burgess Shale Learning Center in Field. It is a strange looking creature with no known descendents. I am not sure how any brain could assimilate views through 5 eyes. I gather this animal could do little more than distinguish light and dark.
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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I grew up in Drumheller-and would agree that a day trip from Calgary would make the most sense - it is about a 1.5 hr drive from Calgary, but a 3 hr drive from Edmonton which would make it a very long day to do it all. Actually, I think Drumheller is a worthwile destination for an overnight stay as well. If I may make a few suggestions: the East Coulee School Museum (about 30 minutes from Drumheller) is an excellent representation of a mining town, complete with pictures and stories of the residents, along with the Atlas Coal Mine Museum. Wayne is a nice little jaunt (15 minutes), with a pub that many films use as a backdrop, quite a bit of flavor in that town and is famous for its amount of small bridges to go over to get to the town. On the way to Wayne (in "Rosedale" is the Cool Castle-don't miss it for great burgers and shakes!) The Tyrrell Museum of course is a highlight with recent renovations it feels like you are in a NY museum. For dining, Stavros has great steaks (by BW Jurassic Inn) and the Sizzling House has excellent Thai and Asian food. For shopping I suggest cruising down the main street and the side streets - some cute little eclectic shops to go in. If you have kiddies don't forget the splash/spray park esp if it's hot - you can't miss it, it's by the 'largest dinosaur in the world'. Enjoy! Drum (as the residents call it) has a lot to offer visitors, you won't regret stopping...
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