Dinosaurs, Hoodoos…and Gophers, Take Two

In the summer of 1997, Hubby and I took our three boys to Drumheller, to see the badlands and explore the Royal Tyrrell Museum. (I blogged about the trip here) As much as we loved the experience, we’ve never been back, until this summer, when my oldest son and I returned with his family.

1 Royal Tyrrell Museum

There were still gophers galore, and when I told my grandsons how much their uncle had wanted to take one home for a pet, they offered to catch one for him. Wouldn’t have that been fun? Not.

2 Gopher @ Royal Tyrrell Museum

We strolled the Badlands Interpretive Trail before the day got too warm.

3 Badlands Interpretive Trail 4 Badlands Interpretive Trail 5 Badlands Interpretive Trail 6 Badlands Interpretive Trail

I don’t recall this trail from our first visit. Perhaps it hadn’t been developed yet, back then. It was interesting to see all the little hoodoos in the making.

7 Hoodoo, Badlands Interpretive Trail

Cactus grew all over the place, surprising, given the climate in Alberta.

8 Badlands Interpretive Trail

When we finally entered the museum, we were greeted by these bad boys. For a brief moment, my little grandsons were unsure whether to feel apprehensive or excited. Excitement soon won out.

9 Royal Tyrrell Museum

Fascinating story behind this T-Rex find. In 1980, two high school students were fishing in the Crowsnest Pass when they spotted what they thought was petrified wood. Closer inspection revealed a dinosaur in prime condition. Such a remarkable discovery and I can just imagine their excitement!

10 T-Rex, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Much of the museum didn’t seem familiar to me, no doubt having evolved greatly over the nearly twenty years since I’d first been there. But some of the exhibits were recognizable, and it was cool to take photos of my son and his sons where I’d once taken photos of my three boys.

11 Dimetrodon, Royal Tyrrell Museum 11a Xiphactinus, Royal Tyrrell Museum

We spent an incredible few hours, allowing our imaginations to wander back to another time where these amazing creatures roamed our earth.


12 Eotriceratops, Royal Tyrrell Museum


13 Dimetrodon, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Stegosaurus (my younger grandson’s personal favourite)

14 Stegosaurus, Royal Tyrrell Museum


15 Gorgosaurus, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Baby Hadrosaurs

16 Baby Hadrosaurs, Royal Tyrrell Museum


17 Prosaurolophuss, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Plesiobaena, a primitive turtle

18 Plesiobaena, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Champsosaurs. Although these reptiles look like primitive crocodiles, but they actually predate Crocodilians.

19 Champsosaurs, Royal Tyrrell Museum


20 Ornithomimus, Royal Tyrrell Museum

The mighty T-Rex. I remember this impressive guy from my first visit.

21 T-Rex, Royal Tyrrell Museum


22 Triceratops, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Sabre-tooth cats & Mastodon

24 Sabre-tooth cat & Mastodon, Royal Tyrrell Museum

Seeing the Hoodoos, back in 1997, stands out clearly in my memory, and I was happy that these delicate and beautiful formations were still standing for all to enjoy.

25 Hoodoos 26a Hoodoos

Back when we first visited, we were able to go right up to them, but they are now (wisely) protected behind a fence.

Photo from 1997 (Notice how the choice of T-shirt hasn’t changed over the years)

4 Hoodoos, Drumheller

The same hoodoo now

27 Hoodoos

Although the small group of hoodoos are off-bounds, the rest of the area is open for exploring, which the boys very much enjoyed doing.

28 Hoodoos 29 Hoodoos 30 Hoodoos

Because of my vertigo (it’s much easier going up than coming back down), I chose not to climb too high. Instead I stayed below to take in the beauty surrounding me. Stark, harsh, and infinitely interesting.

31 Hoodoos 32 Hoodoos

My reason for going to Alberta was to celebrate my oldest grandson’s birthday. I was only there for a few days, but we managed to cram in as much fun as we could. Besides the trip to Drumheller, we spent a day playing in the Elbow River. A different section of this river flows directly behind my old high school and it’s been nearly forty years since I’d last waded in it.

33 Elbow River 34 Elbow River 35 Elbow River

We also went to the beautiful Prince’s Island Park.

36 Prince's Island Park

In some ways, the park reminded me of parts of Stanley Park in Vancouver, with the Bow River flowing nearby instead of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The park even had the requisite geese and black squirrels.

37 Prince's Island Park 38 Prince's Island Park

We wandered beyond the park to the Peace Bridge and across the Bow River.

39 Bow River 40 The Peace Bridge over Bow River

As a special treat (especially for me!), I took everyone to a Stampeders’ football game. Growing up, back in the day, I used to save my babysitting money to go to their games. It was a beautiful night, and the home team didn’t disappoint.

41 Calgary Stampeders VS Montreal Allouettes 42 Calgary Stampeders VS Montreal Allouettes

Another day, full of nostalgia, took us to Bowness Park. That park reminds me so much of my dearly missed dad. He used to take us there when we were kids, and it was touching to share that special place with my own son and his family. The nearby Bow River is a good spot to find the perfect rock to throw in the water.

43 Bowness Park

We walked the trails, eventually crossing the river using the pedestrian bridge under Stoney Trail. After a little more rock skipping, we made our way back into the park and, eventually, home.

44 Pedestrian bridge under Stoney Trail

All too soon, I was winging my way back to my own home, filled with enough wonderful memories to carry me through to the next visit.

378 Okanagan Lake


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