Open the Door Get on the Floor, Everybody Saw Some Dinosaurs!

 

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Well it’s been nearly a year since we made our way to Drumheller, AB to see the dinosaurs, but I promised a blog post about it, so here it is!!!

Our kiddos were then nearly 3 and 6, and it worked out to be the perfect ages to manage the long drives & enjoy walking around the museum.

We started our journey from Coquitlam and drove all the way to Revelstoke the first day & set up camp there for 2 nights. We did make a few stops along the way of course, like in Three Valley Gap! Perfect place to stretch your legs and do a little sight seeing. This is the 2nd time I’ve stopped at Three Valley Gap and NOT gone inside lol! But if we ever head that way again I won’t miss a 3rd opportunity to check out the Heritage Ghost Town there!

There are several recreational camp sites & as well as a Provincial campsite along Lake Revelstoke. Had we thought to book our spot online in advance (oops!) We would have stayed at the first campsite along the lake, Martha Creek (hello, running water!)

BUT we ended up nabbing a spot on one of the campsites further up the road, at Wadey Creek.  This campsite was perfectly situated on the lake and the site was clean & well maintained by its hosts 🙂

The campsite is just a few minutes drive from Mount Revelstoke National Park, where we spent the afternoon on our second day! There is a free shuttle bus you can take from the parking lot to the Summit, but it’s a lovely walk too! Pack a lunch & snacks to enjoy in the park (but be bear aware*)!

The fields of wildflowers along the parkway are stunning!

After 2 nights in Revelstoke we packed up and continued on our journey! Next stop was Banff National Park. Now the last time the hubby and I stayed in Banff we went in mid-September and we had no trouble finding camping spots at the base of Lake Louise. However…this time we were cruising through in August (peak tourism season), and once again we hadn’t made a reservation. The Lake Louise area is extremely busy with tour buses coming and going. But it is the most amazing stop & I would highly recommend making your way up to see Lake Louise, even if you don’t stay at the campground there. During our visit in 2010 we camped at the base, biked to the top to see the lake and rented a canoe. It was sooo much fun & incredibly picturesque.

Since the campground there was full, we headed further North, toward Jasper, and there are several campgrounds along the way to choose from.

We ended up staying at Mosquito Creek Campground, which we had stayed at back in 2010. The site is equipped with outhouses & a large sink with running water to wash your dishes. While this was all bear country (which we’re familiar with), the only warnings that were up & one we received from the park ranger himself, was about the family of Ravens onsite (a group of Ravens is called an ‘Unkindness’ or ‘Conspiracy’…very fitting in this case)! The ravens, while ever present & a little creepy, never became a problem, but apparently they were notorious for snatching food away from children & any unattended food at this campsite!

Now, at this time, it was mid-to late-August, summer for everyone, except for Banff apparently! It was maybe 4 degrees C! Thankfully we had packed our winter jackets and toques; they came in handy!

Banff is a stunning place to camp, every inch is a photo op!

Finally it was time to pack up and make our way to Drumheller! The drive through the Rockies was incredible!! I just loved the rolling hills once we headed into Alberta, such a beautiful province.

In keeping with our pattern, of not having campground reservations, we arrived in Drumheller hoping for the best! We chose The Hoodoo RV Resort & Campground & it ended up being the perfect place to camp, the showers were a nice treat! The campsite is situated on a grass field where the kids could play right in front of us, as well as a playground for them. And there is coin laundry & a small store for snacks etc..

I just found this site with a list of campsites in Drumheller, in case you’d like to check out your options.

I had no expectations or plans for what we would see in Drumheller, so I was amazed by the amount of sightseeing we were able to do! Drumheller really had so much more to offer than just the Royal Tyrell Museum! But it was certainly first on our list once we arrived in town!

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Just outside of the museum you can hike/walk around and explore the Badlands yourself! The museum offers guided tours as well, but we opted for a short tour on our own. It is super hot in this area, wear good walking shoes, hats, and bring lots of water!

On our way home from the museum we stopped at The World’s Largest Dinosaur!

This dinosaur was completed in 2001, and stands 86ft tall, which is 4.5 times bigger than the T-Rex ever was! There are 106 stairs to the top & the mouth can fit 12 pple for viewing. This is a paid attraction (while inexpensive), but it is very hot on your way up the stairs, and we happened to be on the heels of a large group so there was a wait at the top before we could sneak in to look out & snap a pic. If you’re not keen on trekking up the stairs in the heat, a picture at the base will do! A portion of the admission & gift shop sales goes into the Wild Legacy Fund, which is put towards economic development in Drumheller.

While Drumheller is known for being the Dinosaur Capital, and there are lots of dinosaur exhibits to enjoy, we spent the rest of our time in Drumheller, learning about it’s roots as a mining town, visiting the Hoodoos, which were just a short drive from our campsite, checking out the elementary school in the town of East Coulee, and walking across the suspension bridge, like I said, there is so much more to do in Drumheller than see dinosaurs!

East Coulee School Museum

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East Coulee boomed with the coal mine industry in the ’30’s and ’40’s , and the school housed students from grades 1 to 5. The town experienced a decline in the ’50’s with natural gas starting to replace coal. By the ’70’s the town was nearly a ghost town. Today it has approximately 160 residents in the hamlet.

*source: http://ecsmuseum.ca/

The Atlas Coal Mine in East Coulee

Considered to be one of the oldest, complete historical coal mines & home to Canada’s last standing wooden tipple!

We had just been to the Britannia Mine Museum here in BC (sooo worth a visit), otherwise we would have done the tour, but instead we poked around looking at the equipment & of course stopped for a few pics!

Star Mine Suspension Bridge ~ Rosedale

Built in 1931, it is a 117 meter long pedestrian suspension bridge, built for the coal miners of Star Mine, to cross the Red Deer River.

The Hoodoos

Between East Coulee and Drumheller, the Hoodoos can be found right off Highway 10 East & you cannot miss them!

The Hoodoos are spectacular rock formations, naturally formed over millions of years by erosion.

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And last but not least, two of our favorite places to stop for a bite were:

WHIFS Flapjack House

Attached to the Badlands Motel, this adorable greasy spoon was delicious and such fun for the kids! Inside you’ll find a dinosaur motif, a train set running above the dining room (basically my son’s 2 favorite things!) + a classic breakfast menu to choose from.

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Asteroid (Rosedale)

Cutest little lunch spot with homemade comfort food, like burgers, fries & milkshakes!

After our epic visit to Drumheller, we packed up again and drove straight through to Revelstoke, back to Wadey Creek campsite, and this time scored a lakefront spot!

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We finished our trip with 2 nights back here, celebrated our son’s 6th birthday, and then headed home!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our family vacation to Drumheller & I hope it inspires you to get out there and see it for yourself! Have you been already, what were you favorite sights? Are you planning to go this summer? I would love to hear!!

Thanks so much for stopping by sweet friends!!

Xo Jen

*Drumheller history compliments of Wikipedia & Travel Drumheller

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