This is one of Alberta’s most famous and important museums. Anyone with any interest in dinosaurs wants to visit here. Summer opening hours are long so it is possible to visit after a day’s activities, although it won’t be possible to watch the workshops at work.
Most people rush through the earlier exhibits to reach the dinosaur galleries. The guide books recommend spending time in the earlier sections. There are large exhibits on Darwin and continental drift. The presentation was old fashioned and dry. We felt content was superficial but that may be because I am a botanist and when I studied botany more years ago than I care to remember, Darwin and evolution was an essential part of the curriculum. May be this is all new and exciting to the modern youngster.
I remember all the excitement when the theories about continental drift first appeared in the late 60s. We felt the Continental drift exhibition was also superficial and we didn’t learn anything new from it.
There was a lot of information on the fossils from the Burgess shale beds near Yoho National Park. These are microscopic, 505 million year old organisms. The are completely different and look like something out of a science fiction movie. There are also displays of other fossils up to the time of the dinosaurs. Unfortunately many of the touch screens were not working when we visited.
The cretaceous garden was looking unkempt and in need of attention.
The dinosaur galleries at the far end of the museum are the jewel in the crown with skeletons of a large number of different sorts of dinosaurs of all sizes and shapes, assembled in front of backcloths showing what conditions would have been like at the time.
The shop was very disappointing. It was aimed at the kids with lots of toy dinosaurs, tee shirts etc. but little for the serious student. We felt this was a major failing for a museum of its reputation.
We had been expecting great things of the museum. The dinosaur skeletons were amazing but the rest was disappointing.
We visited during a five week trip to Canada. There is an overall report of the trip here.
I have written a series of detailed reports for some of the places visited for Silver Travel.