Predestined seemed the only word hovering in the air over Eastern Alberta on Saturday. Since what Mhari would consider the beginning of time we’ve found ourselves mega fans of all thing prehistoric and talking as a family about the journey to the Land Before Time.
So, on the first of our scheduled down days, it’s no surprise that Drumheller, Alberta was in the stars.
With visions of T-Rex and Megladons dancing in our heads, we proclaimed the Calgary Zoo off the schedule. Heading straight to the badlands where bones literally fell right off of the rocks would be the catch of the day.
First things first, though. After our nasty run-in with the McDonalds monster, there would be no more fast food on this trip. So, what better way to log some time with Ken’s sister and her partner than a tasty, hearty breakfast at Calgary staple Cora’s.
Fruit, eggs and potatoes flying around the table, we laughed and loved a good sit-down meal for the first time in, really, about a week. Never underestimate the value of food cooked to order in ways that make it recognizable.
Hanging out with Ken’s sister also meant a taste of the New West, and they couldn’t let the kids live without being properly introduced to Cow Town with their very own white cowgirl hats. The kids loved the morning, playing tag with auntie, snacking on goodies, exploring the homestead and being free of the car for a moment or two.
The relatively quick jaunt to Drumheller meant we’d be fossil hunting and gasping at the wonder of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in a flash. So, we hit the road before noon, loving the rolling landscape dotted with silos, oil wells and endless fields that were more than likely a primary source of our breakfast.
Just before landing in the dinosaur motherland, the landscape went from farmland to badlands in spectacular fashion.
We all sat breathless, entering into a moonscape. It seemed like another world, which we soon discovered just touched the tip of its true identity.
The Royal Tyrrell made Mhari’s head pop off. Seriously. From her first glimpse of the T-Rex greeting us at the door, she managed to muster full speed (which is quite spectacular if you know her) for the next 4 hours. It blew my mind as she lapped me over and over and over again.
We started with some good old-fashioned hands-on cast making where Mhari gave the interpreters a run for their money in the dinosaur knowledge universe. Her big brain showed up on fire and, when she realized that she’d gotten the cast to make a T-Rex tooth, shown as bright as the meteor that killed the dinosaurs.
Inside the museum, she tore through the exhibits, pounding her way through what amounted to hundreds of dinosaur skeletons, paleontologists working on freshly excavated bones and lots of interpreters getting kids into the groove by letting them get their mitts on everything from toes to fossilized poo.
Meet the awesomeness that is Albertasaurus:
I wanted to geek out so badly. But, the kids geeking out meant they ran hooting and hollering through the packed museum and it was all I could do to contain myself long enough to herd them along without mowing anyone down.
There were a few of those classic tourist moments.
And my favorite score of the day, a new reusable bag to love:
We called it a day pretty early and headed back to the gorgeous Drumheller Ramada Inn where we scored another relatively healthy Boston Pizza dinner and made our way to the pool where I discovered that my legs actually don’t have to be swollen constantly in travel mode. Mhari and I splashed our way right into bed time. We all crashed by 10 p.m. with smiles on our faces and dinosaur love in our hearts.
Today, we blow through Saskatchewan because as much as I’d like to admire the middle, we are running a wee bit behind. Gotta make it up somewhere. See you tomorrow in Brandon, Manitoba.