Like Drumheller, Dinosaur Provincial Park is hidden in the valley, up to 100 metres deep, of the Red Deer River. Shortly after the sign in the picture above, the road plunges to the 27km stretch of park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Digging began here in the 1880s, and since then more than 300 top-quality dinosaur skeletons have been found, a greater concentration than anywhere else on earth. (Parks Canada has a nice, simple explanation if you’re wondering why this is.) The skeletons can be found in about 30 museums world-wide, the biggest number in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology which we had visited a few days before, so it was an interesting follow-up to see where they came from. The park’s Visitor Centre also has some impressive specimens, as well as other exhibits, and is worth spending time in. One of the dinosaurs appeared to have escaped outside 😉
Most of the park is out-of-bounds unless you are on a pre-booked guided tour. We hadn’t been organised enough to arrange this, so we stuck to the five self-guided trails along the 3km public loop road. It was enough! We spent all day admiring the views and amazing rock formations.
We also spotted a little bit of flora and fauna. The area near the river was much more lush than the rest of the park, and several times we saw deer peering up at the weird humans scrambling about the arid rocks.
And – that was it! The end of our vacation. The next day, we packed up and headed for Calgary Airport and the long journey home. We had a great time in Canada, and I’ve enjoyed reliving it through blogging. Next time, I’ll be back writing about Scotland again.