Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology
First, a trivia question: Which town in Southern Alberta has about 8,000 inhabitants and more than half a million tourists every year? The town in question is, of course, Drumheller; the reason for such high tourist activity - dinosaurs.
Situated 183 kilometers northeast of Calgary, Drumheller is set in a spectacular lunar landscape, in a valley carved through the badlands by ancient glacial meltwaters and constant prairie wind. The area surrounding the town is known as one of the richest paleonthology sites in the world. Scientists from all around the globe come to Drumheller valley to study the prehistoric animals that reigned the Earth tens of millions of years ago.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum, the crowning jewel of Drumheller, is the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the science of paleontology, and the home of one of the largest and finest collections of dinosaur remains. Even those not-so-paleontology-crazy visitors stand in awe in front of 50 full-size dinosaur skeletons and thousands and thousands of specimens that bring the prehistoric past to life. The Museum also offers a variety of creative, fun and educational public and school programs and science camps.
The Museum currently offers about a dozen permanent exhibits and three special exhibitions. “I Think…” (Charles Darwin, 1837) is dedicated to Darwin’s theory of evolution and its impact on modern society. Triassic Giant features the world’s largest marine reptile that measures 21 meters in length and dates back to the Triassic, 220 million years ago. Alberta Unearthed features “25 of the Museum’s most significant specimens and recounts rarely told stories of discovery. This special exhibit is about the people, places, and pieces that comprise Canada's dinosaur museum…”
From Alberta Unearthed exibition: In southern Alberta, some ammonites have a unique form of preservation. Tectonic pressure, heat, and mineralization over millions of years, compress them into colorful, iridescent material used to create jewellery. Ammonites preserved in this manner are both fossils and gemstones, and although fossils are protected under provincial legislature, permission is granted by the Alberta Government to mine the gemstone.