July 2, 2018 Monday – Cretaceous/Tertiary Boundary and Tyrrell Museum Badlands, Alberta, Canada
After having an early breakfast in my hotel room, our tour bus leaves by 8AM. Our all-day tour hosts are both geologists (and RASC members), so they share lots of info about rocks, glaciation, the K/T Boundary, and how the dinosaurs died off so quickly 65 million years ago. We are all given handouts authored by our hosts, with scientific references, diagrams, and notes.
Our first stop is Dry Island Buffalo Jump Park, where we dig around a bit and see the K/T Boundary for ourselves. There are hoodoos, piles of lignite, and a beautiful valley with the Red River below. The park gets its name from a “dry island” formed by the ancient flow of the Red River, and later use by First Nations people as they drove buffalo over the cliff edge to their deaths, ensuring everyone survived the winter. This park is accessible during fair-weather and daytime only, but it is a fascinating area to explore!
Our next stop is the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. I have visited this museum before, but it is one of those museums where you can go back again and again to see and learn about new things. Today is the Canada Day civic holiday, so it is crowded, but as a tour group we have priority admission arranged, so walk right in ahead of the lines. There are dinosaurs on display here that defy description, along with all the usual suspects like Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, fish, turtles, shellfish, worms, you name it! All the fossils are from this area of Alberta, which is rich in fossilized remains from this epoch.
Our last stop is a complete change of pace: the Trekcetera Museum, also located in Drumheller. Their main claim to fame is the amazing collection of all things to do with Star Trek: phasers, hollow decks, original costumes, and other original memorabilia from the Trek movies and TV series. They also cover Men In Black, Superman, Titanic, Sherlock Holmes, and other entertainment classics. This little museum is well worth a stop if you are a Trekkie!
After a full day of touring, a few of us walk from the hotel to nearby Gus’s Cafe and Pizzeria for dinner. The food is good, but the service is surly, just like the online reviews indicated!