Now that I Know Dino is about a year and a half old, Garret and I decided it was time we saw some more dinosaur sites for ourselves. So we embarked on a 4,000 mi (~6,400 km), 67 hour road trip from California to Alberta to Montana and back.
Along the way we met some amazing dinosaur enthusiasts, including museum employees and curators, paleontologists, and people who love dinosaurs as much as we do.
We picked up some new dinosaur books at the impressive Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. And then we headed north to Wembley, Alberta, to see the Philip J. Currie Museum.
The Currie Museum only opened last September, but has already attracted more than 100,000 visitors and won numerous awards. Everything smells new, and what’s great about this museum is their emphasis on technology and giving people new ways of learning about dinosaurs, even from a distance.
We got to speak with George Jacob, the CEO and president of the museum, and Jewels Goff, the Outreach and Education Programs coordinator.
When you walk through the Currie museum you get the sense of being chased. This is because the museum is laid out in a way that all the dinosaurs on display look like they’re running. You also get to time travel, in a sense. As you walk, you travel back in time.
Visitors also have plenty of ways to interact and learn. Some exhibits feature videos of CGI dinosaurs running next to their fossil counterparts. One of the exhibits makes use of augmented reality, so you can get a sense of the animal’s movement.
There’s also an interactive map where you can touch and learn about hundreds of fossil discoveries around the world.
And visitors can even take a helicopter tour of the area, where they can use tablets to learn more about the region and the bones underneath them.
If you’re lucky, you’ll see some scientists in the paleo lab, preparing dinosaur bones found nearby.
The museum, named after Canada’s leading paleontologist Dr. Philip Currie, is a world-class facility that sits on 10 acres, near two dinosaur bonebeds: Pipestone Creek and Wapiti. Pipestone Creek is the site of one of the densest bonebeds in the world, and is where Al Lakusta discovered the first bones of Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, a type of ceratopsian, in 1974.
We were fortunate enough to be visiting the Currie Museum the same time that a group of superstar paleontologists, including Dr. Phil Currie, were digging at Pipestone Creek, where they hoped to find a complete Pachyrhinosaurus frill.
Stay tuned for Royal Tyrrell: I Know Dino Epic Dinosaur Road Trip, Part 2!