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Drumheller

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Alberta : Alberta Badlands : Drumheller
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Drumheller [1] is a small town in the Alberta Badlands region of Alberta, Canada, famous for the rich deposits of fossils found in the area. Set in a characteristic "badlands" valley carved in the plains by the Red Deer River, Drumheller rose through coal mines — now abandoned — early in the 20th century. Now this town of 8,000 gets hundreds of thousands of visitors between May and September, making it the hub for tourism in the area.

Understand

Drumheller's tourism is strongly seasonal. Many attractions are closed or open limited hours from October through April.

The town is nestled in the Red Deer River valley. Near the bridge where the highways cross the river stands an 86' tall sculpture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Visitor's information centre, so this makes a good reference point. Downtown Drumheller is just south and east of this bridge.

Drumheller tourist information is broadcast on FM 94.5.

The weather is usually very hot in the summer (above 30°C, 85°F). Remember to carry mosquito repellent — there are lots of mosquitoes around!

Get in

Drumheller is located at the convergence of provincial highways 9, 10, 56, 575, and 576.

Drumheller is 135km northeast of Calgary, about 1 hour 45 minutes by car. Drive north along Highway 2, then east along highway 72 and then highway 9. An alternative route is east along the Trans-Canada Highway, then north along Highway 21, and east along highway 575, approaching the town from the west. It is a popular stop for travelers following Highway 9 between Calgary and Saskatoon.

Tour companies offer day trips to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Drumheller Valley. Call the Royal Tyrrell Museum for more information.

Get around

Drumheller is a small, rural town. The downtown is compact and easily walkable. Beyond that, you will need an automobile. A bicycle would also do, but during tourist season it is hot, and the roads don't have good bike lanes.

See

  • Royal Tyrrell Museum, Highway 838 (From the intersection of Railway Ave S / Hwy 575 and Bridge St / HWY-56 / HWY-9, go north on Bridge St for 1.2 km, crossing river. At well-marked intersection,turn left (west) onto Dinosaur Trail / Highway 838. Go west for 5.2 km. At Tyrrell Museum sign, turn right (north) onto the museum's road, go north for 0.9km to the museum.), +1-403-823-7707 (, fax: +1-403-823-7131), [2]. Tue-Sun 10AM-5PM from Sunday of Labour Day (first Monday in September) weekend to second Monday in May. Daily 9AM-9PM, spring/summer. A spectacular range of exhibits and activities showing off the rich fossils of the Alberta badlands, from dinosaurs to pollen. Plenty to see and do. Hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. There are a variety of moderate hikes to fossil artifacts, starting from the museum during the summer months. Toll free phone in Alberta: 310-0000 then 403-823-7707. Toll free phone in North America (outside Alberta): 1-888-440-4240. Adults $11, seniors (65 and up) $8, youth $6, children 6 years and under free; family of two adults and up to 6 children age 7 to 17 $30; two-day tickets available for 1.5 times the single-day price. (51.47942,-112.78905)
  • Drumheller Visitor Information Centre, 60 - 1 Avenue West (On Riverside Drive at 1 St W, under the World's Largest Dinosaur), +1-866.823.8100 (), [3]. Free maps and free tourist advice. Gift shop. Books room in area hotels. Free. (51.4672,-112.7090)
  • World’s Largest Dinosaur, 60 - 1 Avenue West (On Riverside Drive at 1 St W, at the Visitor Information Center), +1-866.823.8100 (), [4]. Daily 10:00AM – 5:30PM; 9AM-9PM in July and August. 86 feet tall, 151 feet long, this sculpture is four times the size of a real Tyrannasaurus Rex. For a small fee, you can climb up inside it and look out over the badlands. $3. (51.4672,-112.7090)
  • Midland Provincial Park, Highway 838 (Near the Royal Tyrrell Museum), +1-403-823-1749, [5]. On the site of an abandoned coal mine, this land houses the Royal Tyrrell museum. It also has day use sites for McMullen Island and Mine Sites 1, 2, and 3. No camping. Washrooms available.
  • Reptile World, 95 3rd Ave E (Across from the Telus Building), +1-403 823-TOAD. Summer: daily 9AM - 10PM. Spring & Fall: Thu-Tue 10AM-5PM; closed Wed.
  • Homestead Museum, 901 North Dinosaur Trail, +1-403 823-2600, [6]. Open daily. Over 10,000 artifacts from the Victorian and Edwardian era, including a two-headed calf and a complete house bought from an Eaton's catalogue. $5/person, $3/senior or youth.

Do

  • Mountain View Helicopters, +1-403 334-4354. Sightseeing flights over Horseshoe Canyon. $40/person for 2-3 people.
  • Fossil World, 1381 Dinosaur Trail North (on the way to the Royal Tyrell Museum), +1-403 823-6666. Dig up and take home fossils.

Buy

  • 7-Eleven, 208 Railway Ave. National chain convenience store for groceries and personal items.
  • Riverside Value Drug Mart, 167 Centre St (1/2 block from World's Largest Dinosaur), +1-403 823-2784. Mon-Fri 9AM-9PM; Sat 9AM-6PM; Sun&Hol 11AM-6PM. Newspapers, sunglasses, suntan lotion, other sundries.
  • Home Hardware, 110 Railway Ave E, +1-403 823-7900. Chain store offering camping equipment, coolers, hardware, automotive items.
  • Greentree Mall, (Highway 10 East), +1-403 823-5555. Open daily.. Mall has a variety of shops, including food, gas, auto service, clothing, haircuts, and more.

Eat

  • Capone's Deep Dish Pizza, 249 3rd Ave W (in the Valley Plaza, at 2nd St W), +1-403 823-3333. Mon-Fri 11AM-10PM; Sat 4PM-10PM; Sun 4PM-8PM. Chicago-style deep dish pizza, in a variety of specialty combos or with custom toppings. An 8" square, thick-crust pizza feeds two. Also chicken, ribs, salads, potato skins, and various coffee beverages. Good menu options for large school groups. Use a free internet terminal while you wait. Claims the best prices in town. $14-20, feeds two.
  • Vietnamese Noodle House, (2 St W at A Ave W). Tue-Fri 11AM-9PM; Sat-Sun 12n-8PM; Mon closed. Vietnamese noodles, ice cream, and a variety of other everyday fare in an unpretentious setting.
  • Bernie and the Boys Bistro, 305-4 Street W, +1-403 823-3318, [7]. Tue-Sun 11AM-9PM. Burgers, subs (sandwiches), salads, pasta, pizza.
  • Smitty's Drumheller, 1002 Highway 9 South C, +1-403 823-4404 (fax: +1-403-823-4404). 6AM - 9PM. National Chain of Family restaurants, with breakfast, lunch, dinner. Bus tours welcome. New Owners and Management as of Jan 2008. Now relocated to the PETRO CANADA PLAZA next to the Dairy Queen.
  • Subway, Highway 9 South, +1-403 823-7827. Mon-Thu 6AM-(?); Sat-Sun 9AM-(?). National chain sandwich restaurant.
  • Triumph Cafe, 100 S Railway Ave, +1-403 823-4543. 6AM - 10PM. Located in The Drumheller Inn.
  • Sizzling, 160 Centre St, +1-403 823-8098. Szechuan, Peking, and Thai Cuisine. Weekday buffet lunch. Buses welcome. Claims recommendation by "Where to Eat In Canada" as one of country's top 500 restaurants.
  • Boston Pizza, (Corner of Highway 9 & 10), +1-403 823-9700. National chain. Pizza, salads, pastas, ribs. Fully licensed. Open late.
  • Fred & Barney's Family Restaurant, Highway 9 S (Across from Jurassic Inn), +1-403 823-2803. Chinese & Western buffet. Bus tours welcome.


Drink

  • Brass Bull Lounge, 1001 Highway 9 South, +1-403 823-4733. 11AM - 2AM.

Sleep

  • Super 8 Motel, 800- 680 2nd St SE, +1-403 823-8887, [8]. National toll-free phone +1-888-823-8882. Waterslide, guest laundry, high speed internet. Family suites and kitchen suites available.
  • The Drumheller Inn, 100 S Railway Ave, +1-403 823-8400 (fax: +1-403 823-5020). Air-conditioned rooms, indoor pool, whirlpool. "Drumheller's only full service hotel", they claim.
  • Best Western Jurassic Inn, 1103 9 Hwy S, +1-403-823-7700, [9]. Pool. Hot tub. Guest Laundry. High speed Internet.
  • Rivergrove Camground, (Across the river from the World's Largest Dinosaur), +1-403 823-6655 (fax: +1-403 823-3132). On the river, just across from downtown. Cabins. Full service facilities. Washroom & showers. RV waste dump. Laundry.

Get out

  • The Dinosaur Trail is a 48 km excursion. Drive northwest and north out of Drumheller on Highway 838. Pass the Royal Tyrrell Museum and Horsethief Canyon. Highway 838 then turns west, and crosses the river at Bleriot Ferry. Ask the Visitor Information Center about the ferry's hours. Go a bit further west, then south on Highway 837, which follows the west bank of the river back to just south of Drumheller.
  • The Hoodoo Trail is a drive along Highway 10 through Rossdale, Cambria and to East Coulee. On the way you pass the Willow Creek Hoodoos interpretive trail (see Cambria), 16km southeast of Drumheller. In East Coulee, visit the Atlas Coal Mine[10], a National Historic Site featuring Canada's last wooden tipple (structure for emptying coal out of train cars).
  • Horsethief Canyon. Northwest of town on North Dinosaur Trail / Highway 838, past the Royal Tyrell Museum.
  • Horseshoe Canyon. Beautiful badlands geology. On Highway 9 southeast of Drumheller, some 40km distant. Good hiking, if the rain hasn't made the rocks too slippery. Believed by some to be haunted.
  • Rosebud Theatre[11], Rosebud, 35km southwest. Drive south on Highway 9. After it turns west, drive 16km more to get to the Rosebud crossing.
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park near Brooks, 177km to the southeast, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and has fossil exhibits that complement the Royal Tyrrell Museum here. But allow at least three days to see them both. The drive takes about 2 hours 15 minutes by car. Take highway 56 southeast and south for 73km to Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway. Go 56.1km east to Brooks. Exit there, go 6km north on Highway 36, and then east along Highway 54 to the park.



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