Fossil Safari – Dinosaur Provincial Park

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I love that Dinosaur Provincial Park has many guided activities rated from easy to difficult. They have done excellent programing to capture the interest of the pseudo paleontologist, avid hikers to families with small kids. On a beautiful Saturday morning ten of us, ages three to 44, camping together jumped aboard a tour bus at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada to go on the family friendly Fossil Safari. Our guide, Dan, was extremely knowledgable, friendly and loved helping the kids. He also got bonus points for owning a Canon 7D!

We drove past the special gates through a winding road from the bottom of the coulees through a partially washed out creek crossing (all the rain from the day before), to the top of the plain then down again and coming to stop by a Hoo Doo named Fred the Camel. We unloaded and were given the instructions on how to behave on  the tour.  We then followed our guide through a still somewhat slippery stream bed (darn bentonite clay) to a bonebed.

We sat in a semi-circle and learned about micro fossils.  Samples of soft-shelled turtles, alligator armor, fish scales, dinosaur tendon, dinosaur tooth, dinosaur claws were passed around for us to hold.  We were then set free to see what we could find.  We had a super time finding a large part of a centrosaurus dinosaur thigh bone and Hadrosaurs vertebrae.  All you need to do was pick a small patch of ground and start looking – there were bone and tendon bits everywhere.  I was fortunate to find a piece of bone where a plant had fossilized in the bone.  I even found a bit of soft-shelled turtle.  W was the king of finding fossilized wood.  All 22 of us bonded together and where shouting out what we found so others could see. The kids were all excited and ran about showing their new-found knowledge as “dinosaur bone experts”. Every adult became a kid again playing in the dirt and turning over rocks in anticipation  for what might be hidden underneath. This was such a fun way to promote the importance and relevance that science is for all of us. I had a super fun time digging and shooting pictures on such a pristine morning.  The tour is only two hours long which is perfect for those eight and under and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

I recommend this tour for all those visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park because we spent the rest of the weekend keeping an eye to the ground looking for dinosaur bones.  This tour connected the dots from past to present for my boys.

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