While searching for things to do while camping in Dinosaur Provincial park, we came across a bus tours of the natural preserve at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The two hour bus tour seemed like just the right amount of time to engage a three and five year old, and the combination of on the bus time, convinced us it would be enough to occupy the two of them. Turns out, it was the perfect amount of time to escape the hot sun.
Boarding the bus at 10 o’clock, we entered the 80% of Badlands that are only accessible by tour. The landscape was vast, more vast than we realized – we learned the campground area at Dinosaur Provincial Park is only 20% of the badlands.
The tour began learning about the various people that have gone through the Badlands in the past; the first nations, the fossil hunters, the early settlers. The kids learned that, yes, you could eat a cactus – and began digging around the area in search of dinosaur bones.
Our tour guide was quick to answer questions, engage the kids through the tour and left us with information that we didn’t know before the tour. The most interesting thing I learned on the tour that I hadn’t known before? The dinosaur death pose.
Along the way, we had the opportunity to view a fossil and place casting on the fossil, similar how fossils are protected for travel after being extracted. They were given the opportunity to try out a method of lifting the fossil off of the ground. Later, we were able to see where fossils were extracted from a ridge, see the actual fossil and touch teeth, a large tooth, and learn more about the Hadrosaur. This hands on part of the tour was their favorite.
In the first weeks of summer, the weather was hot. We doubled up on sunscreen half way through the tour, brought a lot of water and the kids (and us) were still hot and exhausted at the end of the two hours. Going later in the summer, I would recommend going as early in the morning as possible, especially with young children.
At just under forty dollars for the entire family, it was a great morning out with a chance to learn more about Dinosaur Provincial Park, the history and get a hands on experience from the experts at the park. In fact, I would say it’s one of the most bang-for-your-buck, outings that we’ve taken over the entire season.
Pair it with a weekend camping trip at Dinosaur Provincial Park and you’ve got an affordable, long-weekend getaway from Edmonton that’s going to be filled with free fun and memories.