A few weeks ago my husband came up with a fabulous idea: to take the kids to Drumheller for a little family adventure! We kept it a secret right up until we got in the truck, though Bobby knew something was up because we were leaving the house over an hour earlier than normal.
“Well kids, why don’t we skip school and work today… let’s go on an adventure instead!”
We already had the truck loaded and ready to go, so they settled in with their stuffies and devices and off we went. The Donut Mill in Red Deer was the perfect halfway point – the kids still didn’t know where we were going, but they were really happy to have donuts for second breakfast.
The Badlands in Alberta are absolutely amazing. One minute you are driving along looking at the beautiful farmland-filled prairies and the next you are descending into a multi-striped canyon. Bobby saw the sign as it passed… “DRUMHELLER??? THIS IS WHERE THE DINOSAURS WERE!”
Our first stop was going to be the museum but we were all getting a bit hungry so we stopped at a little picnic area instead. As we were unloading the food we noticed a prairie dog… then two… then a whole bunch – they were adorable! I know as a rule you shouldn’t feed wildlife but I think they would have taken the crackers on their own if we hadn’t!
Up next was the Royal Tyrrell Museum which contains one of the world’s largest displays of dinosaurs. We had given the kids cameras so they could document the trip and they set to work right away snapping pics of everything in sight. We anticipated spending 2-3 hours there, but made our way through in 90 minutes including a stop at the gift shop.
There is a really nice viewpoint next to the museum, unfortunately almost as soon as we got up to it the wind picked up and it started to rain. The kids each took a turn quickly looking through the viewfinder and then we were off to the World Largest Dinosaur!
The World Largest Dinosaur is 86 ft tall and 151 ft long. It takes 106 stairs to climb to the top and it is worth every step. The inside is covered with a dino themed mural and facts about dinosaurs, the view is breathtaking, and a portion of the money they make every month is put into a legacy fund which gives back to the community. Bobby conquered his fear of heights when he walked out on to the platform and we are really, really proud of him!
Our next stop we actually ended up going to twice – Once Friday, and again on Saturday at Bobby’s request. The Star Mine Suspension Bridge is a 384 ft (117 metre) long pedestrian suspension bridge which crosses the Red Deer River in Rosedale, just outside Drumheller.
I wasn’t sure how well the kids would do on it, heck I wasn’t sure how well I would do on it, but even with the wind blowing and the bridge swaying they did great. Once we were on the other side my husband and Bobby took a trip up the rocks while Cordi and I looked at wildflowers.
At this point we let the kids know we weren’t going home today, we were staying in a hotel! We headed to the Ramada to unpack and promised we’d spend some time in the pool that evening.
For dinner we took a trip to the Last Chance Saloon. The drive was beautiful and the atmosphere was unique, but all we had was burgers and pop (one Alberta Genuine Draft for my husband) and it came to $70! Definitely an experience but not one I think we’ll repeat when we go back to Drumheller. We ended our day at the hotel with some pool time fun, followed by snacks, cuddles, and hotel TV.
Our first stop on Saturday was the Hoodoos Trail.
Composed of sand and clay from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, the solid, strong capstones protect the softer, underlying base creating their unique mushroom-like shape.
The Hoodoos themselves are protected but there are hiking paths and rocks to climb in the area. The kids had so much fun running around and climbing the rocks, and there are trails we are looking forward to hiking through once Cordelia is a bit older. Bobby asked if we could go to the suspension bridge again so he could climb the hill one more time, and then we went to our last stop before eating lunch and heading home.
We didn’t get to spend much time at Horse Thief Canyon because the wind was blowing extremely hard and there are no barriers, so both of us were worried about the kids. I felt like I needed to kneel down as I got closer to the edge just in case the wind picked up again. The next time we go we are hoping to hike down the canyon and have a picnic. Pictures just don’t do it justice!
Bobby’s favourite shots from his camera
Cordi’s favourite shots from her camera
So many wonderful memories made in that 24 hours, and I can’t wait for our next adventure!