We left St Albert and continued on our journey towards Alaska, stopping in Grand Prairie, Alberta for a few nights. Since the weather had rain, rain and more rain in the forecast, we opted to stay a few days in Grand Prairie. Going to museums are always excellent ideas on rainy days, so the four of us headed out to the Philip J Currie Dinosaur Museum, located about 15 miles from Grand Prairie.
According to a plaque in the museum, Philip Currie found a toy dinosaur in a cereal box when he was six years old, and he decided to be a paleontologist. While he was working on his PhD, he started working for the Provincial Museum of Alberta (now called the Royal Alberta Museum) in Edmonton. Dr. Currie helped to found the Royal Terrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, Alberta.
This museum is located near the Pipestone Creek Bonebed, where the remains of a Pachyrhinosaurus was discovered by a local teacher, Al Lakusta, in 1974.
The museum has a platform with displays on the top floor, overlooking the main exhibits. It’s a bit hard to see the dinosaur’s hanging from the ceiling. There was a light of natural light in the museum, which made it hard for photos.
The Thalassomedon was a sea-dwelling reptile belonging to a group of plesiosaurs called elasmosaurs. They are known for their very long necks (62 vertebrae) and small heads. They have large, paddle-like limbs, and were around 40 feet in length.
The Tylosaurus is marine reptile, not a dinosaur. It was found in southwestern Manitoba, and was about 33 feet long.
The two big fish (about 12 feet) next to the Tylosaurus are called Ichthyodectes. Fossils of these fish have been found from Canada all the way down to Texas.
A Saurornitholestes and some other unknown creature!
Below is a Struthiomimus, a two-legged dinosaur that looked like an ostrich. It has a small head on a long neck, with long legs that allowed it to run quickly.
The Pachyrhinosaurus was a large four-legged dinosaur. This was the species found in the nearby bonebed back in 1974.
All of the humerus bones (upper arm) below were found at the Pipestone Creek bonebed. They are all from Pachyrhinosaurus’s of various ages.
This Styracosaurus skull was found in southern Alberta.
The Gorgosaurus skeleton, found in southern Alberta, is lizard about 26 feet in length, nose to tail.
The museum has an educational area, where you can look at slides of insects and other tiny specimens.
This is the Fossil Prep Lab where volunteers and staff are currently working on cleaning and stabilizing fossils that are found in the nearby bonebed.
A separate portion of the museum goes into the discovery of oil and gas in the region. It is a wonderful museum, with many more fossils and dinosaur’s on display than I have listed here.
Quote of the Day: “Dinosaurs are the best way to teach kids, and adults, the immensity of geologic time.” – Robert T. Bakker