Friday, August 5, 2011

Jurassic Forest in Alberta!

This one seemed to be a favourite as they had at least three
Combine lovely nature trails meandering through Alberta boreal forests with motion-sensored animatronic dinosaurs and you have a hug hit with children and adults! This is Jurassic Forest! Wow. This is a new Alberta adventure which I hope becomes a fixture; it's not over the top fancy or Disney-fied, but a great day trip for the family in a wonderful natural setting (something for everyone).

This one roared and nodded his head (I think)
From their website, "The days of the dinosaurs roar to life again in Jurassic Forest, a 40-acre prehistoric preserve, just minutes from Edmonton and millions of years from the present! Gigantic, life-sized and startlingly realistic dinosaurs live and breathe in Jurassic Forest, and they're waiting for you. See what's happening in our Special Events Section."

These two put on a fighting display
There are two walking loops, a north and a south loop, which people of all ages can enjoy. Interestingly the loops are one way traffic with designated entrances and exits; this really helps on busy days to prevent too much congestion and allows people to pace themselves with or away from clusters of other guests. Periodically the path widens for viewing sections and to accommodate benches to rest on. The boardwalk is wooden and wheelchair/stroller friendly and lined with informative signs everywhere. Of course you have your prehistoric info signs complete with size comparisons to humans, but there are also several signs explaining the local flora and fauna! Unfortunately, some of the larger signs were mounted too high and at a poor angle for young readers. Were they expecting only the adults to read them?

The forest was lush and full of life when we went. Raspberries tempted our taste buds and dragonflies flitted here and there. Staff were everywhere to help out and guides were touring small groups. We spotted two bat houses and a long horned beetle but no tiger salamanders.

This one is on the far side of a little pond
Many picnic tables are clustered in the shade of trees just off the sandy play park area which gets full sun. Perhaps this playground is most enticing to the younger children as there really isn't much in it except some great photo ops ;-)  There are over-sized cracked eggs and dinosaur bones/structures to climb. A mini slide down the tongue of some predator's head (can't recall which) is fun for the toddler crowd. Sadly, no larger slide exists there (yet?).  

What else? There is a gift shop (of course), washrooms, birthday/party room, and a concession stand with the usual hot dog and ice cream fare.

Now, if you check out the Jurassic Forest website, consider downloading their scavenger hunts. They have one for each of the two trail loops and a separate hunt for the K-2 crowd that spans both loops. These are pdfs you can print out.

Don't forget sunscreen, bug spray/protection, hats, and WATER! Unless you want to burn and dehydrate ;-P
That said, we didn't notice any mosquitoes... very strange. Maybe they are lurking and biding their time... I'm expecting an ambush any moment.

Any way, current hours and admission rates:

Hours of Operation
Daily (Sunday through Saturday): 9am to 7pm

Admission Prices

Adult: $14
Children (3–12 yrs): $8
Youth (13–17 yrs): $10
Family (2 Adults + 2 Children): $40
Senior (60 yrs+): $10

Adult Annual Membership: $45
Children Annual Membership (3–12 yrs): $35
Youth Annual Membership (13–17 yrs): $40
Senior Annual Membership (60+ yrs): $40
Family Annual (2 Adults + 2 Children): $130

(Prices include GST)


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