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Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Sunnyvale...
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Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Hello,

I am traveling to the canadian rockies from the US with my family , husband and two children--9 and 14. I think the kids would love to do some fossil hunting while there.

a) Which of the two--Burgess shale at Fields or Dino dig at Drumheller--would you recommend?

b) Which hike in Burgess shale is better with kids-- the Walcott one or the Mt Stephen fossil beds

Burgess shale would be more convenient--but if Dino dig is better--I can do that.

Thanks

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

You probably already know that you will not be allowed to take away fossils as souvenirs from either site, as all fossils in Alberta and in the national parks are protected by law.

I think the Dino Dig at Drumheller is probably more kid-friendly, simply because it's dinosaurs (not faint, tiny pre-Cambriam whatsits) and because they likely get more kids there than at the Burgess Shale. If you do end up deciding on the Burgess Shale because it works better with your itinerary, I suggest you read up about the Burgess Shale before you get there. I enjoyed Stephen Jay Gould's _Wonderful Life_ , but Simon Conway Morris' _Crucible of Creation_ or _A Geoscience Guide to The Burgess Shale_ by Murray Coppold and Wayne Powell look to be good alternatives.

Ien
Breda, The...
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2. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Don't know about Burgess, but Drumheller digging is great for kids. Last year our son (8 at that time) did the tour. Because he only know a few words English his dad was aloud to come, but only for translation. The guides were very mkind to al kids.

I don't know of it is aloud but here is our link to our trip to Canada in 2010 vanderent.hamba.nl. Also the story Drumheller and the pictures.

Have a great time in Canada, of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Banff, Canada
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3. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Know that the hike to Burgess shale hike is a very challenging one, but incredibly scenic. The area is simply divine, but it will be a long challenging day. If the kids (and you) are up for a long hard day hike - I'd highly recommend the Burgess Shale. Emerald Lake is only 30 minutes from Lake Louise and located in Yoho National Park. You could take a full day to enjoy Emerald Lake ( canoe or hike), Takakkaw Falls and Wapta Falls. There is also a great exhibit on the Fossils at the Field Visitor Information Centre. You might also think about a custom guided walk for the family with Great Divide Nature Interpretation - they know the area very well and you can hire your own guide.

http://www.greatdivide.ca/

It's kind of hard to compare the two - they are very different and of course, one is a mountain destination and the other is a prairie destination. The program at Burgess is definitely geared towards adults. I do know that there are all sorts of family friendly programming with both the Tyrell Museum and the Dinosaur Provincial Park. You'll need to budget a couple of days to get there and enjoy the regional attractions if you decide to go to this "prairie oasis" in Alberta.

Jasper, Canada
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4. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

The Burgess Shale hikes are not easy hikes. Have a read at the info on the Yoho National Park website -

pc.gc.ca/eng/…natcul15.aspx .

The Mount Stephen Fossil Beds hike is 6 kms round-trip hike, suggested time about 7 hours to complete. It has a large elevation gain: 780 metres (2559 feet). They call it a moderate hike, but I would call it strenous because of the elevation gain (and loss). The Walcott's Quarry hike is a 20 km hike, suggested time about 10 hours to complete, with an elevation gain (and loss) of 760 metres (2493 feet). I would also rate this as strenuous, both because of the elevation gain/loss, and because of the distance. (I note that Parks Canada labels it as "moderately difficult"... I think their ratings are skewed.... I am an avid hiker, and I would rate something with 1000 - 1500 feet of elevation gain/loss over a round-trip of 8 - 15 km as "moderate", and this is probably quite consistent with how hikes are rated in the most popular hiking guidebooks.)

I would not suggest doing either of these hikes unless you and your kids are already at least moderately fit. Even if you are quite fit, if you haven't done any downhill hiking recently, I guarantee that you will have sore legs (quads) the next day and difficulty walking down stairs.

Edited: 29 June 2011, 21:11
Ien
Breda, The...
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5. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Sorry the site is www.vanderent@hamba.nl (in dutch). Take a look at the pictures.

Sunnyvale...
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6. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Thanks for the info--sounds like Burgess shale is quite interesting, which is good because I just found out that Tyrrell museum does not offer the all day digs anymore. They might have it only at the provincial park--which does not work out too well for us.

Burgess shale hike--We are not avid hikers, but all of us are definitely reasonably fit. We exercise often. We have done some mountain hiking while traveling. We have done the three sisters in blue mountains (sydney), rock temples/caves in sri lanka and india. Many of these were elevation gains of about a 1000ft. We were able to do these in about an hour or so. Of course most of these had steps--rather than a hiking path.

So what do you folks think?? Think we will do OK on the hike?. The day after is quite relaxed so we can recover then.

Banff, Canada
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7. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

If you and your children are fit - this will still be a challenge for you. The elevation gain on this hike is significant - almost triple of what you are describing. The Burgess Highline has 880 m (2,885 ft) elevation gain and it is a very beautiful, but very challenging hike. You'll be able to better judge what you and your family are capable of - enjoy!

Sunnyvale...
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8. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

After much thought and discussion, we decided to drop the burgess shale hike. Instead we will do a couple of programs at the Royal tyrrell museum and spend a whole day there.

Thanks once again for all the input.

Chicago, IL
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9. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

We were in the mountains and then drove to Drumheller and to Dinosaur Provincial Park. Didn't do the Burgess Shale hike, but LOVED the Museum. Spent the day there. The kids did a fossil cast lab. Be aware that if it is raining, they may cancel your hike. That happend the day we were at the museum. I have to say that next to Lake Louise area, Dinosaur Provincial Park was our favorite place in Alberta. I have a background in Geology and LOVED finding dinosaur fossils everywhere! It is peaceful there and the educational programs are first rate! The Royal Tyrell was incredible also, but we didn't spend anytime in Drumheller except to sleep. If you could squeez in Dinosaur Provincial Park, it is definitely worth it!

Sunnyvale...
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10. Re: Burgess shale or Dino Dig??

Hi Twintravelers,

Thanks for the info. We are debating between the royal tyrrell and dinosaur provincial park. So we have booked an extra night at calgary and figured we will do one of them as a day trip out of calgary. This way we will not have to decide early on! I was leaning more toward the museum, but will also look into the park. Which hikes/programs did you do in the provincial park? My kids are 9 and 14, and want to do some hands on digging for real fossils. If you could do only one of them, either the museum or the park, which one would you suggest?

Thanks