We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

Which Drumheller hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

We are flying into Calgary to tour the Canadian Rockies for about ten days. We have two boys, 2 and 4, who love dinosaurs, so we are considering a detour to the Royal Tyrrell museum on the first day of our trip. We will be arriving on Friday Aug 31, the Friday of Labour Day weekend. We'd probably get to the museum around 3pm. I've read that the museum can be very crowded and parking impossible at times. Will this be a terrible time to arrive? I don't want to "waste" one of our precious vacation days if the museum will be horribly crowded. Can anyone advise? Thanks much!

PS - we wanted to tour the museum at the end of our trip, on a Monday before our Tuesday flight home... but the museum is closed on Mondays. So it's either Friday Aug 31, or nothing. Thoughts??

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,318 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

I think, in your shoes, I'd reluctantly skip the Tyrrell if that's when you're going to end up there.

However, there is an alternative. Consider booking a tour at Dinosaur Provincial Park, which is also 2 hours east of Calgary. The tours are all reservable and numbers are limited. Dinosaur PP is where the famous fossils in New York's American Museum of Natural History where excavated, and they are still digging dinosaurs there. It is also the location of the Field Station of the Tyrrell Museum.

albertaparks.ca/dinosaur/information-facilit…

sales.tpr.alberta.ca/dpp/default.aspx…

Edited: 22 April 2012, 15:59
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

:( Thanks Country_Wife. Do you say that based on projected heavy crowds, not having enough time, or some other reason? With two small kids, our "window of patience" for anything is small, so we'd likely only spend 1-2 hours there (even though I know it has enough stuff to occupy more time). If you based your opinion on us not having enough time, then I think we'd be OK. But if you based your opinion on us getting there at a very crowded time, then we'll likely (sadly) heed your advice.

Our flight lands in Calgary at 10:30 a.m. I figure by the time we get our bags, get a car, and stop for supplies (diapers!) and groceries somewhere, we won't get to Drumheller till around 3, although it could be a bit sooner if all goes well.

I don't think Dinosaur PP will work for us. I looked into it (here on tripadvisor and on their website), but I don't think the kids will have the patience to sit through an organized tour, and it seems like the info is a bit more "advanced" and possibly above my kids' heads. Perhaps my 4yr old would, but not the 2-yr old. I think the museum is more their speed - we can walk through at our pace and not be forced to a miles-long hike or an organized tour to see the dinos. Even a 2-hr tour is, I think, too long for these kids. :(

We live in Chicago and can go to the Field Museum to visit Sue, the giant T-Rex, instead. Although we were excited about Tyrrell!

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,318 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

My main concern is crowding. The Tyrrell is a very popular destination for Calgarians, and it can be busy even on an ordinary weekend. It would be quite disappointing for you to arrive there after a 2-hour drive and find that your kids really can't see the exhibits because it's too busy.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

OK, thank you. I assume a lot of people may take that Friday off and start their holiday weekend early, making it crowded on Friday before the weekend?

It is a lot of driving (4 hrs total, considering both directions) so perhaps we will save it for another trip sometime. Or better yet, try to get our flight changed to depart on a Wednesday, so we can visit the Tuesday before we leave! :) I was so bummed to see that they are closed on Mondays (but so glad I checked, before planning our entire itinerary around that!)

Thanks again, I appreciate your insight.

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
25,318 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

Some major Calgary employers give their workers every third Friday off (I believe that's the schedule--I haven't had the good fortune to work for one of those companies). Some people might get a day or half day off in return for hours of overtime worked, and choose to use that to get an early start on the holidays. Whatever the reason, Fridays in the summer always have lighter commuter traffic than the rest of the week.

This is a tough decision for you, and I don't blame you for agonizing over it! Why not talk to the horse's mouth - phone the Tyrrell and see what they have to say?

Calgary
Level Contributor
720 posts
183 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

The museum can be very crowded on weekends between 11-3.(at least when I have been) A lot of people will leave in the mid afternoon to drive back to Calgary.

I didn't realize the Tyrrell was closed on Mondays... It's open 7 days a week from mid May until the end of August but closed on Mondays the rest of the year (except holidays)

http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/visit/hours.htm

It is also open until 9PM during the summer. So if you did visit on August 31st you could stay late. I doubt it would be crowed in the evening.

There are some motels with water slides in Drumheller. You could spend your first night there and head out the Banff the next day...

I've never been to the Field Museum in Chicago (always wanted to though) so I can't compare. But I have been to the Natural History Museum in New York and the Natural History Museum in London which both have large dinosaur collections. I think the Tyrrell museum's dinosaur collection is better.

BTW - The Calgary Zoo has a nice dinosaur park section. My kids always want to visit the dinosaurs when we go to the zoo

Drumheller
1 post
Save Reply
7. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

Don't skip the Museum, your boys will love it! The crowds are at their highest from 11 am - 4 pm, and we're open until 9 pm, so if you stay into the evening you will have a great visit. Also, note the Museum is open Mondays in the summertime, if that is still an option for you.

I would highly recomend the Dinosite program for your family. There is one at 4 pm that day. Your boys will love the chance to hunt for fossils and handle some real ones. You can book online before you arrive to ensure you have a spot.

Hope this helps!

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

Thanks everyone! This has been really helpful information.

We are really torn. Our kids have an early bedtime normally, and with the time zone change and an early flight, I think they may be ready for bed by 5:30 pm (local time) on the day of our arrival. We plan on staying on our time zone, so we can wake up "early" and hit the trails/sights early and avoid crowds for the duration of our trip, so I don't want to mess that up by keeping the kids up late on day 1.

In a nutshell, as I think about this more, I'm just not sure how well Royal Tyrrell would work out on Day 1 of our trip.

If we visited at the end of our trip, it would be Monday September 10, and I believe that is the first Monday you are closed. :(

We might be able to extend our vacation one day so we can visit on Sept 11 instead. If not, then I like the idea of visiting the Calgary Zoo on Monday September 10 to see whatever dinosaur stuff they might have there. Rautakallio, thank you for that idea - I was not aware of that, and we will be looking for something to do once we get to Calgary that afternoon.

If nothing else, I just paid $210 to get two passports for the kids, so we will definitely be planning another Canadian vacation before they expire in five years. Next time the boys will be older and I think it would be fun to see Royal Tyrrell and the Dinosaur Provincial Park.

Thanks again everyone, this has been really helpful.

9. Re: How crowded will Royal Tyrrell be on Fri of Labour Day wknd?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 15 January 2014, 00:15