The T-Rex Discovery Centre in Eastend has opened for the season!
The museum centre hosts the world's largest T-Rex, Scotty, and they are now open to the public until Labour Day Weekend in September.
Saturday saw a host of families, curious travellers, and dinosaur devotees making their way into the facility to experience the wonderful displays.
Helping out with tours, front desk, and any questions folks had about the fantastic fossils on display was Amy Castillo, the visitor experience supervisor for the T-Rex Discovery Centre.
"We started slow, and that's always OK," said Castillo. "It's just nice to see people coming back to the Centre."
Folks who made it out for the opening event were able to grab free coffee and donuts at the gift shop, as well as free to explore and ask questions.
Of course, the most striking figure in the entire building is that of the Scotty the T-Rex display. This massive female Tyrannosaurus Rex is the largest to ever be discovered. While not the tallest or the longest, she is simply the widest.
Discovered along an ancient dried-up creek bed, it is believed that her mostly complete fossil is the result of rapid burial. Aside from an arm and a leg, Scotty was found almost entirely intact. The arm and leg are believed to have been carried off by the stream during decomposition, while a bed of sediment is believed to have swiftly covered everything else, keeping her safe for millions of years.
"We also have Scotty's 32nd Unearth Day this summer, " Castillo said.
Some of the other displays that can be seen around Scotty are things like her actual fossilized vertebrae and a piece of her bone marrow that folks are free to touch.
The actual skeleton on display is a very accurate and painstakingly crafted replica. Seeing as her fossil is irreplaceable and also immensely heavy, the replica is both easier and safer to display.
"Something special about the Centre is so you can see our fossils up close," said Castillo. "You can see Scotty up close. You can see Omâcîw, the Tylosaurus, up close and experience seeing the details and just knowing that they existed here millions of years ago."
Scotty is far from alone in the Centre. Alongside Scotty are various smaller dinosaurs and even a few massive ones, like Omâcîw, that would have been able to hold their own on the scale.
One of the more interesting pieces is the Triceratops skull replica on display. This ancient fossil hides an impressive secret on the bone crest Triceratops are so famous for. The right side of the crest is missing a sizable chunk, which appears to have happened while the animal was alive!
They are able to see by the rounded edges that the bone looks to have healed at some point after the initial break, proving that this was one tough dino.
"We have a beautiful nature trail as well," added Castillo. "On a nice sunny day, it has a beautiful view of the Frenchman Valley."
Tours are available for anyone with questions about the myriad of fossils on display. Folks are encouraged to ask questions.
One of the things that may prompt the most questions is the work being done on fossils in the front room. There, folks can see paleo work being done to extract dirt and debris from real fossils. The professionals in the Centre will work on these pieces before sending them back to the museum they came from for collection or display.
"They're cleaning out the matrix, or the rock material, around the fossil and preparing that for exhibits," confirmed Castillo. "Folks can probably ask one of the staff or watch them and look at the fossils that they're working on for that day."
This summer, they have a few different events coming. One of the most popular events is their Dino Days, which is from July 21 to 22.
"The Dino Days is always one of the busiest couple of days here during the summer," said Castillo. "It's a town event. There are movie nights on those days, and we're participating in the parade."
This summer, if you have the chance to head down and experience the titanic presence of these ancient creatures and the marks they left behind, it's certainly worth the drive.