drumheller's cementosaurs

as i'm only the midst of preparing to look for the lost quarrys of francis slate, for my good buddy darren tanke, there is not much for me to blog about at this exact moment on this front.

however as i walk through town, immediately i'm noticing one thing i promised i'd blog about early...

the still saurian sentries of drumheller... the cementosaurs.

this is the local term for the many many dinosaur statues scattered throughout town that help to attract tourists and solidify drumheller as the dinosaur capital of canada. these cementosaurs vary from some very modern and fairly scientifically accurate fiberglass reconstructions (so not true cementosaurs, but around here their lumped in with the rest), but most are really old and old skool science-wise (if at all!) cement sculptures.

up until the late 1990's drumheller only really had two dinosaur sculptures around the town itself. the majority of the rest that are now in town were originally residing in a tourist attraction called prehistoric park.

they were made here by local artist tig seland , who thought that dinosaurs were really cool and neat. as these ancient beasts were being found in his backyard so to speak he thought it'd be really fun to recreate a whole batch of them.

which he did, and for the 60's and 70's they were one of the biggest tourist attractions around! however by the time of tig's death in the 1980's his park had been dwarfed by the new tyrrell museum. his corny and out of date dinosaurs couldn't compete with the world class cutting edge display. plus the location of his prehistoric park was less than ideal, hidden behind drumheller's ugly industrial area.
so for a few years these cement dinosaurs just sat there standing guard over an empty lot of badlands... till someone in town had the brilliant idea of buying the statues and moving them out into town for all to see. thus the cementosaurs were given a new life!

all but the poor pterosaur who had to stay behind(and the sauropod's feet, which are still in the ground where he originally stood). if you want to navigate to the old prehistoric park site just look to the southern hills and look for this pteranodon, who is across a coulee (mini valley) from a giant statue of jesus (who was built by tig's creationist neighbor to overlook the whole "heathenistic" park) who is really easy to see from most places in town.

as tourism increased to drumheller some local businesses decided they wanted to attract people with their own statues. so from these efforts we get a few modern style statues that are typically much more realistic than (but yet lack the charm of) the cementosaurs.

so join me on a virtual tour of drumheller's local (non living) dinosaur population...

if you ever make it to drumheller here is a map to follow to see these for yourself (and even just for this virtual tour give you an idea of what town is like). if you follow the arrows i've provided you'll hit all the important cementosaurs in the order i have provided.

if you can't click on this pic to make it bigger here is a link to a big version that definitely works.

i'll point out immediately that i have NOT marked or pointed out every single cementosaur in town. there are just over a dozen or so generic dinos as well. such as these triceratops... genericeratops i call them ;p

and sauropods like this one

there is also a few generic little tyrannosaurids, but i don't have a photo of any of them. all of them are identical minus their paint jobs.

the main reason i haven't included these is that they'd clutter up the map, i don't have pictures of all of them, and you'll see nearly all of them following this pathway anyway (i note the offbeat ones at the end of the post if you HAVE to see them all... but again they all look the same, except in colour).

1.entering drum

now this whole route assumes you're entering drumheller from the south, coming in from calgary. if not don't panic, just take a copy of the map, and you can wing your own tour (order isn't critical anyway).

apart from a few genericsaurus you'll see on the corners of drums first streets, the first true cementosaurs you'll be greeted by are actually recreations of post-dinosaur critters.

my favourite being the giant predatory bird diatrym. however sadly this trip not only have they repainted him an awful bright blue, but he'd gotten the stuffing kicked out of him by vandals... my only complaint about small town drumheller the local teenagers can be punks and trash many of the local tourist attractions, the cementosaurs being their favourite targets...

opposite the diatrym, stands a sabretoothed smilodon.

it is very fitting that the town put these two as the welcoming committee statues. as back when they were at prehistoric park, the mammal age creatures were outside the parks gates (and walls) as a greeting to guests. its just too bad the sabre-toothed tiger was brought down off the fake cement hoodoo he used to be tower on.

2. south dinosaur trail

now as drum is a small town there's only a few ways to navigate it. despite the choice of only two routes off the highway, i was kinda torn which to take you down...

however any other route than south dinosaur trail (which despite its name, is easily the most boring of the two dinosaur trails, north and south, and is easy to skip on a drumheller trip) would have you miss one noteworthy "cement"osaur.

when i was 2 years old one of the local grocery stores built a new building for itself, and included this statue permanently breaking out of its side. if not for the fact the model for this sculpt was my cousin larry, this would be my favourite drumheller cementosaur.
to get to him you'll have to drive into the grocery store's (IGA) parking lot to get a good look, but it is worth it!

3. into town

now here despite on the map it looks like i'm skipping a section, there is a very good reason. in your car you can't turn on railway ave from 2nd ave (aka main street) due to a dumb intersection.
you'll know your at the dumb intersection, because marking the spot where no one can turn anywhere stands this corythosaur and genericeratops. if driving this you'll only get a momentary glance as you'll have to keep driving, but if you make sure to stop later in the tour (or just walk the whole thing, its a nice 20-30 minute walk around all of "downtown" drum where 90% of the cementosaurs are) you can get a better look than. so we'll come back to them soon.
you know you've hit downtown downtown drum when you see this "trachodon", or more accurately edmontosaurus (the MOST common dinosaur around town in all but cement form!). he has had a rather hideous repaint since the last time i was in drum. a common theme for my return to drumheller so far actually...
sure things have to change, but in the case of the cementosaurs did most of them have to change to awful?!?
yet another example of ugly is the magic starred centrosaurus? in front of the movie theatre.

now i didn't add that question mark due to my confusion on it being a centrosaur. technically with a single nose horn there is no other choice... it's just when i lived in drumheller he had 2 giant eye horns, making him a clear triceratops. sadly it appears vandals permanently transformed him into a centrosaur... boo.

just across the street from the neo-centrosaur is a nicely coloured stegosaurus. in fact out of all the new paint jobs this guy's is among the few i like more than the old scheme.

4. looping back

okay time to get back to riverside drive that we skipped (which works fine as at some point we'd have to come along to see prehistoric park's formerly most popular resident... sadly himself now out done by many of the newer cementos running around town...).

that is of course prehistoric parks tyrannosaurus rex.

who was the tallest of the prehistoric parks dinosaurs. i mention this for two reasons. 1. it sometimes leads to him having funny paint jobs on account of ladders not being able to get all the way up him and 2. by comparing him to some of the new statues in town get an idea how much has changed since the dinosaur capital of canada thing took off!

5. the missed street

righto, now we're on railroad ave, of which some of the cement dinosaur statues would have been visible from stage 1. on south dinosaur trail. however these dinos here are worth a closer look.

you know you're in the right place when you pass this genericsaur, as he marks a triangle of awesome (he just sadly is the boring tip).

on the dinosaur trail side of the street (you would have seen him from dinosaur trail, but from a distance) is this sauropod, affectionately around town known as mafiasaurus.

the reasons being that, as i mentioned before, this sauropod's feet had to be abandoned in the old prehistoric park. however due to the colossal weight of this statue it needed solid supports on the legs (why the feet were unmovable i guess) so those massive concrete bricks were attached to him...

making him look like the mob is going to throw him to the bottom of the red deer river (not that his neck wouldn't make it out of the shallow river, but you know what i mean). hence the name mafiasaurus, or in latin mafia lizard. i'd personally like to figure out the latin for targeted, and change it to mafia targeted lizard, but it probably won't catch on if i went to the trouble.

opposite both the genricosaur and the mafiasaur is this nice allosaur. its not just a nice sculpt, but a nice new paint job! in fact of all the true prehistoric park dinosaurs this one is my favourite (which the paint job didn't ruin!).

bringing the look full circle is our old friend the corythosaur. though to avoid its crazy turning road, and to carry on with the tour you might want to pull the car over and walk to check him out.

6. uptown
as we drive up to the riverfront (the most concentrated cementosaur sector) there are two very noteworthy statues to watch for (and a couple genericsaurs here too).
the first is the dalmationsaur, which of course is in front of none other than the firestation. this cementosaur is one of the few true cement dinos NOT to come from the prehistoric park. he rather has been here his whole existence.

the styracosaur across the street however is a prehistoric parker. his new paint job though silly, with two huge bandaids on his back, is appropriate as he is in front of drumhellers rather large pharamacy.

just down the block from these two you hit the rather dinosaur intense...

7. river front
as you drive along towards the only bridge in town, over which is the tyrrell museum, you'll also hit nearly 1/4 of all of the cementosaurs in town!
here you get a lot of new age dinosaur statues. all in front of a store called fossil world, that is owned by some people who don't like us at the museum... because "we" don't let them dig for fossils in alberta. which is and isn't true... though i just noticed for the first time (been by this store hundreds of times!) it is an affiliate of annex corp. a company that has been popping up a lot in my recent journeys for some reason...

anyways here you'll see this baby triceratops, which due to the expanding operations of fossil world (aka annex co?) you can now see these in two places. rather than just this one when i lived in town.

inside the store you'll find this nice coelophysis model guarding over the merchandise.
outside the store just a few metres from the tiny triceratops is this rather modern (but yet not as nice as the old skool cement) allosaurus.
standing in front of the store you get hit with a whammy of new vs. old, because directly across the street you have...

the oldest cementosaur in drumheller. this albertosaur, who has stood in this very spot at the front of the town's central park since the late 1950's. he for the longest time was the iconic logo for the dinosaur capital of canada, until recent times when he has found himself overshadowed, depending on where the sun is in the sky sometimes quite literally, by...

the world's largest dinosaur... if you don't believe the claim, just compary the tiny humans playing on its feet to the body! it was built just before i was hatched, and has become the new dinosaur statue icon of town, which is hard not to believe since you can see it from all over town!
personally i like to call this a calvinosaurus, in reference to one of my favourite comic strip of calvin and hobbes. if you don't get the reference, i also call her zilla on occasion after my hero godzilla. not that this statue has the cool invinsibility or atomic breath that make godzilla so awesome, but its at least tall enough.
8. hidden treasures

all the cementosaurs so far on the tour are out in the open, and easy to find even without my tour. however the next two are typcially missed, and if you didn't know they were there you'd be very likely to miss them. fortunantely you have me as your guide ;)
these hidden cementosaurs come in good and bad news
the bad news first...
hidden behind the calvinosaur, is the WORST of the cementosaurs by far. which i'm certain is why it is hidden away.
not only does this ankylosaur have an abysmal colour scheme (now, it used to have a nicer one when i was a local), but the scuplt is unbelievably bad!

hopefully you can handle looking at your screen long enough to catch the fact it has ears!!!... though please only look long enough to note this feature, and than look away! i don't want to be held accountable for making you blind... (i had to get a new camera after this photo, as my lense cracked... :P)
okay with the bad news down, onto the good news, and good it is!
it wasn't till i was 1 year old that i found this cementosaur. it is tucked off in a neighborhood only visible for a moment off the bridge coming into town. so unless you wander otherwise normal streets you'd never find it.
to get to this bad boy, and his smaller friends scattered along the lawn, all you have to do is cross the road (don't drive, trust me, walk!) from the water park albertosaur and a block later you'll be standing here.
this is a unique collection of cementosaurs, and were made by the man living in this house. if he is home he's even nice enough to turn on the wings of his made up terrisparridactals, whose wings actually FLAP!!!

9. museum bound
getting back in your car (otherwise your in for a LONG walk!) drive over the bridge and head out toward the tyrrell. though if you're just on this particular drive for the cementosaurs you can stop halfway to the museum.
immediately after the bridge you'll encounter this giant ground sloth. he was also one of the guest greeting company at the prehistoric park, but has been put in this area of town all by his lonesome (okay minus a HUGE concentration of genricsaurs... probably the most of them in one area, but again if you've seen one you've seen them all!)

the ground sloth wins the prize for worst NEW paint job. this is a picture of it i stole off the internet, as i refuse to ruin my new camera on its new look! they painted this giant mammal bright green!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHY?!?

way further down the road, marking the halfway point to the museum from the bridge, is this rather handsome diplodocus. he is the second oldest free range cementosaur. having been built just slightly after the prehistoric park dinos, but he like the albertosaurus still stands where he was originally built.
this was always a childhood favourite of mine.

next we come to the only "cementosaurs" that are totally brand new to me. all the others were around when i was in town, but out here towards the tyrrell, annex co. has begun to build their own museum. wonder what that means?
anyways just like their store in town, this site is now surrounded by a bunch of newly purchased dinosaur models. like this descent stegosaurus.

and this life sized camarosaur, which is now the second largest dinosaur model in town.
which brings you to an end of the main cementosaur tour.
10. off the beaten path
if however you're craving more, and you don't care if the sequel is no where near as good as the original. you could always head out of town towards east coulee and the wonderful atlas coal mine (which you should visit anyways! this is just a good bonus for the trip... as the outside of town dinos don't hold up on their own... honest!).
before you leave drumheller (meaning these are still worth seeing, remember i said out of town is useless) you'll encounter these inbetweenasaurus in front of greentree mall.
i say inbetween because they aren't as big or impressive as the other main cementosaurs in town, but they also aren't tiny of identical to any others like the genricsaurs. if anything these are the transition form of genricsaurs evolving into proper cementosaurs ;p
they are just worth seeing, as they're tall versions of the genrics, and seem to be what the generics were modelled after. yet they are not the coolest of the cool.
making them worth the stop are the fake cement hoodoos that keep them company.
i'll warn you though that because they are off the beaten path these two get trashed by vandals a lot, and are often out of commission for parts of the summer...
if you keep going to rosedale, you'll be "rewarded" with three genericsaurs. identical in everyway (minus paint job) to those in drumheller, their only novelity being they're not in drumheller...
so hope you've enjoyed your so virtual it felt real tour. also if you do end up hitting drum and following my path could you let me know if it was of any help to you?


Sean Craven said...


I had no idea...


I've had a notion for a long time now that at the end of WWII they should have given the refugees Switzerland as their homeland instead of Israel.

This is surely not the place to go into the reasoning behind my position -- but take it from me, when I talk to people about this their faces get really weird, like they're chewing lemon slices wrapped in foil. And then they ask me what would happen to the Swiss.

"They'd travel the world and make life-size clockwork dinosaurs until no matter where you were you could always see a dinosaur."

Now I know what the world would look like if I were in charge.

Zachary said...

I remember seeing a lot of those dinosaurs last time I was at the RTM. Really wonderful stuff, especially the McLarge Huge tyrannosaur, which is the size of Godzilla. Gotta wonder how they even made that thing.

That camarasaur must be new, though.

Anonymous said...

Great tour, Traum!! Those Cementosaurs are AWESOME!!! I love the contrast between the old ones and the newer ones (scientifically speaking.) Y'know the modern ones compared to the older ones?

Anywho, when I saw "Zilla," I had one thing on my mind: "Oh My God!" That is huge and if it was more accurate I would love it even more.
I also love the Tyrannosaurus rex sticking out of the side of that grocery store. That looks real.

You make me want to go to Drumheller even more dude! At first, I wanted to go because of the Tyrrell Museum, but, now you've pointed out more places to go. You see, because I live in another country, I can't travel that far just for one museum. That's not enough stuff for that much money. And so, I thank you.

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

my fave ones are that one modeled after Larry and the dalmationsaurus! LOL
oh my balrog! too many cementosaurs! I wish I had just a few around here! ;)


Traumador said...

sean- i'll have to look into the population demographics for around here for the swiss.

zach- the camarosaur had JUST been installed the day i took this photo... that's how NEW it was ;P

raptor- to be honest there is an awful lot in this one area, more so than almost any other museum i can think of (as in fossils RIGHT outside the front door... i've found dinosaur bone literally on the staff car park pavement). at the same time it is a little ways from you, so no worries. it is not like the tyrrell is going anywhere.

dinorider- you total have to visit and should!

as for your lack of cementosaurs, there is nothing stopping you from making your own ;p that's what tig did LOL

Dinorider d'Andoandor said...

I'll seriously consider your suggestion!