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 his corny and out of date dinosaurs couldn't compete with the world class cutting edge display.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).
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.
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.
3. into town
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!).
just down the block from these two you hit the rather dinosaur intense...
7. river front
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.
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...
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 ;)
9. museum bound