Dinosaur Provincial Park

Alberta Parks

FAQs

Accessibility & Limited Mobility

I or a person in my party has limited mobility. Which programs are most adaptable for accessibility?

  • The programs that are most adaptable for mobility related accessibility are our indoor programs, including Cast from the Past, Jr. Palaeos, and Cretaceous Science Investigations. All three of these tours can be made wheelchair and mobility aid accessible upon request.
  • Both of our bus tours involve a small amount of walking over short distances, but getting on an off the bus via stairs multiple times throughout the tour is necessary for full engagement in the program.
  • To inquire about the accessibility of a program, or to request accessibility adaptations for a program you want to book, please contact us.

I’m worried about my physical fitness, are there programs that have lighter physical requirements?

The programs with the gentlest physical requirements are our Indoor programs, which require a limited amount of walking, have ready access to seating, and can be modified to be wheelchair accessible:

Our Bus Tours are a great way to get out on the landscape, without a long walk and extended exposure to high temperatures. Both bus tours have stops at which participants will disembark from the bus and stretch their legs over short distances. Please note that these programs do involve standing without access to seating for periods of 15-20 minutes:

If you are looking to spend more time out on the landscape and less time on a bus, but a full hike is not possible for you or your group, a Fossil Safari might be the right program for you. This all age’s program involves a short drive into the Natural Preserve by bus, a walk that is less than 1km to a fossil site, and then the rest of the program spent in the field looking for fossils.

Evening programs, especially in the summer, offer an opportunity to get out on the landscape after the peak temperatures have passed. These programs are also slower paced and for participants 14 and older, making them a more relaxed experience:

Booking

Where can I find the dates and times that programs are offered?

  • Dates and times for programs can be found on our Tours & Events page. The bookable programs listed there will be updated regularly based on environmental conditions and staff availability, so please check the page regularly to receive the most up to date information about available programs

What are some factors I should consider when choosing a program?

Choosing the right program for you or your group is one of the best ways to ensure that you will have a positive experience while visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park. When selecting a program, there are a number of factors worth considering while making your decision.

Tolerance to heat/ experience being active in high temperatures

  • During the summer, temperatures in Dinosaur Provincial Park regularly exceed 30oC and can exceed 40o. Safe participation in outdoor programs at these temperatures requires each person to make an educated decision about their physical abilities and tolerance to heat.
  • If you are inexperienced with outdoor activity in high temperatures or have people in your group who are at higher risk of heat related illness (i.e. Children, Seniors, etc.) please carefully consider if booking a program that requires higher exertion or more time exposed to the heat is right for you.

Time of year

  • Conditions at Dinosaur Provincial Park can change radically throughout the seasons. Spring can be cooler with higher chances of rain. Summer tends to be dryer with high temperatures, especially in the afternoons. Fall temperatures are usually lower than those of the summer, with cold mornings and cold evenings.
  • When booking a program, please consider how the timing of your visit might influence which programs you might be most comfortable participating in, and at what times of day.

Mobility of participants

  • All of our outdoor programs occur in an unmaintained environment. Surfaces in the badlands are uneven and potentially steep and/or slippery. For this reason, our outdoor programs are neither wheelchair nor stroller accessible.
  • If you are unsure about whether a program might meet the mobility needs of you or a member of your group, please contact us to consult with one of our knowledgeable staff.

What are you really hoping to experience?

  • We are proud to offer a wide range of programs that aim to provide an opportunity for everyone to book on the program that is right for them. However, there is also a chance that someone might book onto a program that is not what they are looking for.
  • Please consider what you are hoping for in terms of an experience, carefully read the descriptions of each program, and feel free to seek guidance by contacting us.

My login credentials aren't working. Why can't I login to my existing account to book a program?

The booking system for camping at Dinosaur Provincial Park is separate from the booking system for program registration. This means that the login you used to book your campsite will not work when you try to book a program, unless you have already set up a separate account with the same login credentials in the program booking system.

  • The first time you book a program you will need to create an account with https://shop.albertaparks.ca/, which you will be able to use for all future program bookings.
  • If you have already created an account when you booked a program in the past, but are still unable to login using your login credentials, you can reset you password using the email address you created the account with.

Do I need to provide paper copies of my ticket at the start of my program?

  • If you booked your program online, no printed ticket is required. Your guide will check you in at the program meeting point. However, please ensure that your confirmation email is available and accessible upon request in case clarification is required.
  • If you booked your program onsite, please bring your printed ticket receipt with you when you check in with your guide at the program meeting point.

What if the program I want to book is not offered on the days I will be visiting the park?

  • Additional programs will be opened for booking throughout the summer and fall depending on environmental conditions and staff availability. If you cannot find the program you are hoping to book on the dates you are planning to visit, you can re-visit the website regularly to check for updates.
  • Alternatively, you can contact us at dinosaurpp@gov.ab.ca or give us a call at 403-378-4342, and one of our knowledgeable staff can help guide you to a program that is available for booking.

Cancellations or Modifications

How do I cancel my program booking?

Cancel a Booking

  • Participants may cancel up to 48 hours before the event of regular programs and receive a refund of their program fee.
  • For Guided Excavations, participants may cancel at least 2 weeks prior to the scheduled start of the program and receive a refund of their program fee.
  • No refunds are provided if participants cancel less than 48 hours prior to the program start time for regular programs, or less than 2 weeks for Guided Excavations.
  • The $5 reservation fee is non-refundable.
  • Refunds are NOT given for air quality, car trouble, getting lost or weather when the program proceeds as scheduled.
  • If you have reserved online, program cancellations may be completed online at Shop.AlbertaParks.ca or by phoning 403-378-4342.
  • If you have reserved at the Visitor Centre, refunds must be completed at the Visitor Centre in person.

Modify a Booking

  • Participants may modify their booking up to 48 hours before to the scheduled start of regular programs.
  • For Guided Excavations, participants may modify their booking up to 2 weeks prior to the scheduled start of the program.
  • If you have reserved online, modifications may be completed online at Shop.AlbertaParks.ca or by phoning 403-378-4342.
  • If you have reserved at the Visitor Centre, staff can assist you in making a modification to your booking at the Visitor Centre in person

Custom Tours

Can I book a tour exclusively for my group?

  • If you have a large group, and are hoping to book a specific program, you can contact us for consultation about booking a custom tour by emailing customtours.dino@gov.ab.ca.
  • When contacting us, please provide information about your group size, preferred dates, and the name of the program you are hoping to book OR a description of the type of program you are looking for.
  • All custom tours must be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.

Fossils

I want to dig up fossils. Which program should I book?

  • On the vast majority of our programs, digging up fossils is strictly prohibited. In Alberta, fossils are protected by strict laws. Excavating fossils requires a permit that is only available to professional palaeontologists.
  • The Guided Excavation program is the only program on which participants excavate fossils. Guided by a professional palaeontologist, participants are trained and supervised to assist in the excavation of fossils at a dinosaur bonebed. All participants must be 14 or older, and must be able to climb steep slopes, sit on rough ground for long periods in the sun, and able to walk 2km.

I want to see fossils. Which program should I book?

Most of our programs will offer you an opportunity to see, and often touch, fossils. On any tour, our knowledgeable interpreters will be happy to answer any questions you might have about fossils and palaeontology. However, not all our programs are focused specifically on palaeontology or fossil finding. Also, different tours will take you to see different types of fossils in different contexts.

Non-palaeontology focused programs:

Interested in seeing an articulated skeleton:

Interested in seeing a large number of fossils in the ground at a bonebed:

Interested in seeing the fossils of many different species in the field:

Interested in getting up close and personal with fossils indoors:

Interested in an extended adventure where there will be a variety of fossils:

Free Programs

Are there any free programs being offered that I don’t have to book?

Throughout the season a variety of free programs are offered that require no advanced registration. The best place to find information about free programs being offered in the park is on our Free Programming web page

Preparation

What should I bring with me on my program?

A full list of what you will need for a specific program is provided to participants upon booking. It is crucial that you review the attachments to your confirmation email in advance of the program. In general, participants will need:

Outdoor Programs:

  • Close toed and heeled shoes with enclosed sides. Hiking boots recommended. No sandals, flipflops, Crocs, Keen sandals, etc. The badlands are home to rattlesnakes, cacti, and all manner of things that could damage your foot through a gap in your shoe. For your safety and the safety of everyone on the tour, appropriate footwear is required for participation. Those without appropriate footwear will not be able to participate and will not receive a refund.
  • Water. For shorter programs we recommend at least 1 litre per person; for longer programs we recommend at least 2 litres per person.
  • A hat. One of the best ways to protect yourself from heat related illness while on your program is to wear a hat, ideally with a broad brim.
  • Weather appropriate clothing. Please check the forecast in advance of your program so that you can dress appropriately.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Poles for hiking, a camera for photos, etc.

Indoor Programs:

  • Close toed shoes. Many of our indoor programs involve access to our palaeontology lab, for which close toed shoes are required.

Where can I find information about what I will need for a specific program?

  • Once you have booked a program online you will receive a confirmation email with attachments that outline what you will need to prepare for that program and directions to the meeting location for that program.
  • It is crucial that these attachments are reviewed prior to the start of a program. When booking a program please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and that you are able to access the confirmation emails that are sent that mailbox.
  • Participants who arrive unprepared for a program may not be able to participate and, in such a case, will not be refunded.

Where will my program start from?

  • Programs start from various locations around the park.
  • Once you have booked a program online you will receive a confirmation email with attachments that outline what you will need to prepare for that program and directions to the meeting location for that program.
  • It is crucial that these attachments are reviewed prior to the start of a program. When booking a program please ensure that the email address you provide is correct and that you are able to access the confirmation emails that are sent that mailbox.
  • All programs start on time. Participants who are late to a program or who arrive at the wrong starting location will not be refunded.

Weather

It feels like it is a million degrees outside. Will my program still go ahead?

High temperatures in the badlands are not unusual, especially in peak summer. Most of our programming is designed and scheduled with this in mind, and will go ahead without disruption. This is why we strongly recommend that all program participants dress appropriately, bring enough water, and make informed decisions about participation based on their own health and heat tolerance.

However, programs may be modified or canceled if temperatures climb above what is safe for the normal delivery of the program. Decisions to modify or cancel a program are made on a case-by-case basis by the interpreter leading the program, based on a combination of other environmental factors, Health and Safety policy heat thresholds, the age limit of participants, and difficulty of the program.

In the event of a cancellation due to weather, you will receive either a full refund or be offered an alternative program. Note that alternative programming is dependent on a variety of factors and is not guaranteed.

What happens if it rains? Will my program still go ahead?

In the event of rain on the day of, or significant amounts of rain in the days proceeding, programs may have to be cancelled.

Program cancellations on rainy days are most often made due to the effect that rain has on the stability of the ground in the badlands. The soft mudstone of the badlands contains a mineral called bentonite. When bentonite gets wet, it swells to multiple times its original size and becomes simultaneously extraordinarily slippery and incredibly sticky. As such, walking or driving on mudstone that is wet can be both damaging to the environment and dangerous for visitors. Even several days after a rainstorm, when the surface of the mudstone looks dry, subsurface layers of mudstone can remain saturated and unstable. As such, for your safety and for the protection of the Park, programs may be cancelled due to rain.

Similarly, cancellations may occur if there are other weather conditions that threaten the safety of participants and/ or the protection of the Park.

In the event of a cancellation due to weather, you will receive either a full refund or be offered an alternative program. Note that alternative programming is dependent on a variety of factors and is not guaranteed.

Updated: Feb 17, 2023