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  • Paleontology MuseumPaleontology Museum Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Sitting on the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton, Canada, the paleontology museum has become one of the best places to party; that's because the museum has such a huge amount of fossils from dinosaurs and other mega bones that have been discovered in the province. It has the most complete pachcephalosaur dinosaur skeleton in the world, and almost four-fifths of the collection has been found here, with the remainder coming to the museum from around the world. These massive creatures that lived millennia ago are still an enigma to us and the questions asked just seem to want more questions. It is one of the most fascinating stories of our history, and one that we can only guess at, although we continue to find bones and fossils that tell us these monstrosities lived and flourished for thousands of years. The museum holds over 2 million invertebrate fossils, many unique to the area and were discovered during the 1950s and 1960s when oil companies came here to drill for oil and then finding the fossils, donated them to the university in the 1970s. These marvelous wonders has become an excellent resource for students, teachers and researchers. There are 35 collections that range from 450 million years ago to just 10,000 years ago and are divided into human history and natural history, which can further be broken down into art, history and culture for the humans, and technology and medicine. In the natural history realm, we have the animal kingdom, earth sciences, fossils and plants and fungi. The Joffre Bridge collection, contains a wonderful fossil display, that was located in south central Alberta, and gave up her secrets of mammal, insect and fish fossils. The collection has become a useful tool for researchers and school disciplines alike, with ongoing research involved in projects now happening that focus on the early vertebrates of the Paleozoic period, especially the origins of vertebrates with jaws, work on the late Cretaceous fishes, amphibians, mammals and reptiles; as well as studies on the early Tertiary mammals and fishes. One of the oldest collections here is the first vertebrate paleontology specimens that has been collected during the 1920s, which must have been a very exciting time and experience for the researchers.

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  • Fort Edmonton ParkFort Edmonton Park Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Fort Edmonton Park is the biggest living museum in the nation, and was named after the first continuing European outpost in the region. Containing both rebuilt and original historical buildings that has come to represent the history of the area and city, as well as the post-horse natives. The history of the park and its ideas goes back to 1915, when the remnants of the old fort were being demolished, since they sat next to the Alberta Legislature Building; although many citizens opposed this because they wanted to keep the old building since it was a part of their heritage. After the second World War, momentum once again gained steam and the park started construction in 1969 under the auspices of Fort Edmonton Foundation. Although they had created master plans for the site's construction in 1968, by 1987, it was becoming increasingly clear that the plans were being altered by itself as the building progressed, and they decided to embellish the four phases that had been completed thus far. The fort had opened in 1974 and was easy to access by road, with the 1885 Street being finished in the latter 1970s, then the 1905 Street in the early 1980s, and finally the 1920 Street in early 1990s. Since the beginning, a steam engine has transported visitors to the various areas of the park, although they all remained a work in progress. By 2008, the park was sitting on 158 acres, right next to the North Saskatchewan River in southwestern Edmonton and the four sections included; the 1846 fort, the 1885 Street, 1905 Street and finally the 1920 Street. Besides the train, there are horse pulled carriages, cars in certain areas and streetcars. From the May long weekend to Labor Day, continuing on Sundays in September, there are costumed historical characters that walk the park and assist in any they can. The fort is a replica and is a Hudson Bay Company fort that was an important part of the fur trade that brought people here; with a Cree village just outside the gate which were also important to the trade business. Some of the wonderful and exciting features include a York boat, the Rowand House where John Rowand and his family lived in a four story house, the Men's quarters opposite the Rowand house where the workers of the Hudson Bay Company slept, the Indian House/Trade Store; and the aboriginal village. Other interesting items include a covered wagon, Jasper House Hotel, McDougall Methodist Church, North-West mounted police outpost, tent city, Rutherford House, a streetcar, Blatchford Field Air Hangar, Hotel Selkirk, Mellon Farm, Al-Rashid Mosque and the 1920 midway and exhibition. All these wonderful replications are found throughout the park in the various street exhibition and is certainly a marvelous place to spend time with the family and friends learning about the early days of this country and region.

January 11, 2011