Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum reveals “Secrets of the Wapiti” on rafting adventure


Take a roadtrip on the #dinotrail to discover dinosaurs like never before, connecting northern Alberta and BC, and the communities of Grande Cache, Wembley, Tumbler Ridge and Prince George. #dinotrail 

Wembley, AB — What kind of secrets does northern Alberta hold? In Grande Prairie region, everything from dinosaur fossils to resident moose and bald eagles, to the ecology of forest fires and climate change. And it’s all revealed when you take the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum’s “Secrets of the Wapiti” raft tour down the Wapiti River. 

Paddling downriver on this new guided tour, you're quickly drawn into the landscape. Sandstone outcrops abutt the wide river. Tall aspen trees blow gently in the breeze, sounding like mild ocean waves. In the absence of any signs or sounds of human habitation, it’s easy to imagine you’re navigating the inland ocean where Alberta’s dinosaurs once roamed. 

Up from the depths of the water and the earth, ancient secrets of natural history are whispering to us. And these are just a few of the many discoveries that are revealed to travelers along the #dinotrail.

WATCH: uncover the Secrets of the Wapiti, with Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

Watch Rafting the Wapiti River reveals secrets of the #dinotrail on YouTube.

“A lot of early fossil hunting in Alberta happened along the river,” says Dr. Emily Bamforth, museum curator at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, and adjunct professor of geological sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Ever since she was four years old, Dr. Bamforth knew dinosaurs were her calling. 

Raft into dinosaur territory on a Secrets of the Wapiti tour

She’s one of those passionate scientists who find wonder in every atom of nature, and the part it plays in the grand mystery of the earth. 

Her excitement trickles down to every member of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum staff, from the palaeontologists we meet in the lab, to the river guides who are keeping our raft on course.

Secrets of the Wapiti Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum Paul Lavoie ZenSeekers
Photo: Paul Lavoie
One of the lab scientists shows the Wickberg family his current project, a new fossil he's uncovering.

Grabbing a stray leaf that floats by, Dr. Bamforth holds it up to illustrate how the leaf shape and venation of fossilized plants have helped scientists learn about climate at the time of the dinosaurs. 

Like the leaf, our raft floats peacefully on the river, immersed in nature and free of any distractions (hint, hint). We feel small in this big landscape, and yet on the gentle water, with expert guides, the rafting is easy and safe for all ages. 

Book your rafting tour now through end of Aug, 2023

Along our tour, which takes approximately four hours, there is a stop at a live dig site at Spring Creek. 

Here, Dr. Bamforth shows the Wickberg family—Cory, Dustin and their two children Kyle (11) and Chelsey (9)—how to search along the river banks and creek beds for fossils, among the many rock types.

Secrets of the Wapiti Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum Paul Lavoie ZenSeekers
Photo: Paul Lavoie
Dr. Bamforth helps the Wickberg family search for fossils at the Spring Creek bonebed site.

After a wholesome packed lunch of fruit, veggies and assorted sandwiches and deli trays provided by the museum, the family spends some time searching along the banks. 

“I’m really into fossil hunting now!” Kyle tells his mom. “Just looking for fossils and finding all the cool ones is really fun.” 

“I knew dinosaurs were around here but I didn’t know there were that many fossils focused in just one area!” says Dustin. 

Later, reflecting on the experience, Cory commented on how she appreciated the time together as a family, having a new adventure. For her, having the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in the Grande Prairie region creates a rich asset for the community and the region.

“We’re fortunate to have such a rich area for fossils along the river, and how many local experts we have, and how many scientists come to work at the museum,” she adds. 

Rafting the river on The Secrets of the Wapiti tour, those scientists and experts from the museum are there paddling the boat with you, guiding your discoveries. Like the other destinations along the #dinotrail, it’s a rare opportunity to experience the forefront of scientific research and dinosaur discovery. 

Until you see it up close and personal, it’s hard to truly appreciate how powerful such secrets can be.


The Secrets of the Wapiti tour run July through August, starting at the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

A shuttle will take you from the museum to and from the river, where you spend approximately four hours immersed in nature and fossil hunting. 

Book your tour now, and experience it for yourself. 

Don't stop there—the adventures carry on after you're off the river!

The museum is full of hands-on experiences and cool exhibits: 

  • get into the lab with dino scientists
  • meet live animal descendants of the dinosaurs
  • and explore the main gallery to round out your adventure!

Check out the official museum website for more details.

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