Today was a fun day for Ethan, as we paid a visit to the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, otherwise known as the dinosaur museum. This was no small feat because Ethan isn’t into dinosaurs. Luckily, it ended up being a fun place for him, much to our surprise. And btw, this blog post’s cover photo was taken by Ethan.
This roadschooling experience has been amazing and we have adjusted fairly well to living in the VW Westfalia. It is certainly a bit cramped at times, but it’s been a lot of fun driving across Canada on this family road trip. If we had known homeschooling, and in particular, unschooling, would be this great, we would have done it from the start.
We spent the night free camping in the parking lot of the Stoney Nakoda Resort and Casino. They were very nice and had no problem letting us spend the night in the parking lot and coming in to use the free wifi and their washrooms.
We woke up early and quickly got under way towards Drumheller and the Royal Tyrell Museum. We wanted to make it in time for the fossil dig and exploration. However, I underestimated how far away it was, and also went the wrong way for about 20 minutes, so we didn’t make it in time for the dig but there was plenty more to see and do.
I actually spent the first hour and a half in the cafeteria using the free wifi to get some work done. Ethan and Dong Eun went and checked out all the dinosaur exhibits while I worked. We got Ethan the museum’s kid activity book but perhaps the audio guide would have been more interesting.
When they came back, Ethan said the museum was awesome and couldn’t wait to do the fossil casting and raptor assembly activities. Dong Eun told me that the mostly whizzed through the exhibits but spent time at the areas with hands on activities. He was also interested in the lab where they prepare fossils, the cockroaches, scorpion and tarantula, as well as the soft shell turtle.
We learned that if we want to go to a museum, it has to have hands on activities for kids. Luckily, the Royal Tyrell Museum had a second fossil casting in the afternoon so it was my turn to go with Ethan. He really enjoyed this because he got to make something pretty cool and learn about fossils.
After we finished with the fossil casting, it was time for raptor assembly. Actually, raptors is not actually what these dinosaurs are called. They’re actually called Dromaeosaurus and unlike in the movie Jurassic Park, Dromaeosaurus had feathers and a stiff tail to help them steer. We also learned that their intelligence was similar to that of a modern day robin.
One thing that surprised us was when the presenter asked why Dromaeosaurus had feathers, Ethan answered that the feathers were for warmth. I wasn’t sure, but in fact, he was right. I asked him later on how he knew that and he said, “Podcast.”
The Royal Tyrell Museum was a hit but it was time to move on.
Another night in a Walmart parking lot means another night of free wifi! We spent most of the evening preparing dinner and eating, but we were pleasantly surprised by Ethan cleaning up his own things and organizing things himself. He also wrote some sort of tongue twister riddle in his journal.
Like I said, if we had known unschooling would be so much fun and be so relatively easy, we would have done it long ago. If you’re on the fence, I highly encourage you to try it and trust that your child will find a way to learn.
- Museum entrance fees: $34 (for 1 adult, 1 child)
- Fossil casting activity: $20 (for 1 adult, 1 child)
- Gas: $91.01 (for 79 litres; about $5 less but we got about 15 litres more gas!)
- Groceries: $36.79
- Propane tanks for the heater x 3: $18.24
- Total: $200.04