Ban­ner year for lo­cal at­trac­tions

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

And what a sum­mer it was for lo­cal at­trac­tions with some post­ing what might be the best sea­son ever.

The Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum has seen a fever­ish pace this sum­mer with vis­i­tors from across the coun­try and around the world com­ing to check out its world class dis­plays. Its new ex­hibit has cer­tainly been a draw.

“Why have we been suc­cess­ful this year? I think there have been a whole bunch of rea­sons,” said An­drew Neu­man Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum. “I think there has been a re­ally good media charge around our new ex­hibit and es­pe­cially our no­dosaur ex­hibit, we are get­ting peo­ple from all over the place com­ing to see it.”

“Cer­tainly from across the coun­try and even the US, we are see­ing peo­ple specif­i­cally iden­ti­fy­ing the no­dosaur, and the ex­hibit. The cov­er­age it has had both in the sci­en­tific me­di­ans and Na­tional Ge­o­graphic, has caught a lot of peo­ple’s imag­i­na­tion.”

To put a num­ber on that, the Tyrrell saw 310,000 peo­ple come through the gate in the last quar­ter alone.

Other con­di­tions that con­trib­uted in­clude the BC wild­fires, which had peo­ple look­ing for other places to spend their va­ca­tions. Neu­man said Canada’s 150th birth­day ap­pears to have spurred many to travel across the coun­try, and Drumheller is of­ten one of their stops. An­other fac­tor is the good hot sunny weather.

“The weather has been a huge fac­tor, we have had about three days of rain the whole sum­mer. Peo­ple come to the valley for lots of dif­fer­ent rea­sons, but if the weather is good, we have larger num­bers.”

Neu­man says since they have been track­ing ac­cu­rate at­ten­dance records, their best year was in 2015, with just un­der 480,000 peo­ple. Al­ready they have al­most reached

400,000 vis­i­tors with three months to go, and their pace is track­ing 8 per cent higher than 2015.

The At­las Coal Mine is also hav­ing a ban­ner year. Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Sarah New­stead said they might also be on track for one of their best sea­sons ever, al­though at first it didn’t look that way.

“We were a lit­tle slow in July and that seems to be a trend in a lot of other places in Drumheller, but our Au­gust was just awe­some,” said New­stead. “We prob­a­bly had our best day ever on our Au­gust Long Week­end and sur­pris­ingly, our Labour Day Week­end was also very good this year.”

New­stead be­lieves their suc­cess this year has to do with the valley telling its story.

“I think the work of Travel Drumheller and Travel Alberta pro­mot­ing the valley has just got­ten more peo­ple know­ing we are here and there are lots of great things in the valley,” she said. “We are see­ing more multi-day trips. More than just one day to see the Tyrrell, but stay­ing here for a cou­ple of days and see­ing not only us but the other amaz­ing mu­se­ums we have in town.”

It was a year of mile­stones for the At­las. It was the cen­ten­nial of the At­las Coal Mine Com­pany, the 80th birth­day of the tip­ple and 30 years of op­er­a­tions as a mu­seum. On Oc­to­ber 7, they are hav­ing a retro home­com­ing day to cel­e­brate three decades as a historic site.

The Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum’s new ex­hibit fea­tur­ing the no­dosaur has been a prime at­trac­tion this year, boost­ing at­ten­dance num­bers.

It was com­mon­place this sea­son to see vis­i­tors to the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum lined up to en­joy the ex­hibits.

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