Attractions see strong summer tourism numbers
After a record-shattering 2017 at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, this summer the museum continued to see strong attendance.
Last summer was the best ever for the Royal Tyrrell Museum, spurred along by its new exhibit Grounds for Discovery, displaying the many Alberta fossil finds at industrial sites. This included extensive coverage of the display of the Borealopelta, one of the best preserved armored dinosaurs discovered.
This year the museum followed closely in those tracks.
“We are down only very slightly from last summer and definitely well over the five-year average,” says Elaine Secord, head of the marketing and public relations at the Tyrrell. “So it was a very strong summer, very well attended.”
In August alone, there was almost 122,000 visitations. From May to August, there were more than 335,000 visitors.
She adds there were very good participation numbers in the programming offered at the museum and the Science Camp continued to post excellent attendance.
Jessica Jeninga, director of visitor services at the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site says while their visitation was down a little bit, their revenues were up. Their results reflect their ability to target their audience.
“This year one of the big projects we have done is looking into who our demographics are and exactly what we can do to cater to that. Part of the reason I think we have been successful this summer is that the Atlas Coal Mine offers something a little bit different and it is more of an adventurous experience,” she said.
Through the Atlas’ research, they have learned their largest visitorship comes from adults or couples under the age of 65 without children.
“Not to pull any hot-button words, but for something like ‘millennials’ we know what they are looking for in tourism is something much more expe- riential, something that when they get there they feel like they are truly doing something special,” said Jeninga.
“More than a lot of other different museums or heritage sites, The Atlas Coal Mine, I believe really is special. People come, they go on an adventure, they wear the hat, they are underground and we focus a lot on the story telling which makes people truly feel the experience they are at.”
The Atlas is winding down for the season, although Jeninga notes this time of year they are seeing many international visitors.
“We are such an outdoor site that a lot of the site is not accessible as soon as snow hits, so we are still aiming to do tours until thanksgiving long weekend and then after that, a visit by donation only,” said Jeninga.
The Tyrrell remains busy especially as construction continues on its expansion project that is expected to open next spring.
“The museum is a big economic driver in the mix of the cultural facilities run by the Alberta government and so this expansion that is being co-funded by the federal and provincial governments is just going to support and enhance the amenities we can offer to our visitors and enhance that experience even further,” said Secord.
The Tyrrell is making the transition into their fall season. Fall programming is continuing for the public into the month of September and we are gearing up for the school program season and the camp-in programs start in October,” said Secord.
Local attractions in Drumheller set some impressive numbers for visitorship this past summer.