Our amazing Jurassic Forest adventure going back in time

By Mike Rainone for the News

Even at the age of 76 I feel so blessed to be able to go on casual excursions with family and friends, during which I often find little old me longing to transform myself into an excited and rambunctious youngster once again, at least for just a little while, and then it will likely be time for a nap. On a nice sunny day last week Joyce and I and Dale and Linda embarked on a leisurely drive through the rolling hills and lush farm lands and communities of north eastern Alberta.

Our final destination was at a pristine and perfectly natural family attraction called Jurassic Forest, which is located just north of Gibbons, Alberta off Hwy. 28. It’s open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during April to October and has lots of parking space and bathrooms. The spacious park, which opened in 2010 and has become a popular world-wide attraction, is surrounded by a thick forest of trees, flowers, and foliage, which upon entrance instantly comes alive with the awesome and sudden presence and sounds around each and every corner of over a hundred wildly authentic and life size animatronic re-creations of those amazing dinosaurs, birds, and insects that roamed freely in our province so many millions of years ago. As visitors of all ages slowly stroll in one direction along the sturdy wooden and fenced pathways, with no hills, there will certainly be lots of sudden ooohs, awes, gasps, and a few screams, followed by laughter, amazement, and countless opportunities to take all sorts of magnificent real life pictures. Travel along the way is on foot only, with strollers and wagons allowed for the children, as well as wheel chairs and motorized scooters for the handicapped allowed during your casual adventure going way back in time. There are also many benches available along the way for those who wish to sit back and relax, get a photo-op, or just gaze into the thick forest to see what may lie within, and then will be totally awed by what might suddenly appear and extend a shockingly loud but welcome greeting to all who are behind the safety of the fence. Large information signs are also featured along the trail to explain the colourful history of the Jurassic era, and if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of some of our modern 20th century animals, insects, and birds mingling amongst the creatures of so very long ago.

This spectacular and family friendly Jurassic Park setting also features a mini golf course where you can chip and putt amongst the dinosaurs, as well as a fabulous playground where children can climb and frolic in another world, or even dig and brush in the sand to uncover some really old bones and beasties. There are also lots of picnic tables available to relax and enjoy your lunch both in the sun, shade, and amongst the ominous local wild and woolly residents, as well as a concession stand, interpretive learning centres, and a gift shop, from which you can purchase a souvenir of your fabulous adventure. Another real treat at the Jurassic Forest is that visitors less than 90 pounds can dare to enjoy the exciting opportunity of jumping into the saddle and riding a bucking dinosaur, and it doesn’t matter if you have to get some help from mom and dad to hang on. We found Jurassic Forest to be a very interesting family experience, one uniquely and vividly dedicated to the rugged and often formidable historic age of the dinosaurs, all magically preserved in this perfectly natural, safe, and friendly piece of northern Alberta wilderness.

We were really quite amazed that family admission to the park is likely about the same cost of taking the whole crew to a movie, and you can bring your own popcorn and treats. If you go please take along some bug spray and sunscreen.

Now let’s have a little fun

I love my grey hair … on most days it’s the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt.

My wife likes to visit antique stores, but I don’t, because most of the things on those dusty shelves are younger than me. When we were young we’d focus all our energy on looking for a hot date … but now we would get the same thrill out of a hot bowl of soup.

Boss: Do you believe in life after death? Employee: certainly not, there is no proof of it. Boss: Well there is now … after you left work early yesterday to go to your uncle’s funeral he came here looking for you.

I can’t believe that we are heading into the last half of August, the stores are now hosting back to school sales, the nights are getting longer, and the geese are already practising landing and take-off manoeuvres. But what the heck, our magnificent fall might just last until November, so let’s just make the best of every moment, and then have a great week, all of you.

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