My Favorite Museum (Royal Tyrell Museum of Natural History)
I haven't been to the RTM in a decade, but some of my most treasured memories rest in its hallowed halls. It was, in fact, the first museum I'd ever been to, probably when my age was still measured in the single digits. I don't remember the details, but I do remember the feeling of awe which said visit inspired. When I was fifteen or sixteen, I traveled there again and was greeted by some awesome displays. The building's exterior is decorated by plenty of life-size models of Albertan taxa including Pachyrhinosaurus (with curious double nasal horns), Albertosaurus, and Ornithomimus. The exhibits inside were even better. An entire room was dedicated to curious theropod dinosaurs. I forget the exact taxa, but there was a tyrannosaur, ornithomimosaur, dromaeosaur, and abelisaur. The main area had that famous Tyrannosaurus mount alongside a Triceratops, and Edmontonia and...I seem to remember a Stegosaurus, which doesn't seem right. Edmontosaurus too, of course. There was another room featuring Cambrian critters with beautiful glass displays featuring what appeared to be floating invertebrates!
That's all I remember of the museum. I hear they have a kickass ceratopsid exhibit now, so I really want to go back. If I do, I kind of want to meet Phil Currie (as I missed him at SVP)! Drumheller in general is a Mesozoic celebration, with sometimes strange-looking dinosaur sculptures dotting the town. My family travelled to Dinosaur Provincial Park last time we went to Calgary, but they were closed due to a power failure. There was a Styracosaurus statue in front of the visitor center. I know Traumador has a special place in his heart for RTM, and I don't blame him. It's really a wonderful place.
The Chicago Field Musem
I've also been here twice, once when Sue was first erected (ohhhh it was so cool) and again two years ago. Not a whole lot changed, from what I remember, but that's alright, because the Field Museum rules! Of course, you are greeted by Sue the T.rex when you walk in the door. I was actually disappointed last time I was there because her "wishbone" (proven now to be a pathological pair of gastralia) was not fixed. I would think the Field Museum would keep up with the literature and keep their most prized dinosaur up to date! I wanted to show somebody proof, but the copy of The Carnivorous Dinosaurs in the bookstore was shrinkwrapped. Perhaps next time! The Field Museum's dinosaur hall is great, if a little disorganized. Interestingly, Buitreraptor was in there, standing under a Deinonychus during my most recent visit. I also saw a full-scale Majungasaurus skull, and it was a lot smaller than I thought it was. Even better than Sue, though, I love the pair of Herrerasaurus sculptures that greet you to the dinosaur hall. One is a skeletal restoration, and the other is a life restoration by...I'm guessing Stephen Czerkas. I was surprised at how big the animal was. You think of basal dinosaurs as small, but Herrerasaurus would have no trouble overpowering a person!
You'd think the Alaska Museum of Natural History would be on my list, as I've done so much work there, but until they put some kind of plaque under that T.rex skull, acknowledging all the work Scott, Brian, Raven and I put into it, the AMNH stays off my list.