It’s HERE!! After watching and waiting the last few years with anticipation, today is the day that the Royal Alberta Museum , the largest museum in Western Canada, opens their doors to the public at noon! A family favourite destination, the museum will once again ignite new memories as we share Alberta’s history with our own families with hands on displays, interactive features that allow children and families a tangible interactive experience.
Features in the museums' design reflect back to unique aspects of Alberta’s landscape, the staircase inspired by the Maligne and Johnston canyons, a prairie lightning storm is captured above the admission’s desk, the lighting above emulates stars in the night sky & throughout the museum the colour scheme reflect fields of canola. Wrapping around the outside of the museum light dapples through leaves onto the museum floor.
Childlike elements are incorporated throughout, like the ants on the floor, that lead families towards the Children’s Gallery. The 7,000 square foot Children’s Gallery is a world of discovery and hands-on play. Play in the Digital Sandbox, where you can create rivers, lakes and change the landscape. Then search for bones in the archeological dig pit, watch tiles blow as you harness the power of the wind, play with the Big Machine, or get imaginative and play dress up in the Chautauqua Theatre.
The Children’s Gallery is home to a Maker’s Space, where children are welcome to engage in their own creativity.
Toddlers and Babies: Have a padded play area to climb and explore safely.
Bonus Points: The museum has added family washrooms, located next to the Maker Space, right within the gallery! There’s no need to pack up your kids to try and locate the nearest facility outside of the gallery, making it very convenient for parents and caregivers alike!
The Bug Gallery is host to the little creatures that run the world.. this includes the Paper Fly Wasp, the pesky insect we often dismiss as being a contributor to the natural environment but chatting with Peter Heule, Live Animal Supervisor, you soon learn that even the pesky wasp has its place in the world.
Make your way to the second floor, you’ll enter the Natural History Hall, home to four galleries, Ancient Alberta Gallery, Ice Age Alberta, Gems and Mineral Gallery and the Wild Alberta. As you enter you’ll meet sloth and mastadon, two enormous creature from the Ice Age.
In the Gem and Mineral Gallery, you’ll find massive copper sheeting on display and the infamous spit rock! Ask the curator or guide about the unique feature of the spit rock, how it was cleaned! Within the gallery you’ll find over 1400 gems and minerals on display, some donated by local residents that hold their own stories of how they came to reside at the RAM.
Returning to the museum in the Wild Alberta Gallery are Eight Classic Diorama’s that many will fondly remember and nine new dioramas have been added along with live turtles, an interactive card game and a running antelope, a custom piece created specifically for the museum using plastination-technique, out of Germany.
Over 82,000 square feet of exhibition space at the RAM, double from the Glenora location.
30,000 sq feet dedicated to Natural and Human History,
12,000 sq feet for the Feature Exhibition Halls
7,000 square feet for the Children’s Gallery
3,000 square feet for the Bug Gallery!
Over 2.4 Million objects in the RAM Collection, while not all on display, the RAM will be able to rotate exhibitions. Which means new exhibitions and artifacts on display will be updated!
There are two outdoor courtyards, The Fraser and the Isabella Courtyard.
The Former Canada Post: Mosaic murals that graced the Post Office are on the facade of the building, three decorative screens are repurposed into art and the clock on the south west side of the museum, is almost in the exact place where it once was located.
Good to know: Free Admission to see the Manitou Stone.
Sensory Users: A unique feature that the museum has assembled for anyone with sensory needs is to create Sensory Backpacks that visitors can sign out at no cost while visiting the RAM and will be made available at the Admissions Desk for both adult and children. Each backpack will include items like glasses and noise cancelling headphones.
Royal Alberta Museum, is located along 103A Avenue between 97 street and 99 street at 9810 103A Avenue.
Parking is available through the downtown core with Pedway access, as well as options to take the LRT through ETS. The Museum has added five accessible parking spots are available just outside the main doors.
There is a drop off location near the west entrance.
Bicycle Parking is located NW of the main entrance.
Regular Admission Hours will begin October 9th following the Free Admission Days for their grand opening. Contact the museum directly for more information.
The Museum extends free admission to Indigenous Peoples, as the land rests on Treaty Six Territory and the homeland of the Metis.
Children under the age of 6, are free. Adult one-day tickets are $19, Senior’s $14, Youth (7-17yrs)- $10 and Family Pass* is $48.
The Alberta Cultural Access Pass gives user’s free admission. *Contact museum for full details on fees.
Photographers on assignment: Lorraine Stephanyshyn, Alora van Diepen, Emily Harrington