Prehistoric events at the Esplanade in February

Saturday, Feb. 4 will be an exciting day for families at the Esplanade.

The Esplanade is holding a free event called Dinosaur Bones and Stories in Stone from 1-3:30 p.m. A drop-in program, there is no need to register and no capacity limit.

“We know that our community really “digs dinosaurs” and natural history,” Cultural Programs Coordinator Candace Lundrigan stated by email. “While dinosaur fossils aren’t a part of the Esplanade collections, with the live action theatre show, A Dinosaur Tale coming to the main stage, this felt like the perfect time to dig into our dinosaur history. With the help of our friends at the Medicine Hat Interpretive Program we can offer families in our community an opportunity to explore this popular part of our past.”

Budding paleontologists will get to try out their skills with four-by-four excavation boxes, which will contain replica dinosaur and other fossilized organisms for children to search for. After that, take part in a gallery scavenger hunt and paleontology-inspired art activities. Plus, don’t miss out on the dinosaur themed candy bar.

“This is an all-ages event,” said Lundrigan, “it is aimed at kiddos 12 and under. Activities like our ‘dinosaur dig’ and paleontology-inspired art activity are adaptable for both littles and bigger kids.”

The Police Point Interpretive Program will be giving two 15-minute presentations that explore geological time. These presentations will take place at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and interpreters will be available to engage with the public between the two presentations.

“The interpreters will be doing a presentation on a step through geological time and the various fossils and organisms that lived in the Medicine Hat area throughout those different time periods,” said Alicia Lew from Police Point. “Our interpreters will also have a display table set up with interactive fossils, casts and bones that people can look at.”

Field journals will be available at the Esplanade entrance for everyone who wants to join in the fun. Complete the journal and collect stamps at the many activity stations that will be set up. Once it is complete, the journal can be submitted for a chance to win tickets to A Dinosaur Tale, a movie about a time-warping wormhole that has brought dinosaurs back to the modern world.

“If you like Dinosaur Bones and Stories in Stone, you will also love A Dinosaur Tale,” said Lundrigan. “Attendees of our hands-on program on Feb. 4 will have a chance to be entered to win tickets to the show the following weekend. For the lucky winners, it will be two fun filled dinosaur weekends in a row!”

A Dinosaur Tale will be showing on Saturday, Feb. 11 for two showings, one at 2 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 to $35 each and are available on the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre website.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News