The opening of a state-of-the-art dinosaur museum near Grande Prairie, Alta., has been delayed until July 2013 because of a shortfall of funds.

The effort to construct the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, named after an eminent University of Alberta paleontologist, raised nearly half a million dollars at a celebrity-studded fundraiser in July, but still doesn't have enough money to break ground on its new building.

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An artist's rendition depicts the future Philip Currie Dinosaur Museum near Grande Prairie, Alta. ((Courtesy Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative))

The project needs $27 million and is hoping to get one-third from the provincial government, one-third from Ottawa and the remainder from private fundraising. So far fundraising has been the most fruitful, bringing in $5 million — more than the province and federal government have contributed combined.

Instead of opening in December 2012 as initially planned, the LEED-certified, 41,000-square-foot edifice will open in July 2013 on its four-hectare site 22 kilometres west of Grande Prairie, its board of directors announced Monday. 

The building, designed by Teeple Architects of Toronto, will house specimens from the fossil-rich region, as well as research and educational facilities.

Last month's sold-out fundraiser in Grande Prairie featured actor and paleontology enthusiast Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels and crime writer Patricia Cornwell. Guests paid between $5,000 and $25,000 to sponsor a table, and some of them spent the prior two days on a fossil dig west of the city in a rich bone bed known as the River of Death.