Calgary

Drumheller's giant dinosaur is getting a $300,000 makeover

The World's Largest Dinosaur — a 25-metre-tall, fibreglass and steel Tyrannosaurus rex — has been a popular attraction for almost 20 years in the Drumheller Valley. And it's now getting a $300,000 facelift.

It's expected to be fully restored by end of June

The Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce dubbed the attraction the World's Largest Dinosaur. It's made of fibreglass and steel and is overdue for exterior repairs and a paint job. (Tamarra Canu)

The Drumheller dinosaur is getting a makeover.

The World's Largest Dinosaur — a 26-metre-tall, fibreglass and steel Tyrannosaurus rex — has been a popular attraction for almost 20 years in the Drumheller Valley.

It was built in 2000 and is about 4½ times larger than a real T. rex.

It attracts more than 125,000 visitors every year, according to a news release from Drumheller and District Chamber of Commerce, which owns and operates it. Tourists can climb the interior stairs to get a view of the surrounding badlands.

Now, after seven years without any exterior work, the dino will be getting a little TLC, including a paint job.

Same look, fresh paint

And if you're a fan of its classic yellow and green hues, you have nothing to worry about.

The chamber's Heather Bitz says the dinosaur will be retaining its look, no major changes are planned.

The project comes in at just over $300,000, she said.

In March 2020, the Chamber of Commerce learned it would receive $200,000 to go toward the project from the Canadian Experiences Fund. The federal funds support communities across Canada to create and enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences.

Tourists can climb up a set of stairs and emerge inside the T. rex's giant jaws. (Tamarra Canu)

"We are very fortunate to have some of our own reserves that we will be drawing upon as well," Bitz said.

Jeff Hall, president of the Drumheller chamber, says  the organization allocates 25 per cent of admissions from the dinosaur to a capital repair fund, which paired with the federal funds will help cover the work.

"As the [dinosaur] ages, the Chamber of Commerce will continue to be diligent about saving funds for future repairs and maintenance to the structure," Hall said.

"Dinosaurs are the major tourism draw to our community, and the DDCC wants to ensure the [dinosaur] is looking her absolute best for all to enjoy in the years to come."

Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, and minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, said in a news release that projects like these are "crucial to helping our tourism sector come roaring back after COVID-19."

The last time the dinosaur had exterior repairs and paint was in September 2013.

Plans for its facelift have been underway since last year, according to the news release.

The dinosaur is expected to be fully restored and open to the public by the end of June.

  • Take a tour inside the world's biggest dinosaur with CBC Arts from last September:
In the first episode of Big Things Small Towns, Tamarra Canu visits Drumheller, Alberta to check out their 26m tall, 46m long giant dinosaur. 4:53

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