The Pike family of Edmonton (l-r) Stephanie Lagden, five-year-old Hawken Raine, and Ben Pike, visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology on Tuesday, March 28, but what they weren’t expecting was they would be the museum’s official 15 millionth visitors. They were welcomed into the museum by a round of applause and cheers by museum staff and fellow visitors. Along with being able to say they were the 15 millionth visitors to the museum since it opened its doors to the public in 1985, the Pike family also received a gift basket full of items from local businesses and tourism destinations. (Lacie Nairn / The Drumheller Mail)Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com

After opening its doors to the public in 1985, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is celebrating a monumental milestone as it welcomes its 15 millionth visitor.

 The Pike family from Edmonton are the museum’s official 15 millionth visitors. Ben Pike, Stephanie Lagden and five-year-old Hawken Raine are visiting Drumheller, and this was their first time visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

 “It was a big surprise! Not something you expect, to be the 15 millionth visitor when you turn up at the door,” says Ben Pike, who is the official 15 millionth visitor.

  Ben Pike and Stephanie Lagden brought five-year-old grandson Hawken Raine to Drumheller to visit the museum because he “really likes dinosaurs.”

  The family received free admission to the museum and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. They also received a $200 gift card for the museum gift shop, along with a free lunch at the museum cafeteria.

 “We’re here for two nights, so maybe tomorrow we’ll go look at some hoodoos,” Ben tells the Mail. “We’ve now got free tickets to go up (World’s Largest Dinosaur), so that might be on the agenda as well.”

  Acting Executive director and Preservation and Research director Craig Scott said during the celebrations, “We opened in 1985, and I don’t think there was any thought in anyones wildest dreams we’d be achieving 15 million visitors in the span of less than four decades.”

 The museum celebrated its millionth visitor in 1987, two years after first opening its doors to the public; 10 years later, in 1997, the museum welcomed its five millionth visitor. In 2010, the same year the Royal Tyrrell celebrated its 25th anniversary, it also celebrated its 10 millionth visitor when eight-year-old Dayton Stachniak and family visited on August 19, 2010.

 Recently, the museum celebrated its best year after welcoming a total of 501,430 visitors in 2022. This is the first time the museum has recorded more than half a million visitors in a calendar year since it began charging admission in 1991.

By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

Original Published on Mar 29, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Drumheller Mail   Drumheller, Alberta
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