Regina staple surprises and delights at any age
Growing up, the museum was a place for school field trips and the occasional family trip to do something fun. It can bring back fond memories of playing with interactive exhibits or the gift you brought home from the gift shop. If you’re a small-town kid, the local museum might remind you of old buildings and old machinery in a grassy area.
For me, despite living close to Regina for the majority of my life I had never been to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Sure, I knew it existed, but I had always pictured it like the museum that I grew up near in my small town: a large area of wooden buildings that was barely holding itself together, a small crew maintaining everything, and a few pedestals with old items and small plaques to explain them.
When I went to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum recently, I was pleasantly surprised. The building itself is very nice and the staff were incredibly kind. Admission was pay by donation with recommended donation amounts, providing something fun to do without breaking the bank. Family outings can be special and important memories for young children, and it’s always easier to do that without worrying about how much the entire trip will cost.
Like most things right now, The Royal Saskatchewan Museum follows COVID-19 restrictions, as they should. Proof of vaccination was required to enter the museum and there were floor signs directing us where to go to limit foot traffic. Even if COVID wasn’t an issue, I truly appreciate the floor signs, because I am easily lost and need someone to tell me how to get places.
One of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s biggest claims to fame is Megamunch, the half-robotic Tyrannosaurus Rex. According to the museum’s website, he joined the museum crew in 1986. One of the signs at the Megamunch exhibit told of his adventures, including the one time he worked at an airport. Megamunch appears to be a career dinosaur. Little jokes like this really increased the experience of the museum and the humour made the trip more fun.
The next big thing that the Royal Saskatchewan Museum has is Scotty, the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus Rex, who was discovered right here in Saskatchewan. Visitors can view Scotty from a balcony view or a ground view. The balcony has interactive signs, directing museum goers to press a button with their elbow to light up different areas of Scotty. The buttons highlight injuries the T-rex sustained throughout his life, which was genuinely really cool. Not only is Scotty the largest dinosaur in the world, he’s also the oldest. Scotty was found in 1991 and it took 23 years to extract all of his bones from the rocks he was found in.
The ground level of Scotty’s exhibit featured lots of dinosaur facts (perfect for dinosaur kids) and my personal favourite, the interactive Paint the Dinosaur game. You can choose some colours on a small screen, and then lights will project onto a small model of a dinosaur. My friends and I spent a very long time trying to colour the dinosaur and we could have spent even more time doing so. I highly recommend painting the dinosaur.
Next, I visited the Earth Sciences gallery. This exhibit was so fun that I didn’t really process that I was learning about earth sciences until I left the museum. It was in this exhibit that I started to realise the flow of the museum. The museum flows incredibly well: you go from Scotty the dinosaur straight into areas about the Late Cretaceous Period. It’s a great transition that flows seamlessly to improve the experience of the museum.
The Earth Sciences exhibit had beautiful models of different dinosaurs, and lots of different fossils from different types of dinosaurs. If you are one of those people who don’t think dinosaurs actually existed, I highly recommend going to the Earth Sciences area of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (Editor’s note: We recently found out that dinosaur conspiracy theorists exist and we’re disappointed, not surprised).
Next, the exhibits flow into the First Nations gallery. Honestly, I wish the First Nations gallery was bigger. Indigenous people are incredibly important to the history of Canada, and thus a museum about the history of Saskatchewan should have a larger section about Indigenous history. The First Nations gallery is the same size as the Earth Sciences exhibit and half the size of the Life Sciences gallery, according to the museum’s floor plan.
My favourite part of the First Nations gallery was the artwork. The walls in the exhibit were covered in artwork made by Indigenous artists. The artwork was beautifully made, and all the pieces flowed together incredibly well.
The final exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum was the Life Sciences gallery. The Life Sciences area explores the four ecozones of Saskatchewan. Displays show the different plant life and animal life within each ecozone. The whole gallery feels like a giant game of I Spy. You read about a bug or an animal and then set off to find it within the diorama. This game is incredibly fun for both children and adults alike. My personal favourite was the snake den. It was fascinating to see all the different snakes found in Saskatchewan and to look through the small hole to see what the inside of the snake den looks like.
Overall, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is really fun. It’s a great family activity, whether it be you and your children, or you and your found family of friends. They have fun events and activities every month – some directed at kids, and some directed at adults – for you to experience and fun contests for you to enter. They also have a T. Rex Discovery Centre which is not currently open, but it is projected to open on May 21. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is located at 2445 Albert St in Regina.