On Saturday, July 25 the City of Leduc and Qualico Communities held the official opening of the Meadowview Dinosaur Playground. This park was inspired by the discovery in 2013 of a Hadrosaur skeleton while digging service lines to the new subdivision.
With the help of the Tyrrell Museum the skeleton was removed within ten days and is one of the very few complete skeletons ever recovered by the museum. Hadrosaurs were duck-billed dinosaurs that lived about 68 million years ago. To commemorate the archaeological significance of the find, Qualico joined with the city to develop a playground in recognition of the discovery, with the city contributing $100,000 towards construction of the new playground.
The playground is the first one in Canada to receive approval for a zipline in a children’s playground, which is very popular with the young participants. The main playground structure features unique, first of its kind sculptures of dinosaurs. The opening drew a few hundred residents with Happy Chappy providing ice cream for the event.
Dr. Don Brickman of the Tyrrell Museum was on hand and brought with him many activities that allowed children to paint plaster casts of dinosaur bones and to explore what it is like uncovering the secrets that lay beneath Earth’s surface. The museum also provided a complete skull of a hadrosaur similar to the one discovered in Meadowview along with a number of other fossil bones. Dr. Brickman stated that the Leduc hadrosaur was very unique in its completeness and should be available for viewing in the next year or two depending on funding.
Ryan Eschak and his helper Shannon, as part of the Degner Construction Group crew putting in a trench for the new subdivision, made the discovery. Ryan immediately recognized the vertebra and knew he was looking at a dinosaur.
Brad Armstrong, Qualico’s Vice-President for Community Development, ensured that the Tyrrell Museum was contacted even though they knew this would delay the trenching project. The development of the playground took the negative of the delay into a positive that the residents of Meadowview, Leduc City, and all the children can now take advantage playing in a most unique playground.
All of the parties involved with the discovery and the playground development were present as Mayo Krischke cut the ribbon to officially open the playground.