The Calgary Zoo’s first prehistoric park emerged long before the 1947 Leduc number one oil discovery that would lead to Calgary’s phenomenal fast-paced growth as Canada’s oil capital.
The idea to build the dinosaur models from scale came from the Zoological Society Director Lars Willumsen who visited the dinosaur park in 1932 at the Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany. He returned to Calgary with enthusiasm and miniature models of dinosaurs with construction specifications on building the life-size dinosaur models.
Dr. Omer Patrick, the Zoological Society’s first president, was presented with the idea by Willumsen. Immediately, Dr. Patrick raised $1,500 to start the three-year project to build the Natural History Park on the west side of St. George’s Island.