Rated as #1 of ‘one’ things to do in Torrington by TripAdvisor, the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum is certainly a must-see! I’ve been wanting to check this place out for years after hearing about it, but never found the opportunity. That is, until, one rainy day forced me and the kiddos out on an adventure!
Torrington is a small community near Three Hills, AB that has certainly embraced it’s collective ‘inner gopher’. The one-room museum was established in 1996, and yes: PETA put up a stink about the creation of such a facility, begging the community to not kill animals to fill the premises. As anyone who has come from an agricultural background, or even seen with their own two eyes the devastation a large amount of gophers can cause, they will agree with the alleged two-word postcard reply the museum us said to have sent: Get Stuffed!
Here’s what you will find if you visit this museum. Outside the entrance is a fun sign to have you picture taken in. Yes, your face can grace the body of Clem T. Gopher (side note, you can also find a statue of Clem in Torrington!). When you open the door to the museum, you will be greeted by a friendly lady and a large smile. The gift shop is adorned with newspaper clippings, merchandise for sale (including handmade knitted items) and information on the many hand-painted fire hydrants about town (yes, painted as gophers!).
Then, you enter THE room: the diorama room.
Here’s the main attraction - over 40 dioramas of stuffed gophers depicting scenes of Torrington locals, businesses and attractions famous in the region. From a wedding scene, to a few gophers shooting pool at the beer parlour, to a holdup at the local ATB branch, these dioramas are simply fantastic. Yes, it’s a whacky tourist attraction, but as you explore the themed dioramas, one realizes that the scenes showcase small-town life and all it’s many quirks. Simply put, the museum is good, clean fun. With so many major attractions nearby, Torrington is worth a visit. Where else can you take an adult and two kids for an entertaining afternoon, all for the low price of three bucks?
When my kids and I ventured out, Torrington was the destination, but we did travel through Drumheller on the way home to visit the big dinosaur at the tourist information centre (and for a small fee, climb up and enjoy the view from his toothy mouth).
An added bonus for those interested in Geocaching, these areas are loaded with interested caches. You could easily spend days exploring this interesting area.