|Getting There |||Located at the junction of Highway 63 and MacKenzie Boulevard in Fort McMurray, Alberta.|
|Tuesday – Sunday: 10AM-4PM, Closed on Mondays|
Profile Last Updated: December 22, 2008
The sprawling oilsands in northeast Alberta have been a curiosity for centuries. Early explorers noted the dark pitch oozing from the banks of the Athabasca River, and aboriginals used it to help waterproof their canoes. The vast petroleum potential of the tar sands was identified more than a century ago, and top chemists and engineers have worked for decades to devise methods to extract the oil wealth.
Discovering the Secrets
Visitors can learn the past of the oilsands developments, as well as get a glimpse into the high-tech methods used to turn oilsands into usable petroleum. The exhibits show the mammoth scale of the oilsands project. Visitors get to see a dragline bucket, a 150 tonne heavy hauler with tires three metres high and "Cyrus," an 850 tonne bucketwheel excavator.
Educational programs are available for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students. Knowledgeable interpreters provide curriculum-related education programs. Teachers are encouraged to call ahead and discuss class visits with staff. Interesting programs for the general public are popular with many. They include movie presentations, guided tours and introductions to the travelling exhibits. The Centre also offers guided tours of Abasand Oils Limited, one of the earliest oil sands plants in the area. There are special events scheduled throughout the year. During the summer, there are science camps that keep those future scientists busy while they learn.