World Famous Gopher Hole Museum | Torrington, Alberta

[twitter]World Famous Gopher Hole Museum
Torrington, Alberta
Admission: $2 for adults, 50c for kids
Hours: June 1 – September 30, 10a-5p

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, in the case of Torrington, Alberta, when you have too many gophers (actually Richardson’s Ground Squirrels), stuff them, put them in dioramas, and charge admission.

Torrington, Alberta is home to barely 200 people. It is also home to the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, which has nearly 100 inhabitants in the form of taxidermied gophers.

The museum was the response of Torrington leadership who needed a hook to revitalize their town. At first they thought about a live gopher exhibit underground, but the idea was too expensive. Instead, they take the gophers trapped by local farmers and dress ’em up.

Dioramas at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

The gophers are stuffed, wardrobed, and dropped in to various diorama scenes depicting local life. There are49 dioramas in all covering off the motorcycle club, church, and pizza parlour. There’s the trailer park, curling rink, and random (bizarre scenes) featuring weddings, snowball fights, and life in prehistoric times.

Gopher Diorama at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

Gopher Diorama at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

Curling Gophers World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

Albert at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

7 000 people a year now swing through Torrington, and last weekend we added 3 more to the annual total. The boys absolutely loved this place. They laughed and giggled at the different scenes featuring the Richardson’s Ground Squirrels. Zacharie took most of the pictures you see in this post.

Gopher Diorama at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

Gopher Diorama at World Famous Gopher Hole Museum

Helen is a curator of the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, and she is a treat. She reminded me of my Nan when I saw her kind face, and as I turned and saw the shelves of knitted clothing for kids in the gift shop, it made my heart melt further.

Gift Shop at Gopher Hole Museum

The place is just cute kitsch that can’t help but make your day brighter. We planned a visit to the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington as a picnic lunch stop between Calgary and Stettler, and it was absolutely perfect. It’s just 90 minutes from Calgary, and there are picnic tables scattered on the grass next to the small building.

Don’t forget to ask to wear the big Clem T Go-Fur head. You can slip it on and then pop outside for fun pictures on the front bench.

Gopher Head At Gopher Hole Museum

Also of note in Torrington, but receiving much less fanfare, are the painted fire hydrants. Zacharie and Charlie noticed them straight away and we grabbed a map from Helen showing their location throughout the town. We then chased up and down each street taking pictures of them all.

Fire Hydrants In Torrington, Alberta

It’s a bizarre, curious, wonderful place. And worth a visit. If you’re making a road trip to Stettler, or Dry Island Buffalo Jump, or just wandering around the badlands, stop in Torrington and smile.

Gopher Hole Museum, Torrington

Like this post? Share the pin:

gopher museum

(Visited 1,355 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Yetunde (@mytwintopia) July 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I love your pictures and I’m glad that I’m looking at them on a screen. Gophers are sorta rats with big teeth and eyes right?! I’ll put this on my “maybe” list of Calgary daytrips

  2. Pingback: Make Time To Visit The Small Towns, Like Wallace, Idaho: The Centre Of The Universe - The Blog According To Buzz

Leave a Reply