Homegrown Business: Zach Vanasse of Dinosaur Trips

Dinosaur Trips creates trips and travel itineraries, across the world, that centre around dinosaur digs, museums, discoveries, experiences, dinosaur experts and incredible access into the world of our prehistoric planet through palaeontology. We spoke with the founder and director Zach Vanasse to find out more about them.

Dinosaur Trips

What is your business called and what does it do?

Dinosaur Trips. We create trips and travel itineraries, across the world, centred around dinosaur digs, museums, discoveries, experiences, experts, and incredible access into the world of our prehistoric planet through palaeontology.

What made you want to do this work?

Initially, I personally wanted to explore Alberta through the lens of palaeontology and discovered no one was offering this kind of experience. The more research I did, the more I realized it wasn’t being offered anywhere in the world. Having spent the past decade-plus working in the travel industry in a variety of roles, I decided to start a travel company of my own to fill this niche.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

While there are plenty of travel companies that explore the world through other ‘scientific’ lenses – like archaeology and wildlife – nobody was doing that for dinosaurs. I thought that was interesting, because people are fascinated by dinosaurs in my experience, and there are incredible museums, parks, and dig sites all over the world. Yet no one was putting these experiences together with an awesome destination experience. Millions of people visit sites like Machu Picchu and the Egyptian pyramids, or go on an African safari, while not necessarily being super into archaeology, history, or ecology per se. But they all recognize how astounding, interesting, and photogenic these incredible sites and experiences are all the same. It seemed to me like dinosaurs and palaeontology should have that same draw and appeal.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

We have trips for families, we have trips for more adventuresome travellers, and we have trips for discerning travellers. Really, we create trips for curious travellers who want to learn and discover. Travellers who want to find true discovery in their experience. It’s funny, we use the word ‘discovery’ a lot in the travel industry, but how often do guests actually get to make a genuine discovery? When you join us for a Dinosaur Trips experience, there’s a real chance you will discover something no human has ever seen.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We curate trips in destinations that have a significant paleontological offering for our guests, offering small-group departures and tailor-made private itineraries. We organize all the transportation, accommodations, meals, experts, guides, and experiences along the way and our guests pay us for providing this service.

Dinosaur Trips
Photo by: Mike Seehagel

Where in the city can we find your profession?

We’re based out of Calgary Place on 5th Avenue SW, but truthfully we are rarely in the office as we spend most of our time in the field and out on the road developing new products.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Q. What makes your travel experience unique and memorable? How is it going to stand out against comparable travel experiences?

For one, we are the only travel company out there creating paleontologically-focused, stylishly-curated travel experiences for families, adventurers, and discerning travellers. We work to include elevated, and trendy touches across all trip itineraries and experiences so guests can go deep and nerd out about way more than simply dinosaurs.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

Living out a dream of digging for dinosaurs with some of the world’s most famous palaeontologists and gaining incredible access to museums and research centres. And knowing that we’re working to helping to support and strengthen dinosaur research in the places we explore.

The worst is people asking if they’ll get to see real live dinosaurs. They will not, unless they mean birds. In which case, yes the will.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

– Paleontologists are celebrating the finding of the largest dinosaur tibia in recorded history

– It’s a real shin-dig!

Where can we follow you?

On our website, and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

Hotel Arts! It’s a great hotel and their whole style, vibe, and approach to sustainability fits perfectly with the kind of thing we are looking for when crafting our trip itineraries. It’s going to make a great starting point for our Badlands & Beyond trip this July.



About Demian Vernieri 589 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.