Quirky Attraction: The Gopher Hole Museum in Alberta, Canada

You haven’t lived ’til you’ve visited a museum full of dead gophers dressed as humans. Who hasn’t dreamed of seeing stuffed gophers recreating a curling scene?

curling gophers

That diorama is just one of more than 40 such scenes at the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alberta – ahem, the World Famous Gopher Hole Museum, as they delightfully insist on calling themselves.

Literally the entire facility consists of these mini-scenes of taxidermied critters enjoying human life and wearing human clothes. It is bizarre, and wonderful at the same time.

There are gophers on a picnic, gophers hunting in the woods, gophers in a train station, gophers in church, gopher Mounted Police. Even a rousing card game at the senior center!

gophers playing cards

I’ve been dying to visit this kooky place since I first read about it years ago. Last year’s road trip through the Canadian prairies finally gave me the opportunity to stop by.

Read on to discover what I saw at Alberta’s famous Gopher Hole Museum, and to see the photos of many of the little gopher scenes.

Visiting the Gopher Hole Museum in Alberta

The small museum used to cost $2 to enter. It’s now by donation, so you can choose how much it’s worth (cash only.)

The little scenes are placed inside a small boxes. These dioramas are placed all around the room.

gopher museum interior

It’s easy to see how much fun the curators had with these scenes. The gophers are like little Barbie dolls, which can be dressed up and manipulated to create any sort of scene they want.

Like a beautifully touching wedding. I see a promising future for these two. I’m guessing neither one is going anywhere for a long, long time.

gopher wedding

Meet the James Dean of gophers. Young rodents in love! I hope that motorcycle is big enough for two.

gopher james dean

Blacksmith hard at work. These little pieces of iron are impossibly small.

gopher hole museum canada
This critter is working hard at the Gopher Hole Museum.

It’s an old tyme jamboree! This band looks cool, but I bet they could take things to the next level if they added a banjo player. And maybe even a drummer.

gopher museum jamboree

The level of tiny detail in this place reminds me of the Toy & Miniature Museum. Just look at the detail in this bank robber scene.

The money bags, the office door plate, the flowers on the dress, the trees on the painting. Even the diamond-shaped tiles on the floor!

gopher robbery

The cashier I spoke with said they don’t add new gophers often, which was disappointing, because I think adding new scenes would be the best way to turn one-time guests into repeat visitors.

However, it’s clear that they do occasionally make updates, because they had this one in honor of Canada’s 150th anniversary, which was celebrated in the summer of 2017:

canada 150 years diorama

Here’s a First Nations gopher with an impressive fire pit:

gopher first nations

Some of the gophers have snarky thought bubbles. There’s no need to be sarcastic, Gloria – I think your client looks fabulous!

gopher beautician

Here’s a hiker or safari visitor with a tiny butterfly caught in a tiny net.

butterfly catcher torrington

It’s time for a gopher fashion show! I’m afraid these two could use some help from Gloria the beautician.

gopher fashion show

Where do the gophers come from? I wondered if there was some formal process for obtaining dead gophers, but I was told their collection is just kind of random.

Someone may shoot one, or they may find a dead gopher outside their home. Everyone in the small town knows about the museum, so any deceased rodents end up getting forwarded to this place.

gopher hole museum torrington

For another quirky Albert attraction, check out Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. And take a look at our list of recommended things to do in Jasper National Park!

If You’re Going: The Gopher Hole Museum

Address: 208 1 St S, Torrington, Alberta T0M2B0, Canada (Google Map)
Cost: By donation (cash only)
When to Visit: Open everyday 9am-5pm from early July-early September. Open weekends (Fri-Sun) from mid-May to early July and early September to mid-October. Closed the rest of the year.
Website: https://worldfamousgopherholemuseum.ca/
Further Reading: Gophers: Animals of Mass Destruction (Amazon)

gopher hole museum