On a recent trip to the Maritimes we wanted to make sure and visit the Bay of Fundy. Unfortunately we didn’t have a lot of time and New Brunswick, where many people go to see these tides in action, wasn’t on our itinerary for this trip. We decided to fit in a quick visit while making our way from Halifax to Prince Edward Island. The city of Parrsboro, along the northern shore of the Minas Basin (an inlet of the Bay of Fundy), was enroute and gave us a chance to see a part of ‘the Bay’, as well as pay a visit to the Fundy Geological Museum.
Visiting the museum here was not something we had planned to do, but once we stepped inside we were definitely glad we discovered it! The exhibits here are incredible and provide information about this area which has a 350 million year old history with stones, fossils and dinosaur bones having been discovered close by. Just inside the doors you will find the Story of the Bay of Fundy Tides, a Mi’kmaw First Nation legend which has been passed down for generations.
Wandering through the museum you will find displays with fossils dating back over 400 million years…
…as well as dinosaur bones dating back almost 200 million years. There is even an exhibit with the world’s smallest dinosaur footprints that were found near the city of Parrsboro. These discoveries, and many more like them, have helped to make the Nova Scotia Bay of Fundy area a UNESCO Global Geopark due to its geologic and cultural significance.
The museum has interactive displays, short films, hands-on exhibits, and a fossil lab where you can watch scientists examine rocks and bone fragments searching for clues about the past. After spending some time inside we drove down the road to have a look at the harbour here. The weather was a bit overcast, but we made the most of the afternoon and with the tide being out we were able to go for a walk on the rocks. I kept reminding myself that this is just a small portion of the total area of the Bay of Fundy and that when the tide comes in it will cover not only this bay but many others between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
The Bay of Fundy actually covers about 9300 square kms (3600 square miles) and in some locations the difference between low and high tides can be 21 meters (about 70 feet). In many places there are spectacular red rock formations that have been eroded by the tides and stand exposed and alone at low tide. We didn’t make it to those sites this trip, but the expansive area exposed here near Parrsboro, along with the lighthouse perched alone on the rocks, made for an impressive view!
If you do go to this area of Nova Scotia to visit the museum and see the bay, make sure and stop in the city of Parrsboro. You can walk around the town, grab a bite to eat, and admire the recycling bins painted as lighthouses that line the main street through town. However, keep in mind that businesses in many smaller towns do close on Mondays.
We didn’t get a chance to see the Bay of Fundy at both low and high tide…which would have been the best way to really experience it… but we will make sure and add that to a future trip!