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Attractions in Montana for Kids
I fell in love with Montana on our family vacation there last year. We drove from Chicago to Billings, Montana the first day, which was a nice drive, especially around the Badlands of North Dakota, but other than that was unspectacular. We got up the next morning and as we were heading west out of Billings towards Bozeman, the mountains came into view. It is so beautiful up there. We only had time to visit Yellowstone, but wanted to do so much more. Montana has a wide variety of attractions for kids.
Montana Attractions: National Parks
Yellowstone National Park
If you list the places to visit in Montana, Yellowstone National Park is at the top of the list. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. The park offers spectacular waterfalls, over half of the world’s geysers, abundant wildlife, and tremendous beauty. Yellowstone is primarily located in Wyoming, but its borders spill over into Montana and Idaho. The one thing that I surprised me on our visit there was how big the park really is. My oldest son, who was 6 at the time, cannot wait to go back and see Old Faithful again. I cannot recommend this park enough.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is beautiful in its own right. It boasts rugged mountains, pristine forests, beautiful lakes, and over 700 miles of hiking trails. The park is located in northern Montana along the Canadian border. The most popular thing to do in the park is to drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It takes you deep into the rugged interior of the park and offers amazing views around other bends. I recommend also visiting the Many Glacier area, which is near the center of the park. This is one of the best areas to hike in the park and it has huge mountains, glaciers, and lakes surround the area. This is also a great area to see wildlife. One of the unique things about Glacier National Park is that you can take Amtrak’s Empire Builder train and get off at an entrance on either side of the park and from there you can hike or take one of the park’s shuttle buses. Kids will love the chance to see the wide variety of wildlife in the park.
Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area
The Big Horn Canyon National Recreation area is beautiful with towering multicolored cliffs rising out of the water below. This is a great place for those who enjoy outdoor recreation. This area offers world-class trout fishing, miles of hiking trails, and a chance to see wild horses in their natural habitat. One place that I would definitely suggest visiting is the Yellowtail Dam. In addition, I would suggest auto touring in the southern district and stopping at the Devil Canyon Overlook, which is about ten yards from the road. If you are into fishing, Bighorn Lake is a great spot to catch walleye. The Big Horn Canyon recreation area is located in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming.
Montana Attractions: Nature Related
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center was created to give visitors to Yellowstone National Park a chance to see grizzly bears and grey wolves up close. The center is located just outside of the park’s western entrance road in West Yellowstone, Montana. The grizzlies have been relocated here after either they learned to get food from people or they had become aggressive towards people. The bears are kept in a large area that simulates their natural environment. The grey wolves at the Discovery Center were originally born into captivity. We did not have a chance to stop here on our trip to Yellowstone, but I have talked to several people who have been there, and they said it is a must see especially if you have kids.
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park features limestone caverns that are among the largest in the entire Northwest. Though the caverns are named for the famous explorers Lewis and Clark, they never set foot in the caves. They did however, travel through parts of the park on their expedition. Guided tours are offered between May 1st and September 30th. The park is located about 45 miles west of Bozeman in southern Montana.
Montana Attractions: Fun Activities
Museum of the Rockies
The Museum of the Rockies boasts one of the world’s largest dinosaur collections. What kid does not like dinosaurs? The Museum is also home to a planetarium and a farm that represents life in the 1890s. Another highlight of the museum is an exhibit that teaches kids the science and wonders of Yellowstone National Park. It allows them to touch, smell, and hear the sounds of Yellowstone. It is geared to kids who are under eight years old. A museum admission is good for two days. It is located about 90 minutes from Yellowstone in Bozeman, Montana.
Where would your kids most like to visit in Montana?
Children’s Museum of Montana
The Children’s Museum of Montana offers kids the chance to learn with hands on activities. The Big Dig exhibit allows kids to learn about archeology by digging for fossils. One of my favorite areas as an accountant is the Kidtown Credit Union, where kids learn about banking. The Exploration Station is a kids favorite as they get to crawl through colorful tubes. My kids have enjoyed every children’s museum that they have ever been to. The museum is located in Great Falls, Montana.
Montana has many unique and fun places for kids to visit. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks are two of the best national parks to visit. The Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center is an amazing place.