The United States is a big, beautiful country, but some parts of it are prettier than others, and Montana is without a doubt near the top of that list. With stunning canyons, glacier-carved valleys, tall peaks, pristine forests, and grassy plains, Montana has it all, and it’s just waiting to be explored. Families of all kinds will find something to do in Montana. There are a ton of children’s museums with exhibits to teach little ones about science, art, or just help them get out some of their energy, and natural places to explore like ancient caves and canyon rivers where everyone can go boating or swimming. There are even dinosaur parks where kids and families can see the fossilized bones of prehistoric beasts and even take part in a dig.
1.American Computer Museum
The American Computer and Robotics Museum is located in Bozeman, and it’s the oldest museum of its kind. Founded in 1990, the ACR Museum was created with the intention of collecting and interpreting modern artifacts, specifically related to the Information Age. The ACR Museum contains ancient forms of cuneiform tablets that are over four thousand years old as well as modern computers, with everything in between and specific exhibits about times in history such as the Space Race, and specific technologies such as quantum computing. The museum is open daily during the summer months, but closed on Mondays from September through May.
2023 Stadium Dr #1A, Bozeman, MT 59715, Phone: 406-582-1288
ighorn Canyon is a deep yellow canyon with steep cliff walls and a river at its base. The canyon and rive run roughly north to south from Montana into Wyoming, and this massive natural feature offers a lot of outdoor activities for families. The entrance on the Montana side, in Fort Smith, has a visitor center, a marina, a reservoir and boat launch, and access to the Three Mile River. Most people who travel to Bighorn Canyon from the Montana side come for water-based activities such as boating, canoeing or kayaking, swimming, or picnicking at the shore. But driving further into the park will offer visitors some of the land-based opportunities of Bighorn Canyon as well, including hiking and rock climbing.
Fort Smith, MT 59035
3.Bitterroot National Forest
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If nature is something that appeals to your family, then look no further than Bitterroot National Forest. This massive natural wonderland has 1.6 million acres of trees, glacier-carved rock, rivers, and other beautiful features. Families can enjoy activities such as hiking in the forest or among deep, dramatic canyons, fishing on one of the bodies of water in the forest, camping under the stars, hunting for game, or enjoying a ride on a motorized sport vehicle. In the winter, the forest becomes a different kind of wonderland, and it is great for skiing, snowshoeing, and a good old family snowball fight.
Forest Service Office Address - 1801 North First Street Hamilton, MT 59840, Phone: 406-363-7100
4.Blaine County Wildlife Museum
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The building that now houses the Blaine County Wildlife Museum was once a theater, but in 1991 it was donated by the bank who owned it, and the Blaine County Wildlife Museum was born. This museum aims to teach its visitors about the abundant wildlife they might find in the Blaine County region of Montana, and it has distinct exhibits for different habitats and ecosystems, including nocturnal animals, mountain habitats, plains ecosystems, and the wetlands. Families can learn about the animals that live in Montana and see examples of the areas they might be found. The Blaine County Wildlife Museum also has an attached gift shop where customers can find works by local writers and artists.
417 Indiana St, Chinook, MT 59523, Phone: 406-357-3102
5.Copper Village Museum And Arts Center
This free museum is located within the Anaconda City Hall Cultural Center, an impressive red stone building with arched windows and a dramatic roof, located in the downtown district of the town of Anaconda. The beautiful building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the museum inside it showcases art created by local Montana artists as well as historic pieces that highlight the tradition and history of the region. An attached historical museum will show families and visitors the history of Anaconda and Montana through a series of artifacts and exhibits, and there is also a small gift shop for souvenirs.
401 E Commercial Ave # A, Anaconda, MT 59711, Phone: 406-563-2422
6.Crazy Mountain Museum
The Crazy Mountain Museum seeks to provide its guests with a historical look at the development and past history of Sweet Grass County and the town of Big Timber. Guests of all ages will love the in depth dioramas and recreations that teach them about pioneers and early settlers of Montana, and the displayed artifacts that provide a glimpse into how they led their lives. Through paintings, artifacts, and even a historic tipi and one-room schoolhouse, visitors can step into history to learn about pioneer life in a fun and interactive way. The museum is also home to the Lewis and Clark garden, which contains native Montana plants that the famous explorers recorded in their journals on their original expedition through what is now Montana.
2 I-90 Frontage Rd, Big Timber, MT 59011, Phone: 406-932-5126
Located in Helena, Montana, ExplorationWorks! Is a science museum designed specifically with kids in mind, though the exhibits are all suitable and fascinating for adults as well. At ExplorationWorks!, the goal is to make science so fascinating and fun that it ignites a passion for the subject in the young visitors who walk through its doors. Exhibits include hands-on explorations of space and NASA missions, interactive waterways that show kids how the physics of water work, and even a special exhibit for the youngest visitors under five, called Little Sky, which teaches kids where food comes from and features a fun playground with a slide.
995 Carousel Way, Helena, MT 59601, Phone: 406-457-1800
8.Glacier National Park
When it comes to gorgeous nature, Montana is definitely one of those states that hit the lottery. Glacier National Park is located in the northern part of the state, and this 1583 square mile patch of untouched wilderness is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Glacier National Park encompasses the Montana Rockies and stretches right to the Canadian border. Over its 700 miles of hiking trails, visitors might find scenic lakes, dramatic mountain peaks, pristine forests of untouched, old-growth trees, and alpine meadows that come alive with wildflowers during the summer. Not into hiking? Glacier has an abundance of scenic drives in the park, so families can see much of its beauty right from the car window.
9.Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum
Located in Glendive, right along I-94 and near the eastern border of Montana is the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, a place that kids are sure to enjoy. This museum is a Biblically-based museum which works to explain the existence of dinosaur fossils in conjunction with Christian beliefs about creation as found in the Bible. Visitors can check out the museum’s collection of dinosaur fossils, and even sign up in advance to join the museum’s team at a dig site near the museum! Digs are generally a full day, with half the day at the dig site, and the other half of the day in the lab, learning how fossils are preserved.
139 State St, Glendive, MT 59330, Phone: 406-377-3228
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The Grant-Kohrs Ranch is a National Historic Site that was first established in 1972. This site is dedicated to the history of cattle ranching in Montana and the American West, from its origins back in the mid 19th century through modern day. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch was once home to 10 million cattle, and today the 1862 white farmhouse is available for tours. Families and visitors can explore the house to see the original families’ belongings and learn about their lives as ranchers in the 19th century. Tickets to tour the house are free, and are guided by an experienced and knowledgeable docent who can explain to guests exactly what they are seeing.
266 Warren Ln, Deer Lodge, MT 59722, Phone: 406-846-2070
11.Great Plains Dinosaur Museum
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It’s no secret that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth, but in places like Montana, with its wide open spaces and vast plains, the fossils of these prehistoric beasts are common, and people are more often confronted with this evidence of our planet’s past than in other places. At the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, visitors can view the fossilized skeletons of some of these dinosaurs, many of which are among the best-preserved examples of dinosaur fossils in the world. The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum has many fossils in its collection, including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and many more. Visitors can even join museum scientists on a dig to discover fossils for themselves.
405 N 1st Ave E, Malta, MT 59538, Phone: 406-654-5300
12.Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
Some of the most regal and impressive wildlife in the country can be found in Yellowstone National Park. Near the park’s Montana entrance in Yellowstone, MT, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to learn about and view some of these beautiful animals. This wildlife park is home to bears and wolves who are unable to survive in the wild, so they are given homes in the park where they serve as ambassadors of their kind, teaching guests about their habitats and species. Visitors can see the animals year round, as the bears in the park do not hibernate, and then head into Yellowstone to try and spot some of their wild counterparts.
201 S Canyon St, West Yellowstone, MT 59758, Phone: 800-257-2570
13.Last Chance Tour Train
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Helena was originally founded during the gold rush, and it is surrounded by beautiful nature and historic buildings. On the Last Chance Tour Train, passengers of all ages will love seeing Helena and the surrounding area from an open-air train car, which will take them through the town to see the cathedral and old mining village, and through Last Chance Gulch, where they can glimpse the Fire Tower. Along the way, the conductor will point out some of the sights, and explain their significance. The Last Chance Tour Train is a perfect way to sit back with the whole family and enjoy some sunshine in Big Sky Country.
225 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59601, Phone: 406-442-1023
14.Lewis and Clark Caverns
The limestone caverns of Lewis and Clark Caverns are one of the largest cave systems in the region. Between the months of May and September, guests can embark on a guided tour into the caves, where they will see dripping stalactites and towering stalagmites of colorful limestone, and learn about the caves and their history. There are several tours offered, which vary in length and difficulty, but in general visitors need to be able to walk at least one mile with some changing elevation. The park is also home to hiking trails, 40 campsites and a few reservable cabins, making it a great destination for an overnight or weekend stay.
25 Lewis & Clark Caverns Road, Whitehall, MT 59759
15.Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana
The Ninepipes Museum is named for Chief Joseph Ninepipes, from the Bitterroot Salish tribe of Native Americans. The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana documents over one hundred years of daily life and history at the Flathead Reservation, and contains many artifacts, documents, photographs, and fascinating history about the Western Plains Indians. With an emphasis on educating children, the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana seeks to educate its visitors about the history and stories behind every artifact in the museum. The museum also contains a small gift shop, where families will be hard-pressed not to find a ton of fun and unique souvenirs.
69316 US-93, Charlo, MT 59824, Phone: 406-644-3435
16.Pictograph Cave State Park
Located in Billings, Pictograph Cave State Park is a small park of only about 23 acres of land, but beneath this beautiful piece of wildlife are three large caves that contain rock paintings, called pictographs, that are thousands of years old. The caves are accessible via a short, easy quarter-mile loop trail, and families will enjoy exploring the caves and spotting some of the pictographs (there are over one hundred of them!). Some of the paintings are difficult to see, so it is recommended that visitors bring a pair of binoculars with them. The nearby Visitor Center has several displays about the pictographs as well as a small gift shop.
3401 Coburn Rd, Billings, MT 59101, Phone: 406-254-7342
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17.The Children’s Museum of Northeast Montana
When swinging through Glasgow, MT, with the family, the Children’s Museum of Northeast Montana is a must-see. This charming museum contains hands-on exhibits and experiences for kids, designed to teach them about science, culture, and creativity. Kids can play games, have fun, and learn, while getting out all their energy so they’ll sleep well when they get back in the car. The museum is open year round, and it’s a great destination no matter the season, but especially when it’s cold out and many of Montana’s outdoor attractions are less of an option.
512 2nd Ave S, Glasgow, MT 59230, Phone: 406-228-4386
18.The Montana Vortex
The Montana Vortex and House of Mystery is a fascinating site, located over a gravitational anomaly. Many visitors who enter the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery can immediately feel the change in the atmosphere of this place, which has been a sacred site for humans for centuries. There are several sites at the Montana Vortex that are there to draw attention to some of the sensory anomalies that people experience, but kids will especially love the House of Mystery, with its slanted walls and floors designed to make visitors feel even more aware of the vortex’s power.
7800 US-2, Columbia Falls, MT 59912, Phone: 406-892-1210
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19.The WaterWorks Art Museum
© The WaterWorks Art Museum
The WaterWorks Art Museum is located in an old water plant overlooking the majestic Yellowstone River. These days, the museum is open from Tuesday through Sunday (except annually for the month of January, when it closes down) for visitors, who can come and see permanent and traveling collections of photographs, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and antique artifacts. Many of the artists are local to the region, and their work is a tribute to Montana’s beauty and culture. For kids, the museum offers youth classes where children can learn to create art from paint or clay or cardboard boxes, and create their own souvenir to bring back home.
85 Water Plant Rd, Miles City, MT 59301, Phone: 406-234-0635
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20.Yellowstone Gateway Museum
© Yellowstone Gateway Museum
Yellowstone National Park was the first ever designated national park in the entire world, but people have been coming to the area to enjoy its towering mountains, jagged canyons, and lush, stark beauty for centuries before that designation. At the Yellowstone Gateway Museum, visitors can learn about the original inhabitants of Yellowstone—human and otherwise—the famed explorations of Lewis and Clark, and the history of the railroad and the developments it brought to the area. There are several fascinating outdoor exhibits, including a blacksmith’s shop, a traditional one-room schoolhouse, and several train cars.
118 W Chinook St, Livingston, MT 59047, Phone: 406-222-4184
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21.Yellowstone Safari Co
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Yellowstone National Park is massive, and when driving through its roads, it can be easy to miss some of the hidden gems that are right in front of you. But with Yellowstone Safari Co., which is based in Bozeman, visitors will be sure to see all the sights, and learn all about what is around them from an experienced guide who is there to share their vast knowledge of the area and its history. Tours are geared toward people of all ages, but guides are especially trained in facilitating learning for children and younger safari guests. Safari excursions include a guide, transportation, binoculars for each guest, snacks, and lunch, and there are also shorter excursions that only last for half a day or take the form of a hike instead of a safari.
1404 Gold Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715, Phone: 406-586-1155
There is so much wildlife in Montana, it might come as a surprise to know there’s only one zoo and botanical park, and that is ZooMontana. At ZooMontana, visitors can see over one hundred animals across over fifty species, each of whom live in specially designed enclosures designed to imitate their natural habitats. From birds to bears, visitors can learn about each of the animals who live at ZooMontana, and even meet some of the residents, like Sam the Otter. The zoo is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs, and also offers strollers for rent at the entrance. ZooMontana is open year round, with major holidays excepted.
2100 Shiloh Rd, Billings, MT 59106, Phone: 406-652-8100
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22 Best Things to Do in Montana with Kids
- American Computer Museum, Photo: aifas/stock.adobe.com
- Bighorn Canyon, Photo: Noradoa/stock.adobe.com
- Bitterroot National Forest, Photo: Patrick Foto/stock.adobe.com
- Blaine County Wildlife Museum, Photo: Yury and Tanya/stock.adobe.com
- Copper Village Museum And Arts Center, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- Crazy Mountain Museum, Photo: mariuszks/stock.adobe.com
- ExplorationWorks, Photo: myboys.me/stock.adobe.com
- Glacier National Park, Photo: kanonsky/stock.adobe.com
- Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, Photo: goro20/stock.adobe.com
- Grant-Kohrs Ranch, Photo: Rob Mutch Photo/stock.adobe.com
- Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, Photo: Petr Bonek/stock.adobe.com
- Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, Photo: gnagel/stock.adobe.com
- Last Chance Tour Train, Photo: Maria Sbytova/stock.adobe.com
- Lewis and Clark Caverns, Photo: chris/stock.adobe.com
- Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana, Photo: ihorbondarenko/stock.adobe.com
- Pictograph Cave State Park, Photo: Jacob/stock.adobe.com
- The Children’s Museum of Northeast Montana, Photo: idea_studio/stock.adobe.com
- The Montana Vortex, Photo: tarczas/stock.adobe.com
- The WaterWorks Art Museum, Photo: The WaterWorks Art Museum
- Yellowstone Gateway Museum, Photo: Yellowstone Gateway Museum
- Yellowstone Safari Co, Photo: Rose Guinther/stock.adobe.com
- ZooMontana, Photo: donyanedomam/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: garytog/stock.adobe.com