Museum of the Rockies–Are we there, yet?

When the winter winds are howling, your lips and fingers have turned blue and the mucus in your nose starts to freeze, it’s time to head inside. Sometime this winter every family needs an indoor activity day that gets them out of the house.

Museum of the Rockies has something to interest every age and enough variety to keep you busy for most of a day. Before you go, log onto their website for games and activities that will fuel your children’s excitement for a visit to the museum. To help kids get more out of their museum experience, I like to peruse the website and make a list of things we will see. The list can be used for a scavenger hunt during the visit.

Start the morning with a tour of the museum. Either call ahead to find out when the next docent-led tour is, or lead yourselves. Older kids will enjoy the Mesozoic Media Center where they can watch videos of field archaeology and interact with touch-screens that provide access to paleontological activities and information.

Younger children will appreciate a trip upstairs to the Martin Discovery Room where they can climb, slide, try on costumes and cook a meal in a log cabin.

Everyone loves the Hall of Giants and the Hall of Horns and Teeth where real fossils mingle with replicas and life-size dinos. In addition to learning about paleontology and dinosaur growth and behavior, kids can view the largest Tyrannosaurus rex skull in the world, the world’s most complete Triceratops growth series, and a massive Edmontosaurus tail with fossilized skin impressions.

From now until May 3, the “Tree Houses: Look Who’s Living in the Trees!” exhibit provides entertainment and learning for kids of all ages. Visitors are encouraged to climb through the sustainably harvested and locally milled wood of the tree houses while they look for animal clues and listen to the sounds of the forest.

Next head down to the basement to enjoy the sack lunches you brought, or across the street to a restaurant (keep your stickers and receipt for reentry).

After lunch, catch a show at the Taylor Planetarium—the 40-foot, 104-seat domed theater where you can almost touch the stars. There are a few standards, but some of the shows change throughout the year. Whether it’s astronomy, dinosaurs or Lewis and Clark, the planetarium is the perfect way to wind down a day at the museum.

What you need to know to go:
www.museumoftherockies.org 994.DINO (3466)
600 West Kagy Boulevard
Winter Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 12:30-5pm (Martin Discovery Room closes at 4:30pm).
Adults $10, Children 5-18 $7, Children 4 and under free, Seniors $9

Montana Parent

April 2009

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