June 9th-20th, Youth Improv Workshop, 9am-1pm, Stevensville Playhouse. Following the training, kids will perform at Western Heritage Days and the Creamery Picnic. Parents: if you think your kids are sometimes acting out, here’s a chance for them to improve their skills.
June 24th-25th, MOLLI Summer Adventures—choice of 6 different ones. The University of Montana’s School of Extended & Lifelong Learning is offering 2 days of fun and learning for aged 50+ grandparents and a grandchild (ages 6-13, depending on the adventure). Choose from learning how detectives solve cases, how animals adapt, creating art, fishing and a treasure hunt, or geocaching and river float. You couldn’t go wrong with any of them. Call 243-2905 for more information.
June 26th, Bitterroot Library Science Thursdays, in conjunction with MSU extension is offering kids a chance to think like a robotics engineer and put together an Eco-Bot, 11am.
July 26th, Fairy Tale Super Hero Festival 10am-noon, Missoula’s Caras Park. Meet fairy tale characters and super heroes, decorate crowns and wands, and join in magical activities.
Seasonal and Ongoing Activities
Are you interested in digging for dinosaur bones? I don’t know a kid (or grownup) who isn’t. Here’s a great road trip to the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum where you can participate in a 3-hour to a 2+days dig.
You can take the easy way, 4 hours, to Bynum as MapQuest suggests, OR, you can make a weekend of it. We’ve done both, and I am here to tell you, you will always remember the route I’m going to suggest. Hamilton to Missoula, 8 mi. east on I-90 to MT-200 E., 33 mi., to MT-83 where you’ll turn left for 91 mi, traveling past Seely Lake and Swan Lake-great places for picnics. Turn right on MT-35 for 11 mi, turn right on MT-206 for 10 mi, right on US-2 15 mi.
Get out your park pass, or purchase a 7-day $25 permit, past Lake McDonald, onto the glorious Going-to-the-Sun Highway. 48 mi later you’re in St. Mary, where you’ll turn right on US-89. You should stop at Browning at the Museum of Plains Indian.
And then . . . . . . . you’ll be so into dinosaurs,you’ll want to follow the Dinosaur Trail. On the site, click on each of the names to get more information.
Legos aren’t what they used to be. Join members of the Lego club on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month in the Hamilton Bitterroot Library meeting room from 3:30-5:00 p.m. The Club is open to children ages 4-10 accompanied by an adult. Have fun and make new friends.
How about ice skating at the Glacier Ice Rink, Missoula County Fairgrounds? Check here for the open-to-the-public schedule.
Take the kids to the Big Hole National Battlefield 17 miles east of Lost Trail Pass (directions here). They can learn how to put up a tipi and how to become a Junior Ranger, watch a film on the battle, learn about Stick Game, Native storytelling, and weaving. You can take a self-guided tour of the battlefield.
The Bitterroot National Forest conducts monthly Moon Walks at 7pm on the closest Saturday to the official full moon. Learn about bears, aquatic life, and insects; listen to stories about Bitterroot Valley ghosts.
Open House at the University of Montana’s Blue Mountain Observatory, offers you the opportunity to explore the sky with your kids. Be sure to check the site as weather conditions will determine whether it takes place. You’ll want to call 243-5179 before going up.
Pony rides for kids at the Parsons’ Pony Farm in Florence.
If you’re up for a little road trip, how about driving over to Virginia City for a Ghost Tour and a Ride in a 1941 fire engine. At the same time, take in a Virginia City Players show, check out the Living History Weekend activity.
Wild Rose Emu Ranch, 284 Rose Lane, Hamilton conducts tours of its ranch. Contact Clover Quinn, 363-1710.
Theresa’s Dolls in Florence has a collection of over 1,000 dolls from all over the world, some over 200 years old. 5908 Eastside Highway in a light yellow house.
Take the kids bird watching. This site provides maps and links to the best locations.
The Kratofil Duck Pond is a wonderful place for kids, or adults. I love to go there and watch the ducks, geese, and other migrating birds, not to mention the good-sized trout. It’s easy to get there—take First Street (Hwy 93) south from Main Street to Golf Course Road. Turn left for about 2 miles. Immediately past Upper Skyway Drive on your right, watch for the pond on the left side of the road.
How about a tour of a dairy farm? Huls Dairy Farm is located about 5 miles north of Corvallis on the Eastside Highway. You can see the milking process through large windows. There is also a methane digester on site which produces the electricity to run the farm and several houses.
Check out Como Lake. There’s a roped off area for swimming and a beach. A trail to the west along the lake leads to the waterfall and interpretive signs on natural history.
Dragon Hollow Play Land, 101 Carousel Drive, is a wonderful place to take children, whether you’re in Missoula for the day or visiting in the area. What could be better than this magical place right next to an old-fashioned merry-go-round? It was awarded a 2013 Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
Saturday Family Art Workshops, held at the Missoula Art Museum, 335 North Pattee, 11am-12:30pm, on the 2nd Saturday of every month are varied and hands on. Sound like a lot of fun. Please pre-register.
Missoula Children’s Theatre is holding three Performing Arts Camps (1-2 weeks) on Flathead and Seeley Lakes, starting July 28th. Kids entering 6th grade to college freshmen are eligible.
Hamilton Bitterroot Library has a number of programs for both kids and families.
Story Time for Kids—for children 3 years and older—meets each Wednesday,10:30am.
Toddler Story Time— for babies through 2 years— meets each Friday morning at 10:30am. They sing, dance and listen to short stories. A great networking opportunity for parents and grandparents.
Stevensville North Valley Library offers a wonderful variety of programs.
Darby Library is a great place. Visit it, and you’ll know what I mean—cozy places to read, computer stations and internet, fly tying station, not to mention the library books.