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Family-Friendly Attractions: Museum of the Rockies

It's been almost a year (July 2018) since we went on this trip to the Museum of the Rockies (in Bozeman, Montana, USA), but I never got around to blogging about it.  I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with these pictures.  Since we had our first trip to the museum two years ago and I had already blogged about it, I was thinking that I would use the experience to talk about something else.  Maybe a guest post about homeschooling on the road or a tie in with Jurassic World.  Since neither of those things happened, I decided I'd better just do a normal, tourist post about the Museum of the Rockies.

If you are a homeschool family, visit my other blog, Homeschooling My Kinetic Kids, for lots of ideas for using play for learning.  I also recommend you check out the Dinosaur Grid Game from this blog.  Scroll to the end of the post to see more dinosaur content from both blogs!


The main attraction of the Museum of the Rockies is the dinosaurs!  The facility is closely tied to the paleontology department at the University of Montana and is staffed in part by students.  I mentioned in my previous post that my children enjoyed seeing the workers cleaning dinosaur bones through the picture window in the dinosaur play area.  The discover center is packed with child-friendly dinosaur books, toys, puzzles, and more.  It would have been nice to have an museum worker in the area to explain what the paleontologists were doing and to share random facts about the process of digging for dinosaur bones.

Related Post: Digging for Dinosaurs Printable Game

The museum lets kid get up close and personal with dinosaur fossils.  It's one thing to read about dinosaurs, but it's entirely another thing to actually stand under them and feel their size or stand face to skull with them.  I love the pictures of my kids enjoying the museum and being surprised by new things around every corner.

Tadpole (age 5) told me, "I kiss them to show them that I'm not afraid."  As awesome as the dinosaur museum is for kids, it can also be a bit scary.  The teeth are sharp and the fossils are large- it's very unnerving.  In one part of the museum, there is some darker lighting and mood sounds with dinosaur growls.  Some sensitive children might not enjoy the museum, if the sensory experience is too overwhelming for them.

Related Post: Our First Dinosaur Museum Trip

{Children's Museum}

Two years ago when we were at the museum, we missed out on the Children's Area.  This time, we knew we didn't want to miss it and asked the workers to tell us where to go.  I'm glad we did, because the kids had so much fun.  The area was themed after the Black Hills area, with several pretend play and learning areas.  The area is geared toward 0-8 year olds and was a great place to spend an hour or so before we went back to our hotel.

Related Post: Nature-Themed Gifts and Toys

My kids favorite part of the Children's Area was the fishing area with a wood bridge, river, campsite, fish cleaning area, and magnetic fish and poles.  The fish looked handmade, which I found very inspiring as a crafter.  It was so fun to see my kids play pretend, as they don't do that very often.

Related Post: Magnetic Fishing Game in an Altoid Tin

The museum's website calls this area a replica of the "Old Faithful Inn," but it looked like it would also work as a "Little House" style cabin.  My kids didn't pay any attention to this area (like I said, they're not big on pretend play), but I would have been so happy to play for ours here as a child.  They had dress-up clothes for kids as well.

Related Post: Camping with Kiddos

Although my kids had never seen the real Old Faithful, they enjoyed watching this replica erupt every when the pressure build up enough.  The kids had to hand pump a lever themselves to increase the pressure until the geyser would finally blow.  It was predictable and sporadic at the same time.  Some day, I'd like to take the kids to Yellowstone to show them the real thing.

Related Post: Best Group Games for Camping

There are other sections of the museum as well- we just didn't visit them that day.  For full details on the Museum of the Rockies, visit their website and start planning your trip to Bozeman, Montana today!

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