Top 10 Places to Take Your Kids in Bozeman

by Sarah Cairoli

For the past few years, local schools have seen record enrollment. More than 10,000 kids attend Bozeman and Belgrade public schools; good thing the Gallatin Valley is so kid friendly! We asked where you love to take the kiddos when you get a spare minute and learned there are lots of great options. According to your votes, the best place to take the kids is the Dinosaur Playground at Gallatin County Regional Park, but several other fun spots were well represented on your ballots.

The Dinosaur Playground at Gallatin County Regional Park
Where else can you climb, swing, and dig for dinosaur bones? Organized efforts from the community made this park possible, and the kids love it. The playground is full of equipment that challenges kids of all ages. The regional park also has a dog park, walking trails, and a sledding hill, so it’s a great place to spend a day any time of the year. The playground is located off Davis Ln., right next to the fire station, so if someone were to bump their noggin, help is right next door.

Bozeman Hot Springs
Bozeman Hot Springs is another great place to take the kids any time of year. With 12 pools that range from frigid to toasty, there is a pool for everyone. Outside, there is everything from a deeper pool for the children who’ve grown gills to a shallower pool great for the little ones. It’s easy to pull up a chaise and spend a day here. The hot springs has a variety of snacks and smoothies, and occasionally, a food truck pulls in. Some nights, live music is featured outside.

Museum of the Rockies
On sweltering summer days, the Museum of the Rockies is the perfect place to beat the heat. Younger kids love the Yellowstone Discovery Center upstairs. They can catch stuffed fish, live like a pioneer, scout for eagles from a fire tower, and discover how geysers erupt. The Taylor Planetarium has shows appropriate for all ages and is a great way for exhausted parents to get a brief respite from chasing the kids. If the weather is nice, a trip outside to the Living History Farm is a must. You’ll see blacksmiths at their forges and homesteaders spinning wool; they might even ask you to haul water to the garden full of heirloom vegetables. Be sure to say hi to Big Mike on your way in.

Children’s Museum
Looking for more hands-on fun? The Children’s Museum on S. Willson Ave. has engaging, interactive exhibits for all of your little scientists. If you haven’t been lately, be sure to check out the newest exhibit: It’s a Bug’s World. Kids can dress up like bugs, think like bugs in a grass forest, and watch live bugs. There are so many opportunities for hands-on discovery that it’s like you’ve taken the kids to school, and they don’t even realize it! On the second Friday of every month, admission is free and pizza slices are sold for $1.

Spire Climbing Center
When the kids have energy to burn, take them to Spire Climbing Center. You don’t have to be a rock climbing expert because the team at Spire will provide equipment and instruction for climbers of every skill level. Kids can climb 50 feet high on so many routes that they’ll never get bored, and several auto-belay systems mean you don’t have to have a partner to have fun. Spire offers 5,000 square feet of bouldering as well. If your kids are older, you can take a yoga class while they climb to their hearts’ content.

Bozeman Public Library
Kids who read at home are better readers and have higher math scores, according to the National Education Association. To fight summer brain drain, take your kids to the Bozeman Public Library whenever possible. Several programs will enrich the lives of all of your kids regardless of whether they are babies, teens, or somewhere in between. During the school year the library offers a Lego club, Minecraft club, Pokemon club, and chess club. Shy readers can read to therapy dogs once a week. Teens can enjoy a monthly game night and movie night with all of their friends.

Bogert Pool
Bogert Pool opens on June 11. Admission is only a few dollars at Bozeman’s favorite outdoor pool. Experienced and friendly instructors give swimming lessons in the morning. On Tuesdays, enjoy an afternoon of swimming and follow it up with dinner at the Farmer’s Market in Bogert Park.

The Candy Store
Want to win parent of the year? Take your kids to one of Bozeman’s candy shops! If you are downtown, stop into The Chocolate Moose and belly up to the soda fountain after you’ve browsed the endless candy options. At Bozeman’s newest candy store, The Candy Jar, kids can build their own candy bars. That’s right, you and the kids can pick from all kinds of tasty tidbits and toppings to create a candy bar all your own. Another bonus: The Dinosaur Playground isn’t far away, so kids can burn off that sugar rush outdoors.

Belgrade Splash Park
Belgrade’s Lewis and Clark Park (on Main St.) has the only splash park in the area. You can’t beat the price; it’s free. Kids love to frolic in all of the water features, including a giant mushroom fountain and buckets that dump water right on your head. There are plenty of smaller features for the tiniest members of your family. Lewis and Clark Park also has a skate park and plenty of playground equipment, so if the kids get tired of splashing, there is still fun to be had. Be sure to pack a lunch because the park is full of large trees that provide wonderful shady spots for a picnic.

Arts on Fire
Feeling creative? Let those creative juices flow right out the tip of a paintbrush at Arts on Fire. You and the kids can pick from a plethora of pottery and paint colors to create a masterpiece. As the paint flows, the conversation tends to follow, and there is nothing better than a focused conversation with your kids. The kids might make a mug for grandma or a flower pot for their favorite teacher, but they’ll also be making memories with you.

Have fun with your kids this summer by making memories all over town. Remember to get out of town, too. Try hiking Drinking Horse Mountain, fishing Hyalite Reservoir, or floating the Madison River in inner tubes. Bozeman offers so many great places to take the kids that it might take the whole summer to explore them all.  

This was made by

Sarah Cairoli

Sarah Cairoli is a local writer, tutor, and mother who has been enjoying all Bozeman has to offer for the past decade. She can be reached at scairoli30@hotmail.com(scairoli30 (at) hotmail [d0t] com,)

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