When you're a kid there's nothing better than the summertime. No school, no homework, just endless hours of time to play in the sunshine. However, by July the long days might be getting harder to fill. Don't worry...we have a few great ideas for keeping the kids entertained the rest of the summer!
1. LIVING HISTORY FARM AT THE MUSEUM OF THE ROCKIES
If you haven't taken the kids to the Tinsley House at the Museum of the Rockies, make this the summer you do it because it is free! The Tinsley House is part of the living history farm where they have costumed interpreters cook on the old wood-burning stove, keep up the garden and work in the blacksmith's shop. It's fun for the kids to see how things were done in the 1890's, walk around the home and the property and take a step back in time. (Regular admission prices for the main museum)
2. BOGERT POOL
Our old city pool in Bozeman could definitely use some upgrades and expanding, but until that happens it's still a great place to take the kids on a hot summer day. (Any long time local or native probably has their own memories of going to Bogert as a kid!) There are two pools, one shallow with a kiddie slide and one deeper pool that is also used for lap swims at certain times. There are nice loungers bordering the pool for parents to keep an eye on the little ones while soaking up some sunshine. Click here for hours and admission prices.
3. HEAD TO A LOCAL POND
If Bogert pool is too crowded head to one of Bozeman's local "beaches" for some water fun. The beach at the 100-Acre park is a small pond with a sandy beach. Kids can cool off in the water, watch the ducks or take out the kayak and float toys. The East Gallatin Recreation area is a bigger pond and beach area that also has restrooms, picnic tables and volleyball. (MAP Brewing is across the way with food for the kids and beers for the adults!) Behind Target on Davis Lane is a nice little pond with a dock that is perfect for fishing and taking out the kayak. There isn't a beach at this one, just a trail that goes around the pond. Hyalite Reservoir is another option if you are willing to drive a little further and face the tourists!
4. HIKE TO A WATERFALL
Not all kids love to hike, but with the promise of a waterfall at the end most will get on board! Luckily for us, there are so many great hikes to waterfalls close to Bozeman. The most popular are Palisade and Grotto Falls up Hyalite, both perfect for young hikers. Pine Creek Falls is a good one in the Paradise Valley and Ousel Falls is a favorite in Big Sky. Click here for more hikes to waterfalls.
5. GO TO A PARK
There's nothing more timeless in childhood than going to the park! Although the equipment has certainly changed over the years (who else misses teeter-totters and merry-go-rounds?!) the fun of going to the park to play has not. Bozeman is full of awesome city parks as well as plenty of smaller ones tucked into neighborhoods all throughout town. The Dinosaur Playground at the 100-Acre Regional park, Lindley and Bogert are a few favorites around town. As for neighborhoods, the park in Valley West Subdivision is the best with a playground, trails, a creek and ponds.
6. GET ICE CREAM!
It feels appropriate in summer to eat ice cream on a daily basis. Or at least a couple times a week! Downtown is Sweet Peaks, Genuine Ice Cream in the Bozeman bus, the Chocolate Moose and Wild Joe's, all delicious ice cream spots. If you don't want to deal with downtown, head to Pickel Barrel for very generous sized scoops! If you prefer frozen yogurt, head to Toppers...kids love getting to choose from all the fun toppings.
7. BELGRADE SPLASH PARK
Yet another way for the kiddos to keep cool on a hot summer day. The splash park is in the Lewis and Clark Park and kids love all the water features and getting soaked by the dumping water buckets. Take a picnic and eat lunch under one of the huge trees in the park and then let the kids go wild in the water. There's also a playground, so basically this park has a little bit of everything just a short drive from Bozeman.
Golf is something fun the whole family can enjoy and luckily there are a couple golf courses in town that make it accessible to everyone. Bridger Creek Golf Course has Family Fun Nights every Sunday for the summer. They are from 3-5 pm and they have golf, prizes, inflatables and more. You can choose between 4 or 5 holes (both are under $10). At Cottonwood Hills they have programs for both juniors and Little Linkers (kids age 6-12). Every Tuesday they have a 30-minute clinic and then can golf 9 holes on their par 3 course. This is free for members and $5 for non-members making it affordable for families.
Photo courtesy of Bridger Creek Golf Course
9. LEWIS & CLARK CAVERNS
Many Bozeman kids will get to experience Lewis & Clark Caverns during a field trip, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be on your summer bucket list still. The limestone cavern is sure to delight all ages and is a nice way to stay cool on a hot day as the temperatures in the cave are perfect. It's a nice way to spend a whole day with a pretty drive out and then a short hike up to the entrance. Pack a picnic for lunch or make it longer and camp for the night.
Photo courtesy of Lewis & Clark Caverns
10. RAINY DAY IDEAS
We've had a rainy summer this year so it's good to have some inside activities planned to keep the kids occupied. The library has a wonderful children's area with toys, computers, and games to occupy a couple hours. There's also the Children's Museum, perfect for the younger kids. Movies are an option and the Regal Cinemas at the mall offer $1 movies on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings making it an affordable option to take the family too. Click here for their summer movies.