Being a kid in Bozeman is about as good as it gets. The outdoors are a giant playground with trails to run on, mountains to ski, ponds to swim in, and rivers for fishing. (Not to mention the number of actual playgrounds there are!) There are also plenty of indoor activities geared toward kids with great museums, the Bozeman Public Library, and many organizations with children's activities. Basically, when you're a kid in Bozeman there's little chance for boredom!
If you've recently moved to Bozeman, chances are it was for the endless amount of outdoor activities. Skiing is a big family activity in Bozeman and since kids under the age of 6 ski for free at Bridger Bowl plus a great ski lesson program, it's no wonder. Around here kids start young with many on skis at Bridger Bowl as soon as they can walk. If skiing isn't your thing, there are plenty of other winter activities for kids in Bozeman. In the summer taking the kids for a hike or bike ride is a popular choice in Bozeman. With a number of in-town trails and the mountains only a short drive away, it's easy to get kids started early. The Gallagator Trail south of town is a popular Bozeman trail for families, The M and Drinking Horse are good choices once the kids get a little older, and Hyalite Canyon is full of hiking trails for all ages. Palisade Falls and Grotto are fun hikes for kids because they love the waterfalls at the end. If you're looking for a playground, Bozeman has numerous city parks all throughout town. There are the classic Bozeman parks like Kirk Park and Lindley Park that have mature trees and lots of space for kids to run around. The two newest parks in Bozeman are the Dinosaur Park at the 100-Acre Regional Park and Story Mill Park. These are both favorites for children with fun equipment to climb on, trails nearby and climbing rocks. The elementary schools all have playgrounds also, so you never have to go far to get to a kid-friendly park in Bozeman.
For a small town, Bozeman has a lot to offer when it comes to family entertainment. The Bozeman Public Library is fantastic and their children's room and teen corner are the best! They offer many free programs for kids like Books & Babies, Lego Robotics, Storytime and so much more. They also have fun annual events like the Children's Festival of the Book, where they bring in a few children's book authors and Music on the Green in the summer which is live music on their lawn for the whole family. The Museum of the Rockies is an old favorite and for good reason. Kids love the dinosaur exhibit and the children's discovery center has hours of entertainment. Formerly the Children's Museum is now the Montana Science Center which is geared specifically to kids with many hands-on exhibits to get them excited about science, plus they have a STEAMlab. The Emerson Center of the Arts offers a variety of art classes for kids age 3-12 that are weekly, on PIR days and after school. Bozeman also has recently opened the new YMCA that has a number of programs for kids including summer camps. This is just the beginning of things for kids to keep busy in Bozeman. There are several places to take swim lessons, gymnastics, rock climbing, theater, music lessons...whatever you want to get your child into, chances are Bozeman will have it!
All About Schools
We are incredibly lucky to live in a community that supports the public school system as much as Bozeman does. In the last 10 years, the amount of pre-school options has increased tremendously offering many different options for pre-school aged children in Bozeman. From Montessori to religious-based to schools geared towards outdoor learning, it's easy to find a pre-school that fits with your family. For school-age children, Bozeman has a top-rated public school system with eight elementary schools, two middle schools and as of fall 2020, two high schools. There are also a few smaller K-8 school districts just outside of city limits, as well as a couple of private schools. When it comes to school in Bozeman, you really can't go wrong. Click here for more information on Bozeman schools.
Meeting Other Families
If you are new to Bozeman you will quickly find out that we are a welcoming bunch! There are so many ways to get out in the Bozeman community to meet other people, kids and families. You'll find it's as easy as starting up a conversation while at the park or in the ski lodge. There are also a number of meet-up groups in Bozeman that are geared towards families and if you get involved in any of the activities mentioned you are bound to make some new friends. Bozeman is big on community events throughout the year, many of which are family-friendly like the Christmas Stroll, Lunch on the Lawn and Music on the Green. These are great ways to get involved and meet people in the Bozeman community.
We recently sat down with Kelly Smith, a mom of three boys ages 1,3 and 4 to talk about what it's like to raise a young family in Bozeman. She tells us why she moved from Colorado to Montana to raise her family, how she has made friends as a new mom, and her favorite activities in Bozeman with her kids. Click here to listen on Spotify or click here to listen on iTunes.