Things to Do with Kids in Southeast Montana

2024-04-18 18:43:02

Welcome to Southeast Montana, where adventure waits for kids of all ages. From digging for dinosaurs to experiencing the exhilaration of bucking horses at a rodeo, there's never a dull moment in this vibrant corner of the state. Cast a line for the big catch, encounter wildlife up close at ZooMontana or immerse in the beauty of the great outdoors through camping under the bright twinkling stars, there's something here to ignite the imagination and create unforgettable memories. So, pack your bags and get ready for an epic journey through the wonders of Southeast Montana.

Photo by Nathan Satran Photography

Make Giant Discoveries

Calling all dinosaur enthusiasts! Get ready to embark on an epic adventure through time. Way before Montana was Montana – like millions of years before – dinosaurs roamed this area. Today, traces of these prehistoric giants appear across the Hell Creek Formation, such as a complete Triceratops skull, Tyrannosaurus Rex and a nearly complete skeleton of a Thescelosaurus. Our museums are filled with fossils that make any kid’s dinosaur dreams come true. 

For the truly dino-crazy, we recommend the Montana Dinosaur Trail, which includes 14 facilities across eastern and northern Montana. Purchase your very own Prehistoric Passport to collect the 14 unique dino stamps along the trail.

Head to Glendive, where a visit to Makoshika State Park is a must. Engage in a thrilling paleontology experience guided by park staff, featuring a fascinating visitor center tour, an exploration of the paleo lab and an informative interpretive hike. Keep in mind that these activities are available during the summer season only; check the schedule on the park's website for more details. Swing into the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum for a first-hand look at prehistoric past. For those seeking a private tour and hands-on experiences check out Dinodave Paleo Adventures where you help excavate a 66-million-year-old microsite. This site is packed full of teeth, vertebrae, claws and more.

The other highly recommended area is Ekalaka. Make sure to visit Carter County Museum for their amazing display of paleontological discoveries. Among the finds, housed within the museum, are a mounted skeleton of an Anatosaurus copei (duckbill, Hadrosaur), complete skulls of Triceratops horridus (three horns), Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis (dome head), and a Nanotyrannus lancensis (juvenile Tyrannosaur), all collected in local exposures of the Hell Creek cretaceous formation. Carter County Museum is home to the Annual Dino Shindig, which takes place during the last weekend in July and sells out quickly so be on watch for the release of tickets.

Photo by Cassie Solberg

Grab Your Boots and Saddle Up

Saddle up, buckaroos! There is nothing quite like the excitement of a summer rodeo, where kids can get dirty and enjoy themselves in the thrilling world of all-things cowboy. From the heart-pounding action of bucking broncos to the adorable chaos of mutton busting, rodeos offer a taste of authentic Western culture that is sure to leave a lasting impression. It is a chance for kids to witness the skill and bravery of cowboys and cowgirls as they compete in events like barrel racing, calf roping, and bull riding. But rodeos are not just about the adrenaline-pumping competitions; they are also a celebration of community and tradition, where families come together to enjoy live music, delicious food, and good old-fashioned fun. So, grab your cowboy hat and boots and join us for a summer rodeo experience that is guaranteed to be a buckin' good time! We recommend checking our events calendar for these must-see rodeos. 

Photo by Visit Southeast Montana

Cast a Line

The thrill of reeling in a fish is a timeless memory. When fishing in Southeast Montana, whether it is on the majestic Bighorn River, the iconic Yellowstone River or in the rich lake waters of the Tongue River Reservoir, every catch becomes a cherished moment. Do not forget to secure your fishing license, regardless of your age, to ensure a legal and enjoyable experience. For those seeking an inclusive adventure with older kids, numerous outfitters offer exceptional lodging and guided tours, along with an opportunity to learn from the experts. With these options, you'll never have to return home lamenting "the one that got away."

Photo by Connor Maas

Camping & Stargazing

Camping with kids is an adventure like no other, where nature becomes the ultimate playground. Embrace the great outdoors as you pitch a tent beneath Montana's expansive starry skies, whether you're nestled in one of the state's scenic parks, surrounded by the tranquility of pristine backcountry, or enjoying the amenities of a developed campground. No matter where you choose to lay your sleeping bag, the views will be nothing short of epic, the campfire will provide cozy warmth and the experience will be authentically Montana—big-sky bona fide. Let nature nurture your sense of adventure as you create cherished memories under the vast expanse of the open sky. Just don’t forget the s’more supplies. 

Photo by ZooMontana


When it comes to family adventures in Southeast Montana, ZooMontana is an absolute must-stop destination. Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the region, this charming zoo offers an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike. As you wander through its winding paths, you'll encounter a fascinating array of wildlife from around the world, including majestic grizzly bears, playful river otters and exotic creatures like red pandas and Amur tigers. With beautifully landscaped exhibits and interactive educational opportunities, ZooMontana provides a perfect blend of entertainment and learning. Whether you're feeding the goats at the petting zoo, exploring the indoor habitats, or enjoying a scenic picnic overlooking the park, every moment at ZooMontana is filled with wonder and excitement.

Photo by Nathan Satran Photography

Southeast Montana offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences for kids of all ages. Prepare for endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. Pack your bags, hit the road and get ready to create lifelong memories in this captivating corner of the Treasure State.