Since before time even began to exist* there has been this ubiquitous thing called The Children’s Museum. These are often underfunded, though never underappreciated, and frequently enjoyed by all in attendance. The children’s museum in Missoula is one such example, especially considering how hard they work to make their place so much fun.
They started humbly, as all children’s museums do, in a modest space with painfully limited funding despite grand and noble goals.
Let’s skip a couple chapters and just say that, as of our visit, they were already in their third space, and the newest place had grown in really great ways.
There’s a treehouse area, a dinosaur dig area, a soapy bubble lab, a construction area, and even a juniored down kiddy computer area. I didn’t find it fun, what on account of me being busy with my “being five years old” all the time, but senior staff photographer Patrick found it perfectly delightful and fun, apparently according to all that him-being-8-years-old business.
Apparently the exhibits are themed by age, and meant to cover a broad range. I can’t speak for that, but I can say that baby Dominic found fun things, I found others, and my senior brother Patrick found yet others still.
LEFT: Among the many fine features of this place is a station where you can view yourself on a tv screen with a national map behind you. If you ever thought the job of the weather man was an easy one, you can put that theory to the test right here. Turns out there’s a lot more to looking good on television than simply looking good, though my brother seemed to have managed that part of it just fine.
The Missoula Children’s Museum isn’t exactly what you’d call a tourist destination, but if you’re in town and you have youngsters, it might still be a fine afternoon distraction. It’s more than just a respectable staple of the local parentscape, as it’s really a fun place for kids, and it’s also ridiculously cheap for the visit.
And if I could throw out a few bonus points on account of these being such darn nice people, or that they’re trying so hard, or that it costs almost nothing to get in, I’d say on our next Montana tour, you can bet your butt-or-dollar** that we’re going there again, because all of us had to be begged, bribed and cajoled to get us out of there.
There are apparently other, comparable children’s museums in Great Falls and Bozeman, as well as the amazing Exploration Works children’s museum in Helena (though it’s in a whole different league,) but I can’t speak for the Bozeman or Great Falls incarnations… at least, I can’t speak for them yet… I’m young, so give me time and we’ll see.
* Who knows for sure when time first began, but I imagine it was some time since my own birth, so when I say things like this, it just means that something happened to happen around the time I was born or, you know, kind of thereabouts.