For our first adventure we decided to check out a place we had never been before: The Badlands of Montana. It was about three and a half hours from our house so we loaded up the big van with our new tent from Costco and food enough for 2 lunches, a dinner, a breakfast and snacks. Our two oldest girls couldn’t join us for this round so we had 8 people: My husband, me, our 15 year old girl, 13 year old girl, 10 year old girl, 8 year old boy, 6 year old boy and 3 year old girl. We left mid-morning on Friday to head out on our adventure.
We stopped at a park we had visited a few years ago in Miles City that the kids still talk about for lunch. It has a merry-go-round and lots of other play equipment. For lunch we had sandwiches, individual chip bags, baby carrots, snap peas and water to drink.
Once we got to Glendive, we headed straight for the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum aka The Creation Museum. General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children (3-12) and 2 and under are free. We absolutely loved this museum. It was beautifully done with very friendly and knowledgeable staff. It was wonderful seeing all of the dinosaur fossils that have been found right here in Montana. Everything was shown from a creation perspective which we appreciated. One of our favorite parts was a room they had of old Bibles. They had an original King James Bible as well as a Torah scroll and lots of other beautiful Bibles.
After enjoying the museum we stopped for ice cream at a local shop. They had both soft serve and hard ice cream so everyone got what they liked! It was delicious!
We then traveled through Glendive to Makoshika State Park. We had made reservations online for a campsite so it was all paid for and ready to go. It was a nice flat site with a picnic table and fire pit as well as a vault toilet close by. I think everyone’s favorite part was the perfect climbing hill right behind our site. Lots of other kids were climbing it too!
We tried out our new giant tent from Costco. It is an instant 10 person cabin tent. The instructions said it could be up in 2 minutes but we did not find that to be true. It was more like 15 minutes but we were very happy with that. There was plenty of room for the 8 of us and our bags.
After we got our tent set up we set out on a hike to find the Hadrosaur Site where there were dinosaur bones still in the side of the mountain that they couldn’t remove. Most of the hike was pretty easy except one particularly difficult part that was so steep they had makeshift stairs to help you get up and down. The kids and my husband did awesome. I had a bit more trouble but I made it! There was a bench at the very top that we sat on and could look down on our campsite.
For dinner we had hot dogs or chicken apple sausages, baked beans and chips as well as s’mores for dessert. Pretty standard fair for camping. But simple and familiar are often the best!
We enjoyed sitting around the campfire and then a restless night of sleep in the tent. (Tent camping is not my favorite! But it is cheaper and easier than finding another place to stay with a family our size.)
It was already getting pretty warm in the morning so we decided to clean up camp after a breakfast of delicious apple camper pies. It took us about 45 minutes to get everything packed back up and ready to go. We drove through the rest of Makoshika State Park. It was beautiful! Paul and the kids hiked around some while Clarissa and I watched from another nice bench. I think if it would have been cooler they could have hiked for hours. But it was already pushing 90 degrees so we decided to be done.
We stopped at the visitor center. It had a few fossils and real stuffed animals to explore. The kids enjoyed it and picked out a souvenir from the gift shop that I thought was a brilliant idea. It was a water bottle stuffed with fun things like toy dinosaurs, stickers, sunglasses, a pencil, a lollipop and a squished penny.
We had a really nice weekend and by the time we got home a storm was coming in and cooled down the temperature! It was amazing to see how different the landscape can be within the same state. Montana is such a beautiful state!