First stop: Exploration Works Science Center
Exploration Works puts hands-on experiences at your child’s fingertips. The exhibits rotate so be sure to check out their web site for what’s new. Past exhibits have included such things as the chance to fly a glider, star in a rock band, whirl through hurricane force winds and a splash in the water learning about currents, damns and the way that water flows. Outside of Exploration Works, the music garden offers more of chance to play.
Second stop: Take the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail
The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Trail puts the journey of Lewis & Clark in a perfectly compact two-block outdoor adventure. As you follow the colored pavement aka rivers, you’ll learn about what Lewis & Clark explored on their way west. You’ll pass falls, artwork and animals. Your kids will love it and the “journey” will give you some great photo ops.
If you’re a geocacher, a stop at the Great Northern Town Center will yield the password for GeoTour Cache #12 Helena New and also a spectacularly fun for the whole family puzzle cache, The Real Confluence, GCPZEV. The Puzzle Cache follows the Lewis & Clark Trail and the coordinates that it will lead you to are in the same general area. No wonder Helena, Montana has been named the #1 Town for Geocaching in the 2015 Rand McNally Road Atlas!
Third stop: The Great Northern Carousel
Well, we’ve listed the Great Northern Carousel as stop three, but we know that chances are your kids will see the Carousel first and it will be your first stop! The Carousel animals feature a variety of animals so there’s no duplicates – every carousel animal is a unique. Ride a Grizzly Bear, Rainbow Trout, Big Horn Sheep or Bison. Only in Montana can you have this kind of carousel! We put the Carousel as stop three because they have ICE CREAM – which every parent knows can be great bribery for good behavior. If you buy 10 rides you get two free rides and they never expire.
Dining at the Great Northern Town Center –If you hit the Great Northern during lunch or dinner time, there are several restaurant options to choose from. The Silver Star and the Fusion Grille offer fine dining experiences (maybe not the type of dining your after with the kiddos in tow). Subway is here too. If you’re after something local, the Last Chance Creperie offers a variety of crêpes from savory to sweet. Above the Carousel is the Brewhouse – offering your typical kids menu – including buttered noodles that my son insists are the best he’s ever had. The Carousel also offers basic fare to tide the kids over.
We truly don’t want your vacation day to be a rainy or cold day, but if the weather decides not to cooperate, the Great Northern Town Center is the perfect place to hang out with the family. The Great Northern Town Center is anchored to the south by the Cinemark Theater and a good movie can be the perfect vacation treat. If the sun is shining, the Great Northern Town Center is anchored to the north by Centennial Park which has a climbing boulder, bike park, dog park, biking and running paths and a playground.
We have provided lots of links to help you discover the Great Northern Town Center and you should have a great feel for the area. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me, [email protected].