Missoula, Montana is conveniently located halfway between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and is a popular overnight stay for many RVers visiting the 2 parks. But more than an overnight stop, Missoula offers some fun places to visit for families, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is an educational, family friendly, and interesting place to stretch your legs for an hour or so.
Since its inception in 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation protected and improved over 4 million acres of elk habitat all across the United States and Canada, including making over 400,000 of prime elk habitat into public ownership for recreation and hunting use. The RMEF has also helped to restore herds and reintroduce elk to Tennessee, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Ontario.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a 22 acre wooded campus that houses a visitor’s center/museum, and offers a beautiful walking path around the acreage, bordering a stream, where you may encounter wildlife like deer, turkey, and eagles.
The RMEF’s Visitor’s Center is open year-round, and there is no admission fee! With an oversized parking lot, and a location right off the interstate, it’s a great stop for travelers! The family-friendly exhibits are brimming with wild animal mounts,
informational displays, and even some hands-on stations…
At this stop in the museum, the kids could choose different animals cards, scan the bar codes on the cards, and learn about the animal featured on the card they scanned.
The museum features over 60 species of animals in their center, and offer a concise brochure that explains each display and even asks an interactive question for each area. At the elk country diorama, can the kids find the horsefly and the Steller’s jay? And at the Lewis and Clark Expedition, can you figure out how many pounds of meant each man consumed daily?
This was one of Caleb’s favorite stops in the museum, but he just couldn’t figure out why it didn’t stink!
Many people do not realize that hunters are the best conservationists! By keeping the herds at prime numbers for maintaining the surrounding habitat, hunters are keeping the animals healthy, as well and ensuring that their numbers don’t increase to the point that the habitat cannot support them and some of the animals starve over the winter.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation visitor’s center has great educational exhibits, especially informative for those who are not really familiar with elk and other northwestern animals.
The visitor’s center has a gift shop with RMEF logo’d apparel, and there are mounts in the hallway next to the gift shop.
The center even has a wall of trophy mounts…
There is a documentary playing on loop in the theater, and you can even sit in next to the fireplace and chat or read one of those great books that you picked up in the gift shop!
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitor’s Center is a great place to check out while you are in western Montana! You can find out more about it’s hours, offerings, and mission here.