Check out the Children’s Museum’s new exhibits for free!

You can tell a new school year is underway by the (in)frequency of my posts here. Busy busy busy!

On nice days when we don’t have anything else scheduled, we bike to school. It helps us work some wiggles out before the school day starts and settle down after school.

But now that I have a kiddo getting out of school and another at 3:30, then activities twice or three times a week that start at 4, we’ve having to drive the van to get where we’re going on time. Or relatively close to on time.

In the scramble I’ve missed posting a lot of stuff, but I wanted to make not to not miss free admission day at the Missoula Children’s Museum. It’s this Friday, Sept. 12, and it’s a chance to come check out the new September exhibits.

The two new exhibits were installed just yesterday, and they were kept secret so as to be a surprise.

So come downtown with the kids on Friday and be surprised!

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More free admission days at Children’s Museum Missoula

Believe it or not, this Friday, Jan. 3, is the First Friday of a brand-new year.

As usual, the Children’s Museum Missoula will be opening its doors from 5-7 p.m. Stop by with the kiddos and check out artwork provided by Missoula International School students.

Admission during those hours will be free, as well as free all day long the next day, Saturday, Jan. 4, during open hours from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday’s free admission is thanks to the support of ZillaState.

Not a bad way to kick off the first week of 2014.

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Enjoy the Children’s Museum for free on first Saturday of 2014

The Children’s Museum in Missoula offers a ton of free admission days throughout the year. They have a whole “free admission series” they’re doing. And good thing, too. I’ve noticed that whenever they offer free admission, the place is packed.

My kids prefer to have the place to themselves, and I’m happy to pay the $4.25-per-person price of admission during off hours, especially during inclement weather. For less than the price of a matinee, we get hours and hours of indoor fun.

Here’s the scoop on the next free day:

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Make Children’s Museum part of post Turkey Day plans PLUS a great gift idea for kids: all-day pass to Museum, Carousel

There’s no school on Thanksgiving, or the day after. Thanksgiving Day might be taken care of, but what to do with the kids on Friday?

Well, the Children’s Museum will be hosting a holiday open house, with free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. That’s one idea, and thanks go to the Plum Creek Foundation for making it possible.

Another reason to stop by the Children’s Museum might be to pick up an all day pass or two for the little ones on your holiday shopping list.

Both the Children’s Museum and A Carousel for Missoula are offering the Play All Day Pass, which comes in the form of a $7 wristband. It gets the wearer unlimited rides on the carousel for one day plus admission to the museum.

The carousel and the Children’s Museum are located just across a parking lot from each other, so the pairing makes sense on a number of levels. You can buy the passes at either venue.

“Kids love the carousel and they love the museum!” Children’s Museum manager Heidi Kendall said. “Since we’re so close together in downtown Missoula, we thought it would be a great way to make it extra easy for families to enjoy both attractions at once! Happy holidays, Missoula!”


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Thanks to the Children’s Museum, Halloween can come early

Can’t wait for Halloween?

You don’t have to!

Each year the Children’s Museum in Missoula holds a fundraiser that doubles as a big Halloween bash. And the 11th annual Halloween Bash will be this Sunday!

Sunday, Oct. 27 from noon to 5 p.m., to be exact. It’s at the Children’s Museum, of course, which is located in downtown Missoula at 225 W. Front Street.

Note that it’s on a day and at a time many families might find more convenient for celebration than after dark on a Thursday, which is when Real Halloween will be happening. Particularly families with younger children.

Since it’s a fundraiser, regular passes won’t be accepted, but admission is only $5 per person. And that five bucks gets you access to all this:

  • G-Wiz (UM chemistry Professor Garon Smith)
  • The Professor of Fun
  • Creepy Critters Show by Animal Wonders
  • SpectrUM Dissection Demo
  • And new this year: Paleo Icky with UM Paleontology’s Kallie Moore

Costumes are encouraged (come on, it’s a Halloween party!) and treats will be on hand.

It’s a party for a good cause: fun. Also, it helps support the Children’s Museum, which offers a variety of fun kid activities all year ’round. The bash is sponsored this year by FOX Montana, Missoula Pediatric Dentistry, Big Pizza, Boone Karlberg Attorneys at Law, Vandewetering and Baffa Law Offices and Zilla State. So claps for them.

Call the museum 541.PLAY or go to for more information.

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Tickets go on sale today for Families First fundraiser

Starting today, families can buy tickets to an ultra-family-friendly summer concert coming up on August 20.

The concert will feature Aaron Nigel Smith – of PBS’s “Between the Lions” – and Missoula’s own special guests Tangled Tones and Friends.

If that’s not family-friendly enough for you, consider that the concert doubles as Families First‘s annual fundraiser. The Saturday event at the University Theater will kick off at 3:30 p.m. – but please note that the doors will open an hour earlier, at 2:30 p.m.

The slate of available activities includes beading, face painting, tie dying and more. Tangled Tones will warm up the stage at 4:45, and Aaron Nigel Smith will take over at 5:30, with the whole thing scheduled to wrap up at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are free for kids under the age of 1. For kids 1-12 years old, tickets are $12 each, and anyone older than 12 will pay $15 for a ticket. Buy tickets at the official ticket outlet – the new MSO Hub Box Office located downtown at 140 N. Higgins Ave. Or, buy them at the Families First Children’s Museum – also located downtown – or by phone by calling 543-3300.

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Families First serving up burgers and arts classes

Things are always hopping over at Families First, which coordinates a full schedule of parenting programs while running the Children’s Museum in downtown Missoula. But the nonprofit is busier than ever as it plans to hold a community fundraiser while also opening a series of art classes for children in mid-March.

First, the community event: It’s a burger bonanza at Scotty’s Table (that’s the restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Wilma Building), with veggie alternatives available of course, plus french fries or salad and a local brew – all for $15.

Families First staff and board members will be talking about the organization, current programs and upcoming events while you eat. And since that sort of thing rarely holds the interest of kiddos, and since this is a family-friendly event, children’s activities will also be available.

Need more incentive? The 75th burger sold will win a prize, and the 150th burger sold will come with an iPod Shuffle.

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New grocery store exhibit coming to Children’s Museum

Families First!, the organization that runs the Children’s Museum in Missoula, has been hard at work planning a new exhibit for the museum: a kids’ grocery store! The new grocery play area will be located toward the front of the museum on West Front Street in downtown Missoula. It’s being sponsored by the Good Food Store, St. Patrick Hospital and the Gallagher Foundation.

To mark the opening of the new exhibit, the Children’s Museum will host a celebration on Sept. 16. More details about the upcoming event will be posted on Missoula Mom as they become available.

– MM

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Children’s Museum looking for feedback

It’s probably safe to say that the Children’s Museum in Missoula, run by Families First, is always looking for ways to improve.

But currently, they are looking for specific feedback in the form of a short survey. Does admission cost too much? Would you pay more? Does the museum serve the right age ranges? The Children’s Museum wants to know.

As a bonus, if you fill out the survey you’ll be entered to win a free year-long membership. To take the survey and be entered in the drawing, just go to the Families First Web site and sign up to receive their newsletter.  

– MM