Connect with us

Living Mi Vida Loca

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Travel

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

We are lucky enough to have friends who moved to Helena, Montana from California. They had told us how beautiful Montana was, so we had to see it for ourselves, and also check out fun and free things to do in Helena with kids. They were not mistaken in the beauty of this state.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Clearly, there’s a reason why Montana’s slogan is “Big Sky Country.”

We traveled to Helena with our family and scoped out the city and area to answer some questions you may have if you’re thinking of visiting Helena.

Where in Montana is Helena?

Helena is the capital of Montana and only three and a half hours from north Yellowstone exit. The drive up is beautiful with many cattle farms and the huge sky which seems to wrap around.

The beauty of Montana is there are many free outdoor activities.

Free things to do in Helena, Montana with kids

Visiting the Continental Divide

I had never heard of the Continental Divide before our visit to Helena.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Right outside Helena is the mountain range that was created when the two tectonic plates crashed into each other.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

The kids liked learning about how when rain falls on the west side it goes into Pacific Ocean and if it falls on east side to the Atlantic Ocean. It made for a great history lesson.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Have a bonfire at Helena State Forest

Helena National State Forest surrounds Helena and is a beautiful place to have a picnic, hike or bonfire.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

We found a small bridge tucked in a turnout. Our friends told us that bonfires are allowed anywhere as long as there’s a ring of rocks.

We could have spent an entire day exploring the many picnic areas and hidden spots of this forest.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Stop at the Montana Wild Education Center

The Montana WILD Education Center is a MUST when visiting Helena with kids. It is an interactive hands on FREE museum with plenty of wildlife to entertain the kids.

During COVID-19 they do have some restrictions on hands on activities.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

There are animals pelts and animal heads hanging on wall. It made for a good size comparison to the bisons we had seen in Yellowstone.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

The kids did a scavenger hunt which got competitive to see who found all the animals first. They all finished and their reward was a giant bear poster. Now, it is taped on their room wall.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids
Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids
Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Right outside the museum is a bald eagle encampment. If you want to have a picnic outside, the grassy area or river bend makes a perfect location.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Montana WILD was a great little museum with plenty to do for entire family.

The attendants informed us that normally during the summer they have classes and live animal demonstrations, but because of current situation, it was not allowed.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Last Chance Gulch at Downtown Helena

Right in Downtown Helena is Last Chance Gulch. It has small shops, restaurants, and great architecture.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

We stopped at Big Dipper Ice Cream and of course had to have Huckleberry flavored ice cream.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Huckleberry is Montana’s berry and you will find Huckleberry flavored everything.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

We found a small play area which kept the younger kids entertained while we enjoyed our ice cream.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

Last Chance Gulch is a perfect place to learn about Helena’s history, grab an ice cream or do some shopping.

Mansion District

Helena was once the epitome of gold mining and high incomes. All you have to do is drive down Mansion District to see historic houses built in the early 1900’s.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

The architecture and details tell the story of times gone. There are plaques at each home about its history.

We pointed out to the kids the horse tying poles in front of some of the houses.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

1876 Fire Tower

Helena is surrounded by its namesake national forest and has a history of wildfires.

Our friends pointed out the city’s landmark fire tower built in 1876. It is still preserved and a fun history lesson for kids.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

You can take a trail up to it at Cruse Ave. and Broadway.

Helena’s first settlement, Reeder’s Alley

This small alley is jam packed with so much Helena history.

It is home to the first settlement in the area built in the late 1800’s. The homes of the first miners that came looking to make a fortune for themselves.

When you visit, note the influence that Chinese workers had on the dwellings.

Cathedral of St. Helena

The twin towers of the Cathedral of St. Helena can be seen from almost any point in Downtown Helena.

The cathedral is reminiscent of European churches because its architect was trained abroad.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

The stained glass windows and altar are like no other. The cathedral is always open for visitors and, in my opinion, a must visit.

Helena is a city full of history and beauty. Truly a place to immerse the kids in history and see it first hand. The outdoorsy kids they will love throwing rocks or testing their climbing skills in Helena National State Forest.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

We had a great time hanging out with our friends and now know why they fell in love with Helena, Montana.

Free things to do in Helena Montana with kids

After Helena we headed back home from our hybrid car camping road trip to Southern California but not before stopping at Salt Lake City for a few hours.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Travel

About | Contact

Living Mi Vida Loca is an award-winning site that covers Latina lifestyle topics and offers insights into things to do in the Southern California area and beyond.

[email protected]

To Top