When the rain comes it's only natural to look to local museums and theaters for inexpensive and fun entertainment. For me that means Bozeman's Museum of the Rockies, West Yellowstone's Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center or IMAX, and Big Sky's Lone Peak Cinema.
Founded in 1957, The Museum of the Rockies is a Montana staple with dinosaur specimens from all over Montana including the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex collection in the world. A great time to visit is when the museum's curator of paleontology, Jack Horner, is speaking, or time it just right to catch a light show in the Taylor Planetarium. I would also highly recommend the current temporary exhibition: Chocolate, which delves deep into the science behind the delicious dark treat.
Catch another glimpse of dinosaurs in Jurassic World at Lone Peak Cinema or on the IMAX in West Yellowstone. Nothing beats a rainy day like the movies, but I enjoy the drive to West Yellowstone to check out Hollywood blockbusters, new to the regional IMAX, or to see a movie like Titans of the Ice Age, about great wooly mammoths. The field-trip type science experiences in and around Big Sky, Montana, cannot be taken advantage of enough. Last year I had the chance to catch Yellowstone Wolves and Alaska. Neither would I have seen if I did not live so close to such amazing facilities or in a community that values using technology to express nature.
From time to time when I do drive down to West Yellowstone I stop at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to see the northern saw-whet owl Acadia, who is blind in one eye after being hit by a car, but is easily the cutest owl I've ever seen.
Rainy days in Montana are a normal part of spring and early summer, but they are easily enjoyed with the right plan and right attitude. The clouds are breaking up as I write this, yet now all I want to do is hold an owl named Acadia.
Northern saw-whet owl Acadia at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.
Trex at the Museum of the Rockies.
As May comes to a close, we here in Big Sky anticipate the opening of Big Sky Resort's summer season in June. June brings more sunshine and flowers as well as hiking, camping, ziplining, and every outdoor activity the resort has to offer. Not to mention the wildlife around Big Sky and in Yellowstone National Park. I cannot wait to once again visit the park and see some of my favorite geysers such as Baby Daisy or Fan and Mortar, and hopefully catch a glimpse of a wolf or bear. I cannot take for granted the unique ecosystem of Yellowstone when it is so close to my home town as I have done in past summers.
It's time to get excited for summer and embrace all the fun Big Sky has to offer.
Video: Chris Kamman
A group of foxes is called a leash, skulk, earth or pack. Fox can identify each other's voices like humans. The red fox has 28 different sounds used to communicate, including yips, growls and howls.
Elk bark to warn each other of danger.
Grizzly bears live 20-25 years and raise their cubs for two to three years.
Moose have a flap of skin known as a bell beneath its throat. The bell is for identifying status of males, warmth, scent, and may also play a role in communication.
Mountain Goats live 12-15 years and can be found on Lone Peak year-round. See them on the Lone Peak Expedition this summer.
3 million visitors see Yellowstone National Park each year. Don't go to Yellowstone without checking out all Big Sky Resort has to offer!
Discover more wildlife facts in the next issue of Live Big Magazine available at Big Sky Resort this summer.
Graphic by Michel Tallichet
Mountains have intrigued human beings and inspired imagination since the beginning of time. Mountains are where saints have met God, where Chinese masters have conquered the shadows, where Dracula escaped humanity, and where skiers, hikers, mountain bikers have found purpose. These quotes about mountains are just a small handful of my favorite, but may they inspire one to do great things. The mountains in and around Big Sky Resort inspire me daily and I'm sure these writers and adventurers would have felt the same.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. -John Muir
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey
When we tire of well-worn ways, we seek for new. This restless craving in the souls of men spurs them to climb, and to seek the mountain view. -Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There is nothing in the world like going out onto an untouched, open, virgin mountain slope drenched under a thick blanket of new powder snow. It gives a supreme feeling of freedom, mobility. A great sense of flying, moving anywhere in a great white paradise. - Hans Gmoser
Sunset over Lone Mountain in Big Sky, Montana.
Woodward Mountain from Taylor Fork.
According to the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce, Big Sky, Montana, fluctuates between about 2,000 full-time residents to 17,000 during peak seasons (the highest being Holiday week). As anyone could imagine this makes for a funny little town to live in year round, and I love it.
Right now we're in that 2,000 population range and it's a welcome time of year. I miss skiing almost every day, but the peaceful light rain on the window outside makes me feel special. Special because I might as well be the only one in the world enjoying it as I look at Lone Mountain change from snow-capped winter dream land to Evergreen summer wonderland. The earth is quiet.
My biggest challenge with these "shoulder" seasons is my new workout routine. Some Big Sky folks might say it's the change in hours of their favorite bar or restaurant, the fact that the resort is not open, or the spring muddy weather that makes the spring and fall odd, but for me, it's not being in ski shape anymore. Thus, I look to off-season activities to fill the void before summer biking, climbing, tennis, and hiking. Off-season for me means bouldering in the meadow; hiking the lower elevation trails such as Ousel Falls, Indian Ridge (just north of Big Sky), or Porcupine Trail; and playing Big Sky Resort Golf Course when it opens on May 22. Two weeks of golf before the summer season is an ideal way to enjoy the spring.
As much as I love winter and summer, every season in Big Sky brings its unique beauty and necessity. For now I will work on being content with spring, living one day at a time, and enjoying these wistful moments between the excitement of winter and summer.
Photo: Glenniss Indreland
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