I'm not a Mom, but I am an Aunt. A proud Aunt of two amazing girls who are 9 and 13 years old. I have a huge respect for my brother and sister-in-law who keep these two girls entertained. When we all go on outdoor excursions, I'm the first to say, "okay, Aunt Sheila needs a break." It's not that I'm too out of shape (let's face it we could all be in better shape), but I'm not seasoned in running around with these energetic young ladies. Honestly, that is why I love the Mountain Village plaza at Big Sky Resort.
Aunt Sheila can lounge with a beer while the girls enjoy multiple activities within a "look at me, Aunt Sheila" proximity. I don't have to move. Now, understand, we just went up the Scenic Chair Lift Ride and hiked down. I deserve this beer and those girls are like the energizer bunny (and just as cute, I must say). They've hit the bungee trampoline, are taking turns on the climbing wall and giant swing, while I cheer them on between sips and putting on sunblock (yes, I made sure they were lathered up too). When they've used up their turns, we'll hit the new miniature golf and try to find gems in the new Gemstone Mining area. I just love everything being within steps of each other. The older niece has been following in her Aunt's footsteps by taking up Volleyball (sorry, Bro, Basketball is a out) and there was even a sand Volleyball court in the plaza so we could pepper a bit (this is when two people bump, set, and spike toward each other).
I love these girls and any time I get to spend with them. The day will be topped off with pizza at Andiamo Italian Grille, just a hop, skip, and a jump (literally) from the Gemstone Mining. Hopefully they'll sleep soundly to be bright-eyed and bushytailed for the next day's adventures in Big Sky.
Scenic Chair Lift at Big Sky Resort.
Antique Alley lies between Big Sky and Bozeman, Montana, and features nearly a dozen antique and thrift shops with treasures galore.
My mom had come to Big Sky for the weekend and we decided to make a day of antiquing. Antiquing our way to Bozeman resulted in some excellent finds: A wonderful high-end yet thrifty jacket from Consignment Cabin, a gothic style antique outdoor lantern from Antique Barn for $30, a fine art print from the ‘20s, and a unique bowl from The Coffee Pot (full disclosure: not an antique store). My mom also found these candle holders, which were old glass electrical insulators turned upside down.
I often do not have anything specific in mind when I go antiquing, but enjoy perusing Little Bear Interiors, Antique Barn, and JR Antiques between Big Sky and I-90.
A sense of belonging goes along with antiquing. As I walk the aisles I relish time and space; that I am meant to be exactly where I am and exactly when I am. I pick up a copy of Black Beauty from the mid- 20th century and know I'm neither the first nor last to hold this book. Strolling memory lane with my mom allowed us to bond over treasures of the past and nostalgia of the unique items we encountered. Antiquing provides another rainy day or down day activity a skip away from Big Sky Resort.
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
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