Seems like kid friendly activities in the Mission Valley are endless. The Mission Valley is home to Flathead Lake, The Mission Mountains and nine historical sites and museums.  Summertime in the Mission Valley offers many diverse recreational activities. In addition to the many recreation activities available there are many sites and attractions to see.

The Flathead Lake Monster

Kootenai traditional legend suggests the story of a monster in Flathead Lake.  While, according to the story, long ago, the first native tribe in the area lived on an island in the middle of the lake.

One winter while crossing the frozen lake to move camp, two girls saw antlers approximately two feet in length protruding through the frozen ice. Thinking the antlers belonged to some animal, the girls decided to chop them off and take them. They used sharp-edged rocks to cut through the ice when the antlers suddenly started shaking, the ice around them split open, and the head of a monster appeared through the ice shaking its giant antlers.

The girls used their special powers to transform into a ball and a buckskin target to escape the monster, but half of the tribe drowned in the lake, which is said to be the reason why there are so few Kootenai people. The narrative holds that the Kootenai never strayed far from the lake shore after that, and settlers later reported occasionally seeing the monster.

‘Monster’ sightings still occur each year as area residents and visitors spot mystery creatures on the lake surface. Stop by the Polson Flathead Museum to see “Nessie”, the original Flathead Lake Monster!

Another kid friendly activity in the Mission Valley.

The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana Nature Trail.

Certainly after a long day in the car there is no substitute for letting the little ones get out and run a bit. The The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana Nature Trail provides such an escape.

The Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana is located halfway between Missoula and Kalispell on Highway 93. It is near the National Bison Range and the Owl Research Institute. It is bordered by the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge, a nationally recognized bird watching area with Fish and Wildlife land on all sides. Ninepipes Museum is housed in a log and concrete structure built to museum specifications and standards, and includes both long term and temporary exhibits that provide the viewer with articles representing the life and culture of early peoples in the area.

The Ninepipes Museum nature trail is a short walk on a gravel path through park like grounds that give way to natural vegetation. The view of the Mission Mountains is quite magnificent. Ample benches provide respite along a natural pond that is home to waterfowl, muskrats and the famous painted turtles native to the valley.  Enjoy a break from the traffic and noise of US Highway 93 on the Ninepipes Museum Nature Trail.

The Ninepipes Museum Nature Trail is just one of the many kid friendly activities in Mission Valley Montana. In addition to the nature trail, The People’s Center provides a kid friendly activity.

Welcome to the People’s Center

Another kid friendly, and educational experience is to visit the People’s Center in Pablo Montana. Sqelixw-Aqlsmaknik is the place to experience the rich cultural heritage of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai tribes. The traditions and culture of our tribes have been passed down orally from generation to generation since time began. As our lifestyles change with time and technology, we continue to preserve and protect our heritage, history and culture. We invite you to explore the artifacts and exhibits, and to hear the stories of our people in their own voices. We also invite you to participate in our cultural activities. Our celebrations, known as pow-wows, and other events reflecting the Tribes.

The People's Center, Mission Valley MuseumThe People’s Center perpetuates this rich heritage, through our tradition of oral history. It creates opportunities of exchange between tribal elders, youth and the public. Through education, we hope to dispel myths and stereotyping of Native Americans and create better understanding between all peoples. We are owned and operated by the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.



Kid Friendly Activities in the Mission Valley

The Garden of the Rockies Museum

In addition to the People’s Center in Pablo the Garden of the Rockies provides a kid friendly activity. Mission Valley Heritage Association’s main focus is to maintain and improve the museum complex. Including, preserving buildings and memorabilia of by-gone days, and to make our corner of Ronan more attractive to all.

Garden of the RockiesA visit to Garden of the Rockies Museum can be a trip down memory lane for older folks and an eye-opening appreciation of modern conveniences for younger ones. Either way, it’s worth the time to stop in and visit!

Other attractions in the museum complex are the Sloan Stage Stop. In addition to a large machine shed, a “Little Red School House”, a tool shed, the Round Butte School gymnasium, and a memorial rose garden.

Exhibits depicting all aspects of the pioneer way of life. They include photos, household and business furnishings, farm and ranch equipment, and tools.  Ronan has long been the agricultural hub of the Mission Valley. That heritage is evidenced by the many items of farm machinery on the museum premises.

The Garden of the Rockies Museum is another kid friendly activity in Mission Valley Montana.