West Yellowstone, Montana Bucket List
You’ve planned, you’ve packed, you’ve arrived!!! Now, what to do in West Yellowstone? So many fun things to do and see. My top 10 favorites will be sure to make your West Yellowstone Summer Bucket list!
- Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
This is my favorite stop in town! You can view grizzly bears, wolves, eagles, and other birds of prey along with several pairs of otters in their new habitat building. It is so much fun watching the animals and photographing them in their home. There is a special program here for the children that is called Kid Keeper. For an additional fee, they can enter the bear area and hide their food. So much fun to watch them find what each child got to hide! My favorite time to visit is in the Winter, the bears just love playing in the snow! The center is also host to cooler and bear-proof trash can testing. This is really something to see. I hope you will find time to visit the Center while you are in town.
- Museum Of The Yellowstone
Lots of history here! The museum is inside the 1909 Union Pacific Train Depot. Yellowstone National Park was founded in 1872. Since then, many modes of transportation were used to get her to visit this famous “Wonderland”. On display, you will see Union Pacific memorabilia, stagecoaches, and other interesting historical pieces relating to early travel into the park. My favorite is the yellow bus that is parked out front! The museum is only open in the Summer so do not miss out!
- Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
In 1959, West Yellowstone experienced an earthquake that measured 7.5 on the Richter scale. In less than one minute, over 80 million tons of rock slid, and an entire mountainside was gone! Hebgen Lake was tilted and created Earthquake Lake. This occurred around 11:30 PM right after everyone fell asleep for the night. 28 people were buried at the site. The Visitor Center has a movie and many photos and stories from that night. It is a beautiful memorial site to visit. There is a nice walking tour of the area with signage that describes what happened in the days to follow in each location. The Center is only open in the summer months, so please stop by while you are here.
- The Playmill Theater
This is the 58th year of performance for The Playmill Theater! They do 3 shows every Summer, and I try to catch them all. This year they will be performing Disney’s Newsies, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Such a great and talented bunch of performers here. They make all their own stage sets and costumes and spend numerous hours rehearsing their singing and dancing for each performance. The seating is limited, and each show does sell out so get your tickets early if you are interested. There is always a sing-along portion prior to each performance that is fun and at intermission, they sell wonderful treats! My favorite is the Dole Whip! A Disney favorite, I was shocked to see it was served here in West Yellowstone! Catch a show and join in the fun if you get a chance, you will not regret it!
- West Yellowstone Historic Walking Tour
You can get your map at the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center and begin your historical walking tour. With the map, this is an easy self-guided tour thru town. Follow the green painted bear paw trail thru town and follow along with your map and informational brochure to learn some history of our town. There are 21 historic spots that you will see along the way! Nice weather is finally here, grab a map and talk a walk.
- Yellowstone Giant Screen Theatre
This giant screen theatre has 350 seats! During the day, the show a Yellowstone movie that runs approximately 45 minutes. This is a great movie that will give you a little history and background of our first National Park. In the evening they show a Hollywood movie. It does get very busy here in the summer months so get your tickets and don’t miss out! They have a great gift shop in the lobby and wonderful movie snacks. Don’t miss the hot roasted cashews!
- Yellowstone Aerial Zipline Adventures
Fun here for kids and adults alike! They have several courses and about 50 adventures to experience here. When you need a little break from park driving, this is a really fun stop for the family, this is right in town and easily accessible from your hotel or campsite.
This is open from May thru September and they do offer a package deal to include a rafting experience as well. Fun way to get some fresh air and sunshine!
- Around The Block Drive
We have a great scenic and wildlife viewing drive that is outside the park. It takes approximately 2.5 hours for this drive. You may see all kinds of wildlife on this drive. It will take you around both Earthquake Lake and Hebgen Lake. If you are driving between 7AM and 2PM, try to catch breakfast or lunch at The Campfire Lodge! Best breakfast ever! They are asking for reservations so call in before you head out, you won’t have service on much of this drive. This is also a great time to stop by the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center.
West Yellowstone offers up many different types of meals for your enjoyment. We have everything from BBQ to Chinese to Mexican food buses! Several restaurants offer wild game options if you would like to try that. There are many menus on display inside the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center for you to look at and the staff can help you decide which restaurant might work best for you. Stop by and take a look and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Yellowstone Helicopters
What a great way to see West Yellowstone and check out the airport! It’s not far from town, just a few miles out Highway 191. I did this last summer with my son and we enjoyed it so much! This was something I was always afraid to do but finally checked it off my bucket list! Incredible views of West Yellowstone and The Teton Mountains up there! Our pilot was great and made us feel very safe and comfortable, yes, I was a little scared. This is definitely a beautiful experience, and I would go up again for sure! Book a flight if you have the time.
Well, there you go! Lots of fun things to try out in West Yellowstone! I hope you try and enjoy some of my favorite stops here.
AUTHOR: CINDY SHAFFER