Drive-O-Saurus Rex - Page 3

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Glacier National Park
The Reason You Can't Pass It By: Glacier National Park  (PhotoDisc)

Days 5-6: Fort Peck to Bynum (335 Miles)
The next portion of the trip takes you north and west across Montana to Bynum, location of the dinosaur-rich Two Medicine Formation and another place where families can experience down-in-the-dirt digging. The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center (406.469.2211; www.tmdinosaur.org) has the world's longest full-size skeletal model of Seismosaurus (yep, it's in Guinness), as well as the first baby dino bones found in North America. The Center also offers hands-on programs from a few hours to several days. In the three-hour programs, adults and kids (even under age 12) learn basic fossil recognition, area history, and geology, and walk around the working sites. The one-day program includes digging at an active site after the morning introduction. There are several campgrounds in nearby Lewis and Clark National Forest (406.791.7700 www.fs.fed.us/r1/lewisclark). The largest, with 14 sites, is Cave Mountain Campground (406.466.5341; http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordId=2248&SiteId=1), set at 5,200 feet with aspen and fir for shade and views of the Sawtooth Range. The city of Choteau also has a family-friendly KOA with tent and RV sites (800.KOA.4156; http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=116&siteid=1).

Days 7-8: Bynum to Glacier National Park (120 Miles)
Glacier National Park (406.888.7800; www.nps.gov/glac) has nothing to do with dinosaurs but it's just plain silly for a family to come to this part of Montana and not go into the park. Equally silly is to be on a driving vacation here and skip one of the West's most famous byways, the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the 120-mile road that crosses the park. Glacier has over 700 miles of maintained hiking trails, a Junior Ranger Program (a fun, educational program geared to kids, organized by the National Park Service), and ranger-led activities, including boat trips and campfire programs. It also has 13 campgrounds and just over 1,000 campsites—which often fill by noon. While some sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open year-round, the upper sections do close in fall and don't re-open until late May or even June, though the closed sections are open to hikers unless otherwise noted. Check the park Web site for seasonal updates, but be sure to drive at least part of this scenic route—it makes for a spectacular capper to your dino-centric exploration of the rugged region of the Rockies.

Further Afield:
Add Dinosaur National Monument (970.374.3000; www.nps.gov/dino/) on the Colorado/Utah border, and Fruita, Colorado, home of one of the most well known family dig programs in the nation, to your trip (call 888-488-DINO; trips fill early). Fruita also has some of the best—and least traveled—mountain biking in the country.

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