Community Programs

Recurring programs

Open House

Come explore and enjoy the great outdoors! Ask a naturalist your burning questions, borrow a nature knapsack or field equipment, or rent a canoe to enjoy the ponds! Canoe rental free for members or $10/hr. Other activities free for all.

June, July, and August: Every Saturday 11am – 3pm, Wednesdays 4pm – 7pm.

September through May: 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 11am – 3pm.

Saturday Bird Strolls

Enjoy a cool walk by the river and learn a few birds along the way. Great for beginning birders. Binoculars and guidebooks available to check out. Families welcome! $10/person, $5/students and children, members free.

Year-round, every 2nd Saturday of the month. 8:30 – 10:00.

Weekend Wonders Family Programs

These naturalist-led programs are designed for all ages of explorers. Every month features a different topic that will get you and your family outdoors, learning about the plants and animals in our big backyard. Monthly themes are posted on our website (see calendar). $5/person, members free.

March – April: 3rd Saturday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

Starting in May 2019: 3rd Saturday of the month, 9:30am – 11:00

Coffee Walk with a Naturalist

Join us for a cup of coffee and a nature ramble. These easy to moderate walks focus on observing and learning about the natural world. Designed for adults and older children. Different month-to-month theme (see calendar). $10/person, $5/students, members free.

1st Saturdays of the month, 9:30am – 11:00am

Nature Nuts

Nature exploration comes naturally, especially for little kids! Children aged 1 to 4 (and an accompanying adult) join Montana Audubon teacher naturalists for guided outdoor play and learning about the local area. No registration required. $6/child or free for members. Different theme each week (check calendar).

Every Tuesday, year-round, from 10am – 11am.

Special Events: Spring/Summer 2019

Looking for a great event you heard about at the Center? Read about it here! Some events require pre-registration (look for the links on the calendar)


Full Moon Night Hike: Saturday April 20 from 8 – 9:30

Discover the world outdoors at night. Over cocoa and tea, we’ll talk about nocturnal animals and their special adaptations for life in the dark. Then we’ll go for a hike in search of these denizens of the night.  Bring warm layers, a flashlight and good walking shoes.  $5/person (members free)

Advance registration is required here.


Cocoa & Crawlers: Nocturnal Insects Friday May 31st from 8:30 – 10pm

During this unique investigation into nightlife, we’ll use special lights and lures to attract nocturnal insects while we sip on a cup of cocoa and learn all about these creepers and crawlers. Bring a flashlight and good walking shoes. $5/person or free for members. All ages welcome!

Advance registration required here


Saving Our Stars: Documenting the Montana Night Sky: Saturday June 15th at 7:30pm

Photographer and biologist John Ashley has wandered around our state capturing elusive Montana beauty that can only be found in the dark — comets, meteor showers, shooting stars, northern lights, and the Milky Way. More than 80% of Americans live where they can no longer see the Milky Way at night. Join John for a dazzling video and photographic tour of Montana at night, learn how to protect your family from the negative effects of artificial light, and get a glimpse of the future of tourism in the few remaining dark sky places.

Free! No advance registration required.


Chimney Swift Survey Project — Citizen Science Training: Friday June 21st, 7pm

Have you caught the citizen science bug yet? Another opportunity to go “swifting” should help! Montana Audubon is partnering with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to discover where our Chimney Swifts are active and breeding, often in towns and near buildings with large chimneys. Join us to learn about chimney swifts and our survey techniques on June 21st at 7. We’ll discuss the project and how you can participate before heading out to look for swifts just before sunset. Participants will have all the skills and knowledge they need to continue collecting data independently through the summer. Program is free and open to all ages, including FREE PIZZA AND ICE CREAM! Please register in advance here. Learn more about our chimney swift project here.


Landscape Photography: Saturday June 22nd from 6 – 8:30pm

Join professional photographer Alexis Bonogofsky for this beginner and intermediate-level workshop. We’ll learn tips and tricks for using digital cameras before we head out into the field during the golden hour to practice what we’ve learned. Alexis will focus on:

  • How to create compelling landscape compositions.
  • How to operate your camera in a manual setting, aperture mode, and shutter speed mode
  • What’s the difference between shooting in JPG and RAW formats? Why does it matter?
  • How to create crisp, sharp images
  • Learn how light impacts your photos and learn the best shooting time
  • Basics of post-processing and editing your photos

If you own a tripod, please bring it with you. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged and don’t forget your SD card! Alexis Bonogofsky’s photos have been featured in Montana Quarterly, Montana Outdoors, National Wildlife magazine, LA Times, Buzzfeed, US Fish and Wildlife Service publications, Winds of Change magazine, and Last Best News.

$35 or $28 for members. Advance registration required here.


Sip & Sketch: Plants: NEW DATE!! July 13th from 4 – 6pm

Join us to learn how to draw plants with local artist and certified science illustrator Dawn Nelson. We’ll practice basic skills indoors and then head out to find inspiration in our native plant gardens. Dawn will provide an introductory framework for the process and assist with tips and tricks throughout the evening. Come sip some wine from Yellowstone Valley Cellars, start your artist sketchbook, and create wonderful drawings. All levels welcome! Participants should bring their own supplies (a complete supply list will be emailed upon registration). Course fee of $30 ($27 members) includes 2 glasses of wine.

Advance registration required here.


Bat Night Hikes with FWP: July 19th and August 23rd, 9 – 10:30pm


Dive into the mesmerizing world of bats! Join Megan O’Reilly from Fish, Wildlife and Parks to learn cool bat facts, then head out with special acoustic equipment to find them. Bring a flashlight and good walking shoes.

Free! Advance registration required: July 19th at this link and August 23rd at this one.

Montana Master Naturalist

The focus of the Montana Master Naturalist Program is to increase natural history knowledge and promote awareness, understanding, and stewardship of Montana’s natural environment by developing a corps of well-informed citizens dedicated to conservation education and service within their communities. The core of this program is the Montana Master Naturalist Certification Course, which is approximately 40 hours of classroom and field time and offered in a variety of formats and schedules. The Montana Audubon Center is the Billings home for this program and works with the Montana Natural History Center in Missoula to offer state-wide certification.

Our Spring 2019 course meets weekly for 12 weeks on Wednesdays from 5:30 – 8pm (March 6 – May 22) and includes two Saturday field trips (April 27 and May 18).

Course fee is $250/person ($225 for Audubon Center members).

Advance registration is required at this link.

Official Master Naturalist Certification is available from the Montana Natural History Center for an additional $100 (to be arranged in the second week of class). The course has been approved for 40 OPI credits. We are also pursuing approval for step-up credits with School District #2 and professional development credits with MSU-B’s extended campus: stay tuned!

Birthday Parties

Looking for a unique birthday party program? Make it a fun and educational adventure at the Montana Audubon Center. We offer parties for children ages 2 and up. All of our programs are hands-on, and encourage inquiry-based learning and fun. Click here for more information.

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