Facility Information

Our grounds and trails are open to the public from sunrise to sunset each day, free of charge. Please respect the following guidelines:

  • Dogs (other than service animals) are not allowed
  • Non-motorized travel only except for service vehicles and on designated roads. Bicycles are welcome on trails.
  • In most cases, program participants are asked to park in large lot and walk to building.
  • Large groups are asked to call ahead and/or check in with staff
  • No firearms or illicit substances allowed
  • Ponds are open to the public for fishing
  • While space is public, education programs occur on most days. Please be respectful of staff and participants at all times.


Facility Rental

Our building and grounds are available for your next workshop, conference, or meeting. We offer a large classroom, small meeting room, and ample outdoor space that can accommodate a variety of groups and needs. Please contact us to learn more: 406.294.5099 or c[email protected]


Birthday Parties

Put a unique twist on your child’s birthday party! 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.

Cost is $125 for up to 15 children. Parties larger than 15 children are $175. Call 406-294-5099 to inquire or reserve a time.

What you bring:

  • Food, decorations (no helium balloons, please!), party favors, etc.
  • Dishware and utensils
  • Excited kids and their supervising parents

What we provide:

  • Use of the large classroom at the Norm Schoenthal Field Lab
  • Tables, chairs, electrical outlets, firepit, and restrooms
  • Access to the Montana Audubon Center site and adjacent Yellowstone River trail system
  • A one-hour program on any of the themes listed below
  • A special gift for the birthday kid!
  • Available rental of our gas barbeque grill ($15)

Birthday Party Themes:

  • Tricky Tracks & Animal Signs: Learn about animal tracks and other signs they leave behind. Go on a scavenger hunt in search of animals at the Center.
  • Bird Brains: Learn what makes birds special, and how to identify some common residents. See if you can communicate with your flock of friends just like birds do.
  • Bug Out: Discover what makes insects and spiders unique. Collect them with nets, and get up close and personal to them with magnifying glasses.
  • Macroinvertebrate Mayhem: Wade into the water to discover the little critters that live in the ponds.
  • Nature Hike and Forest Games: Learn about native plants and traditional uses while you play games during a nature hike on Norm’s Island.
  • Canoeing Adventures: Learn the basics of canoeing, then practice your new skills while exploring the ponds. Add $50 to base fee.
  • Dynamic Dinosaurs: During this unique adventure we’ll dig for bones and go on a dinosaur egg hunt. We’ll learn about different types of dinosaurs and make our own dinosaur fossils to take home.  


Helen Carlson Cummins Bird Garden and Thoughtful Bird Feeding Station

Since its dedication in April 2018, “The Bird Garden” has become a keystone in our education programs. It is named in honor of Helen Carlson Cummins, a well-known and well-loved bird enthusiast in Billings. It is a place for all ages to observe and enjoy birds up close, and is the perfect overlay and complement to our native plant demonstration gardens adjacent the field lab. It is also a partner effort with Wild Birds Unlimited, Billings and Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society to highlight appropriate bird-feeding equipment and practices and encourage the joy of bird watching.

Our Bird Garden donation program helps us to maintain the bird seed supply and feeder maintenance through the year. Multiple support opportunities are available, and donations can also be made in honor of someone in your life who appreciates birds or backyard bird feeding. More info here!



Shepard Nature Play Space

imag0675Open to the public from sunrise to sunset

The Montana Audubon Center is the proud home of Billings’ first public, ADA accessible Nature Play Space for the community. A Nature Play Space provides a space where children can play outside and connect with nature in a safe, unstructured manner. Nature play improves the physical and emotional health of children and complements important mental and social development stepping stones.

To bring back youth to nature, Nature Play areas are outdoor spaces designated for play that are made of natural components such as logs, water, sand, mud boulders, hills and trees. These components represent the larger wild environment in a way that feels safe and manageable by young visitors. A few man-made components are also carefully integrated to support creative play, encourage confident exploration and help children develop long-lasting affinity for the natural world.

The Nature Play Area was developed along with stakeholders and partners including local community members, parents, teachers, children, and funding partners. Major site work was done by Good Earth Works and our primary Center partner, the Yellowstone River Parks Association.

Thank you to our Play Space Sponsors!

Major Sponsor ($20,000-$10,000)

Nick Cladis, Phillips 66, and the Harry L. Willett Foundation

Trail Sponsors ($9,999-$5,000)

West Billings Rotary and Peaks to Plains

Event Sponsors ($4,999-$1,000)

Arrow Solutions, Billings Community Foundation, Bev Ross, Dr. Michelle Spenny, Good Earth Works, Lucky’s Market, Montana Dakota Utilities, and Stillwater Mining Company

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