Program & Facility Information

Place-based nature education in Billings

Welcome to our program information page! Our programs are divided into four categories: Community, Out-School, Fledglings Nature Preschool, and School Programs. Look for these headings as you scroll through the menu. To see a calendar view, go here.

Community 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: Saturdays 9am – 2pm and Wednesdays 4pm – 7pm.

September through Mary: 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.

April through September: every 2nd and 4th Saturday, 7am – 8:30am.

October through March: every 2nd Saturday, 8:30 – 10am.

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.

May 2018 – August 2018: 3rd Sunday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

Starting in Sept 2018: 3rd Saturday of the month, 3pm – 4:30pm

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

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).

June, July, and August: Every Tuesday and Friday from 10 – 11am.

Sept – May: Every Tuesday from 10 – 11am.

Family Campfire

Join us for this new summer tradition! We’ll gather ’round the campfire and practice the skills you need to take your family outdoors. September’s program will help you become bear aware. We’ll talk about how to tell the difference between grizzly bears and black bears, and what to do if you see one on the trail. We’ll also discuss how to safely camp in bear country. Afterwards, we’ll make a fire and roast marshmallows! $5/person, members free.

September 7th, 7:00 – 8:30pm. Theme: Become Bear Aware

Special Events: Fall 2018

Looking for a great event you heard about at the Center? We have lots of special events, from bat hikes to photography workshops and more! Read about them here. All special events require pre-registration (look for the links on the calendar)

Bat Night Hike (June 29th and August 17th, 9 – 10:30pm). Dive into the mesmerizing world of bats! Join Megan O’Reilly from Montana FWP to learn cool bat facts, then head out with special acoustic equipment to find them. Free! Registration required.

Evening Under the Big Sky (September 14th, 5:30pm). Our annual on-site fundraising event — critical for program support and a great evening for our supporters! More information here.

Cocoa and Crawlers (September 28th, 7:30 – 9pm). 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, free for members. Advance registration requested at this link.

Outdoor Skills Exposition (Saturday Oct 13th at 1:00pm). Join MSU-B’s Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program for this free, family-friendly outdoor skills exposition. Sessions will include essentials for every hike and where it belongs in your pack, safely traveling in bear country, backcountry cooking, and how to practice Leave No Trace. This is your opportunity to learn all the skills you need to get outdoors. Free for all! Register here.

An Evening With Author Sneed Collard (October 19th, 6:30pm). Join The Montana Audubon Center and This House of Books for a presentation and book signing featuring Sneed Collard, Missoula-based author of more than 75 books for both children and adults. In his latest book, Warblers & Woodpeckers: A Father-Son Big Year of Birding, the author and his son Braden set out to establish their own personal Big Year bird species count. Sneed shares the excitement, challenges, perils and insights that come with crisscrossing the country in search of some of Earth’s most remarkable creatures. Come meet the author and hear about this remarkable journey from the killer bee infested border region of southeast Arizona to the sultry islands of the Galapagos.

This House of Books, Billings’ member-owned bookstore, will have Sneed Collard’s books available for purchase at the event.

Family-friendly and free for all!

Eye Shine: Spotting Creatures in the Dark (October 27th, 6:30 – 8:00pm). Have you ever spotted a pair of glowing eyes in the dark woods and wondered who was staring back at you? And why do their eyes appear to shine in our flashlight? Journey with us into the secret world of nocturnal animals and learn about their unique adaptations to life at night. Bring a flashlight and good walking shoes. $5/person, members free. Advanced registration requested at this link.

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.

We are looking forward to our third time offering this class in Spring of 2019. More details to come!

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.

Out-School Programs

After School Adventures in Nature (Wednesdays, 4:00 – 5:30).

After school is the perfect time to get outside. At the Audubon Center, kids can climb trees, catch bugs, look for animal tracks, build forts, and learn about the natural world, all with the guidance of our experienced teacher-naturalists. Ages K-6. Registration here.

Session 1: Animals All Around Us. September 5th through December 19th (13 weeks). $130/child.

Session 2: Backyard Billings. January 2nd through May 29th (22 weeks). $235/child.

Discovery Day Camps

When kids are out of school during the workweek, send them to the Audubon Center! All-day day camps provide plenty of fun and learning in an outdoor environment. Ages K-6, $60/camper. Back-to-back camp days (Th-F or F-M) are themed together but do not require students to register for both/all days. Registration here.

October 18-19 (Th-F): Watershed Wonders

January 14 (Monday): Winter Wonderland

February 8 and 11 (F-M): Survival Camp

April 8 (Monday): Mad Science

April 18, 19, and 22 (Th-F-M): Fishing and Fort Building

May 3 (Friday): Avian Antics

Homeschool Science

Inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, student-centered science and nature exploration. Separate programs available for ages 6-12 and ages 13-16. Click here for current schedule. With program questions, please contact Hannah at 294-5099 or [email protected]

LINKS (Leadership Institute for Nature, Kids, and Stewardship)

LINKS is a unique program that pairs elementary-age kids in community after-school programs with high-school volunteer mentors who have been trained in outdoor education, team-building, and mentorship skills. We accept applications from high school students to participate in either our fall or spring sessions. Check here for the application link.

2018 Summer Camp

Camp descriptions and registration links here

Fledglings Nature Preschool

One of the first nature preschools in Montana and the first in the Billings area, Fledglings Nature Preschool is founded on the idea that kids learn best through play and hands-on experiences. Students spend at least 80% of their time outdoors, guided in exploration and learning by our skilled team of teacher naturalists.

Click here to learn more and to register

School Programs

Field Trips to the Center

Our school field trip programs are grounded in interdisciplinary outdoor science, connected directly to academic standards and best practices. Each program is custom-built to the age, grade, and subject area of the visiting classroom, and is taught by our experienced team of teacher-naturalists. And they are a lot of fun! We offer field trips to the Center and select off-site locations year-round.

For information on pricing and schedule availability, please contact Alina Garner, schools program lead: 294-5099, [email protected]

Audubon Naturalists in the Schools (ANTS)

As our largest and longest-running program, ANTS provides year-long, field-trip-based programming to elementary school students in Billings and the surrounding area. In the 2017-2018 school year, we worked with nearly 80 individual ANTS classrooms in Billings and the surrounding area. Grade-specific and standards-aligned, ANTS is an interdisciplinary science and Indian Education for All program, combining content and pedagogical approach in a way that is responsive to land and culture. Most of our ANTS classrooms are 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade. The program has been featured at a number of professional conferences in Montana and the region as a model of connecting classrooms with nature.

For inquiries about the ANTS program, please contact Carolyn Sevier, [email protected] or Alina Garner, [email protected].


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