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Conscientious parenting in Missoula  RSS feed

 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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It seems so easy!

After I had been raving to my boyfriend all week about why Missoula is such a great place to raise kids, he stopped and with a very serious look on his face asked me, "why?" What do you know, I was speechless for a moment. Aside from the Children's Museum, which I have never seen, the Carousel, and a few carnival days in Caras Park, there isn't much that is specifically geared toward children. Initially I panicked, realizing that these few examples were not enough to justify the stong opinion I've held about Missoula's family friendliness for the past seven years. Then I remembered it's not the carnivals where I've never spent money, but the attitude of the town itself that makes this such a great place to have kids. First of all, I've noticed that children are viewed as an important part of the community. What a great place to start.

On top of that attitude, many of the adults that live in Missoula are socially and environmentally conscious. Therefore my children can walk with me to our great farmers' markets where locally made and locally grown means valuable. On the way we can stop and throw rocks and talk about different plants growing there. On some evenings they can experience other cultures at a PEAS garden festival or an international celebration at the university. It will not be unusual to them that someone prefers to ride a bike rather than driving a car around town. Their creativity will be respected and greatly encouraged. Plenty of examples of activism and community involvement will be around them.

I'm not saying Missoula is some sort of utopia. Not completely. All I'm saying is that I've seen a lot of nurturing benefits here that I haven't seen in a lot of other places I've lived in or visited. Do any other parents on here feel the same way? Do you see any drawbacks to having kids here? See any possibility for improvement? Improvement is always possible in my opinion.
 
Caitlin Elder
Posts: 69
Location: Missoula
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Although I am not a parent, I am a nanny, and have been for the better part of ten years.  I think that Missoula is a great place to raise children.  Aside from the vast amount of parks, which in the summer turn into mini free water parks, there is also a sense of security.  I am currently the nanny for an eight month old and we enjoy talking walks everyday, which I feel like in a bigger city I wouldn't be to comfortable about doing.  The one thing that I would say needs improvement is that some parks don't have the swings for little kids, just big kid swings. (Dragons Hollow doesn't even have them, we have to walk to Greeno Park if we want to play on the swings.) 
 
Seth Pogue
Posts: 81
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I'd love to see a parent's home-school co-op. e.g if there were 5 parents with similar-aged kids, each parent would school 'em all  1 day a week.
 
                    
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We find all kinds of educational & mostly free, family friendly things to do here:
Caras Park Out To Dinner ( free music & picnic)
Got Nature Network (free Educational activities-free camp out in Aug.)
Missoula Childrens' Theater
Natural History Center
Greenough Park
Currents & Splash Montana(Have zero depth entry points)
WORD- Parents As Teachers out reach = activities
Head Start/ Home Start
Childrens Museum
MizMo Gymnastics
Animal wonders Exotic Animal Rescue (live animal education events)
Free Cycles Community Bike Shop (get kids bikes fixed or get a new one for free)
Eternal Springs Healing Center (Kids yoga & Tai Chi)
Down Town Dance Collective (lessons & some free shows)

Caitlin Elder wrote:
A The one thing that I would say needs improvement is that some parks don't have the swings for little kids, just big kid swings. (Dragons Hollow doesn't even have them, we have to walk to Greeno Park if we want to play on the swings.)


Hi Caitlin, if you go to Bonner park they have tot swings & also at the North Side
Park by the Scott Street bridge.
 
                    
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I believe that the "Got Nature" program will be offering a free camp out in Aug. @ travelers rest park. Last year they even provided camp gear if you needed it.

I'll post any info. I get when it arrives.
 
Caitlin Elder
Posts: 69
Location: Missoula
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There is also the Aviation Museum and the Smoke Jumper Museum out by the airport.
 
                    
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Hi Caitlin,

Yes there is! Have you been there? I keep meaning to go but I have not.
 
Caitlin Elder
Posts: 69
Location: Missoula
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Yes I have been there multiple times. They have lots of planes, and pictures and all sorts of cool things.  They offer little tours but you can roam the museum if you want to.  The smoke jumper museum tours are inside and outside so if you plan on going make sure that its nice out.
 
                    
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Thanks Caitlin, I'll let my husband know he loves planes.
 
                    
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Some useful links for families :

    * Animal Wonders Exotic Animal Rescue & Education, presentations w/ real animals-- http://www.animalwonders.org/index.html   

    * Missoula Children and Nature-- http://www.missoulachildrenandnature.org/kids.php
   
    *  Montana History Center-- http://www.montananaturalist.org

    * Missoula Parks and Recreation-- http://www.misoulaparks.org

    * Fish, Wildlife and Parks Kids Page-- http://fwp.mt.gov/education/kids/default.html

    * YMCA Missoula--  http://ymcamissoula.org

    * Missoula Public Library-- http://www.missoulapubliclibrary.org/kids/default.htm

    * Region 2 State Parks-- http://fwp.mt.gov/lands/search.aspx?q=RGN_1_2&st=sp


    * Flagship-- http://www.flagshipprogram.org/

    *  United States Forest Service— http://www.fs.fed.us/kids/


    * The University of Montana, Colleges of Forestry and Conservation, Education— http://www.cfc.umt.edu/



    * City of Missoula, Parks and Recreation and Office of the Mayor—  http://www.missoulaparks.org/


    * Missoula County- Rural Initiatives and Park Board—  http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/Rural


    * Missoula City County- Health Department, Office of Planning & Grants—  http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/


    * Montana Natural History Center—  http://www.montananaturalist.org/


    * Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures—  http://www.missoulaoutdoors.com/


    * MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks Region 2—  http://www.fwp.mt.gov/r2/default.html


    * MT ID Association of Landscape Architects-- http://www.imasla.org/publicInfo.html.



    * Watershed Education Network—  http://www.montanawatershed.org/


    * National Park Service—  http://www.nps.gov/rtca


    * Travelers’ Rest Preservation and Heritage Association—  http://www.travelersrest.org/


    * The Missoula Coyote Choir & Friends—  http://www.asktheplanet.org/


    * Missoula in Motion—  http://www.missoulainmotion.com/

 

    * A Carousel for Missoula—  http://www.carrousel.com/


    * Mountain Line Bus—  http://www.mountainline.com/


    * REI—  http://www.rei.com/stores/72


    * The Great Bear Foundation—  http://www.greatbear.org/


    * The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula—  http://www.fortmissoulamuseum.org/


    * PLUK- Parents Lets Unite for Kids—  http://www.pluk.org/


    * Missoula Forum for Children and Youth—  http://www.missoulaforum.org/
 
Caitlin Elder
Posts: 69
Location: Missoula
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Thanks for all the great links -- will have to check them out!
 
Robert Sunset
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I grew up 1/2 in San Diego and 1/2 in Missoula and in the late 80s/early 90s the only thing for kids to do in Missoula was wander alleys, get in trouble, or trek to the Southgate Mall.  These days, while there are technically more activities for kids to partake in such as Currents, SpectrUM, and some skate parks, the atmosphere of the city has become so paranoid kids have actually lost most of their freedoms.

I've been reprimanded multiple times (by parents and authorities alike) for letting a 7 and 9 year old walk just a few blocks to the local school or to the local convenience store.

I'm really glad there are so many new kid friendly activities but I think local community areas do need to be a little more easy on letting kids be kids and play freely in their own neighborhoods/parks.  Not all parents can afford to take their kids to a "pay to play" type of activity constantly.  I have 4 kids and even a trip to McDonalds runs me $30.

Thanks Dianne for those links!  I'll definitely be checking those out.  You can only escort the kids to Currents or Caras Park so many times before it starts to feel more like work than play haha.
 
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