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“Quite good for what it is”
Review of ZooMontana

Ranked #3 of 67 things to do in Billings
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: ZooMontana is a zoological and botanical garden and educational facility dedicated to the conservation of wildlife throughout Montana and the 45th parallel of earth. ZooMontana cares for over 100 animals of 51 different species, including wolves, grizzly bear, otter, eagles, and Lynx. Located in the picturesque tourist destination of Billings, MT, ZooMontana offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about Yellowstone ecosystem fauna through direct observation, interpretive displays, and experiential educational programs. Annually, community and educational programs serve over 12,000 students and over 100,000 visitors, most of whom hail from the northern Rockies. Led by a 16 member staff, ZooMontana enjoys strong community support through volunteerism, donations, and outreach.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

ZooMontana limits its exhibits to animals found at Montana's latitude. There are no tropical or arctic animals. The environment is not suited for elephants, hippos, giraffes, polar bears, penguins, etc., as all its large animal exhibits are outdoors and not climate controlled. It's not big. It's not flashy. And it is not on par with San Deigo or Cincinnati. If that's what you're looking for, you will be disappointed.
If you're looking for walking paths through a wild landscape — native grasses, towering cottonwoods, the occasional cottontail rabbit — dotted with enclosures designed to look natural in the environment inhabited by animals that can thrive in Montana, then ZooMontana is a good pick.
The zoo has Rocky Mountain animals, including a bald eagle, big horn sheep, Grizzly bears, grey wolves, Great Horned owl, river otters, porcupine, and beavers. There are also animals from cold climates in Asia — a Siberian tiger, red pandas, and sika deer.
Our kids loved feeding livestock at the farm exhibit. There we saw a Clydesdale horse, pygmy goats, ducks, chicken, rabbits, and peafowl. The indoor exhibits — reptiles, amphibians, insects, and rodents — had step-stools so the kids could get right up against the glass. Creepy-crawlies are not my cup of tea, but our children enjoyed them.
The grizzlies, otters, beavers, and tiger were active and readily interacted in the viewing areas. We had a tougher time seeing the wolves as it was the hottest part of the day and they had the good sense to get out of the heat. There's also a botanical garden (again, native and cold-hardy species) and a playground/picnic area.
Parts of the zoo are clearly under construction or being remodeled. The waterfowl exhibit was drained and closed, and parts of the gift shop were being repainted. According to the local newspaper, the zoo had been in financial hardship (it's not publicly funded) but had recently appointed new leadership.
We decided to get the family pass. It was more affordable than paying multiple daily admission and allowed us to take the kids to the exhibits or the playground for as long or short of time as we needed. It's also not crazy crowded. You can get snacks and beverages, but there is no food court. Packing a sack lunch is okay.
All in all, I think it's quite nice for what it is and the price is good. Again, if you want tour guides and cement, that's not ZooMontana. It's more like a nature hike with animals.

Thank KittySmack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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227 - 231 of 262 reviews

Reviewed August 31, 2012

For their funding and our potentially harsh climate it's perfectly adequate. Exhibits are outdoors so animals in the zoo must be able to survive our hot summers and cold winters. Staff is knowledgeable and passionate about animals. With more money I think we could have an excellent zoo here in Billings, but it simply isn't there.

Thank Decepticle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2012

It's a great idea, having a zoo in Montana. However, to most people, a zoo has other exotic wildlife than that found in the West; African species come to mind. In spite of all their recent issues with funding, this is the little zoo that can :) I am very hopeful that in the next five years, this zoo will be a gem for the Northwest; they simply need to regain their accreditation and add more species to compete with larger cities' zoos...

Thank Teresa L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2012

We were disappointed. Our children love visiting zoos, and the only fun they had there was watching the river otters swim in they cloudy green water. We were recently at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and the polar bear water was crystal clear and you could see him at all times. Why such a difference I wonder? Anyways, not many animals, grounds not maintained as well as they should be. Oh, and that duck! He really is very funny and could probably have his own show! He should be on Letterman.

Thank mom22Saskatchewan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

If you want to visit a real zoo, Zoo Montana is not the place to go. It is very underfunded and has a small and poor selection of animals. If you want to look at a few species from the Rocky Mountain area, it is ok. But, if you are looking for a selection of exotic wildlife from Africa, Asia, etc., go somewhere else. It is nice that the Zoo Montana people want to give people a zoo experience, but the population base and funding is way too small to do it right.

Thank Steve P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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