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“More interesting than expected”

Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Center
Ranked #5 of 66 things to do in Missoula
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Hot Springs,Ar
Level Contributor
73 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“More interesting than expected”
Reviewed September 6, 2011

Now that we're home, I'm surprised how many times we have mentioned this while talking about our cross country trip. We went with no expectations, but were fascinated with what we learned. Had the excitement of being there when a fire call came in, so got to watch the firefighters assemble and get on the plane. Go if you're in the area. Our guide was not as knowledge as he could have been, a young kid with hopes of joining the jumpers one day.

Visited August 2011
3 Thank Fergmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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172 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Fountain Valley, California
Level Contributor
350 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 155 helpful votes
“Fun and Educational”
Reviewed August 16, 2011

What a great way to spend an hour or so in Missoula.

We stopped by to see the Visitor's Center and learned of the tour which is all free. The Visitor's Center has a small exhibit about the history of the Smoke Jumper's. Every hour they offer a tour which is well worth the time.

We were greeted by our guide who is an active Smoke Jumper. He took us over to the base after giving a brief talk in the Visitor's Center. We got a complete tour and saw Jumper's working on sewing their personal packs, repairing chutes and packing gear. We were able to see the process of hanging chutes once they return and how they check for damage.

We then were taken out to the tarmac and got to board one of the planes they fly on. This was so cool as we could check out how they hook to the plane and how the chainsaws and boxes of food and water are packed on the plane and subsequently dropped to the jumper's.

They love what they do and love to share it with the public. We really learned a lot about them and the job. I highly recommend the tour when in Missoula.

Visited August 2011
2 Thank beetrvln
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cranston, Rhode Island
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great family fun!”
Reviewed August 3, 2011

My name is Connie from Rhode Island, and I brought my three kids in for the tour and it turned out better than I had ever expected. Admission was free, and we were able to go into the actual working facilities of the smokejumpers. It was great to see the smokejumpers at work and the kids really enjoyed everything about wild land fire fighters. The tour guides made the information easier for the kids to understand, but when other adults had questions, they would answer with more detail. One of the best parts of the tour was being able to see the plane that the smokejumpers jump out of. The jumper that took us out on the plane was very friendly toward everyone and answered a lot of my questions. Overall, it was a great experience, and I would highly recommend this tour to any passerby that is interested in smoke jumping and fire fighting. Also, on the way out, we saw a flyer for a Junior Smokejumper Experience day camp. Unfortunately, we live in the east, otherwise, we would have loved to participate and I believe it would have been a great camp for the kids.

Visited July 2011
3 Thank ALB048
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Land O Lakes, FL
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Free & Fun!”
Reviewed June 26, 2010

I took this tour with my husband and 14 year old son. This is a great way to spend an hour. The tour provided information regarding the history the smokejumpers and current operations and procedures. There were smokejumpers there working on sewing their packs, inspecting parachutes, and repairing the same.

4 Thank speedyland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Level Contributor
57 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“This is a living exhibit”
Reviewed July 4, 2009

I was surprised that we would be walking through the locker room among the actual smokejumpers. Some were hanging their parachutes in the tower and others were running and working out to stay in shape for the next call.
We did not realize that the smokejumpers repair and pack their own parachutes. We were shown all of the equipment and supplies that are used in woodlands firefighting.

4 Thank Sewtex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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