HEADING TO MONTANA'S DINOSAUR COUNTRY
The state's Dinosaur Trail pinpoints 15 places where visitors can see dinosaur fossils and take part in excavation or restoration projects. Most of the stops are across the more desolate northern part of the state. For more information, go to www.mtdinotrail.org.
Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, where the skeletal model of the seismosaurus is on display, is on Hwy. 89 in Bynum. Cost to check out the big guy and other exhibits is $5. The center offers hands-on programs in the summer and lab activities year-round, though the center is open in winter only by appointment. For more information, go to www.tmdinosaur.org.
The Museum of the Rockies, which is affiliated with Montana State University, is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily Memorial Day through Labor Day, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday the remainder of the year. Tickets are $9 to $13, free for children under 4. The museum, in Bozeman, houses one of the world's largest collections of dinosaur fossils. For more information, call 1-406-994-2251 or visit www.museumof therockies.org.
Bozeman has a college-town vibe and there are lots of fun shops and interesting restaurants to check out. It's also a major winter-sports hub. The city of about 40,000 is on Interstate 90, so there are plenty of major chain hotels near the highway. We stayed at a Hampton Inn for about $140 a night.
An outside table at Ted's Montana Grill (1-406-587-6000) is a good spot to people watch. Order a bison burger topped with Monterey Jack, jalapenos and guacamole (about $10).
On the other end of Main Street is the Montana Ale Works (1-406-587-7700). The expansive bar was jammed with people of all ages. The food is labeled "upscale comfort food," and I would concur. The meatloaf comes wrapped in bacon and draped with caramelized onion gravy. We liked the Fiery Cajun Calamari, which was dusted with Cajun spices and served with two sauces, garlic-chili aioli and a spicy red sauce ($10.95). Try a glass of Moose Drool Brown Ale, brewed in Missoula, Mont.
JANET K. KEELER