Montana’s Dinosaur

A lot of folks on a Montana vacation don’t realize we have a state dinosaur – yup – it’s the Maiasaura unearthed fairly close to Choteau, MT.

I was in Choteau recently and if you are driving towards Glacier National Park on US 89 you’ll go right through the middle of Choteau.The highway actually divides right before downtown Choteau, goes around the stately Teton County Courthouse, then comes back together to take travelers through downtown.

Choteau fits the bill as one of Montana’s vibrant and charming small towns serving as gateways to some well known attractions.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness and Lewis & Clark National Forest are west, the Blackfoot Indian Reservation and Glacier National Park are north. Personally, I also like Freezout Wildlife Management Area south of Choteau. It is such an amazing area for bird watching, year round.

Back to Maiasaura – this big dino changed the way paleontogists thought about dinosaurs. It was found near the nest and dinosaur eggs, with baby dinosaur fossils nearby. It led credo to the fact that dinosaurs did mother their young.

If you translate Maiasaura it becomes good mother lizard.

You really can’t miss the outside dinos when you are on the north end of Choteau. The Old Trail Museum Complex has a wonderful exhibit titled Dinosaurs of the Two Medicine but there is much more – outside you’ll find individual entrances to a replica of a Metis home, a one-room schoolhouse, a grizzly bear exhibit room, the Gleason Art Studio and there is a great ice cream shop (OK, that doesn’t fit with history but it’s mighty tasty).

Schedule a stop at the Old Trail Museum on the north end of Choteau, MT – you won’t be disappointed.

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