On the east side of Glacier National Park, St. Mary Visitor Center draws on Native American roots. After all, the Blackfeet once owned the park, and today, their reservation borders its east side. For many Native Americans, Glacier is still sacred.
Sitting at the east portal of Going-to-the-Sun Road, the small visitor opens late May through late September. It houses exhibits on what Glacier means to several Native American tribes. The center also contains a tiny bookstore, a backcountry permit desk and a theater that shows films about the park.
In addition, the center hosts free Native America Speaks programs. Many of the speakers share legends passed down through their tribes. But tickets sell out for the Blackfeet Singers and Dancers. The local troupe dressed in traditional regalia perform dances.
Outside the center, rangers set up telescopes when weather cooperates. During the day, you can look at the sun through a solar telescope. At night, a scope lets you gaze at stars or the moon.
Two programs target kids. After completing activities in Junior Ranger newspapers, kids can get sworn in as Junior Rangers. They can also compete in the Animal Olympics.