By Robert Lucke
Ever had this problem? You pack the family and a lunch and drive in search of wildlife to see, and after driving hundreds of miles on a spring Sunday, the only wildlife you and the family has seen are cows grazing in pastures adjacent to your wildlife viewing road.
If that is you, there is an answer. It is that when you want to see some wildlife close up, run, don't walk to the Chinook Wildlife Museum an be prepared for a treat!
The museum is not open for regular hours yet but it opens frequently for special occasions. The Chinook Chamber of Commerce can help out there and more often than not, will know someone who can take you for a special show of that amazing place.
Three huge buffalo falling down a cliff in a buffalo kill area for openers is what can be seen in one room. It is so lifelike that you are tempted to get close and look down below to see if Native Americans are working on buffalo meat.
You can tell your children time and time again that if they ever see a moose, to watch out because they can be dangerous. This might go in one ear an out the other until viewing a full mount moose in the museum. It is so huge that it towers over viewers right next to it.
There are mountain goats, mountain sheep, larger than most seen at Many Glacier and great mounts of bears to ponder over and be thankful you are meeting them here, rather than on the trail.
One can view beaver quite easily by staying quiet at a beaver dam on one creek or another in the Bear Paws around dusk or at first light. But at the Wildlife Museum there is a beaver surrounded by tiny playful kits that is just out of this world. That piece has captured what few see, that being the playful nature that rules beaver lives in their ponds when humans are not close by.
There are birds, waterfowl in a special place, and of course the snakes that all displays must have and a very delightful and important display of the region's illusive Swift fox. These tiny fox are just not going to be seen by most folks unless they live in the north country and have great eye sight. Yet, seeing the two tiny adults in this display just makes you want to take them home for pets. Your chances of viewing these prairie denizens other than seeing them in this display are about as food as spotting a huge wolf in the Bear Paws.
And while on the subject of wolves, when viewing most wolves or displays of them, they look like big sort of friendly and beautiful dogs. But if wondering why old timers feared them and so many myths have come up about them, just look at the evil gray-black wolf in that display. Wouldn't take much huffing and puffing of this creature to blow most doors down.
Anyway, for wildlife viewing that is never a no show, the Wildlife Museum in Chinook is the place to go.