American Prairie
National Discovery Center

The American Prairie National Discovery Center is the gateway to the prairie and a central gathering place for visitors from around the world.

About the National Discovery Center

Two of the core tenants of American Prairie are providing education about the prairie and access to the land. The National Discovery Center is a rendezvous point for visitors going to the prairie, a vibrant place for community building and partnership, and an important educational resource on the importance of grassland ecosystems to the health of our planet. The National Discovery Center is located a short drive from the prairie in Lewistown, Montana. It is open to the public and hosts an ever-growing lineup of local, regional, and national activities and programs that stir visitors to love and want to preserve the prairie and all of its inhabitants.

Located in the renovated Power Mercantile building, the National Discovery Center features interactive exhibits about the prairie ecosystem, community meeting spaces, and a film theater. The Exhibit Hall includes interactive exhibits and the Night Sky Theater that explore the nuances of the prairie ecosystem. The Talpins Children’s Center gives kids their own place to play and learn about the prairie. The Clyde Aspevig Event Center, which provides flexible spaces for events, presentations, and meetings with state-of-the-art technology. The Ken Burns American Heritage Theater offers a variety of films that introduce visitors to American Prairie, its mission, and the prairie ecosystem.

Location: 302 W Main St Lewistown, MT 59457

Hours: Thursday-Saturday from 10am-4pm


Upcoming Events

April

6

2024

Parading Through History – The Apsáalooke Nation

Apr 6–Oct 1 / 9:00am

Traveling Exhibit at the National Discovery Center. This unique exhibit was developed, designed and created by a team of local Crow Indian scholars and artists with the intent of sharing the many traditions of the Apsáalooke people. The exhibit features fifteen large banners with historical and contemporary comments about the Apsáalooke Nation.

July

6

2024

American Prairie presents ECO-Critters with ZooMontana

Jul 6 / 10:00am–4:00pm

ZooMontana staff bring live animal ambassadors to the National Discovery Center and offer educational information about prairie animals and other interesting critters from around the world!

July

6

2024

Skakespeare in the Parks at Antelope Creek

Jul 6 / 6:30pm

The public is invited to a free performance of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet at American Prairie’s Antelope Creek Campground! Hamlet is described as “the story of the young prince of Denmark who returns home following the sudden death of his father. The most famous ghost story ever told, Hamlet grapples with the weight of his responsibility to avenge his father’s death, to out-maneuver his traitorous uncle, and “to be, or not to be.” This is the 52nd season of performances for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks that, in 2024, will bring free live theatrical performances to 65 communities across five states, including Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, and Washington. This is also the theatrical company’s first performance at Antelope Creek Campground, a unique setting located just four miles north of the Missouri River on US Highway 191, not far from the Fred Robinson Bridge! Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, and liquid refreshments for this exciting performance under the stars!

July

13

2024

A Fresh Look at Montana’s Rock Art Utilizing New Technologies with Dr. Larry Loendorf

Jul 13 / 1:00pm

This Speaker Series event features renowned rock art authority and archaeologist Dr. Larry Loendorf, who offers Lewistown residents a “first look” at his exciting new rock art discoveries near Ryegate made possible using advanced technologies. Dr. Loendorf, part of the important Chauvet Cave (France) excavation team in 1994, earned his degrees from the University of Montana and University of Missouri. He is author of numerous scholarly articles and books and taught for two decades at the University of North Dakota. He is President of Sacred Sites Research, a nonprofit that records North American Indian pictograph and petroglyph sites and conducts associated research at traditional cultural properties such as vision quest areas, ceremonial caves, pigment sources, and ancient trails.

August

13

2024

Birds of the American Prairie with Andy Boyce

Aug 13 / 7:00pm

This Prairie LEKtures event will feature Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (NZCBI) Research Ecologist Andy Boyce and other guest experts who will present the latest information about the birds of Central Montana and the American Prairie.

August

24

2024

American Prairie presents ECO-Critters with ZooMontana

Aug 24 / 10:00am–4:00pm

ZooMontana staff bring live animal ambassadors to the National Discovery Center and offer educational information about prairie animals and other interesting critters from around the world!

August

30

2024

An Evening with Chris La Tray: Montana’s Poet Laureate

Aug 30 / 1:00pm

Chris La Tray, Montana’s current Poet Laureate and a member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, will be on hand for an exciting presentation and book signing. La Tray, a Metís storyteller, is author of a number of books, including One-Sentence Journal: Short Poems, Essays from the World at Large, and Becoming Little Shell. This program is part of the Montana Poets Laureate program from Humanities Montana and coincides with American Prairie’s Annual Indigenous Peoples Celebration.

September

7

2024

American Prairie presents ECO-Critters with ZooMontana

Sep 7 / 10:00am–4:00pm

ZooMontana staff bring live animal ambassadors to the National Discovery Center and offer educational information about prairie animals and other interesting critters from around the world!

October

5

2024

American Prairie presents ECO-Critters with ZooMontana

Oct 5 / 10:00am–4:00pm

ZooMontana staff bring live animal ambassadors to the National Discovery Center and offer educational information about prairie animals and other interesting critters from around the world!

October

15

2024

“The Land We Share”: A Presentation and Book Signing

Oct 15 / 7:00pm

Authors Christine Cunningham and Steve Meyer will conduct a presentation about their book, The Land We Share: A Love Affair Told in Hunting Stories. The Land We Share is a collection of essays about the relationships between the hunters of public lands and their bird dogs. A book signing follows the presentation.


Tour the National Discovery Center