Discover Glacier National Park: Facts for Kids & Educational Resources

January 27, 2022

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Shelton

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With all this free time we have had lately, our family has been day dreaming about a family vacation. We love camping, and exploring nature together as a family. One of my dreams has always been to visit some of the most famous national parks. If you are getting the traveling bug, you will love these free resources for discovering Glacier National Park and some fun and interesting Glacier National Park facts for kids

Free Resources for Discovering Glacier National Park text overlay on photo of glacier national park.


Where is Glacier National Park located?

Glacier National Park is located in Northern Montana. This park is a safety preserve for forests, wilderness areas, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaked mountain ranges and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

Nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts will enjoy this amazing park with its picture perfect views. You are really in the heart of the wilderness when you visit this park. 

It is home to many animal species and you may even see dangerous animals. There are black bears, brown bears, grizzly bears, grey wolves, mountain lions  big horn sheep, mountain goats and wolverines.

There are close to 300 species of birds, including golden eagles. It is famous for fly fishing and you don’t even have to have a fishing license to fish in the park.

History of Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is named from alpine glaciers and remnants that could have come from the Ice Age

Famous American conservationist George Grinnell nicknamed this beautiful mountain region the Crown of the Continent. He was a conservationist and explorer who was the strongest advocate which led to the creation of the Park.

Grinnell and Louis Hill, who was president of the Great Northern Railway, are known as the ones that encouraged President Taft to sign the bill to turn the area into a national park. It was established on May 11, 1910 and was the 10th National Park.

Grinnell Glacier is in the heart of Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana and was named after George Grinnell. 

Ice floats in a pond by the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park of Montana.
Ice floats in a pond by the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park of Montana. Photo by Wirepec

Native American History in Glacier National Park

The lands are part of the history and culture of many Native Americans. Many Native American tribes resided here before the park was found. They used the lands for hunting, fishing, ceremonies, and gathering plants.

The tribes were displaced when the park was created and they eventually signed peace treaties and they made their homes on Indian Reservations near the boundaries of the park.

Today, the 1.5-million acre Blackfeet Indian Reservation, is home to Blackfeet Nation, the largest tribe in Montana and the 10th largest in the country. There are over 17,000 members. This tribe shares the Glacier’s eastern border.

The Flathead Indian Reservation covers 1.3 million acres on the Flathead River and is home to 7,000 members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.

Learning About The Native American Tribes

American Indian Culture in Western Montana and Glacier National Park – Learn more about the history and the culture of the tribal nations that live here.

At Home in This Place – The At Home In This Place series are historical videos that are used as an educational program for 7th – 12th graders that are from the tribal leaders. 

Native American Plant Use – Learn about the various plants that can be found within the park and how the Native Americans used them in many different ways. The different tribes had different uses for the plants which is quite fascinating. 

Blackfeet Nation – This is the official website for the tribe and reservation and has lots of information on their lands.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – Official tribal and reservation website where you can learn about the tribes and their tribal lands. 

Glacier National Park Montana U.S.A. - Glacier National Park Sign Entrance
Glacier National Park Montana U.S.A. – Glacier National Park Sign Entrance – photo by Checubus

Interesting Facts about Glacier National Park:

  • This park is nicknamed The Crown of the Continent.
  • It is considered a natural living laboratory and a biosphere reserve with an amazing research center is located here.
  • It covers one million acres of land and backcountry.
  • This park straddles the Continental Divide which brings in some extreme weather.
  • Together with Waterton Lakes National Park it is the world’s first international peace park and an UNESCO world heritage site.
  • There are 25 active glaciers that move and shift when the ice melts.
  • Blackfoot Glacier is the largest glacier in the park at 0.7 miles.
  • There are over  700 miles of hiking trails for nice short walks to longer backpacking trips.
  • Mountain goats are the symbol and mascot of the park. 
  • There are over 200 waterfalls located in the park.
  • It is one of the most photogenic parks in America and considered one of the most Instragrammed locations in America. 
  • This park is home to 71 species of animals.

Recommended Resource: National Parks Notebook – A Notebook Companion™ for National Parks of the U.S.A.

Explore the national parks of the U.S.A with our publisher-approved Notebook Companion™. Using the notebook alongside the popular book book National Parks of the U.S.A. will help you squeeze all the amazing content out of it and use it for your homeschool.

National Parks Notebook spiral bound and National Parks of the U.S.A. book

Planning a Visit to Glacier National Park

Packing List for Glacier National Park Hikers – Learn about this mountain bear country and what not to forget, like bear spray! This is a great checklist so you don’t forget anything important for your trip.

Printable Park Maps – The national park service offers printable park maps to help you plan your trip. 

Glacier National Park Educational Resources

Glacier National Park Notebooking Page – Write what you have learned about the park or journal about a trip that you may have taken there.

Glacier National Park Reading Comprehension – This reading comprehension worksheet has a short passage about the park with questions to answer when you are done reading.

Animals of Glacier National Park – Explore the different mammals, birds, fish, insects and amphibians that call this park their home.

Lesson Plans for Glacier National Park – There are free lesson plans broken down by grades. Elementary aged children will learn about animals, habitats, bears, rocks, forests and changing seasons. Middle School and High School students will learn about keystone species, invasive species, Indian education, historic places, and landscape engineering. 

U.S. Natural Landmarks Notebook Journal – Learn about 30 natural landmarks in the United States including Glacier National Park. Record what you have learned in your very own notebooking journal. 

Glacier National Park Coloring Pages

Glacier National Park Coloring Page – Beautiful coloring page of the glacier mountains.

Glacier National Park Animal Coloring Page – Color the mountain goat with the glacier mountain background.

Glacier National Park Printable Coloring Books – There are coloring books for wildlife, trees and wildlfowers that can be found in the park. There are even ABC coloring books to color animals from A to Z.

Glaciers at Glacier National Park

Glaciers are obviously the main attraction of this park, so they would be great to study in science and learn about before making a visit here.

What are glaciers?

Glaciers are solid rivers and masses of and accumulation of ice, snow, rock and sediment. They are so large they move under the influence of gravity and their own heavy weight. They grow larger in the winter, and melt down some in the summer months.

Researchers have theorized that global warming is the cause of so many of the glaciers melting away and voiced concerns that they could disappear and be lost forever. At one point the park had signs saying that the glaciers would be gone forever and disappear in 2020. They have since removed those signs because there are still glaciers in the park.

The park had around 150 glaciers when it was first named in 1910. It now has 26 named glaciers in 2015. They are slowly getting smaller, and some may even be too small to be considered a glacier. 

Status of Glaciers in the National Park – Learn about the status of glaciers in the park in this article from the U.S. Geological Survey.

There are many different types of glaciers to be seen in the park:

  • Tidewater and Freshwater Glaciers
  • Ice Sheets
  • Ice fields and Ice Caps
  • Cirque and Alpine Glaciers
  • Valley and Piedmont Glaciers
  • Rock Glaciers

Overview of the park’s glaciers – This video answers the most frequently asked questions about glaciers in the park. 

Glacial GeologyLearn about the vocabulary and geography of the area that was caused by the glaciers.

Best Things to Do When You Visit Glacier National Park

There are so many fund things to do at Glacier National Park. Enjoying the beautiful landscapes and scenery is at the top of my list!

The Scenic Drive of Sun Road

Take a scenic drive to the Sun Road on the most beautiful drives in the United States. This will take you about two hours to drive the entire length through the twists and turns of the mountains to visit different locations.

Beautiful View Glacier National Park Belong Going Sun Road
Beautiful View of Glacier National Park traveling on Sun Road – photo by jgorzynik

Glacier National Park Outlook Views

Stop along the way for spectacular overlook views and take a rest and have a picnic. A popular spot is Logan Pass which is the highest point that you can reach in the park by a car.

Logan Pass Trail Glacier National Park Sunny Day Montana U.S.A
Logan Pass Trail Glacier National Park Sunny Day Montana U.S.A. – photo by Checubus

Hiking at Glacier National Park

Go hiking. There are over 700 miles of trails in this park. You can take a short hike which is great for families with small children, or take longer hikes. Hiking is a great way to get to special overlooks and places you wouldn’t normally see from afar. 

Glacier National Park Boat and Historic Red Bus Tours

Take a boat tour or an old historic red bus tour of the park if you don’t want to drive. You can spend that time relaxing, being educated about the park and viewing wildlife from the safety of the vehicle.

Historic Red Bus in Glacier National Park Montana
Historic Red Bus in Glacier National Park Montana – photo by phil_bird

Camping at Glacier National Park

For the adventurous thrill seekers, you can go backcountry camping in the middle of the park. You can even go camping via the river.

In addition to backcountry camping there are 13 different drive-in campgrounds located in the park. Some campgrounds are first come first serve, while others you are able to make a reservation. Just make sure to do so well in advance. 

Photographers Love Glacier National Park

Practice your photography skills with the beautiful picturesque views of the mountain ranges and aqua colored lakes and glaciers.

Glacier National Park Visitor’s Center

Don’t forget to make a stop at the visitor centers. These are great places to let your kids learn about the park and even become a junior ranger. Pick up maps, brochures and educational printables. Purchase souvenirs, watch videos, explore nature specimens and talk to park rangers.

There are 3 visitor centers located throughout the park. St. Mary Visitor Center is located on the East Side of the Park. Apgar Visitor Center is located on the West Side of the park and the Logan Pass Visitor Center can be found while driving to Sun Road. 

Glacier National Park Virtual Tours and Webcams

Glacier National Park Webcams – View the park from the comforts of your own home. There are 20 different webcams located all over the park with many areas to explore.

Google Earth Virtual Tour of Glacier National Park – My kids really enjoy the Google Earth Tours. This one takes you through the different lake areas and glaciers in the park.

Websites about Glacier National Park:

Everything to Know About Glacier National Park – This article has lots of information about the history of the park, how it began and what there is to see and do from National Geographic.

Glacier National Park Conservancy – This is the funding behind the projects and the conservation of the park. They have some great guides on how to explore the park and what to see and do while you are there. 

Wildlife Watching at Glacier National Park – Learn about the animals that can be found at this park and the best times of year and times of day to view them. You will also learn about safety as there are many dangerous animals that live here.

Science and Research – Glacier National Park has a formal research program and a research center. Scientists study and research the grizzly bears, global climate change programs, and are involved in different science initiatives in the national park system.

Montana Walking Bear – This site has amazing photographs, a list of 10 must do adventures s and a video called Glacier National Park: Crown of the Continent. This video gives you a beautiful overview of the park, it almost feels like you are really there. 

Videos about Glacier National Park

Science and Learning Videos – Educational videos about glaciers, mountain goats, ecosystems, formations of mountains, erosion and more. 

Science and Learning Videos for Glacier National Park – Experience the park’s wildlife and learn about Glaciers, erosion, the water table, formation of mountains and more. 

Exploring More National Parks

Don’t miss our Learning About the National Parks Resources Series that has information on ten national parks. You’ll discover educational printables, virtual tours, national park webcams, and things to do at each park. 

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