Billings, Montana @ ZooMontana
Starting from the Visitor's Center (23) follow the main pathway to Plaza Junction and a great collection of Maples. South through the Plaza you will find a more formal approach to a variety of trees.Look for the Swamp Oak, Manchurian Ash, Buckeyes, Laurel Willow and the Hackberry in the Children's Garden (16). Continue to the Children's Playground (17) surrounded by Siouxland Cottonwoods, Ponderosa Pines, Locust Trees and Spruce Grove (18).
Past the Eagle Habitat you will cross Canyon Creek (11) which features native specimens along the banks. Continue to the next junction and stay left to Bear Meadows (7) which features a Conifer Garden on the right, Sensation Boxelders, Aspens, Poplars and more. A fantastic Aspen Colony (6) of Swedish Aspens can be found at the Birds of Prey entrance. You will continue westward along the Lynx Pathway (5) with it's fantastic Fall colors, Bristlecone Pines, Douglas Fir, Endangered Spruce grove and colorful Sumac Collection.
The pathway opens up at the Wolf Conifer Garden (4), on the south side is Balkan Pine, Colorado Spruce and Eastern Red Cedar. On the north (right) you will find Wichita Spruce, VandeWolf Pines, Hedge Maples and Southwestern White Pine. You are now at Wolverine Junction (13) so hang left at the Canada Red Chokecherry. Look for the Meadowlark Forsythia opposite the Wolverine Habitat. Continue to the Millennium Grove and Asian Garden (12) and find a collection of Black Hills Spruce and The Asian Garden containing specimens also found in the far east including a Mongolian Oak, Ginkgo, Asian Pear and Viburnum Collection. A family picnic area is along the path.
The tour continues westward to the Asian Habitats (3, 2, 1). We now have a unique blend of species including Russian Birch, Meteor Cherry and Boxwoods. Part of this area is off path and fenced so take a few minutes and look into the dense trees and try to find Oak, Siouxland Cottonwood, White Willows and conifers. On the Red Panda Knoll (east of the exhibit) are a Russian Mulberry, Natchez Mock Orange and Robinia.
We have to backtrack to Wolverine Junction and turn northward continuing past the Wolf viewing platform to the next junction. Turn right and you are heading towards the Waterways (10). As you get closer look for several nice specimens such as a Callery Pear, Crabapple, Linden, Amur Maple and Chinese Lacebark Elm. The Waterways contains a collection Douglas Firs, Boxwood, Barberries, Aspen and Alders. Small groupings of Daffodils highlight an early spring experience. At the Otter Collection (9) you will find Snowberries, Russian Olive, Junipers, Buffalo Berry and Boxwoods.
Continue west around the Otter Habitat and you find a Nature path which heads back to Wolf Junction. Turn right and cross the back bridge heading towards Dottie's Garden (14). Smaller specimens can be found here in this waterwise garden. The Remembrance Circle with it's Spring Snow Crabapples is worth a stop. Plenty of benches available for a rest.
As you continue on past the conifers of the Bison Exhibit journey through the Schoolhouse Entry and into the Homestead Collection (15, 19). This collection is made up of Maples, Hawthorns, Eastern Redbud, Coffee Trees, Willows, Larches and Dogwoods. Also behind the barn is Orchard Lane (21) with it's many fruit trees.
Finally, follow the path through the barn, back under the Schoolhouse Entry and head to the Sensory Garden and Amphitheater (20, 22). These collections hold a multitude of different species including Weeping Junipers, Amur Chokecherry, Crabapples, Serviceberries, Locusts, Bur Oaks, Mountain Ash and Yellowhorn. This brings you back to the Visitor's Center and the end of the Self Guided Walking Tour.