Mom’s Picks for Family Fun in Gillette
Gillette's abundance of places to play and learn ensures families never run out of things to do
Looking for somewhere fun to take the family in Campbell County? Just ask local moms. They’ve got the dish on some of the kid-friendliest spots in town.
With a large population of young families (68 percent of Gillette citizens are under the age of 45), it’s no surprise Campbell County Memorial Hospital delivers 800 babies on average every year. And those babies become active kids, thanks to Gillette’s family-focused culture.
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Molly Foster and her husband, Paul, moved to Gillette in June 2014 when Paul became general manager of Gillette’s CAM-PLEX facility.
“We moved from the rugged mountains of central Utah to the beautiful, wild plains of eastern Wyoming, so we are reinventing how we enjoy recreation together,” says Foster, who has an education consulting business named We Are Liberty Kids, and is a mom of five: Lydia, 17; Avery, 14; Nora, 11; Lucas, 9; and Hyrum, 6.
The Foster family’s favorite places include the Campbell County Recreation Center and the public library.
“At the rec center, the possibilities for play are endless. We can run, lift, take a class, swim, play soccer, basketball, tennis, rock climb or sit in the sauna,” Foster says. “The library is also a weekly go-to for our family. There are quiet, comfortable nooks that beckon even my 6-year-old to sit still and learn something.”
The Foster kids take piano and violin lessons and unleash their creativity through art classes at AVA Community Art Center.
“We also enjoy the shows CAM-PLEX offers and love the Rockpile Museum, the Planetarium and the Lakeway Science Center,” Foster says. “We love great food, so trying all the local restaurants has been a blast. The kids love Humphrey’s. What kid doesn’t like deep-fried green beans?”
Foster says Gillette is the most welcoming community they’ve ever lived in.
“Raising our family here will be exciting because of the emphasis the community places on family,” she says. “The educational, recreational and work opportunities make Gillette a perfect home to raise hard-working, happy kids.”
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Randi Napier, a substitute teacher and mom of four, is also fairly new to Gillette. She and her husband, Carter, relocated to Gillette in 2011 when Carter became city administrator. Their children are Dallon, 18; Hailee, 15; Mason, 10; and Ainslee, 8.
“Dallon’s doing track this year and loves basketball. He helps coach Mason’s soccer team,” Napier says. “Ainsley plays soccer too, and Hailee plays volleyball at school and through Gillette’s AAU volleyball club. Our whole family loves bowling and going to the movies, and the boys like rock climbing at the rec center.”
Ainslee and Mason take piano lessons and sing in a choir called Preludia. Dallon, Hailee and Randi take voice lessons at Smothermon Vocal Studio. Dallon sings in a group named Fifteen Minutes of Fame.
The Napier family’s favorite restaurants include Los Compadres (Mexican) and Old Chicago, known for handmade pizzas.
“We came to Gillette because we wanted our kids to have great schools, a safe community and lots of programs for kids,” Napier says. “The people have been good to us.”
Allison Carsrud and her husband, Tim, are longtime residents of Gillette. Allison works at Gillette College as the Athletics/Booster Club assistant, and Tim is a city council member. They have three children: Skylar, 22; McKenna, 19; and Timmy, 16, and are adopting 8-year-old Danny from Africa.
“We’re very involved with Living Rock Church,” Carsrud says. “We attend Campbell County High School and Gillette College Pronghorn basketball games. We belong to the booster club at the college, and we’re a host family to two women athletes.”
In summer, the Carsrud family enjoys Bell Knob Golf Course and the free city pool.
“Gillette is where my heart is,” Carsrud says.
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