Places: The Happy Hippo

By Beacon Staff

Coming down the hill south on U.S. Highway 93 into Polson, don’t be surprised if you spot a large and happy hippopotamus just off the road.

The grinning beast is splashed across the hull of a 1967 LARC, a 35-foot-long Vietnam-era amphibious military vehicle, which is aptly named The Happy Hippo. The vehicle, which tours the land and water, has a home at Three Dog Down and is a part of the Three Dog Adventure Tours.

After departing Three Dog Down, the tour begins with a short tour through Polson. Along the ride, learn about the historical downtown as well as tribal history. The tour continues with a splash and a quick drop into the Flathead River where this historical expedition continues with information about the lake and surrounding mountain ranges.

Beware of dreaded pirate attacks that often occur. Defend the vessel with water guns and cannons provided to patrons. Three Dog Down owner and boat driver Bob Ricketts advises bringing a towel on the drenching ride.

“This is not Disneyland wet. This is Montana wet,” says Ricketts.

Near the end of the trip is a heart-stopping charge into the water from a hill at the fairgrounds where the Hippo can reach 30 mph before hitting the river and can spray water 100 feet in the air.

For more information on times and pricing call 406-883-3696. There are discount coupons available at participating downtown merchants.

How to get there: The Happy Hippo lives at Three Dog Down in Polson, just north of the bridge over the Flathead River on U.S. Highway 93.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.