Top-Rated Things to Do in Great Falls, MT

Montana

By Charlotte Williams

Welcome to Great Falls, Montana, a vibrant city nestled at the confluence of the Missouri River and the Sun River. Known as the “Electric City” for its rich hydroelectric history, Great Falls offers visitors a wide array of top-rated attractions and activities. Discover the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes, immerse yourself in the city’s fascinating history, and indulge in unforgettable experiences that will leave you wanting to come back for more.

One of the must-visit attractions in Great Falls is the renowned C.M. Russell Museum, which pays tribute to the iconic Western artist Charles Marion Russell. Marvel at his exceptional artwork, which captures the spirit of the American West in stunning detail. As you explore the museum’s galleries, you will be transported back in time to an era of cowboys, Native Americans, and breathtaking landscapes.

If you’re craving outdoor adventure, head to Giant Springs State Park, home to one of the largest freshwater springs in the country. Take a leisurely stroll along the park’s scenic trails, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and marvel at the crystal-clear waters of the spring. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, where you can learn about the famous expedition and its impact on the region.

No visit to Great Falls is complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring beauty of the nearby Great Falls Park. Located just a short drive from the city center, this majestic natural wonder will leave you speechless. Observe the powerful cascades of water as the Missouri River plunges over a series of dramatic cliffs, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. Whether you choose to hike along the scenic overlooks or simply bask in the tranquility of the surroundings, Great Falls Park is a must-see attraction.

With its intriguing history, stunning natural landscapes, and a wide range of activities, Great Falls, Montana is truly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, or history buff, this charming city has something to offer everyone. Experience the magic of Great Falls and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore the Historic Downtown Area

Great Falls, MT, is home to a vibrant and charming historic downtown area that is worth exploring. Take a stroll down the main street and discover a variety of unique shops, local restaurants, and historical landmarks.

Start your adventure at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, located in a beautiful historic building. This art museum showcases contemporary art exhibitions and hosts educational programs for all ages. Be sure to check out the gift shop, where you can find local artwork and handmade crafts.

Continue your journey through downtown and immerse yourself in the history of the area. Visit the C.M. Russell Museum, dedicated to the works of famous Western artist Charles Marion Russell. Explore the galleries filled with Russell’s paintings and sculptures, and learn about the history of the American West. Don’t forget to explore the museum’s beautiful sculpture garden.

As you wander through the downtown streets, you’ll come across a variety of unique shops and boutiques. Browse through antique shops, visit local clothing boutiques, and uncover hidden treasures in the many specialty stores. You’ll find everything from handmade jewelry to locally produced goods.

Feeling hungry? Great Falls’ downtown area is home to a variety of local restaurants and cafes. Try some Montana-style cuisine at one of the local eateries, or grab a cup of coffee at a cozy cafe. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual lunch or an elegant dinner, you’ll find a wide range of dining options to choose from.

End your day of exploration with a visit to the Great Falls Farmers Market, held in the downtown area. Here, you can browse through fresh produce, baked goods, and local crafts. It’s a great opportunity to support local farmers and artisans while experiencing the community atmosphere of Great Falls.

Exploring the historic downtown area of Great Falls, MT, is a must-do for any visitor. With its unique shops, delicious dining options, and rich history, it’s a place that will leave a lasting impression.

Visit the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a must-visit attraction in Great Falls, MT. This historic trail follows the path taken by the famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, as they journeyed through the American West in the early 1800s.

Visitors to the trail can explore the diverse landscapes that Lewis and Clark encountered on their expedition, including towering mountains, sparkling rivers, and vast prairies. The trail offers breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching.

One of the highlights of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is the Great Falls of the Missouri River. These majestic waterfalls played a significant role in the expedition, as the explorers had to navigate their way past the treacherous rapids. Visitors can marvel at the power and beauty of the falls while learning about the challenges faced by Lewis and Clark.

Along the trail, you’ll also find informative interpretive centers and museums that provide insight into the history and culture of the region. These include the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls, which features exhibits on the expedition and the Native American tribes that Lewis and Clark encountered along their journey.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique outdoor experience, visiting the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of the Great Falls area.

Don’t miss the opportunity to trace the footsteps of these legendary explorers and gain a deeper understanding of their remarkable journey through the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. Plan your visit today and discover the wonders of this iconic trail in Great Falls, MT.

Discover the Beauty of Giant Springs State Park

Located in Great Falls, Montana, Giant Springs State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. With its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife, it’s no wonder the park is one of the top-rated attractions in the area.

One of the highlights of Giant Springs State Park is its namesake, the Giant Springs. These are some of the largest freshwater springs in the country, producing over 150 million gallons of water daily. The crystal-clear water flows into the nearby Missouri River, creating a picturesque sight that is truly breathtaking.

As you explore the park, you’ll have the opportunity to discover an array of outdoor activities. From hiking and biking trails to picnicking and wildlife viewing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as you never know what kind of wildlife you may encounter on your adventure.

A visit to Giant Springs State Park wouldn’t be complete without exploring the nearby Roe River, which holds the Guinness World Record for being the shortest river in the world. You can even dip your toes in the water or have a relaxing picnic along its banks.

If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the nearby Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Here, you can learn about the famous explorers’ journey through the area and gain a deeper understanding of the region’s rich history.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply someone looking to spend a day surrounded by natural beauty, Giant Springs State Park is a must-visit destination in Great Falls, MT. Plan your trip today and discover all that this incredible park has to offer.

Experience the Wonder of the C.M. Russell Museum

If you’re interested in art, history, or the American West, a visit to the C.M. Russell Museum is a must. Located in Great Falls, Montana, this museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy and artwork of renowned Western artist, Charles M. Russell.

Step foot into the museum and be transported to a world of old west charm and artistic masterpieces. The museum itself is housed in a beautiful brick building that was once Russell’s studio and home. Inside, you’ll find a vast collection of Russell’s artwork, including paintings that depict scenes from the American West, as well as sculptures and illustrations.

One of the highlights of the museum is the Browning Firearms Collection, which showcases a variety of firearms that belonged to Russell. This collection provides a unique glimpse into Russell’s fascination with the wild west and his love of adventure.

In addition to the artwork and firearms, the museum also features exhibits that delve into the life and times of Russell. Learn about his friendships with cowboys, Native Americans, and other artists, as well as his experiences as a rancher in Montana. You can also explore his personal belongings and see the very tools he used to create his art.

For a truly immersive experience, be sure to take a guided tour of the museum. Knowledgeable guides will provide fascinating insights into Russell’s life and work, as well as the history of the American West. They’ll take you through the various exhibits and answer any questions you may have.

After exploring the museum, be sure to stop by the gift shop, where you can find a wide range of books, prints, and other merchandise related to Russell and the American West. It’s the perfect place to pick up a memento of your visit.

Whether you’re an art lover, history buff, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the culture of the American West, a visit to the C.M. Russell Museum is an experience like no other. Don’t miss the chance to see the incredible artwork and learn about the life of this influential artist.

Take a Trip to Ryan Dam

If you’re looking for a picturesque spot to visit in Great Falls, Montana, consider taking a trip to Ryan Dam. Located along the Missouri River, Ryan Dam offers stunning views and a variety of recreational activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the main attractions at Ryan Dam is the reservoir, which is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming. The calm waters are perfect for a peaceful paddle or a relaxing swim on a hot summer day. If you’re into fishing, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to catch a variety of fish species, including trout, walleye, and catfish.

In addition to the reservoir, Ryan Dam also has beautiful hiking trails that wind through the surrounding area. These trails offer scenic views of the river and the surrounding natural beauty. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the trails at Ryan Dam offer something for everyone.

If you’re interested in history, Ryan Dam is worth a visit for its historical significance as well. The dam was originally built in the 1910s to help generate electricity for the nearby city of Great Falls. Today, you can still see remnants of the original power plant and learn about the history of the dam through informational signs and exhibits.

Lastly, Ryan Dam is a great place for a picnic or a family gathering. There are picnic areas with tables and grills, perfect for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors. The spacious and well-maintained grounds also make it a popular spot for events and celebrations.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or just looking for a beautiful spot to relax, a trip to Ryan Dam is a must-do activity in Great Falls, Montana. So pack your picnic basket, grab your fishing gear, and head to Ryan Dam for a day of fun and relaxation.

Enjoy a Day at the Malmstrom Air Force Base

If you’re interested in military history and aviation, a visit to the Malmstrom Air Force Base is a must when visiting Great Falls, MT. This active military installation offers a unique opportunity to learn about the United States Air Force and experience the power and precision of modern military aircraft.

Start your day at the Malmstrom Air Force Base by taking a guided tour. These tours provide an up-close look at the base’s facilities and give you the chance to see aircraft and equipment used by the Air Force. Knowledgeable guides will share interesting facts and stories about the base’s history and its role in national defense.

One of the highlights of the tour is a visit to the base’s museum, where you can explore exhibits that showcase the history of Malmstrom Air Force Base and the aircraft that have been stationed there over the years. From vintage planes to state-of-the-art jets, the museum offers a fascinating display of aviation technology and innovation.

After the tour, head to the base’s flight line to witness the takeoff and landing of military aircraft. This thrilling experience allows you to witness the power and agility of fighter jets and other military planes up close. You’ll be amazed by the speed and precision with which these aircraft operate.

If you want to take your visit to the next level, consider scheduling a flight in a military aircraft. The base offers opportunities for civilians to experience the thrill of flying in a fighter jet or other military plane. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will give you a new appreciation for the skill and bravery of Air Force pilots.

Before leaving the base, stop by the gift shop to pick up some Air Force memorabilia or souvenirs. From T-shirts to model airplanes, you’ll find a wide range of items to commemorate your visit to Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Visiting the Malmstrom Air Force Base is a unique and educational experience that shouldn’t be missed. Whether you’re a military history enthusiast or simply curious about the inner workings of the Air Force, a visit to this active military installation is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Great Falls, MT.

Discover the History of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Located in northeastern Montana, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is a stunning natural area that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the rich history of the American West. Spanning over 1 million acres, the refuge is named after Charles M. Russell, a renowned American artist who depicted the landscapes and culture of the region in his paintings.

Established in 1936, the wildlife refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and serves as a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife species, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and more than 240 species of birds. The refuge also contains the Missouri Breaks, a series of rugged and spectacular canyons along the Missouri River, which provide a unique and breathtaking backdrop for outdoor activities.

The history of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human presence in the area dating back to at least 10,000 years ago. Native American tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow, hunted and lived in the region prior to the arrival of European settlers.

During the late 19th century, the area became an important hub for ranching and farming, with many settlers drawn to the fertile land and abundant water sources. However, the harsh climate and unpredictable weather made life challenging for these early pioneers.

In the early 20th century, Charles M. Russell, the namesake of the refuge, began painting scenes of the American West, capturing the beauty and spirit of the land and its people. His paintings, which often depicted cowboys, Native Americans, and wildlife, helped to popularize the region and its unique culture.

In recognition of his contributions to the preservation of the American West, the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge was established in his honor. Today, visitors to the refuge can explore the diverse habitats and landscapes that Russell once portrayed in his artwork.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, a visit to the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge is sure to be a memorable experience. Discover the rich history of the American West as you explore this sprawling and picturesque natural area.

Admire the Great Falls of the Missouri River

One of the top attractions in Great Falls, Montana is the majestic Great Falls of the Missouri River. Located just outside of the city, these stunning waterfalls are a must-see for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

The Great Falls are a series of five waterfalls along the Missouri River, each with its own unique beauty. The largest waterfall, the Rainbow Falls, is the most famous and offers breathtaking views of the rushing water cascading over the rocks.

Visitors can explore the Great Falls by hiking along the Missouri River Heritage Trail, which follows the river and offers numerous lookout points. Along the trail, you can also find interpretive signs that provide information about the history and geology of the area.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a guided boat tour to get up close and personal with the falls. These tours allow you to experience the power of the water firsthand and offer a unique perspective on the beauty of the falls.

Whether you choose to admire the Great Falls from the trails or on a boat tour, make sure to bring your camera. The picturesque views and natural beauty of the area are truly unforgettable.

So, don’t miss the opportunity to visit and admire the Great Falls of the Missouri River when you’re in Great Falls, Montana. It’s an experience that will leave you in awe of nature’s wonders.

Take a Hike in the Sluice Boxes State Park

One of the top-rated things to do in Great Falls, MT is to take a hike in the Sluice Boxes State Park. Located about 30 miles southeast of the city, this hidden gem offers a unique outdoor experience.

The Sluice Boxes State Park is named after the steep and narrow canyon that was carved by Belt Creek. The park spans over 7,000 acres and features rugged terrain, cliff walls, and a series of cascading waterfalls. Hiking in this park is not for the faint of heart, as it offers a challenging and adventurous experience.

There are several hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult. The popular Sluice Boxes Trail is a 7-mile round trip hike that takes you along the canyon rim and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, eagles, and various other bird species.

If you’re up for a more challenging hike, the Belt Creek Trail is a 12-mile loop that takes you down into the canyon. This trail offers stunning views of the creek and its vibrant blue-green waters. You’ll also have the chance to explore old mining relics and historical sites along the way.

Before you embark on your hike, make sure to come prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, and sturdy hiking shoes. The terrain can be rocky and steep, so it’s important to wear proper footwear for traction and support.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking to enjoy the beauty of nature, a hike in the Sluice Boxes State Park is a must-do activity in Great Falls, MT. So grab your hiking gear and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Explore the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts in Great Falls, MT. Located in a historic building in downtown Great Falls, the museum showcases a diverse collection of contemporary and historic art.

The museum features several galleries with rotating exhibitions, allowing visitors to experience a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. From paintings and sculptures to photography and mixed media, there is something for everyone to appreciate.

In addition to its impressive collection, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art also offers educational programs and events for visitors of all ages. These programs include workshops, lectures, and art classes, providing opportunities for individuals to engage with and learn about the art on display.

When visiting the museum, be sure to explore the gift shop, where you can find unique art-related items such as books, prints, and jewelry. The museum also has a café where you can relax and grab a bite to eat during your visit.

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art is an important cultural institution in Great Falls, showcasing the talent and creativity of both local and national artists. Whether you are a seasoned art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of visual arts, a visit to this museum is sure to inspire and enrich your understanding of art.

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 5pm
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Admission: Adults: $8
Students and Seniors: $5
Children (12 and under): Free

Experience the Thrills at Electric City Water Park

When the summer heat hits Great Falls, there’s no better place to cool off and have some fun than Electric City Water Park. Located in the heart of the city, this family-friendly attraction offers a range of exciting activities for all ages.

For thrill-seekers, the park features several thrilling water slides. From steep drops to twists and turns, these slides are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Brave the heights and speed down these exhilarating slides for a truly unforgettable experience.

If you prefer a more relaxed setting, the park also offers a lazy river. Grab an inner tube and float along the gentle current as you soak up the sun and enjoy the scenery. It’s the perfect way to unwind and enjoy a leisurely day at the water park.

Electric City Water Park also boasts a wave pool, where you can ride the waves and feel like you’re at the beach. Whether you’re looking to catch some waves or simply cool off, this pool offers endless fun for everyone.

Younger visitors won’t miss out on the excitement either, as the park has a dedicated children’s area. With smaller slides, shallow pools, and interactive water features, kids can splash around and have a blast in a safe and supervised environment.

For those in need of a break from the water, the park offers ample grassy areas and picnic tables where you can relax and enjoy a snack or a meal. Bring your own food or grab a bite to eat from the onsite food vendors.

With its thrilling water slides, lazy river, wave pool, and children’s area, Electric City Water Park is a must-visit destination for families and water enthusiasts. So grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a sense of adventure and dive into the excitement at Great Falls’ premier water park.

Discover the Beauty of the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park

Located just outside of Great Falls, Montana, the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park offers a unique and scenic experience for visitors. This historical landmark holds great significance for the indigenous people of the region and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and nature.

The park gets its name from the traditional hunting technique used by Native American tribes in the past. The buffalo jump was a strategic way to hunt buffalos, utilized by various tribes such as the Blackfeet, Shoshone, and Salish. The park preserves the remnants of this ancient hunting ground and provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the First Peoples.

Explore the park’s vast open spaces and sprawling landscapes that have remained relatively untouched for centuries. The rolling grasslands, sagebrush, and limestone cliffs create a stunning backdrop against the big sky of Montana. As you hike along the trails, you may come across remnants of tipi rings and ancient tools used by the indigenous people, giving you a deeper understanding of their way of life.

The park offers guided tours that provide insights into the history, traditions, and ecological importance of the buffalo jump. Knowledgeable guides will share stories and facts about the site, allowing you to fully appreciate its significance. Additionally, the park has interpretive signs throughout the area, providing educational information about the flora, fauna, and geology of the region.

Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, as the park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Keep an eye out for elk, deer, birds of prey, and other animals that call this area home. The park also offers camping facilities, allowing you to extend your stay and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, a visit to the First People’s Buffalo Jump State Park is sure to leave a lasting impression. Discover the beauty, cultural significance, and rich heritage of this remarkable site and gain a deeper appreciation for the land and its people.

Visit the C.M. Russell Museum Complex

The C.M. Russell Museum Complex is a must-visit destination for art lovers and anyone interested in the history and culture of Great Falls, MT. Named after Charles Marion Russell, one of America’s greatest Western artists, the museum complex houses the largest collection of Russell’s artwork and personal belongings.

Explore the stunning exhibits that showcase Russell’s iconic paintings, sculptures, and sketches. Get a glimpse into the artist’s life and career through the museum’s extensive collection of letters, journals, and personal artifacts. The museum’s knowledgeable staff is always available to provide insights into Russell’s artistic process and the stories behind his famous works.

In addition to the main museum building, the complex also includes Russell’s former home and log cabin studio. Step into the artist’s world as you wander through the rooms where he lived and worked, preserved to reflect the era in which he created his masterpieces. The cabin studio is particularly fascinating, offering a glimpse into Russell’s creative process and the rustic environment that inspired him.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Russell Skull Society of Artists, located on the museum grounds. This prestigious group continues Russell’s legacy by promoting and preserving Western art traditions. Browse through the gallery and admire the contemporary artwork created by the society’s talented members.

Make sure to check the museum’s calendar for special events, workshops, and lectures taking place during your visit. Whether you’re a seasoned Russell enthusiast or just curious to learn more about Western art, the C.M. Russell Museum Complex is a captivating destination that celebrates the rich legacy of one of America’s most beloved artists.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Gibson Park

If you’re looking to enjoy some outdoor recreation in Great Falls, MT, look no further than Gibson Park. This popular city park offers a wide variety of activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the main attractions at Gibson Park is its extensive trail system. Perfect for walking, jogging, or biking, these trails wind through the park’s lush greenery and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, you’ll find a trail that suits your needs.

Gibson Park is also home to several spacious picnic areas. Grab a blanket and some food, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at one of the park’s shady spots. The park provides plenty of open space for kids to run around and play, making it a great destination for families.

If you’re interested in wildlife, you’ll be delighted to know that Gibson Park is home to a large duck pond. Pack some bread and feed the ducks while enjoying the serene surroundings. You might even spot some other bird species that frequent the area.

For those who enjoy fishing, Gibson Park offers a fishing pond stocked with a variety of fish. Grab your fishing gear and spend a peaceful afternoon casting your line and trying to catch a big one.

In addition to these recreational activities, Gibson Park often hosts events and concerts throughout the year. Check the park’s calendar to see what’s happening during your visit.

If you’re visiting Great Falls, MT, make sure to stop by Gibson Park for a dose of outdoor fun and relaxation. With its beautiful scenery and numerous recreational opportunities, it’s a great place to spend some time outdoors.

FAQs

What are some popular attractions in Great Falls, MT?

Some popular attractions in Great Falls, MT include the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Giant Springs State Park, and the C.M. Russell Museum.

Is there anything to do outdoors in Great Falls?

Yes, Great Falls offers plenty of outdoor activities. You can visit Giant Springs State Park, go hiking or fishing in the nearby mountains, or enjoy a river float along the Missouri River.

Are there any historical sites to visit in Great Falls?

Yes, Great Falls has several historical sites to visit. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a must-see, as it tells the story of the famous expedition. The C.M. Russell Museum is also worth a visit, showcasing the works of renowned western artist Charles M. Russell.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Great Falls?

Yes, there are several family-friendly activities in Great Falls. You can visit the Electric City Water Park, which has water slides and pools for all ages. The Children’s Museum of Montana is also a great option, offering interactive exhibits and educational programs for kids.

What are some unique experiences to have in Great Falls?

One unique experience in Great Falls is visiting the Ryan Dam and Rainbow Falls. You can take a guided tour to learn about the history of the dam and enjoy the beautiful views of the falls. Another unique experience is attending a rodeo at the Montana ExpoPark, where you can watch cowboys and cowgirls compete in various events.

What are some popular activities to do in Great Falls, MT?

Some popular activities to do in Great Falls, MT include visiting the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, exploring Giant Springs State Park, and touring the C.M. Russell Museum.

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Charlotte Williams

Charlotte Williams, a cosmopolitan writer based in Wilmington, is the ultimate local expert for family travel at TravelAsker. Drawing on her extensive global experiences, from Paris to Bali, her articles are a treasure trove of invaluable information. With an intimate knowledge of Wilmington’s attractions, resorts, hotels, activities, and restaurants, she adds a maternal touch to her work, guiding readers towards creating cherished family memories in Delaware and beyond.

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