Yellowstone National Park is one of the most visited national parks in America. It makes sense, Yellowstone is such a unique park full of interesting science and nature. I have been to Yellowstone twice now and both times it was very memorable. I definitely wouldn’t call it one of my favorite parks, mostly due to the amount of visitors and the buffalo jams (traffic jams due to buffalo), but it is a truly unique and lovely park and I was very happy to show it off to my family! Yellowstone is a HUGE park and there is a lot to see, but with good planning you can see a lot in a small period. In this blog I have narrowed it down to five things you should do when you visit Yellowstone with kids!
• 2 Adults/ Two Kids (Age 1 & 4)
• Stayed in a Hotel in West Yellowstone (Found this last minute due to cold nights)
• 2 Nights
• Part of two-week road trip from Minnesota
• First week of June 2017
Below are five can’t miss activities if traveling with the youngsters!
1. Old Faithful
Old Faithful is an obvious must do and the kids LOVE IT! Old Faithful is perhaps the most famous geyser in the world. The nice thing about Old Faithful is that it is faithful, you can count on it to go off roughly every 90 minutes, so at anytime you stop by, you won’t have to wait too long. There are also a variety of restaurants, gift shops, and short hikes in this area to keep you entertained as you wait. It is very impressive when it does erupt, as the water goes an average of 130 feet high! My kids were SO impressed by this! My daughter still talks about it over a year later!
2. Hike the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
This canyon is roughly 20 miles long and more than 1,000 feet deep. In this canyon you can see beautiful and interesting colors in the rocks, caused by various hydrothermal effects and oxidation. The main attractions in the canyon are the waterfalls. The canyon runs from Tower Fall to the Lower Falls, and the whole river is amazing. We were lucky enough to see a beautiful rainbow when we visited. You can find many hikes in this area of the park, and each one will leave you with a different amazing view. Depending on the age of your kids, and how much they can hike, there are enough options that you will be able to find something that works for your family.
3. Become a Junior Ranger
If your children are interested you should check out the Junior Ranger Program. It is a great program through the National Parks. You can pick up a booklet at any of the visitor centers to get started. Then, depending on your child’s age, there are certain activities they must complete before earning their Junior Ranger patch from the park! My daughter has been loving this program at all the parks we visit! It’s fun for the whole family. It gets us to do things we maybe wouldn’t have normally and it’s very educational for everyone!
4. Enjoy Wildlife Sighting
One of the greatest things about Yellowstone is the wildlife. There is so much opportunity. The kids loved it. We were able to see a lot of buffalo and a couple elk on this trip. Be sure to be careful around the wildlife. Keep your distance and be kind to the wildlife. One thing to keep in mind, sometimes the buffalo block the roads and this can cause long waits. Be mindful to use the bathrooms when they are available to you. This will hopefully help you avoid you or your child needing to go to the bathroom when you are stuck in traffic.
5. Take a Geyser walk
Definitely check out one of the geyser basins. There are four different areas where you can see amazing hydrothermal features. Norris Geyser Basin, Grand Prismic, West Thumb Geyser Basin, and Mammoth Hot Springs. If you have time go to them all, but if not choose at least one. They are located in a variety of areas in the park, so I suggest picking one that works in your other plans for a day. For example, Grand Prismic Spring is near Old Faithful, so you could do them both in a morning. On our trip we visited West Thumb Geyser Basin, near the south entrance, on our way into the park from Grand Teton National Park. We were lucky enough to see a mother elk and her calf while we were here! It was a great first stop for us in the park.
I hope this post gave you some ideas for your family’s trip to Yellowstone National Park. It is a great park for a family vacation. While you are there make sure to also visit Grand Teton National Park. Click here, to read about my families camping adventure there! Grand Teton is a favorite of mine! Best of luck planning your National Park getaway!
Much Love & Happy Travels,
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