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Fun for kids?

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22 posts
5 reviews
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Fun for kids?

Hello generous and all-knowing Tripsters!

My family (Mom & Dad in their 60's, my brother & me in our 30's, my 9 yo son and my itty bitty baby) are RV'ing it through YNP and GTNP. We are going to be out west for 10 days.

My mom can sit out some of the more active activities with the baby, so we are looking for a variety of fun things to do with different levels of exertion.

In particular, what would you recommend that would be fun for my nine year old son? He wants to see lots of animals.

We are planning to spend time outside the park, exploring southern Montana/northern Wyoming.

Thanks in advance!

Catlin, Illinois
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1. Re: Fun for kids?

Hi DelayedGratification,

Your son will see many animals. The important thing for him to know is that he CAN NOT go and pet the wild animals. But he may watch them. Some of the best areas in the park (but not limited to) are Lamar Valley and Hadyen Valley. We stayed at the cabins in Canyon and had elk walk through.

I belive your son would also like the Junior Ranger Program. You can find out about it at nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/juniorranger.htm

There are many things to do at Yellowstone. They can be found here


Yelloestone is a special place. Enjoy your trip!

West Yellowstone, MT
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2. Re: Fun for kids?

Dear Delayed - A couple other ideas I gave to another young family.

There are a number of places with short hikes - Artist's Paint Pots in Gibbon Meadowns, Mud Volcanoes' north of Fishing Bridge, and many more around the Old Faithful area like around Old Faithful, Black Sand Basin, Fountain Paint Pots. Old Faithful Inn is a fun place to explore. A fun thing to do is to get an ice cream cone at the Tower store which breaks up that drive. You can also get the expected eruption time for Old Faithful at the entrance gates or visitor's centers so you can time your visit there without having to wait too long (give or take 15 minutes usually). Thre is a stagecoach ride at Roosevelt .

Other stops could be the Fishing Bridge museum where you can find a taxidermed grizzly sow and two cubs, and a family of river otters. The Museum of the National Park Ranger is at Norris and has some neat displays of early ranger and army uniforms, plus the inside of a cabin where rangers used to live.

The visitor centers at Old Faithful, Grant, and Mammoth all show movies about the park (14-20 minutes). The park's rangers also put on short hikes with kids (must be accompanied by an adult) Check out the 20 minute "Yellowstone for Kids" nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/oldfaithranger.htm

West Yellowstone at the West Gate has the Grizzly Wolf & Discovery Center. It has live grizzlies (which rotate every two hours) and a wolf pack. The bears search for hidden ice blocks under stumps and tree's which contains their food. They also have demonstration with raptors and an Aurelian bear dog. There is a display inside about black bears especially for kids. THere is also an IMAX theatre across the parking lot.

Finally, I wrote two articles about driving the interior roads for an elderly relative who was wheel chair bound. These might give you some ideas on planning what you want to see.



Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Fun for kids?

Another suggestion would be to do the short hike in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone down to the Brink of the Lower Falls. If your son has never stood on top of a 308 foot waterfall, it will be an incredible experience! You may also want to try the Brink of the Upper Falls, which is shorter, but also very impressive. Definitely walk around the geysers and thermal springs around Old Faithful. You may get lucky and see a few go off that are very unpredictable. Definitely check out Lamar and Hayden Valleys, as already mentioned, for animal spotting. If you take the road from Tower to Canyon, get out some binoculars and look for grizzlies on the slope of Mount Washburn---we saw 3 or 4! I am guessing by saying that you "are planning to spend time outside the park, exploring southern Montana/northern Wyoming" you mean that you will be doing the Beartooth Highway. Good idea! If for some reason you fail to see bison in other parts of the park (very unlikely) then I would recommend driving from Norris to West Yellowstone where you will probably encounter a bison jam. When I went to Yellowstone in 2003 and stayed in Big Sky, nearly everyday we encountered bison crossing the road. That's a good reason to avoid driving through the Greater Yellowstone area in the dark. Actually, I would recommend trying not to drive at night anywhere in Wyoming. We very nearly hit a deer numerous times driving from the Bighorn Mountains down to the interstate toward Gillette during the night. It's definitely some white-knuckle driving this area at night. However, if you find yourself with nothing to do on a clear night in Grand Teton, I would recommend driving to Jackson Lake and look at the Tetons illuminated by the moon---incredible!

4. Re: Fun for kids?

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