Simply put, Yellowstone National Park is one of those places that, in an instant, takes your breath away. It could be an unexpected geyser eruption, a herd of bison on a mountainside or a massive waterfall--it's hard to say when that moment will come, but for many guests of our nation's first national park, it inevitably does. Here are 10 reasons why your kids will love Yellowstone, too.
Kids near a mud volcano and bison in Yellowstone — Photo courtesy of bobrpics
1. The Junior Ranger Program
Grab the free 12-page activity paper at the Visitor Center and complete each age-appropriate requirement to earn an official patch.
Animals tend to come out at dawn and sunset, so plan to spend either looking for the over 67 mammal species inhabiting the park including bison, wolves, coyotes, bears, moose, mountain lions, elk, bighorn sheep, eagles and more. Keep a safe distance, of course.
Brush up on permit requirements and other regulations, but kids experience the same rush as adults do when hooking a fish. Yellowstone has some of the best fishing in the country.
4. Mud pots
Gases from a mile below the surface rise to create the bubbling effect seen in mud pots. Kids love the sight, sound and even the smell of these unusual features. Mud pots are called paint pots when colored. Do not miss the Artist Paint Pots!
5. Old Faithful
Sure, there can be crowds, but no visit to Yellowstone is complete without seeing the world's most famous Geyser. Eruption times are predicted and posted at the Visitor Center.
6. Other predictable geysers
Start at Old Faithful and take a walk along the Upper Geyser Basin, home to the highest concentration of geysers in the world. Here is where the other more predictable, less-crowded geysers erupt.
7. Horseback riding
Kids ages 8 and older can take a one or two-hour guided horseback ride offered in several places around the park. Younger kids aren't left out--they can take a stagecoach ride, instead.
8. Mammoth Hot Springs
Combine hot springs, travertine and algae to form the striking site below.
The main terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs — Photo courtesy of jimmiehomeschoolmom
9. Evening ranger talks
Kids love the 45-minute chats about various park-related topics. Make sure they're sitting up close to the ranger!
Choose from 12 camp grounds and over 2000 campsites.
To get the kids excited prior to your journey, have a look at the Yellowstone National Park's kid section online before your trip.