Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Yellowstone with kids

Yesterday we got back from our nearly two week trip to Yellowstone and Washington. We took off at 4am Wednesday morning the 8th and drove 7 hours to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. We spent the first two days of our trip in Yellowstone. Yellowstone was bigger than I  imagined and there was a lot more driving and a lot less walking than I'd imagined. Which meant we basically spent three days in our van before we arrived in Washington. The kids did great though. On our first day we entered through the South Entrance so that we could drive through the Grand Tetons. The area is green and beautiful!

Our first stop(after a quick potty break...and all the big sites have flushing toilets, thank goodness!) in Yellowstone was at Old Faithful. It goes off about every 90 minutes, give or take 15 minutes and we were lucky to have arrived only 5 minutes before it went off.

In preparation for this trip, we checked out a couple of Yellowstone movies from the library. One of them was very kid friendly(I think it was called Yellowstone For Kids) and had an interactive map where you could click on different areas and learn about them. There were several things we wanted to make sure to see. Even though we only had a couple of days, we jam packed those days and were able to see all we wanted to. While we were at Old Faithful, I wanted to go inside of the Old Faithful Inn which is the largest log hotel in the world and possibly the largest log building in the world. It was cool. I wish we could've stayed here but we didn't plan far enough in advance. Maybe someday....
Geyser Basin. Parts of this walk were steamy hot and smelled like hard boiled eggs. I loved that most of these sites were stroller friendly.

Hot Spring in Geyser Basin

Fountain Paint Pots (these were one of my favorites...basically boiling mud/clay)

We saw some elk, bison, a chimpmunk and a prairie dog.

The first night we stayed at a lodge in Big Sky Montana. It was about an hour and 15 minute drive from the West Entrance of Yellowstone. I think this was my kids favorite part of our trip to Yellowstone. Hotels are always a highlight because of the swimming pool, cable tv, hot breakfast with sugar cereals that mom never allows at home, and they get to stay up late and sleep in the same room as Mom and Dad. The lodge had an indoor swimming pool and just down the street there was a small mall with places to eat and free kids activities outside. My kids played miniature golf, they lassoed a wooden steer and played the pvc pipe ladder game.

I bought a box of microwave popcorn before we left on our trip so that the kids could eat it in the hotels we stayed in for an inexpensive and fun after dinner snack.

After we ate breakfast that morning we drove back to Yellowstone.

The first stop was upper falls and then to tower falls. Tower falls had a long and scary/curvy/nauseating drive to get there that I'd probably skip if we ever went again. The first two pictures are from the upper falls.

While visiting upper falls, Charles climbed up this rock formation before I knew what he was up to. He wanted me to take a picture of  him way up there but I wanted him to come down so we compromised and I told him I'd take a picture if he would come down a littler closer to me. He did and Elisabeth joined him.

Here is the Tower Falls. Elisabeth brought her hiking water back pack but really didn't need it since the longest hike/walk we went on was maybe 1/4 of a mile.

Mammoth Hot Springs. My mom worked at Yellowstone one summer before she was married and she lived in the Mammoth Hot Springs area which was fun to see.

Now on to the next portion of our trip: our drive through beautiful Montana and onto the Seattle area of Washington.  Pictures from Washington to come on the next post. (Notice that Elisabeth fell asleep with her headphones on. We had three portable dvd players and the kids all had headphones and could watch movies and listen to audio books I checked out from the library. We also enforced some quiet/no media time for each leg of our trip.)


Scott said...

Nice hat, Scott. What great parents you are to take your kids to some of the coolest places in the US. Looks like you had a lot of fun. All we did was take you guys to the beach.

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