On Saturday morning we left really early and headed to Yellowstone! We figured since a good portion of the day would be spend driving that we'd stay outside of the park. In total the drive was about 5 hours give or take. Once we arrived we went to the visitors center to get our park pass and our Junior Ranger booklet.
The first thing we saw was the Grizzy and Wolf Discovery Center. Here we got to see a very cool small indoor museum about various wildlife. Outside we were able to see different types of birds, wolves (which were so beautiful) and even bears! There is a program (you have to register for) that lets kids go into the bears area while they're put away and hide the food for the bears who then come in and search it out. The kiddos loved seeing the animals. Of course our littlest thought one of the equally interesting exhibits was the display of what bears do to various types of containers to get inside searching for food. They do also have a playground which is always a saving grace for parents.
Our first official day inside the park was amazing! We decided to go out to The Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone first. Since we went during Labor Day, which is later in the season it was a bit chilly in the early morning. We also accidentally stuck our oldest shoes in the dryer so much they shrunk so this trooper wore boots all day since it was way to cold for flip flops. Once you arrive it's an amazing viewpoint that is easily accessible by a short walk and some stairs. The waterfall is stunning and the water was the most beautiful blue from being so cold. There are various hikes you can take including one called Artists Point. It was a very easy hike for us & both kids. There was minimal incline at the beginning and it was populated so we weren't worried about wildlife. We decided to go out and back since it was getting close to snack time and we weren't carrying any snacks (see previous post for hiking with kids).
After some lunch we went to Norris Junction to see all of the different hot springs and geysers. We timed it with baby cakes nap time so he'd sleep during the heat of the day and during our longest stretch. It's also absolutely not a place for littles to run around. There are no rails on the boardwalk and the water is often boiling tempatures. One wrong trip of the foot could result in serious consequences. Also remember that all your water bottles/hydration pack bladders are full as there is NO place to refill water here. We realized that after drinking our water as soon as we started the walk.
By the time we arrived, the area was absolutely slammed with people parked everywhere. We ended up parking on the side of the road about 1 mile away from the entrance to the boardwalk and walking in. Once you you get onto the boardwalk the white sands, hot springs and geysers are absolutely stunning. I loved seeing all the different colors and the way they were carved into the earth. These colors are really what they look like up close. I've never seen so many vibrant water or earth colors. The entire boardwalk trail is roughly 2.7 miles which our rockstar 5 year old did entirely by himself!
The geysers took most of the day so on our way back we decided we'd try to only hit one more stop. Just above Norris Geyser Basin is the Museum of the National Park Ranger. The museum was absolutely stunning on the outside and inside. There are lots of historic uniforms, information on firefighters and interesting displays. Needless to say our kids weren't as impressed as we were but they did enjoy running around outside and down by the creek. The volunteers were extremely knowledgable and friendly.
Our last stop before leaving the park was Gibbon Falls which is on the way to the west entrance. The parking lot is pretty small so parking the dully was a bit tight. There are some rocks the kids were able to climb on and burn some energy. You can walk up to the wall that overlooks the waterfall very easily. However it's a steep drop straight down so we held on to the kids pretty tight as they looked at the waterfall.
Our first day included about 5.8 miles of walking, hiking and exploring. We definitely packed a ton into day one, but had so much fun. The kids were incredible adventurers. We got to complete 3 pages in our Junior Ranger Booklet which helped us learn a ton about the park. All in all it was an amazing day that ended with full hearts and after some homemade chili full bellies. Next up, day two!
Happy Adventuring Friends!