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Trip Report Jackson Hole with Kids Trip Report

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Just got back from a fun, short getaway to Jackson. We are in Salt Lake City, so it is about a 6 hour drive--it was nice to get out of the July/August heat here! We had DH and me plus our 2 kids--ages 11 and 9.

On the drive up, we stopped in Idaho Falls at the Museum of Eastern Idaho. They always have fascinating traveling exhibits (this one was on the race for the South Pole) and it breaks up the drive really well.

We stayed at the Virginian, which is just south of Jackson, near the junction to Wilson. The Virginian is older but they have a great pool and a lovely central courtyard. We got a 2 bedroom suite with kitchen for around $225 a night. I have paid that much, easily, for just a room in town. So that was a great feature. Plus, we were in an upper room--so I would sit outside in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine while looking out over the hills and mountains. Very nice. There were some issues with the air conditioning units--and one room did not have an AC unit, but did have a fan. The kids thought it was great. I really enjoyed using the hot tub after our river rafting trip!!

We ate at Betty Rock, which was good, but not GREAT. We got Thai food one night that was great and the next night we got food at the Sidewinder Grill which is practically across the street and that meal was fine. The kids got take out from Pizza Hut one night. For breakfast, the Pearl Street bagel place was SUPERB. Good bagels, great coffee. ahhhhhhhh.

The first day we went on the half day white water trip with Barker Ewing--my favorite river outfit. It was overcast and a little cold. The trip was great--we were in a raft with 3 families and the kids all had a great time. My son was even the "hood ornament" through 2 of the biggest rapids. I actually jumped in for a swim in a calm section and that was chilly!!! We saw lots of osprey and eagles and even beavers! My daughter was scared but even she said it was fun when it was all done. We did the 11:30 departure so by the time we got back, we were ready to take a rest, get in the hot tub etc. We went out for dinner and then walked around the main square and did the stage coach ride because my kids love it for some reason.

The second day we went up to GTNP. We rented bikes at Dornan's in Moose and rode to Jenny Lake. The bike path was awesome!!! You ride through meadows and have a continuous view of the Tetons. We saw all sorts of birds, flowers, critters, a snake etc. We stopped at various pull outs and trail heads. The trail heads were overflowing with cars and people. I had decided not to hike on this trip because I knew it would be so crowded. The bike path had very few people on it and turned out to be great for this trip. If we had not had the kids with us, we would have done a harder trail and thus gotten away from people. But the trails in this part are either somewhat easy or quite taxing, there isn't a lot of in between! We then went up to Jackson Lake Lodge for lunch at the Pioneer Grill and to take in the view from the "veranda". Then we took the bikes back to Moose and visited the Park Visitor Center there. It is really, really awesome. It is fairly new and I had not yet seen it. I really liked it!

The third day, we slept in and then went to the Art Museum north of town, across from the Elk Refuge. I had never been in the place--it is incredible. The architecture is cool. The exhibits are really well done. My kids really liked it and so did DH and I. Then we went to Wilson for a show at the Raptor Center. That was an hour and very informative. We grabbed snacks at the Wilson General Store and then drove south for the "Introduction to Rodeo" class I had seen on Trip Advisor. My daughter and I did that. My son did not want to ride. Poor DH ended up taking him to the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. ugh. My son thought it was AWESOME. As for the rodeo class--I would say it depends on what you want. My daughter wanted to "ride"--to do more than just sit on a horse in a trail ride. And you absolutely get to do that! She cantered/loped for the first time and really had fun. She and I were the only people in the session, which was nice. I used to ride competitively. I thought the class was fun. But its in an arena--on a gorgeous ranch mind you, with lots of birds soaring overhead, etc.. I would have rather seen the sights on a good trail ride. My brother used to wrangle at the Trail Creek Ranch when they had horses and they went on some amazing trail rides. But I did have fun riding barrels--I have watched that event for many years but never did it myself. And learning to rope a steer was also fun and interesting. So if you want to do something different and you want to do more than just walk on a horse, this would be good for you. It is also expensive--it was over $300 for the 2 of us. But, again, it depends on the experience you want.

We drove straight home the next day--thank goodness for audio books!!!! All in all, it was a fun time. If we go again (and we probably will), I think I am going to stay at the cabins at Dornans. They looked nice and were in a lovely meadow. And they didn't have tourists walking all over the place :-) My only regret was that we didn't see a moose!!!!! I love moose. And yes, I can see moose in the canyons here--or when we have a bad winter, they actually show up in our neighborhood!!!! But I love seeing them in the ponds munching water plants etc. oh well. Now my kids might be willing to do an overnight rafting trip--maybe next summer!

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