Yellowstone w/5 and 7 year-old girls

Jul 30th, 2007, 05:39 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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Yellowstone w/5 and 7 year-old girls

I'm in the beginning stages of planning our next "big" trip and am seriously considering Yellowstone and the Tetons. My girls are on the young side...assuming I may only go once in their "living at home years," should I wait a couple more years before taking them? They enjoy the outdoors and like to explore when we take them on local hikes (also, loved Acadia Nat'l Park in Maine in '06). They're both interested in animals and nature. Both are adventurous and like to try new things (floating on Snake River and horseback riding in the parks sounded great). It won't be a cheap vacation, so if I'm going to spend the $$$ I want to get the timing just right. A couple of other questions...

junior ranger to 5 and 7-year-olds? are they free?

Boiling River...not too hot (or cold?) at the end of August?

Any responses are welcome..thanks!

1travelbug is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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My grandson was 7 when he visited Yellowstone. My son helped him participate in the junior ranger program and he did all the requirements and felt like had accomplished something.

If not free, the cost is nominal.

I think it depends on the child. If they get a thrill out of seeing a herd of bison, then they should enjoy Yellowstone.

bob_brown is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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We took our kids when they were that age and had a good time. They especially loved the "paint pots" thermal feature and the ground squirrels that live under the cabins at Mammoth Hot Springs.

The Junior Ranger programs are free. Also, don't be like us and miss the Roosevelt cookout. Reservations are required well in advance -- you can take a horse or wagon out to the site. I really regret not planning for that one.
jayne1973 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 11:21 AM
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We are going to Yellowstone(1st trip for everyone) in August with our kids are 9 and 11. My husband wanted to go for years but for me I wanted them to be able to do some long hikes (5 miles). So we waited until this year.
smom is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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Fine age for Yellowstone. Best is that along roadway there are many turn-offs, sites that require short walks (versus hikes) in from parking area of less than 1/4 mile to perhaps a mile RT. Manageable distances to do several times/day with kids that age.

Animals - almost an animal guarantee, especailly bison walking in roadways. (Do not do what we saw some idiots doing which is try to put a kid on a bison for a photo-op; I was hoping the beast would stampede).

Someone here posted that Boiling River is closed - not sure how they close a river, but maybe they do so by closing parking area.

Lots of float trips out of Jackson Hole area; white water rafting out of Gardiner (northern entrance to YNP). These are of varying intensity and on the one we took there was an 8 year old - don't know if younger kids can go.
gail is online now  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:13 PM
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When we were there in early June 2006, it was closed. I read on the website: Boiling River is closed in the springtime due to hazardous high water and often does not reopen until mid-summer. I won't want to get caught by a ranger when they have it closed, I'm sure the fine would be steep. It also sounds dangerous when it's closed, hopefully people would consider their own saftey.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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The first time we took our grandson to YS he was the tender age of 7. We tent camped in the Lamar Valley in one of the CG's. He enjoyed the outdoors and the campfires at night..... loves sleeping in tents. Don't let the little ones get to adventurous while in and around the thermal areas. I have seen toddlers wondering around dangerously near to them..
RedRock is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 05:09 PM
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Thanks mind is made up I think. It's going to be Yellowstone for us in August, 2008 (is it too early to be excited?!).

Thanks for the advice...I think we will definitely count on doing the wagon ride to the Roosevelt cookout, the junior ranger program and a river float in the Tetons (they allow children from 4 and up).

Now I'll need to narrow down how we'll get there (I'm thinking road trip but where to stop along the way???) and where we'll stay (3 nights in Old Faithful Inn, 2 nights somewhere else in the park, 1 night in Grand Teton area?).

Thanks so much!
1travelbug is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:01 PM
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The one and only time I visited Yellowstone, I was 7. I remember most of the trip
I would definitely take the trip while they are young. Once the teen years come, camping and roughing it are not as fun or interesting.(At least for my teen girls). I think the ideal age would be around 8-10 years old, but go and enjoy!
girlonthego is offline  
Jul 31st, 2007, 07:11 PM
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1travelbug -- where will you be coming from?

We're going out next week (from the east coast). I found it was relatively reasonable to fly directly into Jackson, Wyoming ($420 R/T per person). I made our lodging reservations around December, and that was fine. Things seem to really begin booking up about January.

My kids are 12 and 10. I originally wanted to take them to Yellowstone two years ago, when they would have been 10 and 8, but I was outvoted in favor of Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands (if you can believe that). Still, my kids had a great time on that trip, and the things we saw were fine for them at that age. The only concern I'd have about Yellowstone for kids aged 5 and 7 is that they might appreciate some of the geology of the geysers and mineral springs better if they were a little older. But they can certainly enjoy the animals and the shorter hikes, of which there seem to be a good number.
jeffergray is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 03:39 AM
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Hi jeffergray...

We'll be driving from NJ and plan to do it in 2 days with 1 overnight stop, possibly 2 nights if there's a compelling enough reason to visit some places along the way (time isn't really an issue). When I looked up airfares for this August, the best I could find was $535 pp for a total of $2140 (plus the cost of a rental car). That kinda put a damper on flying for me, as I'd rather spend $500-$600 on driving there and back and use some of the add'l savings to sightsee comfortably. Also, we're saving hard for a 2-week Europe trip in 2010 so we're trying to keep this trip on a lower budget. As much as I'd prefer to fly, there have been many positive posts on this forum about family road trips, so I'm trying to get excited about the idea of a long drive (although when I recall our 10-hour trip to Maine in '06 and how close my husband and I were to leaving our kids at the diner at our halfway point, I start looking up airfares again...).
1travelbug is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 04:59 AM
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Travelbug, I made my first trip to YNP when I was 6. I still have vivid memories of that trip. Words cannot describe my experience when my dad turned a curve one night to have the car lights shine on a herd of buffalo right in front of us. Spectacular!

As far as driving with little ones, take some of the money you saved on airfare and invest in some electronic games (1 for each child) and headphones. How about a backseat DVD player (with individual headphones) too? You know, it must be great to be a child nowadays! ;-)

Don't forget to bring some good binoculars.
BayouGal is offline  
Aug 1st, 2007, 11:20 AM
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As far as places to stay, I think 3 different locations in a week might be too much with small ones, or even for the big ones. I'd suggest splitting the time between YNP, like Old Faithful Inn, and maybe Jackson Lake Lodge in the Tetons. We really liked JLL and it was a good base for the entire area. Try and get the rooms on the backside of the hotel - they have unobstructed vistas overlooking Jackson Lake and the Tetons - quite spectacular. You're also close to Jackson Hole if you want to go into the "city", which has a lot of nice restaurants, shops and activities.
dfr4848 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2007, 09:17 AM
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I didn't reply sooner because we were in Yellowstone for a week. I think your girls would do fine, but if you are truly only thinking you will go once, I would wait. We first went when our kids were 6 and 7, and although the youngest remembers a couple of things, it's much better now that they're older. They're able to do more hiking, endure long periods in the car (once you get to Yellowstone, there is still A LOT of driving to see the different aspects of the park).

As for the Boiling River, it was open when we were there and should be open at the end of August. Whether it's too cold or hot will depend on your girls. We experimented with the different areas where the waters come together, and different family members preferred different mixes.
follow_your_bliss is offline  

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