Since 2015, Yellowstone National Park has attracted more than 4 million visitors per year. It’s an especially popular destination for families. If you’re thinking of going to see Old Faithful with your youngsters in tow, there are steps you can take to ensure that the trip is an enjoyable experience for everyone.
You’re bound to encounter plenty of wildlife when touring Yellowstone. Remember that these are wild animals in their natural habitat, and they should be given a wide berth. Warn children in advance to admire animals from a distance. Even herbivores, like buffalo and bighorn sheep, can be aggressive when threatened. If you’re planning on hiking, exercise the same caution that you would at home. Use the buddy system, and give clear instructions on what should happen if anyone becomes lost or separated from the group. Make sure to choose a trail that’s easy enough for the smallest members of the family to navigate without too much help.
The park is huge, so you’ll probably have to do some driving while you’re there. Consider renting a sport utility vehicle if you don’t already have one. SUVs have a raised ground clearance, among other benefits compared with a smaller car. Also, keep in mind that the roads will likely be quite congested, especially if you visit during the summer months. Exercise caution when traversing the roads—accidents are more common than you might expect, as motorists tend to stop abruptly when spotting wildlife.
Setting the Pace
Young children will naturally be excited about exploring this new place, and you might be tempted to follow their lead by cramming a bunch of “must-see” sights into your itinerary. Resist this urge, and instead encourage the family to slow down and appreciate the natural splendor that the park has to offer.
The Junior Rangers
Before leaving home, do some research on this excellent program to determine whether it’s something your kids would be interested in. They’ll learn numerous factoids about the park’s resident flora and fauna, not to mention its long history. Upon completing the program, Junior Rangers receive an official badge and plenty of bragging rights to share with their friends back home.
Traveling with children might require a bit of extra preparation and effort. However, the wonders of Yellowstone are capable of delighting visitors of all ages. If you keep these tips in mind, you might find yourself planning a return trip before you’ve even left the park.
For more tips on how to travel with kids, read on here!