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Yellowstone, a top destination 200 years on
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone, a top destination 200 years on

Children and Geyser


Photo by Zephyr Adventures

By Allan Wright, Zephyr Adventures

Yellowstone may be the oldest U.S National Park but it remains a top family vacation destination more than 200 years on. Why? Yellowstone National Park offers something for the casual outdoorsman and ardent adventurer and all families in between. Bubbling geothermal mudpots, roving wildlife and ranger-led activities. Nature walks, day hikes and backcountry treks. Canoeing, camping and picnicking. What's more, you need not mortgage the house to enjoy a vacation with kids in Yellowstone National Park.

Geothermal Wonders
Yellowstone is home to half the world's geothermal features. More than 300 geysers, including the infamous Old Faithful, shoot water into the air on any given day. And as impressive as that might sound, believe it or there's more. Thousands of gurgling mudpots, rainbow-colored hot springs and steam-emitting fumaroles are located within the confines of this U.S. National Park.

Wildlife Viewing
Not only is Yellowstone home to a great diversity of fauna, the wildlife is often visible from the road. In an age where espying a chipmunk can be a rewarding experience, in Yellowstone, you can spot bison just yards from a national park lodge, catch sight of a coyote ambling through the brush, or park your vehicle at the side of the road to watch a grizzly bear and her cub. Bring your binoculars!

Ranger-led Activities
There is soooo much to learn about Yellowstone. And the range of activities offered is so broad that your biggest challenge is likely to prove choosing. Don't forget to consider the interests of the kids. Many of the programs are designed to get them thinking while you relax and listen.

Outdoor Pursuits
Yellowstone has 2.2 million acres to explore! And the vast majority of visitors never leave the pavement. That leaves a lot of wilderness for those that do. Enjoy a hike on one of the park's many trails, ride horses from Mammoth, Tower-Roosevelt, or Canyon visitor centers, or rent canoes and paddle on Yellowstone Lake.

Do it Yourself vs Organized Adventure
There nearly as many options as there are activities at Yellowstone National Park. Packing the family vehicle, reserving a campsite (be sure to so well in advance) and mapping your vacation independently is the cheapest route by far. Booking hotels outside the park - West Yellowstone, Gardiner or Red Lodge - can be less expensive than staying at historic park lodges. But for a stress-free vacation that there is nothing like an organized family adventure and many are reasonably priced.

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Travel Trivia
Which of the following animals are you likely to spot on an African safari: