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This is the final installment on Wyoming. Here’s a listing of the others: Paragliding, Grand Tetons, Junior Ranger and Young Scientist programs, Hotel Terra and Teton Village, Yellowstone, Mormon Row, and Boating.
Traveling with young kids can be tough especially when it comes to eating. My boys are by no means the pickiest eaters in the world, but there are many foods they won’t touch. That’s why I mentioned in a previous post that we were happy that we were close to a grocery store. We stocked up on some of their favorite snacks so we’d always have some when we were out. We also got one of those styrofoam coolers. So most days we packed our lunch in that and filled it with ice from the hotel vending area.
Mountain High Pizza Pie is located within the town of Jackson. They don’t have a lot of parking in front of the building, but there’s a free public parking garage about a block or two away. Their pizza has a crunchy crust. You order your pizza and drinks at a counter. They give you cups for the drinks to fill at their soda machine where plates, utensils, and napkins can also be found. They have seating both inside and at picnic tables outside. When your pizza is ready, they deliver it to your table. We liked the pizza so much, we went there twice during the vacation.
Bubba’s Bar-B-Que was another hit with our family. They obviously serve delicious pulled pork sandwiches. They also have a salad bar which has more than just garden salad ingredients. My husband really enjoyed all the sides that they had at the salad bar and said he would have been happy even just getting the salad bar with no entree. Bubba’s is located just outside of downtown and is well worth the short drive.
I think our kids favorite place to go was Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream. It was a really interesting place. They sold ice cream (obviously), but they also sold Nathan’s hot dogs and paint ball equipment. Most of their ice cream and sherbets are made with organic ingredients. My husband’s favorite flavor was Buzz Bomb (extreme espresso with chocolate). The kids and I ate chocolate chip, cookies and cream and chocolate, which were all excellent. The locals told us we had to try Wild Huckleberry, which my husband said was delicious. Moo’s is located right in the center of Jackson, next to the town green. So you can get some ice cream and enjoy it in the park.
Mountain High Pizza Pie
Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Yellowstone is an amazing place. The park is incredibly large, so there’s no way that I could cover everything in one post. There are entire books written about Yellowstone. So I’m only going to talk about what we did while in Yellowstone. Since we had kids with us and it took us about 2 hours to get there everytime we went, we only went twice and we didn’t stay for an extended period of time. We did however hit the big spots – Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.
The kids really enjoyed both spots. Every night we ask our kids what their favorite part of the day is. And on the Yellowstone days, it was seeing Old Faithful and the hike to the waterfall in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (Uncle Tom’s Trail).
We got to Yellowstone about 10 – 15 minutes before the predicted next time Old Faithful was going to erupt. That made for a nice start of the Yellowstone day. We also always tried to get on the road early to avoid crowds (we left before 6 AM on the Yellowstone days so we got to the sites around 8 AM). The Old Faithful day, the kids worked on the Young Scientist program which I discussed in a previous post. We also went a little north of Old Faithful as the crowds started to pour in. And we went wading in a stream off the side of the road where there was a picnic area. We had wanted to go swimming in Firehole River which is a thermal hot spot, but it was closed off.
Our second day, we went up to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The views on the trip up from the South entrance are beautiful. You pass by lakes and Lamar Valley (one of my favorite landscapes in Yellowstone – pictures don’t do it justice). We hiked down Uncle Tom’s Trail (328 steps down into the Canyon). I was so impressed that my boys did it and loved it. At the bottom of the trail, you get a great view of Lower Falls. If you don’t want to do the hike, but you want to see the Falls, head down to Artist View. A viewing point is only about 200 feet (or less) from the parking area and it’s pretty flat to get there (i.e. you don’t have to hike down the canyon). We also had a picnic near a field north of the Canyon Visitor Center. The boys finished up their Yellowstone Junior Ranger program and got sworn in at the Visitor Center.
One suggestion if you have to take kids on long car rides to locations. Get books on tape for them. I can download books on tape from our local library onto an MP3 player. I downloaded several books I knew the kids would like (Cam Jansen, Geronimo Stilton, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM). They absolutely loved it and we got a nice quiet ride! A lot of MP3 players won’t play WMA Protected files, which is what most library downloads are. If you want to do this, make sure yours does play them. I actually got an MP3 player specifically for books on tape. We have the Sandisk Sansa.
Lower Falls and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone (taken from Artist’s View)
My husband loves boating. He grew up in Vermont on Lake Champlain. And both times we went to Wyoming, he wanted to go out on Jackson Lake. The first time we were in Wyoming, we rented a canoe. I remember it fondly. We were on a tight budget (barely out of college), so we went to a grocery store and got Lunchables for our ride. We had our lunch on the lake and also went over to an island beach. It was a serene day.
This time, we rented a runabout from Signal Lake Lodge. We went out twice. There were hardly any other boats on Jackson Lake when we went. Both times we brought lunch and had a little picnic on the lake. The kids absolutely loved it! It was $55/hour plus gas and well worth it. You don’t need to be a licensed boater to rent one. They will show you everything you need and meet you at the dock when you come back in.
Mormon Row is located just outside of Grand Teton National Park. This area contains several historic buildings that were built by Mormon settlers near the turn of the 19th century. For the most part, these buildings are no longer inhabited. However, there is a one acre lot which contains several of the buildings where descendents live and operate a bed and breakfast.
Mormon Row is a quick outing where you can see beautiful buildings and should not be missed while you’re in Wyoming.
Free GoGo in August
You can get a free internet access on your flight if you’re traveling in August on a plane equipped with GoGo on one of the following airlines: Air Canada, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways, and Virgin America. All you need to do is connect to GoGo in-flight, buy a $12.95 or lower plan and enter DIETCOKEGOGO at checkout. It will change to $0 at checkout. Here’s a link on slickdeals with more information.
Hotel Terra and Teton Village
On our recent trip to Wyoming, we stayed at the Hotel Terra located in Teton Village. I found a deal for the hotel on Last Minute Travel which I talked about in a previous post. The hotel was relatively new – I believe it was built in 2008 and it is an eco-friendly hotel. Although the rooms are fairly small, we found it quite nice. The hotel staff was incredibly friendly. The hotel also had a small rooftop infinity pool. It was small and shallow (about 3 feet deep). However, it was heated and my boys absolutely loved it. On another floor, there is an adults only hot tub.
Teton Village was a great place to stay. There are several hotels around a main courtyard where activities are planned for most nights. The week we were there, they had a concert with local bands, a ranger talk about how the Tetons were formed, an art festival, and a birds of prey show. Also around the village, there is plenty of shopping and adventure sports companies. You can rent bikes, go on a bungy swing, take a tram to the top of the mountain, and paraglide. The courtyard also has a playscape and a water feature (water sprays up from the ground and a wall) for the kids to play in.
Teton Village is about 20 minutes outside of Jackson and about 5 minutes (or less) to one of the park entrances (via the Moose-Wilson Road). I liked that it was away from all of the activity of downtown Jackson and yet close enough to Jackson that we could go there every night if we wanted.
The biggest drawback of where we were staying in Teton Village was parking. There was a fenced in area where we could park for free with the hotel. However, it was very busy and there were a few times we almost couldn’t find parking. We typically got back to the hotel between 5 and 6. I think if we got back later, we may not have been able to find free parking. If you can’t find parking, the hotel does have valet parking where they park the car in their underground parking lot for $15/night.
Front of the Hotel Terra
Back of the Hotel Terra (taken from the courtyard area)
Standard Room with Double Beds
Infinity Pool Overlooking the Courtyard
Outdoor Water Feature in the Courtyard