Wyoming – Mormon Row

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. 

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Wyoming – Hotel Terra and Teton Village and free GoGo in August

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

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Back of the Hotel Terra (taken from the courtyard area)

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Standard Room with Double Beds

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Infinity Pool Overlooking the Courtyard

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Outdoor Water Feature in the Courtyard

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The Courtyard

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Wyoming – Grand Tetons

 I love, love, love Grand Teton National Park.  I think that it is an often overlooked national park and people don’t give it the consideration that they should since Yellowstone is so close.  I do enjoy Yellowstone, but the 2 times we’ve been to Wyoming, I’ve found that we spent most of our time in the Tetons.  Why do I like it so much?

  • Size – Relatively speaking, it’s scale is more compact, especially when compared to Yellowstone (approximately 310,000 acres compared to 2.2 million acres).  And yet there is so much to do in the park.
  • Many differing levels of hiking - You can go on multi-day hikes or an hour or so hikes, both that take you to amazing places.
  • Wildlife - Many animals make the Grand Tetons your home.  While we were there on this trip, we saw moose, elk, mule deer, bison, and coyotes to name a few.  If there is a specific animal you want to see, ask a ranger at one of the Visitor Centers where’s the best place for viewing.  For example, if you want to see moose, you should look on the Moose-Wilson Road fairly close to the main Visitor Center.  We knew if we set out early in the morning, we were pretty much gauranteed that we would see one.
  • Water Activies – From swimming to canoeing to boating, there is so much to do on the lakes in the Tetons.
  • The Views – The Tetons are spectacular.  Because of how they were formed, you don’t have foothills and they appear to rise straight up out of the ground and lakes.
  • Proximity to Amenities – Grand Teton National Park is right outside Jackson, WY.  I loved that we could go to a regular grocery store.

Here are a few pictures as an overview to our trip to the Tetons.  This first picture is from the most popular hike in the Tetons.  The hike takes you to Hidden Falls (first picture) and Inspiration Point (second picture).  You can either take a ferry over to a trailhead at the bottom of the mountain or you can hike over from the South Jenny Lake Visitor Center.  Since the kids were joining us for the hike, we took the ferry over.

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This was a bison we saw from the main road between the Grand Tetons and Yellowsone.

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View from the road up Signal Mountain.

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Membership Reward 50% Bonus on Transfer to British Airways

Awhile back I talked about the promotion that Amex Membership rewards was running on transfers to British Airways.  The promotion ends on 7/31 and gives you a 50% bonus points on transfers.  I got in on the 50k Amex Gold deal in June so I had some Membership Reward points.  I don’t plan on keeping the Amex card after the year is up because I don’t want to pay the annual fee. 

There were 2 offers out there for Membership Rewards right now – one for British Airways and one for Delta.  You could get a 40% bonus with Delta if you transfer at least 50,000 miles.  I don’t like Delta miles.  They are hard to redeem for lower cost rewards.

I really like British Airways miles.  As I’ve stated in previous posts, I will not use British Airways miles for travel to Europe because of the fees that British Airways charges on those flights.  I like British Airways miles for travel on their partner airlines which includes American Airlines.  British Airways also allows unlimited stopovers.

So if you have some Membership Rewards sitting around, you might want to consider transfering them over to British Airways by this Sunday.

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Wyoming – Junior Ranger Program and Young Scientist Program

 I loved both the Junior Ranger Program and the Young Scientist Program!  They both helped our kids get really engaged in the parks.  And I learned a lot too from the programs.  Here’s how the programs work:

Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program is a program that many of the National Parks offer.  The activities you do are different for each park so that you learn about the park.  Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton required that the kids go to a Ranger Talk and do some activities like word searches or answering questions about the animals in the park.  The activities you have to do change based on how old you are.  Aftering completing the activities for your age group, you return your newspaper to a ranger at any Visitor Center.  They review your work and swear you in as a Junior Ranger.  At Grand Teton National Park, you have a choice of a patch or a badge pin.  At Yellowstone, they only had the patches (which I preferred, but my sons preferred the pins).

Grand Teton National Park asked for a $1 donation to participate in the program.  Yellowstone was free of charge (I think because this year is its 20th anniversary, the program paper actually had $3 at the top of the paper).  Here’s a link to the Grand Teton program newspaper.  Here’s a link to the Yellowstone Junior Ranger page.  There are links on the page to the newspapers.  There is one for 5-7 year olds and one for 8-12 year olds.  Anyone can participate in the Grand Teton Junior Ranger program, even adults.  One of the shopkeepers in the park told us about that and said his wife did it.

The Grand Teton National Park has another route to earning your Junior Ranger badge for 8 – 12 year olds.  They hold Junior Ranger program event at the South Jenny Lake Visitor Center.  It’s an hour and a half program.  You can make a reservation for your child at any of the Visitor Centers.  The day of the program you drop your child off at the flag pole outside of the Visitor Center.  At the end of the program, you meet your child back at the flag pole where they perform the swearing in ceremony and receive their badge.

Showing the Ranger their work in Yellowstone

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Swearing in Ceremony after the Grand Teton Junior Ranger Program

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Swearing in at the Grand Teton Visitor Center After Completing the Activities

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Young Scientist Program

This program was really neat.  The program consists of an activity book that kids 5 and up complete to earn a Young Scientist patch or keychain.  The activities revolve around the geyers and thermal features and the amount of activites you need to complete is dependent on your age.  The basic premise is the kids need to hypothesize if geyers are alive.  They then complete activities to test their hypothesis.  This booklet does take awhile to complete, so be prepared to spend at least 3 hours.

The program is only offered at the Old Faithful Visitor Center in Yellowstone and costs $5.  As part of the program, you can check out a Young Scientist backpack to use free of charge.  Included in the backpack is a wheel that shows you how hot a thermal feature is based on the color, colored pencils, rock samples, and a laser thermometer.  The laser thermometer was so cool!  You pointed it at the various thermal features and it would tell you how hot they were.  The highest reading we got was 185 degrees!

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