Venture into the wild with the help of expert naturalist guides.
For some, venturing off the road most traveled doesn’t come easy. Here are several programs designed to help you get where you and your family really want to go: beyond the beaten path.
This is your chance to journey into the wild. But you won’t have to go it alone!
The Yellowstone Association, the official educational partner of the National Park Service founded in 1933 to foster the public’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding ecosystem, provides programs almost year-round that enable parents and children to delve deeper into this amazing natural environment.
During the winter, small groups head out with guides, on foot, skis, snowcat or snowmobiles. They’ll learn more about the first national park in the United States and the wildlife that lives within the park's boundaries.
You can choose to head out at sunrise to catch the wolves in action or observe the bison warming themselves near the spouting geysers. Another program takes visitors on cross country skis deep into the interior of the park for a glimpse of reclusive wildlife and vistas seen by few. Yet another group sets off into the Northern Range, where the bears are most plentiful.
Each evening, adventurers return to the hotel or lodge and can participate in spirited educational sessions led by the Park Service before a welcoming soak in the hot tub.
During the spring, summer and fall, additional four- to six-day programs highlight the best each season brings forth.
Participants must be 12 or older. The price includes most meals, park lodging, expert instruction and optional evening programs. From $639 per person, double occupancy.
The park offers two programs—one in winter, one in summer—designed specifically for families with children 8 to 12 years old.
In winter, kids and their parents will take photographs, learn animal tracking skills and take to the snow on skis or snow shoes.
In summer—mid-June through mid-August—the days are active. Families learn about the more than 300 geysers and mud pots, explore the trail system and check out the many species—elk, bison, wolves, bears, coyotes—that are enjoying the summer sun. So many creatures to count, so little time!
Both programs enable kids to earn the Junior Ranger badge (read more about ranger programs here). They also provide the opportunity to learn about the area’s ecosystem from the experts at an early age. From $1,988 for a family of four.
Yet another alternative for those eager to sink deeper into Yellowstone’s rich history and amazing eco-system is the Ed-venture program.
The eight-hour trips provide a private and personalized introduction to the wonders of Yellowstone. Programs focus on the diverse and abundant wildlife of Yellowstone’s Northern Range, natural history and geology in the Canyon and Lake Yellowstone areas, and the thermal features in the Old Faithful area.
Families or small groups can also craft programs to suit their knowledge levels or specific interests. Head into the backcountry or learn to use a spotting scope to get closer to nature than you thought possible. The idea is to deepen the visitor’s knowledge and understanding of all things Yellowstone.
Daily rates, effective through October 31, 2008, are $495 for one to six participants, $625 for seven to 13 participants and $1,250 for 14 to 26 participants. For more information about all the above programs visit www.YellowstoneAssociation.org.
Destinations: Yellowstone National Park
Great sounding programs I'm glad they have some solid-sounding programs. It's definitely something I'd look at when going to Yellowstone.