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Getting to Know Yellowstone, Inside and Out

Learn about Yellowstone with a family-oriented guidebook and a children’s story about this famous National Park.

 

If you want to be smarter than the average bear (literally) at Yellowstone, pick up these two comprehensive books for you and your kids. The first is a guide to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. This guide offers 52 fun family outings between both parks, as well as helpful tips for biking, hiking, backpacking, paddling, camping and, yes, bears.

The other guide is a non-fiction Ready-to-Read story of Yellowstone for your beginner reader or toddler, chock full of illustrations and kid-friendly information your cubs will gobble up.

by Lisa Gollin Evans. The Mountaineers Books, 2006; $15.95.

Yellowstone is hailed as one of the most spectacular national parks in the United States. And with a variety of kid-friendly activities to choose from, you’re sure to find the right adventure for your family. When taking youngsters on an excursion, I know that at least in my family, there has to be some sort of pay-off or much-anticipated surprise to lure them along. Which is why the list of Self-guided Safaris stood out for me. My boys would sit quietly in the car if they knew they might see antelope, elk and their young, coyotes, bighorn sheep and birds of prey—all in one car trip (Safari #1: Pronghorn in Yellowstone’s Northwest Corner).

But don’t forget to bring the binoculars—some of these sightings would be lost without them. The same goes for a hike. I may be able to convince my 3-year-old to hike his age in miles if he knew we were headed for meadows, forests, ponds, culminating in a stunning beach. But even better: a chance to see grizzlies! For this reason, rangers recommend traveling in parties of four or more. (Activity #22: Storm Point Nature Trail Loop, South Yellowstone).

This guidebook also delves into Grand Teton National Park, which also is spectacular. Grand Teton offers breathtaking mountain scenery, majestic Mount Moran, several beautiful lakes and a multitude of jagged peaks. One outing that looked intriguing was taking the family on a canoe trip to Leigh Lake Beach and/or Bearpaw Lake. Pack a picnic lunch and a swimsuit for the pristine white sand beach. Feeling adventurous? Bring along your tent. There are excellent lakeside campsites to enjoy. According to the author, although this trail is a gem, expect crowds and insects.

Pros

This guide is very easy to follow, as it is divided up by the different geographic regions of Yellowstone (North, Central, South), then North and South Grand Teton. There is a helpful Trip Finder grid to figure out which hikes seem plausible for your family based on criteria including difficulty, mileage, and what type of activity it is (hiking, biking, paddling, etc.).

I found the information on bears and what to do if you encounter one (or it encounters you!), to be very helpful. I know if I were traveling to one of these places, I would want to be as prepared as possible. Did you know that a bear can smell tuna—in the unopened can? The author’s main message on wildlife: respect them and you’ll be fine.

Cons

This is a 2006 edition, and there are currently no plans for an update.

Worth buying?

Yes. It’s a great guide for both parks and is very comprehensive and easy to use. Evans covers everything from ticks to handicapped accessible trails and doesn’t miss a beat. 


Destinations: Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Sightseeing


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