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Yellowstone with Kids

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Here are 9 places that you MUST see when you visit Yellowstone with kids! Also find out where to stay and where to eat near the park.

A mom and two kids at Gibbon Falls in Yellowstone National Park

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We are continuing our summer of National Parks with kids to show you all of the fun that you can do when you get outside and see all of the beauty nature has to offer!

Fourth Graders in the U.S. have the opportunity to visit all National Parks for free with a pass provided by the Every Kid Outdoors program and we have had so much fun exploring fun destinations closer to home.

Fourth Grader National Parks Pass

So far we have visited Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is located in north-western Wyoming with a little of it spilling over into Montana and Idaho.

Madison River inside Yellowstone National Park

There are five entrances into the park that feed into the main roadway, the Grand Loop.

5 Entrances of Yellowstone National Park with Kids

During our visit, we entered the west entrance through West Yellowstone Montana.

On our last day we exited to the south and drove through Grand Teton National Park on our way to Jackson Hole Wyoming.

A dad and a child at Yellowstone

9 Things to See in Yellowstone with Kids

When we go to Yellowstone, we like to spend two days inside the park.

The main drive through Yellowstone basically makes a figure 8. We spend one day doing the upper loop and one day doing the lower.

Map of Yellowstone National Park Grand Loop

Numbers 1-6 are in the upper loop and 6-9 are in the lower loop.

#1 Terrace Spring

Terrace Spring was our first stop after entering the park through West Yellowstone.

It is a collection of small springs that are in a flower-filled meadow.

Terrace Spring in Yellowstone with Kids
Terrace Spring

The parking lot was quite small, but there was enough room for those who wanted to take a look at the springs.

Danger sign at Terrace Spring in Yellowstone National Park

There is a boardwalk that leads you around Terrace Spring that keeps you on the right path. There are also plenty of warnings that going off the boardwalk can be very dangerous.

Terrace Spring at Yellowstone
Terrace Spring

The green land all around is beautiful. My boys were delighted that we found a squirrel and got to see him looking at us and then run through the meadow!

Make sure to check out the video of our visit to see the cute little squirrel!

Map of Terrace Spring Yellowstone

#2 Gibbon Falls

Our next stop was Gibbon Falls. Gibbon Falls is a waterfall on the Gibbon river and is on the north west side of Yellowstone National Park.

Gibbon Falls at Yellowstone
Gibbon Falls

There is a small parking lot and a short, paved walkway that will take you to a viewing area.

Map to Gibbon Falls Yellowstone National Park

There is a large drop off, so make sure to hold on tight to your little ones. Gibbon Falls is definitely a must-see landmark in Yellowstone!

#3 Artists’ Paint Pots

Artists' Paint Pots Yellowstone with Kids
Artists’ Paint Pots

The Artists’ Paint Pots area was one of our favorite sights in Yellowstone.

To get to the Paint Pots, you follow a trail that leads to a boardwalk.

Geysers at Artists' Paint Pots in Yellowstone National Park
Artists’ Paint Pots

The boardwalk is a loop that circles many geothermal features including colorful hot springs, a fumarole, mudpots, and active geysers.

Mud Pot at Artists' Paint Pots in Yellowstone with kids

The total walk from the parking lot is about one mile.

Part of the loop around the Artists’ Paint Pots involves climbing stairs, so keep that in mind if you have small children.

Hot Spring at Artists' Paint Pots inside Yellowstone National Park
Artists’ Paint Pots

Also, make sure to stay on the trail. The ground is really unstable!

Map of Artists' Paint Pots in Yellowstone

#4 Roaring Mountain

Roaring Mountain was a fun little stop just off the road, no hiking involved. This mountainside is full of fumaroles.

Sign at Roaring Mountain what is a fumarole
Roaring Mountain

Fumaroles are basically hot air vents. Hot water under the ground boils away before reaching the surface, then steam and other gasses escape through holes.

Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone
Roaring Mountain

It was fun to see these features at Roaring Mountain. Pockets of steam were popping out all over the place, then seemed to move to a different location. My kids loved it!

Map to Roaring Mountain in Yellowstone with kids

#5 Lamar Valley

If you came to Yellowstone to see animals, go to Lamar Valley.

This valley surrounds the Lamar River, which eventually feeds into the Yellowstone River.

Bison in Lamar Valley Yellowstone
Lamar Valley

This is the perfect environment for many animals. We were able to see hundreds of bison, deer, a coyote, and a black bear. It was amazing!

Deer in Lamar Valley Yellowstone National Park
Lamar Valley

The Lamar Valley is in the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park and is near the North East Entrance.

Bison crossing the road in Yellowstone
Lamar Valley

There are plenty of pull out areas where you can stop your car to look at the animals.

Also, watch for animals crossing and walking in the road. We were stuck behind bison in the road quite a few times!

Map of Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park

#6 Mammoth Hot Springs

There is so much to see and do in the Mammoth Hot Springs area in Yellowstone.

Not only will you find the amazing hot springs, but you can also talk to a Park Ranger at the Albright Visitor Center, visit Fort Yellowstone, grab some lunch at a restaurant, and see some elk!

Tree at Mammoth Springs Yellowstone with Kids
Mammoth Hot Springs

Every time I have been to Mammoth, there have been elk. Please remember to keep your distance though. These animals are wild!

Hot Spring at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone
Mammoth Hot Springs

There is a driving tour through Mammoth as well as boardwalks that you can use to explore the amazing hot springs.

Hot spring at Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs

We walked around Canary Springs. The most amazing part to me are the bright blue pools with the clear water. It is so beautiful!

Map of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

#7 Firehole Falls

Firehole Falls is a waterfall on the Firehole River. It is just south of the Madison Junction. 

Firehole Falls Sign in Yellowstone with Kids
Firehole Falls

You drive on a one way road through a canyon that is next to Firehole River.

When you get to the falls, there is a small parking lot where you can park and take in the beauty of the area.

Firehole Falls Yellowstone
Firehole Falls

Farther down the road there is swimming area, but it was closed during our visit.

Map of Firehole Falls in Yellowstone

#8 Fountain Paint Pots

The Fountain Paint Pot trail takes you on a large loop around a number of thermal features including hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and mud pots.

Hot Spring at Fountain Paint Pots
Fountain Paint Pots

The walk around the Fountain Paint Pot area is about 1/2 mile.

It is a boardwalk hike, but there is a spot with a couple of stairs at one point.

It’s definitely a pretty easy hike for kids, just make sure they stay on the path.

Warning Sign at Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone
Fountain Paint Pot

Here are a few of the cool features we liked:

Fountain Paint Pots
Fountain Paint Pot

Volcanic Table

Volcanic Table, Fountain Geyer in Yellowstone National Park
Volcanic Table

Map to Fountain Paint Pots

Map of Fountain Paint Pots Yellowstone with Kids

#9 Old Faithful

Old Faithful is the most iconic part of Yellowstone National Park and is definitely a must-see attraction, especially when you visit with kids.

Sign in front of Old Faithful Yellowstone
Old Faithful

It is on of 500 geysers in Yellowstone and one of only 6 that erupts on schedule.

Old Faithful Erupting
Old Faithful

Park Rangers are able to predict the times of this famous geyser almost to the minute, which is why it has the name “Old Faithful”. 

People watching Old Faithful
Old Faithful

When we arrived, there was about 25 minutes until the next event so we took that time to walk around the area.

Area behind Old Faithful Yellowstone
Old Faithful

Behind Old Faithful, there were more thermal features including some boiling hot springs.

Area behind Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful

To the west of Old Faithful, there was a large meadow with a lone bison.

He stood in the same spot for awhile, before slowly walking toward a group of people on the path.

Bison in a meadow west of Old Faithful
Old Faithful

The people were excited to take a selfie with the large animal, but were way too close.

Fortunately, they were fine, but the day after we where there, a bison gored a park goer in the same area.

Bison walking toward people at Yellowstone
Old Faithful

Make sure to watch our video to see how close they were!

Once again, please give these wild animals their space. They are not something you want to mess around with!

Map of Old Faithful in Yellowstone with Kids

 

Where to Stay Near Yellowstone with Kids

On our visit to Yellowstone with our kids, we decided that spending 3 nights would be perfect for us.

Springhill Suites Island Park, Idaho

We drove from Salt Lake City through Northern Utah and Eastern Idaho to the town of Island Park.

Island Park is about 25 minutes from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and was a great place to stay.

Springhill Suites Island Park Review

We stayed at a brand new Springhill Suites location for our first two nights.

It was a beautiful property with surrounded by trees and the Snake River.

Lobby of Springhill Suites Island Park

The lobby had 2 story windows facing the river and was absolutely breathtaking. 

Lobby of Springhill Suites Island Park

There was an indoor climate-controlled pool, and a large outdoor hot tub.

Hot tub at Springhill Suites Island Park, Idaho

Springhill Suites offers a complimentary breakfast for their guests which was a grab-and-go style during our stay.

Outdoor Patio at Springhill Suites Island Park

Hotel Room

There was a mix up with our reservation and the room we had reserved wasn’t available.

But Springhill Suites was very helpful and gave us two guest rooms to make up for the mistake.

King Suite

As you enter our suite, you will see a mini-fridge and a microwave which definitely comes in handy with kids.

Microwave and mini fridge in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

There is also a sitting area with a desk and chair, an ottoman, and a sofa.

Desk area in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

My kids loved that the sofa had a trundle bed that could be pulled out to accommodate another guest.

Sofa with trundle bed in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

Next to the desk is a partition and on the other side is a King Size bed, a closet, and the bathroom.

king bed in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

The bathroom was very spacious and has a great light up mirror over the sink.

Bathroom vanity in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

There was no bath tub, but there was a stand-up shower.

Stand up shower in King Suite at Springhill Suites Island Park near Yellowstone

Springhill Suites Jackson Hole Review

For our third night, we decided to drive back to Salt Lake City through the South Entrance of Yellowstone.

We stayed at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Street view of Springhill Suites Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This location is right down town and is in walking distance to many restaurants. We ate at a delicious pizza place called Pinky G’s Pizzeria.

Lobby of Springhill Suites Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Hotel Room

For this stay we had a suite with 2 Queen beds.

2 Queen Suite at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This room also came equipped with a mini-fridge and microwave.

Microwave and mini fridge in Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The pull out trundle bed was also a feature of this room to the delight of my boys.

Sofa with pull out trundle bed at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The bathroom was also very spacious and had a stand up shower.

Bathroom and shower at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was that there was frosted glass in the bathroom door.

That means that if someone uses the bathroom while everyone is sleeping, the bathroom light is seen throughout the room.

TV and bathroom door at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Breakfast at this location is also included. To get your breakfast, head down to the lobby and you will order what you want from a helpful employee.

Pool and hot tub at Springhill Suites in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

We loved both Springhill Suites locations and would definitely stay at both again.

Where to Eat near Yellowstone

On our visit to Yellowstone, we ate dinner in Rexburg, West Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole. Here is where we ate and what is available for kids!

Fresco Kitchen Italian Melt

Fresco Kitchen & Grill

This fun restaurant is located in Rexburg, Idaho and was absolutely delicious!

We stopped here on our way to Island Park after a visit to Yellowstone Bear World.

Fresco Kitchen & Grill in Rexburg Idaho near Yellowstone with kids

Fresco Kitchen & Grill has salads, soups, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and artisan pizzas.

Kids eating at Fresco Kitchen and Grill in Rexburg Idaho

My husband and I split the Italian Melt and we ordered a side of Loaded Fresco Fries, which were both amazing.

Loaded Fries from Fresco Kitchen in Rexburg, Idaho

Kids meals were $4.99 and include a soft drink or juice. The choices are Kid Pizza, Grilled Cheese, Chicken Fingers, and a Hamburger.

Chicken Fingers kids meal from Fresco Kitchen and Grill in Rexburg, Idaho

Beartooth Barbecue

Beartooth Barbecue building in West Yellowstone, Montana

We ate at Beartooth Barbecue in West Yellowstone, Montana after our first full day at Yellowstone and it didn’t disappoint!

A boy eating ribs at Beartooth Barbecue in West Yellowstone, Montana

I ordered the Brisket Sandwich with a side of Cowboy Caviar, which was like a black bean and corn salad.

Brisket Sandwich and Cowboy Caviar at Beartooth Barbecue in West Yellowstone, Montana

My husband ordered the Sliced Beef Brisket dinner with a side of potato salad and homemade Barbecue Chips. I highly recommend the chips!

Brisket dinner at Beartooth Barbecue in West Yellowstone, Montana

The kids meals were $7.49 and did not include a drink. The options were a Hot Dog, Pulled Pork Sliders, or Chopped Beef Sliders.

Hot dog with homemade barbecue chips kids meal at Beartooth Barbecue in West Yellowstone, Montana

Pinky G’s Pizzeria

We found out about Pinky G’s Pizzeria through the Food Network show, Diners Drive-In’s and Dives.

Pinky G's Pizzeria in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

We ordered the cheese bread and all I have to say is wow! You definitely want to get this.

Cheese bread from Pinky G's Pizzeria in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Eating with kids, we couldn’t be too adventurous with our pizza toppings, so we had an 18″ pizza with half cheese and half pepperoni.

Pepperoni Pizza from Pinky G's Pizzeria in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

But that crust, was amazing! I’m kind of glad we went light on the toppings so we could fully enjoy the crust!

A boy eating pizza at Pinky G's Pizzeria in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park with Kids

Hopefully I have given you an idea of some of the fun things you can do at Yellowstone with kids.

Madison River in Yellowstone National Park

There is definitely more to the park than this, but that’s why we’ll be going back again in a year or two.

Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park

Want to know more about taking your kids to National Parks? Check out these posts:

Watch the video below to see everything Yellowstone!

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