There is so much to see and things to do in US state Wyoming Yellowstone National park for families with kids. So we concentrated on the most beautiful, must-see areas of Yellowstone National parks, but also left some spare time to explore.
In this post we are sharing our experience-based suggestions for the very best family-friendly things to do in Yellowstone with kids.
Find fun for all ages, including hiking, boating, and rafting, with these child-friendly holidays in and around the park.
Children’s Things to do in Yellowstone National parks
1. Become a Junior Ranger
The excellent Junior Ranger programs of the National Park System teach children (and adults) the history, plants, and animals of the park through fun activities.
If children complete a minimum number of activities, they are awarded an official Junior Ranger badge and real park guards applause.
Collect a $ 3 activity booklet in a visitor center (there are various ones for different ages).
2. See the Geysers
Kids will marvel at the spectacle of superheated water erupting skyward from geysers—not to mention boiling mudpots, hissing steam vents, and brightly colored hot springs.
Upper Geyser Basin contains the highest concentration of thermal features, including Old Faithful, so catching at least on eruption is guaranteed.
Most children can take the short journey through most of the basin on flat boardwalks. The Norris Geyser Basin, park’s hottest Basin, and Midway Geyser Basin, home of the biggest hot spring in the world, are other children’s friendly stops.
3. Go Camping
Nothing batters a night’s sleep under the stars and spending roasting marshmallows telling campfire stories. Get prime family time with 1 or 3 nights at one of the 12 campgrounds in Yellowstone, Options range from large, fully-fledged campgrounds to primitive tent-only sites.
Some are first-come, first-served, but bookings will help you to pitch a tent. Do not miss campground night programs at certain locations, Rangers are leading in a wide variety of fascinating programmes, including Canyon, Fishing Bridge, Bridge Bay, Grant Village, Mammoth, Indian Creek, Tower, and Norris.
Yellowstone National parks offer 12 campgrounds with over 2,000 sites. Yellowstone National Park Lodges takes reservations for five of these campgrounds: the rest are first-come, first-served.
Yellowstone also offers a network of backcountry campsites for people who prefer to explore and camp along less traveled routes.
4. Take a Hike
Turn children off on a trail of 900 miles to the wild in Yellowstone (and burn some energy) in the immediate vicinity.
Make the youngest walkers for shorter walks such as the 2-mile trip from Yellowstone Lake Overlook trip from West Thumb Geyser Basin or a 1,2-mile walk to Trout Lake.
Elementary-age kids will love Riddle Lake (5 miles) or the Lost Lake Loop (4 miles).
Older children and teens should try the Lone Star Geyser Trail (4.8 miles) to see a backcountry spout or the climb up 10,243-foot Mt. Washburn (5 or 6.2 miles, depending on starting point).
5. Ride a Bike
Road biking is the best for older children in Yellowstone National parks, as it is difficult to share the road with traffic.
But there are two dirt roads open for mountain bikes, making them ideal for family-friendly two-wheeled fun.
Take Blacktail Plateau Drive for a trip of 7 miles in the forests and wilderness and try the Old Gardiner Street, which stretches five miles across excellent corn and elk habitat.
In the Old Faithful area, you can also rent bicycles. Take the road behind the Midway Geyser Basin along Upper Geyser Basin or Fountain Freight Road.
6. Ride a Horse
Which child doesn’t like hoping in the saddle? Open plains and calm forests of Yellowstone National parks contain great trails for horseback riding.
Xanterra Park concessionaire ride for children aged 8 or over for one and two hours in the Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon areas.
Even more fun: Register for the Old West Cookout Dinner, which takes you horses (or covered wagon) to an Old West cookout, served by cowboys singing.
7. Attend a Ranger Program
Many of Yellowstone’s free ranger-led programs are geared specifically for kids.
Activities might include wildlife talks, games, hikes, and science programs. Check the park newspaper for an up-to-date schedule, or inquire at any visitor center.
8. Take a Boat Ride
See the park from a new angle when you take to the water. Xanterra operates a one-hour scenic cruise on Yellowstone Lake (reduced ticket prices for kids 11 and under) several times a day, plus offers guided charter boat trips and boat rentals.
For a sportier option, slip a canoe or kayak into Yellowstone Lake, Lewis Lake, or Shoshone Lake (an even bigger adventure, as Shoshone Lake is in the backcountry and requires a longer paddle to reach).
9. Go Whitewater Rafting
The Yellowstone, Gallatin, Madison, and Snake Rivers offer a variety of rafting adventures, from quiet floats to high-intensity whitewater action.
The Yellowstone National parks River is a great option for young kids (5 and up), while the Snake has some more challenging stretches for older kids and adrenaline junkies. Bonus: Many whitewater rafting operators also offer ziplines, a classic kid favorite.
10. Watch for Wildlife
Yellowstone National parks is wildlife heaven, and your chances of spotting many different species are excellent on a visit to the park.
The big mammals of the park are particularly thrilling for kids: You may see grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, bison, and elk in the open meadows or forests.
For the best chances to see wolves and other big animals, fill the thermos with hot chocolate and head to the Lamar Valley at daybreak. Look for park volunteers with spotting scopes—they’ll let you take a peek at whatever they’ve seen.
11. Swim at the Boiling River or at the Firehole River
Many of them didn’t know about the Boiling River of Yellowstone. Its an accidental encounter of a tourist introduced this place and it became one of our absolute favorite things to do in Yellowstone National parks with kids.
The Boiling River is like a natural hot tub. It is created where the cold mountain river comes through a large hot spring.
It’s comfortable to bathe in the cold and hot water mix. After a long day exploring Yellowstone, it is a great place to relax or just hang out with your children and spend several hours.
Beware that the current is strong (it is a mountain river after all) and the water temperature can change quickly. Ideally, you should also take water shoes or at least flip flops or crocs, as there are quite some sharp stones in the river.
The river is not deep and you can easily find a quieter spot to lie down and relax in this natural bath.
Where it is? Around 2 miles north of Mammoth Springs, the Boiling River is just off the main road to Gardiner.
Firehole River –In Yellowstone National parks there is another place where you can swim – the Firehole River. It was extremely busy, the narrow road was full of cars parked on the side of the road, and the river itself was crowded with people. Because of this crowd, many of them didn’t swim there.
12. Discover the Mammoth Hot Springs
We found some very different opinions about the Mammoth Hot Springs area. Some people said that they’d skip it completely, while some others said it’s their favorite part of Yellowstone.
It’s one of the most special areas in Yellowstone and very different from anything else in the park. We would definitely recommend including Mammoth Hot Springs in your itinerary!
you can easily visit Mammoth Hot Springs with kids. The area is not very big, there are boardwalks and some staircases that bring you very close to some fascinating thermal features.
The only problem you could experience at Mammoth Hot Springs was the heat. The area has no shade at all and it was really warm.
The highlights of Mammoth Hot Springs include – Minerva Terrace, Palette Spring, Liberty Cap, Canary Spring