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The Great American Destination (Yellowstone)

Author: momoftwo (More Trip Reviews by momoftwo)
Date of Trip: December 2002



America's first national park--and what a park it is. Everyone should visit this park at least once in their lifetime. We are lucky and live only about two hours away, so it is considered a day trip for us.

Highlights
Old Faithful, Paint Pots, Buffalo Elk, deer, moose.
Summer is high season and can get quite crowded which is no fun. Try coming before Memorial day or after Labor day. For an even more memorable time come in the winter on snowmobiles or cross country skis.

Best Way to Get Around
We always drive, but you can ride your bike or take a bus through the park.

Stagecoach Inn
If you want to stay in a real Western hotel and really feel like you are in Montana now . . . stay at the Stagecoach Inn. The rooms range from deluxe to economy--something for every budget. The lounge is excellent, with poker tables, video poker, keno, live entertainment, and great atmosphere.

Don't forget to check out the hot tubs and sauna.

This hotel is right in the town of West Yellowstone, only minutes from the entrance to the park. Grizzley Discovery Center Skip this rip-off attraction unless you consider it a donation to save the grizzlies (which is fine). If you read all of the signs about this place, you will be disappointed at the actual attraction. While it is hyped up with "See the grizzlies and a wolf pack," I have seen better exhibits in zoos for half the price. I think we spent $18 for two adults, a 4-year-old, and an infant.

There were three grizzlies in an area as big as my backyard and about six wolves in an opposite pen. My 4-year-old loved it, but we were very disappointed.

Skip the exhibit and go to the gift shop or the IMAX theater next door.

One Day in The Park
If your interests are geysers and thermal activity, then you will want to visit the area south of Madison Junction. This would include the Lower Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pot, Midway Geyser Basin, Biscuit Basin, and the Upper Geyser Basin or Old Faithful area. You could easily spend more than half a day at the Upper Geyser Basin/Old Faithful area. Check at the Old Faithful Visitor Center for predicted eruption times of the different geysers in the basin. There are many geysers to watch and enjoy besides Old Faithful, and many that are more spectacular. Beehive is tremendous, as are Castle, Giant, and others. This total area is filled with geysers, hot pots, and pools that are beautiful and fun to enjoy.

Old Faithful Geyser
What else needs to be said about this national treasure? When you first arrive, go to the ranger station and find out when the next eruption will be. It usually occurs every 90 minutes -- thus the name, Old Faithful. There are benches all around the geyser, so if it is a nice day, just sit and wait. We went in May one year and it was COLD!, so be prepared. Live WebCam of Old Faithful updated every 30 seconds!

The ranger station also has a ton of information about everything that is going on in the park, plus a movie and of course the gift shop.

There are plenty of places to eat from quick and easy to gourmet, but we always pack a lunch and eat it here.

Grizzley Discovery Center
Skip this rip-off attraction unless you consider it a donation to save the grizzlies (which is fine). If you read all of the signs about this place, you will be disappointed at the actual attraction.

While it is hyped up with "See the grizzlies and a wolf pack," I have seen better exhibits in zoos for half the price. I think we spent $18 for two adults, a 4-year-old, and an infant.

There were three grizzlies in an area as big as my backyard and about six wolves in an opposite pen. My 4-year-old loved it, but we were very disappointed.

Skip the exhibit and go to the gift shop or the IMAX theater next door.





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