Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

Highlights of Yellowstone National Park

One of my most cherished memories of my childhood took place in Yellowstone National Park. My parents had driven my brother and I from Southern California all the way up to West Yellowstone to show us the very first national park. The beauty was endless, the animals were majestic and the adventure was life changing.

Around every corner was another sign pointing you to a geological masterpiece. The signs kept coming and the curiosity of these “off the beaten path” treasures got the best of my father and I. My mom and brother don’t share in our adventurous spirit and decided to stay back in the car. We had no idea what we were looking for, only that whatever it was deserved a sign on the side of the road. Walking through thick brush, around trees and across small streams while laughing and talking with my dad, that was what family vacations were about.

After never seeing another sign we stopped to see some bubbles rising in a stream. Of course my dad would dare me to touch the water to see if it was hot (I do not recommend that) and of course it was. I would like to think that he had tested the water before he had me stick my hand in it but that was never confirmed, only joked about. Luckily I kept all my fingers and made this wonderful memory of walking around Yellowstone with my dad.

There are a few things to make sure to see while in Yellowstone and they are spread out through the park. One of the main things I wanted to bring my children to see is the wildlife. Showing them animals such as bears, bison and elk roaming in their natural environment will leave a lasting impression on them. On the NP’s website you can see various maps, one being the best areas to view the wildlife in Yellowstone. Here is the map and the link to view it on their website. https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

Yellowstone is such an ideal vacation for the young, the old, families, couples and friends. No matter your age or who you are with,  everyone will leave the park in awe. I am so happy that my husband and I now have had the privilege to take our children and the amazement in their eyes left me reliving mine as a child.

Road Trip 2017

Going into the park now 16 years later, I noticed how many things have changed. Places I remember seeing as a kid, now either don’t exist or are no longer marked. I felt as though I was seeing the same park but in a different light. I think this will be the same, no matter how many times I come to Yellowstone, it will be a new experience.

When entering the park, I let the ranger know that we had two children and they gave both of them a checklist with all of the animals they should see in the park. This was great because it gave them a goal and kept them on the look out for these animals. The kids were able to see all of them except a coyote.

Our trip being in mid May, crowds were minimal and traffic was the same. We were able to find parking wherever we stopped and had no trouble on hikes or finding places to picnic. There was however just enough cars on the road to alert us when something cool was coming up because everyone would stop to take a picture.

Although it was a fact that I tried to forget until we were well out of the park, Yellowstone is an active volcano that can erupt at anytime. When it does, it will be devastating to the United States. Signs of the volcanic activity surround you. From boiling mud to steam leaving mountains through crevasses, it is hard to believe that so much beauty can come from something so deadly.

Since we had so many places to stop on our road trip, we only spend a day and a half in Yellowstone. I do however suggest if it is your first time visiting, that you spend the better half of a week touring the park and its surrounding areas. There are many places to stay, eat and visit in West Yellowstone, Montana, as well as Cody, Wyoming.

Before booking your vacation you may also want to check https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm   for any road closures or entrance closures. Certain times of the year are better than others for being able to see the most and is all explained on their website.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Buffalo Bill Center of the West- Cody Wyoming

Located a little over 50 miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park is Cody Wyoming. A town rich with history and beautiful scenery. Every building pridefully shows reminders of its towns namesake, Buffalo Bill Cody.

Within the town of Cody is a museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A museum whose outside appearance is just as beautiful as its contents within. As you walk into the museum the tall ceilings and spacious entrance allow you to take a deep breath of the history within the walls. The staff is there to greet you and help guide you as well as answer any questions you may have. You can also take a selfie with the man himself!

There are many rooms to tour through but my main goal was to make it through the Buffalo Bill Cody wing of the museum. I honestly could have spent an entire day reading every sign, admiring every picture and watching other visitors reactions. From Cody’s traveling tent to his coat, you could really grasp the adventurous life he led. I was especially excited to see Riverside, CA on the map of places he had performed.

There were also rooms that contained art, firearms and the plains Indians history. The collections were amazing to see. My children left there with inquisitive minds, asking questions they would have never thought of without being prompted by what they saw.

I have been to a lot of museums in my life and none have been as beautiful as this one. Displays bring you back to the era depicted, giving you that moment to live in history. Artifacts were so well-preserved and left you full of knowledge. Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum is a must see for everyone.

Plan your trip by visiting their website at https://centerofthewest.org/visit/

Special thanks to Nancy for allowing us to come in and experience the west as Buffalo Bill Cody knew it!

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

Old McDonald Farm- Rapid City South Dakota

When I travel, I make sure to have a list of everything I can see and do in the area. When planning for Rapid City, I stumbled upon Old McDonald Farm, a family friendly petting zoo. I added it to my list and hoped that we would be able to stop. Both of my children are in love with all kinds of animals and being in Southern California, there isn’t too many opportunities to go hang out on a farm. So I knew this needed to be one of our stops.

As we pulled up to the farm, my kids were giddy as they saw two goats walking across a bridge and eating.

They both jumped out of the car and ran to the front entrance. Walking into the farm was refreshing. Buildings appeared to have a fresh coat of paint, animals seemed well cared for and staff was very friendly.

There was a trail that you could follow so that you didn’t miss any of the animals. Or if your kids are like mine, you can zig zag to all their favorite animals, and even visit some twice.

The baby animals were way too much adorableness to handle!! I was ready to load up a baby goat in my jacket and run. All of the animals were use to being held and pet making the experience even more enjoyable.

While adoring the baby goats we heard an announcement for pig races and ran over to check them out. Little piggies in a line and then set free to race around an oval. Everyone cheered for their piggy and then we were able to pet the pigs.

On top of having these amazing farm animals to play with and feed, the farm also had pony rides, tractor rides and food. It was such an amazing experience for our entire family and I know we wont be forgetting it anytime soon.

Check out their website at http://www.oldmacdonaldsfarmrc.com/ and plan your visit.

Family Road Trip 2017

Family Road Trip 2017

This summer we will embark on an 11 state road trip. My mother says that I must like being punished and she may be right. Traveling with a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old is no laughing matter. It takes months of planning as well as prepping and even then there are so many variables that you really cannot plan for everything.

A couple of years back, when my children were even younger, we took a road trip all the way through California, Oregon and Washington. I would like to think that I learned from mistakes made and absorbed all the positive tricks we implemented with them and apply those to this trip.

I am going to share with y’all my planning procedures, finding the best deals and my tips for road tripping with young children. Then when we get on our way, I will share with you the best hotels to stay at along the way and a must see list for each town we stop in!

Are you curious yet where we are headed? Make sure to be following us on social media for hints to where our adventure is taking us and you could win a fun giveaway!