7 Fun Activities to Introduce Your Kids to the Outdoors in Jackson Hole
Kids are naturally curious and approach life with eyes wide open and arms outstretched to welcome new things. When “kidventuring” in Jackson Hole, families can tap into this open-minded enthusiasm.
The Tetons are an outdoor lover’s paradise filled with opportunities to make memories with your little ones that will last a lifetime. Simple things like dipping chubby toes into an ice-cold stream for the first time, seeing a deer off trail so close its wildness permeates the air, or watching butterflies flit from blossom to blossom in a meadow filled with wildflowers can stir interest in the outdoors. When kids are
engaged with nature, sticks and rocks become imaginative toys, and clouds overhead morph into dragons and the like. The following activitiesare designed to maximize family fun while introducing
your kids to the wonders of nature when visiting Jackson Hole.
Take a Walk in the Woods
For budding hikers, take a walk on the wild side in Grand Teton National Park. The wide and mostly level, three-mile roundtrip Lake Creek-Woodland Trail Loop that starts at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve is a quintessential Teton trail that’s family-friendly. It meanders through pine forests and offers creek-side views before opening to the majestic scene of Phelps Lake and Death Canyon. You can shorten the distance by hiking out-and-back instead of taking the loop.
For a guided, kid-friendly hiking experience, sign up with an outfitter like Hole Hiking Experience. Their knowledgeable naturalists will take the whole family off the beaten path to enjoy the hiking trails near Jackson Hole.
Tips for hiking with the little ones: Bring along plenty of snacks and water, sunscreen, essential first aid, and bear spray. Allow extra time to take breaks and explore.
Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve (open in summer only)
The Laurance S. Rockefeller (LSR) Preserve is the starting place for a day of discovery with the little ones. Here kids connect with nature via several experiential exhibits including a wonderful soundscape room with natural recordings from the LSR Preserve that introduce them to the amazing outdoors. The soundscape room envelopes everyone with the auditory qualities of nature piquing interest in the natural symphonies delivered by frogs, raindrops and thunder, howling wolves, and the whispers of the wind flowing through the treetops.
To make your kids’ visit to the LSR Preserve even more memorable and introduce them to the art of journaling, a Nature Explorers Backpack for children is provided at the Center. After a brief orientation by a ranger, each child receives a nature journal and a set of activities to use while exploring the LSR Preserve.
Regularly, a ranger will lead an all-ages, informative walk on one of the trails or host an outdoor talk on the patio.
Access the LSR Preserve on the Moose-Wilson Road from the north via Moose, Wyoming or from the south via the Granite Canyon Entrance where entrance fees may apply.
Insider’s Tip: Get an early morning start, as visitation to the LSR Preserve is limited and based on first-come, first-served parking.
Become a Junior Ranger
While touring nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, kids can become an official ranger, a Junior Ranger that is. Becoming a Junior Ranger is a great way to connect kids with the natural wonders of the parks. To earn the Junior Ranger designation, children complete activity booklets which are available at park visitor centers and online. After their completed books are reviewed by a park ranger, they are awarded an official Junior Ranger badge and certificate. Each child is encouraged to pledge to protect parks, continue to learn more about parks, and share their own Junior Ranger story with friends and family.
Discover the Rendezvous Park (R Park)
The 40-acre R Park is a special, kid-focused place where children can run and play, and also learn to fish, identify birds, take a short hike, or scramble over the delightful Mama Mimi — a giant, artfully designed wooden troll that serves as a bridge over a shallow creek. Situated in an easily accessed location next to the Snake River at the Highway 22⁄390 junction in Teton County, the R‑Park features family-friendly ponds, trails, and picnic tables, while a Discovery Box, which is chock full of experiential learning activities created just for kids, is free to use on Wednesdays throughout the summer from 10 am to noon. There is no fee to use the R Park, and it is open daily between dawn and dusk.
Enjoy a Night Out: Stargazing
The night sky is mesmerizingly vast in remote areas like Grand Teton National Park. Away from the interference from city lights, kids start to notice the radiant orbs shining above them. The different phases of the moon, brilliant planets dotting the sky at dusk, luminescent twinkling stars in the Milky Way, and active meteor showers dazzle and delight the little ones. In the darkest of night skies, you can foster this awareness with a stargazing activity using a constellation map or app. For a personalized stargazing program with an expert who can introduce you to the wonders of the night sky, book a private tour with Wyoming Stargazing. And if you want to view the skies through a large-diameter telescope, sign up for an unforgettable stargazing experience with local astrophysicist Ryan Hennessey who brings the cosmos to life in the Greater Yellowstone region. Visit Teton Skies to make a reservation. When the Snow King Mountain Observatory and Planetarium reaches its goal for completion in the fall of 2023, a 24-foot rooftop AstroHaven dome observatory along with one of the world’s largest telescopes will become a must see for students and emerging astronomers.
I.D. the Locals
Habitats are unique to different regions, and the high desert, alpine, and riparian settings in the Jackson Hole area are much different than the sea shores, red deserts, bayous, and rainforests from other parts of the country. Introducing kids to the names of the different birds, bugs, trees, stones, flowers, tracks, and animals that are specific to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem engages them with what they are seeing as they learn more about the local inhabitants. Some ways to up the fun meter in this exploration are: arm the little ones with binoculars; bring along an illustrative book or I.D. card of native plants and animals; and hand over a map that depicts the names of all the peaks in the Teton Range.
Go on a Photo Scavenger Hunt
The captivating beauty in and around Jackson Hole is awe inspiring, and taking photographs via a photo scavenger hunt is one way to make lasting memories. This twist on a traditional scavenger hunt is a fun way to inspire kids to interact with the outdoors and observe their surroundings in closer detail. In a photo scavenger hunt, kids take pictures (from a prepared checklist) of different wildflowers, jagged mountain peaks, specific trees, waterfalls, wildlife, and other Teton-centric subjects. As they try to get as many unique photos as they can and check things off their lists, they also create a collection of vivid images. Back home, kids can use their photos to assemble scrapbooks, slideshows, or galleries of wall art.
Let Us Plan Your
There is so much to do in Jackson Hole. Rush downriver in a kayak. Ride horseback through a sea of golden grass. Cast a line into water clear as the sky, while the fish flash by like stars. There’s hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and of course, skiing. The Clear Creek Group affiliates with the best service providers in the area, people as passionate as we are about providing great experiences. We can arrange anything imaginable, from backcountry pack trips and heli-skiing to the selection of a personal chef.