Field Notes

Which Yellowstone Safaris Are Recommended For Kids

by McKinzie FinkMar 6, 2024

Humanity’s consciousness of environmental conservation has undergone a dramatic revolution in the United States over the past 150 years. While the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 was not the sole start of environmentalism, it certainly set the stage for furthering the preservation of natural landscapes throughout the entire country. Increasing park service lands, restoration of endangered or extinct species, properly regulated harvest of natural resources- these are just examples of ongoing efforts to protect the beautiful but exhaustible grandeur that is the natural world. Yet as environmentalism increases, society’s connection with the outdoors seemingly shrinks. Cellphones, airpods, tablets, virtual reality, video games, urbanization, quarantine, working from home… technology has advanced unfathomably fast and people have a growing selection of reasons to be consumed by it rather than immersing themselves in the outdoors.  

This disconnect from nature has multiple proven detriments both mentally and physically, which affects us not only as individuals but also on a familial level. Has the presence of electronic devices and social media felt like a divisive presence in your household? Perhaps members of the family are isolating themselves in their bedrooms more often than not to scroll through the abundance of social forums which provide an endless flow of entertainment. Even on vacation internet access is usually unavoidable, so the temptation of the screen continues to lurk. While this behavior is a norm and certainly not condemning, it doesn’t hurt to seek out a break from such distractions and reconnect as a family with the natural world.  

This is what makes destinations like Yellowstone National Park such a valuable resource. Not only does it preserve a significant piece of intact ecosystem, thousands of native organisms and multiple geological wonders, but it also provides a wild wonderland where phone service is spotty and outdoor adventures are plentiful. There is hiking, fishing, wildlife watching and hundreds of miles of uninterrupted scenery to admire. However, planning a visit to a park that is 2.2 million acres in size (especially with the kids) can be an intimidating feat- where is the best place to stay? How do you find animals? What trails are most family friendly? What route is best to take to see all the amazing features? Fortunately you do not have to figure all of that out on your own! Through a broad selection of exciting tours provided by expert guides, Yellowstone Safari Company (YSC) specializes in maximizing visitors’ experiences in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE).  

Two Hikers Take Lunch On A Rock While Overlooking A Small Lake In Yellowstone National Park

When vacationing in a place like Yellowstone with kids it is important to consider what kind of adventure will be most conducive to your family’s interests. Want to see as much wildlife as possible? Consider a Yellowstone Wildlife Safari where you will spend a full day with one of our experienced naturalist guides seeking out bison, elk, moose, wolves, bears, bald eagles and more amongst the variety of habitats this incredible park hosts. High quality binoculars and spotting scopes will be provided on the tour ensuring even the most distant animals are observable. Be prepared for the undertaking of a lifetime not only scouring pristine terrain for animals, but also garnering a wealth of knowledge from your guide about each species and the part they play in the ecosystem.  

While wildlife is undoubtedly a major spectacle of Yellowstone, it is not the only highlight of the park. There is the famous Old Faithful geyser which has attracted people from all over the world to come and witness its timely eruptions.  Steaming hot springs with prisms of color around their sapphire blue centers that are exquisitely surreal, and without the insight of a guide one might miss the two other spectacular forms of geothermal features- mudpots and fumaroles.  A Best of Yellowstone Safari will reveal to your family the geological inner workings of Yellowstone, as well as a wealth of information about the flora, fauna and natural history of the area. This is an exciting and educational experience in which the entire family will be learning all day about the world’s first national park.  

Two Children Look Through Binoculars Searching For Wildlife In Yellowstone National Park
A Mother Grizzly And Her Cub Graze On Summer Grasses In The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

To see a majority of the park in a day requires a lot of driving, which is not always favorable for a trip to Yellowstone with the kids. If your family prefers an outdoor oriented adventure check out YSC’s Yellowstone Walking Safari. There are thousands of miles of trails throughout the park, with destinations that could entail standing at the precipice of towering waterfalls, witnessing the eruptions of an exclusive geyser minus any crowds or embracing the challenge of summiting one of the many glorious mountain peaks throughout the Gallatin and Absaroka Mountain Ranges. So much hidden beauty lies in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, and with the direction of an expert guide you can traverse it safely and absorb so much information about the plants, tracks and signs that can be observed along the way.  

The aforementioned tours are all available between the months of May and October, but the options for incredible family oriented adventures are not limited to the summer season! November through April there is an awesome variety of tours to select from. The Yellowstone Winter Wildlife Safari is one of the best tours if finding wolves is a primary objective, for the winter season is significantly more prosperous for observing this elusive canid. The North Entrance of Yellowstone remains open for vehicle traffic year round, so do not worry about winter road closures the rest of the park enforces. Prepare for a full day excursion of potentially spotting not only wolves but bison, moose, elk, foxes and bighorn sheep.  

Outdoor excursions are still possible during winter as well! While Big Sky, MT is famous for its skiing opportunities, Yellowstone Safari Company expands the reach of winter activities for those who do not ski or just want a break from the slopes. A Big Sky Snowshoe Safari dedicates 4 hours to exploring the snowy wilderness of Yellowstone, where the tracks and signs of wildlife are abundant and can be swiftly interpreted by your naturalist guide. Elevate that experience with a full day Big Sky Wilderness and Wildlife Adventure, where an awesome snowshoeing safari is only part of the overall experience. The second act of the day will entail lunch in West Yellowstone along with a visit to the amazing Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center! Behold some of the most sought after species like grizzly bears, gray wolves, river otters, great horned owls and bald eagles. Certainly a highlight for Yellowstone Safari Company’s younger guests who often appreciate the gratification of witnessing these animals in close proximity.  

A day in Yellowstone away from the social constraints of media in one of the greatest wildernesses left in the lower 48 states is wonderful, but why limit the experience to a day? Yellowstone Safari Company also offers a selection of 2, 3 and even 5 day tours that will include lodging (indoor, not camping), lunches, dinners and an amazing selection of destinations throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. 2-3 Day Wolf and Bear Safaris and 4-5 Day Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tours will slow down the pace of the average single day trip to allow more time for hikes, wildlife observation and to see significantly more of the geological, geothermal and natural wonders of the region. The 3 Day Wild West Safari offers a fusion of exploring not only Yellowstone but the lesser visited eastern side of the park which consists of the historic town of Cody, Wyoming along with searching for the incredible wild mustangs of the west and traversing the amazing Beartooth Highway which offers the chance to reach altitudes of nearly 11,000ft where awe-striking views await. The exact itinerary of your multi day experience will be determined by the interests and preferences of you and your family.  

Bozeman and Big Sky, MT are some of the most convenient access points to Yellowstone National Park.  The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport lies about an hour from the North Entrance of Yellowstone and Big Sky is just an hour south of the BZN airport.  

Yellowstone Safari Company offers some of the best family oriented safaris out of Bozeman, MT and the city itself provides some of the most family friendly lodging options. The C’mon Inn Hotel & Suites is on the quiet northwest corner of Bozeman, near a variety of restaurants and museums. The lobby of this hotel is a spectacle in itself with seven different hot tubs, a pool, a collection of taxidermy Bighorn Sheep and an indoor constructed waterfall. The Lewis & Clark Motel of Bozeman and the Homewood Suites by Hilton also offer spectacular pool areas and both are closer to the exciting downtown area of the city. Big Sky, MT is another lovely place to stay. It is a smaller community than Bozeman, but is a quaintly beautiful ski town that is especially lively and festive in the wintertime. The Montage Hotel provides especially luxurious accommodations with the convenience of a selection of in-house dining options. This location is also closer to the western side of Yellowstone National Park where in the winter YSC offers snowshoeing safaris with the included visit to the Wolf and Grizzly Discovery Center to see some of the greatest apex predators of the GYE.  Summer or Winter, let the Yellowstone Safari Company show you the wonders of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem!