Visiting Yellowstone National Park With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Yellowstone National Park with kids. Use this Yellowstone National Park travel guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of family-friendly activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic places in the United States. Located mostly in Wyoming, it also extends into Montana and Idaho.

Spanning over 3,500 square miles, Yellowstone contains a vast array of geological and wildlife wonders that draw millions of visitors each year.

Yellowstone National Park with kids

If you are looking for a fun and educational outdoor experience with your kids, check out Yellowstone National Park! Kids will enjoy seeing and learning about the geysers, hot pools, and mud pots in addition to seeing incredible waterfalls and a variety of wildlife!

Use our Yellowstone National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

Yellowstone packing list Optin box
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A Photo Tour of Yellowstone Waterfalls

Take a visual tour through Yellowstone National Park to see the stunning landscape and waterfalls you’ll find in the park!

What To Expect At Yellowstone National Park

The time of year you visit Yellowstone will determine the things you can do. There are important things to know about visiting Yellowstone during each season: services available, roads open, and things to do.

For us, the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park is during one of the park’s shoulder seasons, which are from April through May and September through October. Not only do these months offer visitors more temperate weather, but these seasons also give guests a respite from the intense crowds that can overwhelm the park throughout July and August during summer vacation season. 

Yellowstone Seasons and Weather

It’s important to know the Yellowstone National Park weather for the times you’ll visit. If you’re Yellowstone National Park packing list doesn’t include right clothing for the conditions, then you won’t enjoy outdoor activities!

Check out these lists of what it’s like to visit the park during all four seasons of the year:

Yellowstone National Park Map

Use printable and interactive Yellowstone maps to help navigate through the park. Yellowstone covers a large area with long drive times from area to area.

Yellowstone map

Things To Do At Yellowstone National Park With Kids

There are fun way to get the kids excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Check out this list of fun things to do at Yellowstone National Park with kids:

Yellowstone Visitor Centers and Ranger Programs With Kids

We recommend visiting the various Yellowstone Visitor Centers and talk to the on-duty rangers about the activities you are interested in doing. They can give you tips for the best things to do with kids.

  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center – open daily, year-round
  • Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth – open daily, year-round
  • Old Faithful Visitor Education Center – open daily between April and early November
  • Canyon Visitor Education Center – open daily between May and mid-October
  • Fishing Bridge Museum and Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
  • Grant Village Visitor Center – open daily between late May and late September
  • Madison Information Station – open daily between late May and late September
  • The Norris Geyser Basin Museum and the Museum of the National Park Ranger – open daily between late May and late September

Many of these visitor centers also contain park stores that sell a variety of different souvenirs: books, artwork, and educational materials.

A great way to learn about the park is participating in Yellowstone Ranger-led programs offered during the time you visit.

Yellowstone Passport Stamps with Kids

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!!

We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Grand Teton Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program at Yellowstone is a fun kid activity! Grab the free Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center.

The activities in the booklet help kids learn more about hydrothermal geology, wildlife, fire ecology, and much more. After completing the activities, a park ranger will review the booklet and present a wooden Junior Ranger Badge and signed certificate to the kids!

RV driving in Yellowstone
RV driving in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Scenic Drives With Kids

Did you know Yellowstone covers over 2 million acres of land?! It’s divided into 2 main sections and 9 areas. The best way to experience the park is exploring the beautiful Yellowstone scenic drives in the park and surrounding areas.

Yellowstone National Park Southern Loop three entrances: West (West Yellowstone), South (Grand Teton), and East (Cody) and 7 areas:

  • Madison
  • Old Faithful
  • Lake
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Grant Village
  • Canyon
  • Norris

Yellowstone National Park Northern Loop two entrances: North (Gardiner) and Northeast (Cooke City) and four areas:

  • Mammoth
  • Tower-Roosevelt
  • Lamar Valley
  • Canyon
  • Norris

A fun way to entertain the kids while exploring the scenic drive is using the GuideAlong App! You’ll hear fascinating behind-the scenes stories, local tips, and directions that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you!

Hiking near Lost Lake

Yellowstone Hiking With Kids

Before heading out to explore the various easy hikes in Yellowstone National Park with the kids, review the hiking guidelines:

Here’s a list of day hikes in Yellowstone by region:

An important tip for hiking with kids is to make sure you select a hike that fits the kids’ abilities. Before you set out on any hiking trail, make sure you have the right hiking gear for kids.

grand prismatic yellowstone
Grand Prismatic

Yellowstone Geysers and Hot Springs With Kids

Kids will get a thrill to see the five types of hydrothermal features found in Yellowstone: geysers, hot springs, mudpots, travertine terraces and fumaroles. Check out the Yellowstone website for the latest geyser eruption predictions!

Here’s a list of the best places to see these fun natural wonders at Yellowstone:

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Lower Falls

Yellowstone Waterfalls With Kids

Most of the Yellowstone waterfalls don’t require hiking to see them. Here’s a list of the main waterfall attractions that are perfect for families:

  • Canyon: Lower and Upper Falls, Brink of Upper Falls
  • Firehole Falls
  • Gibbon Falls
  • Kepler Cascades
  • Lewis Falls
  • Moose Falls
  • Tower Fall
  • Undine Falls

Yellowstone Wildlife With Kids

Animals can be found throughout the park at any time. Check out our detailed guide for the best places to see Wildlife in Yellowstone National Park!

During each season at Yellowstone you’ll see a wide variety of birds and mammals at Yellowstone. We find May, October, and the winter are the best times to visit Yellowstone for wildlife.

In the summer be sure to drive through Lamar Valley to Cooke City and on along Beartooth Highway to look for moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats! 

Remember the parameters to keep you and the animals safe!

  • Never approach animals. The animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be.
  • The safest (and often best) view of wildlife is from inside a car. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. You may need to use a spotting scope to see wildlife in Yellowstone.
  • Never feed wildlife. Animals that become dependent on human food may become aggressive toward people and have to be killed. Keep all food, garbage, or other smelly items packed away when not in use.
  • Never park in the road or block traffic. Use pullouts to watch wildlife and let other cars pass. Stay with your vehicle if you encounter a wildlife jam.

There are a variety of Yellowstone Wildlife Safari Tours kids will enjoy! Guides will talk about the local wildlife and travel to places where moose, elk, bears, deer, and eagles are usually spotted depending on the time of year.

Yellowstone Summer Tours With Kids

You’ll find a variety of Yellowstone summer tours perfect for kids. When you join a tour, the expert guides share their knowledge of the park and you’ll learn amazing things from them.

Yellowstone winter snowcoach tour
Yellowstone winter snowcoach tour

Yellowstone Winter Tours With Kids

You’ll find a variety of winter tours at Yellowstone National Park. Many of the tours will provide hotel pick up and drop-off. Most Yellowstone winter tours do NOT include gratuity for the guide.

We enjoyed traveling along Yellowstone’s snow-covered roads in a bomardier snowcoach. There were no streams of cars, RVs or tour buses crowding the roads.

You’ll find Yellowstone winter tours to explore the park by snowshoes, skis, snowmobiles or snowcoaches!

Yellowstone maps and guides

Where to Stay Near Yellowstone

Places to stay in West Yellowstone

Places to stay in Gardiner

Places to stay in Cooke City or Silver Gate

plan your dream vacation to yellowstone

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