If there was ever a vacation destination where you could get an education AND have a load of fun, Yellowstone Park is it. The entire park is a uniquely delicate balance of nature and technology, of wilderness management and conservation. Located in the northwestern part of Wyoming, Yellowstone offers an unforgettable experience whether you navigate the park on your own or opt for one of the numerous guided tours that are available.
Of course there is Old Faithful, one of the biggest attractions of the vast park, which erupts every 92 minutes and within about 4 minutes of it’s daily posted schedule. There is also the historic Old Faithful Inn which opened in 1904 and serves up not only world class accommodations but wonderful food. The Lake Yellowstone Hotel (nestled on the edge of the tepid waters of Yellowstone Lake) is another historic hotel that is reminiscent of the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, but with a more rustic edge.
Within the vast borders of the park there are bubbling mud pots, 300 geysers, emerald and sapphire-colored boiling hot pools, waterfalls, dazzling sunsets and then there is the wildlife. Yellowstone is truly a zoo without bars. And you won’t need to drive in the park more than a few minutes to have your very own ‘Wild Kingdom’ encounter. Be prepared with plenty of film and extra space on your digital camera!
If there was a “bingo board” of animals that you will most likely see in the park, it would look like this: eagles, bison, bluebirds, elk, moose, deer, coyotes, gray wolves, pelicans, squirrels and occupying the center square of the bingo board is a bear named ‘Celebrity’. You will see this ‘Celebrity’ making an almost nightly appearance on the upper ridges of the north side of the park. It is tempting to get close to the numerous animals because they almost seem to appear and “pose” on cue. But make no mistake, these are wild animals in their natural environment and their space and habitat must be preserved and respected.
Although you could probably do a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone in a full, two day weekend, four or five days will allow you more time to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, attend some ranger-hosted seminars and visit all the unique geological attractions. Oh, and you just might need to figure in a couple of extra hours for the occasional bison-caused traffic jam.