We stayed at the Canyon Lodge in Yellowstone. I’ve almost always stayed at that one (we went to Yellowstone almost yealy as a kid), and I really enjoy it. It was extra special to bring my kids there (we’ve stayed in West Yellowstone the year I was pregnant with Spencer).
The weather was GREAT, there was even snow still there! and cold enough mosquitos weren’t too much of an issue.
The first day we saw the Canyon, and of course drove around looking for animals. My dad even has a fancy spotting scope, so we were always hanging with the guys on motorcycles hearing “you see that white spot that’s next to the brown spot up there — yeah, that’s a goat.” It made for thrilling adventures. The boys were extra happy to have their fancy binoculars. We also went to the Fountain Paint Pots which has to be the WORST hike ever. I always forget how I will wish I am dead before I get the 400 yards up the mountain. Luckily, it’s short — and worth the pain.
The second day we went up to Mammoth and we even saw a bear crossing the road! We also went down to the Norris gyser basin. I was excited for my kids to see Echinus gyser, but it turns out it doesn’t go off every couple hours like it used to. Darn that mother nature. Spencer and I took the short walk, and Conner and Drew took the longer walk, all of us enjoying ourselves.
The last day we went to see Old Faithful. MAN, that thing sure packs in a crowd, but again it was worth it and the kids LOVED it. Yellowstone is truly a magical place when you’re a little boy. I especially love the Old Faithful Inn — it is a unique building and you should go inside for a peek for SURE.
Now for the budget minded… Yellowstone’s not cheap, but it’s not crazy expensive. Of course, there’s the gas to shuttle yourself places (and look for animals). The rooms that we stayed in were around 150/night, but my brother went a week later and did the cheaper cabins and said they were fine (we wanted to stay by my parents though, and they wanted the nicer ones — which was fine since we were only staying 2 nights). We ate at the cafeteria both nights we were there and our meals ran under 30 dollars (most of the time we were splitting plates, because they serve awfully big portions — but you could get a plate for about 10-18 dollars). The ice cream isn’t too expensive, they serve large portions and it’s super yummy after a long day out on the trails. We did picnic lunches each day and there is usually a picnic table to be found, and park stores to replenish your supplies. Surprisingly I didn’t want to die at the prices in the park stores. Yes, they were about 10% higher than the grocery store, but nothing to faint over.
Anyway, it was a HUGE success, I highly recommend it to families.