1. Ranger programs in Grand Teton National Park
The park boasts an amazing collection of year-round programs, including hikes, campfire presentations, bear safety and more. Take free ranger-led tours of the historic Murie Ranch Center and Menor's Ferry district or enjoy "Critter Chat" and "Map Chat" informational presentations. There is also a fun Junior Ranger program for kids where they can earn a Junior Ranger badge by completing various activities. Check the schedule.
2. The Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center Center
Learn more about Jackson Hole and its environs at our visitor center. Located on the north end of the town of Jackson, the center offers exhibits and programs and activities for all ages. Among other things, kids can earn patches through the Junior Blue Goose Ranger Program. The center is also where winter sleigh rides on the National Elk Refuge depart from. In all seasons, take a short walk out on the wooden boardwalk that borders the refuge and observe various wildlife. Extended summer hours are from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
3. Visit the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve
Located on Moose-Wilson Road, this 1,106-acre refuge within Grand Teton National Park features an 8-mile trail system and a LEED-certified visitor’s center with unique, multi-sensory exhibits ranging from innovative videos and photography to a meditative soundscape room. The preserve offers a number of ranger-led programs for adults and children. The hiking trails lead to pristine Phelps Lake, where you can swim, picnic or take a thrilling leap from the “Jumping Rock.” They also connect to more extensive trails leading to other parts of Grand Teton National Park. The preserve is car accessible from May 1st to October 31st, and the center is open from late May through September. Parking is limited and often full from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
4. Ride the Bridger Gondola
Free gondola rides start daily at 4:30 p.m. at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Ride the "gondi" up to the top for happy hour on The Deck, which overlooks the whole of the `Hole. The Deck is a favorite of both Jackson Hole denizens and visitors alike. A summer menu of appetizers and shared plates is available, as are tunes from local musicians and DJs. Feel free to take a short hike around, too. And the photo ops from up there are top-notch.
5. See a raptor up close
On Wednesdays during the summer, the Teton Raptor Center offers presentations at 5 p.m. on the Village Commons in Teton Village. Each week, avian educators from the center bring two birds of prey, such as great horned owls, eagles and hawks. It is a special treat to learn about these amazing birds and see them up close.
You can also see a free presentation at 5 p.m. on Thursdays through Aug. 25 at Snow King Mountain on the King's Grill patio.
6. Boulder at the base of Snow King Mountain
Open year-round, the Teton Boulder Park features three large boulders for climbers of all ages and skill levels. During the summer on Tuesday nights watch or participate in (for a small fee) the Town Pump competition that generates money for climbing holds for the boulder park. A youth division is available for climbers under age 14. The adjacent Phil Baux Park includes picnic tables, horseshoe pits and a playground. Visit jhtownpump.org.
7. Play disc golf
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s free 18-hole disc golf course starts uphill from the base of the gondola. Redesigned in 2015, the course begins short and technical, with tunnel and treed shots. It winds back and forth up the lower Gros Ventre and Tramline trails, shooting in open fields and tightly wooded areas. The course design incorporates three loops, each going a bit higher up the mountain. Innova discs are available to purchase at JH Sports in the Bridger Center—or bring your own!
8. Walk the Sculpture Trail at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
Complementing the museum’s inside offerings, the ¾-mile Sculpture Trail is an outdoor art venue that winds up and over the sage-covered hillside that overlooks the National Elk Refuge. It is populated with magnificent multi-medium replicas of moose, bison, bighorn sheep, an eagle and other wildlife. The newest—and cutest—additions to the trail are two kid-sized, solid granite buffalo, which are perfect for climbing on.
9. Stargaze with expert astronomers
Wyoming Stargazing hosts public stargazing events on the lawn next to the Center for the Arts, in downtown Jackson, from November through May on every other clear Friday night from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. During the summer, the Jackson Hole-based organization leads stargazing at Rendezvous Park (R Park) in Wilson at 9:30 p.m. every Friday night. At both locations, a giant Dobsonian telescope is provided to view planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies and more. Also available are several iPads with the Star Walk app so you can explore the heavens.
10. Jackson National Fish Hatchery
Located four miles north of the town of Jackson, the National Fish Hatchery welcomes visitors daily (except on federal holidays) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a close up view of Snake River cutthroat trout. Observe fish in several indoor tanks and view photographic displays of spawning and stocking. There is also a small fishing pond that is open to children and first-time anglers. Non-resident children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult with a license.
Bonus Family Freebies!
The Grand Teton Musical Festival, located at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village, hosts free, weekly family concerts beginning July 16 and continuing throughout the summer. These are 1-hour casual events featuring kid-friendly music performed by world-class musicians. Even though the concerts are free of charge, tickets are required at gtmf.org/tickets/
And throughout July, kids eat FREE every Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Snow King Mountain's King's Grill.