Photo courtesy of New Thought Media
There is a ton of kid fun to be had in Jackson Hole beyond the ski slopes. In fact, Travelocity recently named Jackson Hole one of the Best Family-Friendly Cities in the country! We’ve narrowed it down to the top 8 ways for children of all ages to get the most out of their visit to our little amazing corner of the Cowboy State.
1. Take a Ride on the Cowboy Coaster
Snow King Mountain has a year-round roller coaster—dubbed the "Cowboy Coaster"—that winds its way up and down a good chunk of the town ski hill. Once you’ve reached the top, your two-person sled twists and turns through nearly a mile of loops, curves and hairpin turns—some as high as four stories tall!
There are windscreens on the carts which makes the ride a little more comfy in the colder temperatures.
Winter hours: Mon.-Fri. from 2 to 7 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $20 per driver (must be 54” tall), $10 per passenger (38” and taller). Tickets available in the Rafferty Center, located at the base of the Rafferty chairlift.
2. Hop a Sleigh Ride on the National Elk Refuge
Nowhere else in the world but here in Jackson Hole can you get up-close-and-personal with the thousands of elk who every winter call the National Elk Refuge home.
Horse-drawn sleighs—driven by the cowboys from Bar-T-Five—depart between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily from mid-December to early April (weather permitting) from the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center at 532 North Cache St.
Tour length: One hour
Cost: Adults $25 and ages 5-12, $15. Kids 4 and under ride for free.
Contact: (800) 772-5386; fws.gov/refuge/national_elk_refuge/
3. Visit Yippy-I-O Candy Company
Yippy-I-O Candy has been a favorite Jackson Hole haunt of both parents and kids alike for 20 years and counting. Heaping barrels of candy, fudge, taffy, and chocolate in every shade under the rainbow is a treat not to be missed. Your kids will love picking out their own candy bags from the A-Z selection—Atomic Fireballs to Zots!
Where: The candy paradise is located at 84 East Broadway; (307) 739-3020
4. Go Snow Tubing
King Tubes, located over on Snow King Mountain, is a winter family fun institution in Jackson Hole. The tube park has three smooth groomed lanes and a rope tow to pull you and your snow tube up the hill.
Cost for 1 hour: $20; buy an extra hour for only $5. Kids must be 42” tall to participate.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 2 to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Call: (307) 734-3194
5. Take a Sunrise Safari Wildlife Tour
Wake the kids up early and spend the morning seeing the amazing wildlife of the Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem—and still be able to ski in the afternoon!
A number of outfitters offer 4-hour sunrise safaris in comfy, customized safari-style vehicles. Trained biologists will guide you to the best viewing spots for elk, moose, big horn sheep, foxes, eagles, and a variety of other animals around Jackson Hole. If you’re really lucky you might even be able to spot wolves hunting on the National Elk Refuge during the winter months!
Perks include kid’s guidebooks and complimentary coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and soft drinks, plus snacks.
Typical cost: $130 for adults, $99 for children ages 6 to 12; free for those 5 and younger.
6. Snowmobile Through Yellowstone National Park
Now here’s a bucket list item your child can cross off his or her list early in life! A snowmobile tour through America’s first national park is an all day, 12-hour round-trip adventure of a lifetime. Only 500 snowmobiles are allowed into the park per day so your family can cruise the snow-covered roads up to Old Faithful without coming across any crowds—or cars.
Yellowstone National Park contains the largest concentration of geysers in the world, the drama and majesty of which are made even more startling against the backdrop of winter. And you will see lots of bison getting warm around the many thermal pools in the park.
Scenic Safaris is the only "Yellowstone-approved" snowmobile tour operator based out of Jackson Hole.
7. Hang Out With a Raptor
The Teton Raptor Center and the National Elk Refuge have teamed up to present "Feathered Fridays" at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center on Cache Street from noon-2 p.m. Fridays, through the end of March.
Two birds of prey—from owls to red-tailed hawks to eagles—will be on hand each week and kids can get up-close-and-personal with these fascinating feathered friends. There is no beginning, middle or end to this free program during the two hours. Just pop in at your convenience for this very unique opportunity.
Teton Raptor Center also presents a free program with its birds from 4 to 5 p.m. in the library at the Four Seasons Resort in Teton Village.
8. Go Bowling!
Jackson Hole's bowling alley has become a favorite family destination for locals and visitors alike: Hole Bowl. Located in the Powderhorn Mall at 980 W Broadway, it includes—in addition to 10 bowling lanes—a full restaurant called The Pinsetter, full bar, lounge area, two pool tables, air hockey table, arcade games and kid's TV lounge.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-midnight.