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 the things to do in Jackson Hole with kids down to the top 7 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 6:30 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $30 per driver (must be 54” tall), $20 per passenger (38” and taller). Tickets are 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 $35 and ages 5-12, $20. 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: $30. Kids must be 42” tall to participate.
Hours: Mon.- Sat. 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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, bighorn 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 average cost: $165 for adults, $130 for children ages 6 to 12; free for those 5 and younger.
Tour outfitters to try: Eco Tour Adventures, Teton Science Schools Wildlife Expeditions, Buffalo Roam Tours, Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris, Wolf Den Safaris
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. World-Class Wildlife Art
Consistently ranked as one of Jackson Hole’s top attractions, the National Museum of Wildlife Art is built into a hillside overlooking the National Elk Refuge. This world-class museum holds more than 5,000 artworks representing wild animals from around the globe. Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Robert Kuhn, John James Audubon and Carl Rungius are just some of the prominent artists whose works are featured inside the museum’s galleries and the unsurpassed permanent collection chronicles much of the history of wildlife in art, from 2500 B.C. to the present.
Boasting a gift shop, interactive children’s gallery, café and outdoor sculpture trail, the museum is only two-and-a-half miles north of Jackson Town Square and two miles from the gateway of Grand Teton National Park.
Bonus Thing To Do!
"Raptors On the Refuge" is a free, informal program held every Friday between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the National Elk Refuge and Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, where families can meet and learn about various birds of prey from the Teton Raptor Center. This fun winter program is available through March 31st. Birds are put away promptly at 1 p.m.
See our Calendar of Events for listings of other goings-on for families.