1. Ropes and Zip Line Courses
Snow King's “Treetop Adventure” is for ages 12 and up and “Flying Squirrel” is best for kids age 7 and older. Treetop Adventure features almost 100 aerial challenges that snake through the pine forest on Snow King Mountain, including several zip lines. The Flying Squirrel course is essentially a scaled down, lower to the ground version of Treetop Adventure. Cost: $80 and $50. To reserve call 307-201-5666 or visit snowkingmountain.com.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's Ropes Course is suspended 25 feet from the ground and consists of a network of zip lines, balance beams, cargo nets and other challenges. There are a range of features with varying levels of difficulty. A "Lookout Tower" feature adds even more thrills.
The minimum age to participate is age 5. A paying adult must accompany kids 5 to 7 on the course. Each participant gets three laps on the course. To buy tickets visit jacksonhole.com, or stop in at the Mountain Sports School desk, the Guest Services Center, or any ticket booth.
2. Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater rafting on Jackson Hole’s famous Snake River rapids is a popular summer thrill for kids of all ages (that means you, mom and dad!). And yes—you will get wet!
We recommended that you arrange your 8-mile whitewater rafting trip through the Snake River Canyon with one of the area's respected guiding outfits—such as Mad River Boat Trips, Dave Hansen Whitewater, Barker Ewing or Sands Whitewater—as they have the expert knowledge to navigate the Class 2 and 3 rapids of the river.
Cost: Starts at $100 for adults and $85 for kids. Children should be at least 6 years old for whitewater trips.
Related story: Whitewater Rafting in Jackson Hole: The Essentials
3. National Museum of Wildlife Art
Although some children may turn up their noses at the prospect of visiting an art museum while on vacation, our National Museum of Wildlife Art offers a multitude of fun (and education) for kids. Visit the Children’s Gallery, a self-directed area for kids that includes a hands-on artist’s studio, a life-size diorama, animal costumes, reading nook, and puppet theater. There are also “Critter Cases” that can be checked out for free at the admissions desk. These provide a fun way for kids and parents to engage with the art while they explore the museum.
The cutest addition to the museum’s world-renowned Sculpture Trail is Stewart Steinhauer’s solid granite buffaloes. Climb on them, play on them and photograph your kids on them!
Cost: $17 adult; $8 children ages 5-18; $4 additional children; free for kids age 4 and under.
4. Soak in a Hot Springs
What kid doesn't like a swimming pool? And how cool would it be for your child to go back home boasting that he swam in a natural hot springs pool?
Astoria Hot Springs —only a 20-minute drive from Jackson—is the area's newest hot springs offering. It boasts five soaking/swimming pools, including a dedicated children's pool. Reservations are required in advance for one of four daily soaking times of two-hour-fifteen-minute sessions beginning at 9 a.m., Noon, 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. Cost:$18 adults; $14 ages 2-12; under 2 free.
The rustic pool at Granite Hot Springs—just 33 miles south of Jackson Hole—is very family-friendly and a great place for the kids to swim and splash around in while the adults relax sore muscles. The thermal pool is located at the end of the Granite Creek Road and is situated just above Granite Creek Falls. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are changing rooms available and snacks/refreshments are for sale. Or bring your own picnic! Cost (cash only): $8 adults, $5 children.
5. Ready, Set, Rodeo!
You can't get more Western than the famous Jackson Hole Rodeo. The experience connects the whole family to the original cowboy competitions of the Wild West. On Wednesday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., you and your kids can take in traditional rodeo events such as bronco riding, bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping, all with honest-to-goodness cowboys and cowgirls participating!
The rodeo is also presented on Friday evenings throughout July and August.
Cost: $45; $5 less for kids under 15. Buy tickets at the rodeo grounds or online at jhrodeo.com. The rodeo grounds are located at 447 Snow King Avenue, a few blocks west of the base of Snow King.
Call 307-733-7927, or visit jhrodeo.com.
6. Rock Climbing
Exum is the oldest guide service in North America. The popular family program at its Hidden Falls climbing area—accessed by boat over Jenny Lake—is fun for families or just for the kids. The day can include instruction if desired, or can simply be a day of climbing and rappelling. Exum can customize the entire day around your family’s abilities and wishes.
Families must have at least one child under the age of 14 to sign up and kids must be at least 7 years old to go without a parent. Custom climbing is offered for families with older kids.
For prices and reservations call 307-733-2297 or visit exumguides.com.
7. Take a Trail Ride
Let your child really channel his or her inner cowboy! Few activities offer as much insight into the traditions and textures of the West as horseback riding. Jackson Hole horseback trail rides range from one or two hours on up to a full day in the saddle. The well-mannered and mountain-trained horses make exploration easy.
The age for kids to ride depends upon the outfitter, but usually, those age 6 and up are good to go; some companies do offer “lead arounds” for kids under age 8.
Try out a ride with a simpler excursion around the Snake River Ranch with Teton Village Trail Rides. For more options, Spring Creek Ranch frames most of their rides against the backdrop of the Tetons, while Mill Iron Ranch offers a wide variety of rides out into the mountain trails of the wilderness and fishing streams.
Related story: Horseback Riding in Jackson Hole: The Essentials
8. Rockefeller Preserve/Phelps Lake 'Jumping Rock'
This one is a local secret that's all but gotten out. As part of the Laurence Rockefeller Preserve's 8-mile trail system, you can break out along the Phelps Lake Trail which leads you to the “Jumping Rock” on the northeastern shore of Phelps Lake.
The Jumping Rock is a granite rock outcropping with a 20-foot drop into the water. On your easy hike to the rock, you can hear the squeals of adrenaline and surprise as brave souls leap into the frigid glacial lake. Kids of all ages are known to take the plunge!
The preserve is located four miles south of Moose on the Moose-Wilson Road. Its LEED-certified visitor’s center offers an opportunity to learn more about Mr. Rockefeller's vision for the preserve and his legacy of conservation stewardship.
For more, read: 5 Reasons To Visit Laurence Rockefeller Preserve
Bonus Things To Do!
Experience the Jackson Hole Shootout, held nightly on Town Square. From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day each year, the streets are cleared at 6 p.m. (except Sundays) to accommodate the Jackson Hole Shootout Gang. With characters as dastardly or virtuous as you’ll find in any tumbleweed saloon, the gang puts on a show that culminates with an authentic shoot-out [no real bullets!], the longest-running of its kind in the country.
Jackson Hole History Museum: A visit to the history museum may really interest grandma and grandpa and can be something they do sans the young'uns one morning or afternoon. Learn about the rich history of Jackson Hole and the region’s role in the history of the country’s national and international conservation movements. Of course, all ages are welcome, though! There are also one-hour historical walking tours of downtown Jackson at 10:30 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Meet at the museum. Cost: $10 adults; $6 adults over age 60, students, retired military; free ages 5 and under. Visit jacksonholehistory.org for more information.
And take a stagecoach ride around the Square, too! Four to six passengers can fit into the old West stagecoach for a 10-minute trip throughout downtown Jackson. Tickets are $6 to $10 and can be purchased in the Stage Stop Building.
Wyoming Stargazing offers free, year-round, public stargazing events every (clear sky) Thursday in the northwest corner of the Stilson parking lot off Hwy. 390 and 22, behind the bus hut where there are no lights. Astronomy educators use one of their large aperture telescopes to show you planets, stars, planetary nebulae, galaxies, and more. There is no need to reserve your spot in advance; just come and go as you please.
The Teton Raptor Center Encounter Program offers you the chance to meet eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey from 11-11:50 a.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and the first Saturday of the month at Teton Raptor Center in Wilson; book online at tetonraptorcenter.org. You can also mingle and learn about these fascinating birds for free on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Teton Village during the Alive@5 program.
See our Calendar of Events for listings of kid-friendly events.