The awe-inspiring valley of Jackson Hole in northwestern Wyoming is famous around the world for its scenery, its charismatic wildlife, and its Old West heritage. And from downtown Jackson to the white slopes of the Teton Range, activities specially suited for children have just been increasing in number and diversity.
Jackson Hole has emerged as an outstanding kid-friendly destination. Combined with the magical natural delights of nearby Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the valley and its communities have endless attractions for all ages.
Delights In and Around Town
Children will surely find the town of Jackson enchanting just to look at: From the iconic elk-rack arch to the Old West-style storefronts, they’ll feel like they’re stepping back in time to the days of stout-hearted lawmen and gun-toting desperadoes.
But the family-friendly pleasures of Jackson run deeper than surface level. For example, there’s the awesome Jackson Hole Children’s Museum, or the Clubhouse. Hands-on exhibits such as the Wild Wind Machine, the Magnet Wall, and the Mountain Market provide lessons in science, history, and society. A live bullfrog and map turtle (Gumdrop and Speedy, respectively, the museum’s mascots) entrance visitors to the Creature Corner, while the Backyard Children’s Garden is a real working cultivated plot out back where kids learn how to grow and harvest vegetables. The Clubhouse Kitchen & Community Room renders cooking instruction catered to the pintsized crowd, while you can spend hours of quiet relaxation in the Book Nook. There are also plenty of play areas, including the Imagination Playground and the Tot Spot.
Jackson’s Recreation Center, meanwhile, offers swimming and an open gym. It’s the perfect place for kids to use up some of those unfathomable stores of energy. A full day, meanwhile, can be happily spent touring the otherworldly sights of the town’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum.
Because Jackson’s still delightfully compact, all these in-town attractions are easily reached from most local hotels, such as the White Buffalo Club (WhiteBuffaloClub.com).
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Wednesday- and Saturday-night Jackson Hole Rodeo provides all-ages drama–including a calf scramble choreographed especially for children. Also during the summer, the famous (and free!) Jackson Hole Shootout puts on an exciting Wild West reenactment in the Town Square Monday through Saturday evenings at 6 p.m.
In July and August, meanwhile, the Grand Teton Music Festival at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village offers occasional family concerts with programs well-suited to kids.
Kid-Friendly Outdoor Activities
Of course, many of Jackson Hole’s greatest attractions lie outside town. Kids will love spotting moose, coyotes, and other free-roaming critters amid the sagebrush flats and woods of Grand Teton National Park. From Junior Ranger programs to canoeing, the park (as well as nearby Yellowstone) provides a precious natural playground ideal for introducing children to the wonders of wilderness.
In winter, kids can enjoy a wagon-ride safari through the National Elk Refuge, which attracts thousands of wintering elk as well as other large mammals. Meanwhile, some of Jackson Hole’s world-famous ski/snowboard areas have expanded their services for younger visitors. The Jackson Hole Resort, for example, has not just added more beginner runs but also lots of off-slope options for families, including indoor swimming pools and a daycare.
Whether you’re playing your way through a science lesson downtown or whizzing down a Teton Range mountainside, you’ll find loads of wonderful activities in Jackson Hole that the whole family will enjoy!
Jerry Williams loves to take his family to Jackson Hole. A father of four and avid blogger, he enjoys sharing his experiences and insights online. Look for his informative articles on a variety of today’s top websites and blogs.Read More