Everyone can be a jet-setter, even without leaving the country; Jackson Hole, Wyoming offers exclusive world-class amenities and accommodations that were just a four hour plane ride away. The Jackson Hole Wildlife attractions may not be as awesome as Africa’s, but it was still an amazing feeling to spot rare conservation animals within America. The wildlife sanctuaries, outdoor activities, and a visit to a museum about oddities form part of our memorable family vacation in Wyoming last year.
I kept my twin boys entertained with their drawing pads while we travelled the four hour Delta Airlines flight from Los Angeles Airport to Jackson Hole Wyoming Airport. A shuttle service from the nearby Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole fetched us upon arrival. I was immediately drawn to its elk chandelier in the lobby, cozy atmosphere and the warm welcome of the hotel staff. After our cowboy lunch at their restaurant we started our tour with a visit to the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve. We learned so much about the importance of preserving nature and the untiring work of the Rockefeller family to create awareness about our connection with nature at their artsy-fartsy information office. We were asked to register and were handed out travel guide maps. We took a short hike within this attraction which is conveniently located within the Grand Teton National Park. The trails have elks peeking as we passed by. It was fun exploring the park at our own leisurely pace. There was not much crowd during our visit and we had the beautiful place all to ourselves. The scenic views left me breathless for its tranquility.
As soon as we reached the middle of our hiking adventure we could tell it’s a great place. Just one look at the giant mountains in the background I already fell in love with this park. While we were walking along its unpaved roads, I always felt the need to stop because of my picture perfect surroundings. The 8 GB memory card of my Canon DSLR Camera swallowed so many picturesque shots I took along the way. At the Yellowstone National Park, we were amused as we watched a deer cross our path a few meters away, and admire a herd of moose grazing along the green fields. Park rangers advised us not to make any unnecessary noise so as not to annoy the bears along a bear territory. The beautiful prairies, rich flora, huge old trees, and the hike along the serene Phelps Lake all the more made our adventure in this enchanting park truly enjoyable. The kids enjoyed a dip in the lake’s crystal clear waters. I was contented on wading along its knee deep waters and collate a variety of colored small stones found along its waters. As we head back I had the chance to film a grizzly bear quietly moving and stalking around a group of elks wandering around the park. It was worth the time to visit.
The next day was spent exploring the marvelous exhibits displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The indoor and outdoor sculptures were stunning! The attraction itself is very special because even the roadside has a statue of wildlife animals that can be found in Jackson Hole. Some sculptures were artistically incorporated along the hillside that surrounds the museum. The kids had a grand time posing behind the Bison, Elk, Moose, sculptures in the outdoor museum. I loved the Moose fountain that is found indoors and the imposing Bison sculpture in the lobby. The museum contains more sculptures but most notable were the large number of artifacts and wildlife paintings of famous American painters that were proudly displayed on their exhibit halls. There was a charity event sale of amateur paintings during our visit. However, they were extremely expensive. I consoled myself by buying wildlife animal stuff toys for my twins at the souvenir shop inside the museum. The twins enjoyed making drawing impressions of the animals at their Children’s Discovery Gallery. My husband and I were impressed at how the museum educates and offer great insight to the world class nature of their collections. It’s the best museum ever!
After appreciating the animals in the sculptural form it was time to see the real thing at the National Elk Refuge. It was fun to see the live animals as they frolic along their natural habitat. Getting on board the guided sleigh rides was the closest way we can ever get to these wildlife animals and nature. We had fun picking up antlers of elk along the field, at the end of the day we deposited it at the wildlife conservation office found along the entrance. They in turn sell these antlers to an auction and the proceeds go to the maintenance and care of the wildlife animals inside this park. The perfect view of the Jackson Valley completes the setting for this natural wildlife attraction.
The next day got more exciting as we announce to the kids we are going to visit the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, the ultimate ski paradise offers a cable car (tram), a gondola ride, and ski slopes to conquer. The resort boasts of child friendly facilities and professional equipments for the advanced skiers like my husband. We were in awe as we pass along the powdery snow capped slopes, the view of the valley, and simple town on board the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram. The chilly atmosphere, the breathtaking view of the pines, and the friendly welcoming staff made my first cable ride unforgettable. From the drop off point, to its beautiful up and down the descent until it reaches the summit, the experience was magnificent! It was fun to see the more adventurous ones Paragliding from the Rendezvous Mountain. The tram brought us to the summit point of this snow covered peak where we climbed up stairs to its viewing deck that overlooks the beautiful views around the mountain. I felt like humming the famous carpenters’ song as I admired the view from the top of the world. We toured around the area and admired the incomparable views more in the ski area of Corbet’s Couloir.
After this we explored the forest offered by a tour company and his llamas at the Jackson Hole Llamas. We watched Finding Nemo at the Jackson Hole Playhouse which the kids totally appreciate. For that whole cowboy experience of my boys I bought those cowboy hats and complete outfits as they enjoyed a show of the brave horses at the Jackson Hole Rodeo. They get to ride ponies as well, they looked so cute! They were taught how to ride and the basics of rodeo riding. The hosts were excellent and the show was entertaining for all ages. The bareback riding was fun and awesome. We enjoyed all these attractions during our four day stay in a cozy log cabin located within this mountain.
On our last day we had ourselves totally engrossed in the exhibits of oddities and curiosities at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. I have always been a fan of the great traveler named Robert Ripley and his discoveries of strange artifacts and interesting information. The museum was well laid out and spacious. In all honesty, I think not one museum houses the best work of this man. Each Ripley museum offers a carefully structured assortment of the unique, the bizarre, the beautiful, and the monstrous. To better appreciate the entire Ripley Collection, we must be satisfied to touch only the highlights of our legacy and at the same time pay tribute to the inexhaustible curiosity of the man who put it all together for our wonder and learning. I feel proud that the knowledge I have known since younger years were being watched by my sons. What a great legacy this man has left behind that touches beyond all generations and still be able to capture interest and curiosity in this day and age of modern technology.
Memory is central to the experience of a good family vacation. The twins were yearning for more. I promised next summer, happy adventure again.