Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Yellowstone: Grizzly and Wolf Center and Old Faithful

Over Memorial Day weekend this year, we decided to take a trip to Yellowstone!  What a fun vacation!  And our kids did so well!  We stayed in a cabin in Island Park, and it was so much fun with lots of memories made.  I wanted to make sure we saw the big predators that are in Yellowstone, so we went to the Grizzly and Wolf Center in West Yellowstone one day.  What a neat place!
In the wolf observation area

We did see a wolf in the wild, through a long zoom scope, these were much closer.

There are three packs at the center.  These white ones were incredibly majestic.

Then we just happened to be there when there was a demonstration on what could happen to a campsite if food is left in the tent and food is prepared and left out too close to where you are going to sleep...
...a tent and campsite IN the grizzly enclosure...and we have prime-o seats to watch it get torn down...

The bears came out, and were curious.  They made quick work of the campfire part.  Then came the tent with a cooler inside.  And in the cooler was food...
...nothing is safe...
It was a very good lesson...
It is dangerous for you, and for the bears because the become habituated to humans and easy pickin's. 

Jonathan hanging from the hiking pack!

Watching the huge Alaskan Grizzly "Sam", he's 1050lbs!!  He was so much bigger than the other bears there that he gets his own time in the outdoor enclosure.  He makes all the other bears nervous because of his size!  He would make me nervous too!

 Looking at the bears

Ravens follow the bears hopping to scavenge some of their food, the bears ignore them most of the time.

Watching the bears!  Different grizzly's were in the outdoor enclosure at different times of the day so that all bears get a few times a day to forage for food.  Some bears can socialize together...Sam not so much.

This is how big Sam looked without zooming in...he was still huge.  The next largest bear was 600lbs...a 400lb difference!

Daddy and Jonathan at the Wolf and Grizzly center

This kid points out cracks in the sidewalk!
Well, this was a huge crack, and the progression of pictures is priceless
There's a crack in it!
Getting a look...
...it's a big one...
...really close up!

We left the Wolf and Grizzly center for a little while to eat our picnic, but then the kids also really wanted to get...Ice Cream!
Getting an ice cream in west yellowstone with mommy

Later that day at the Discovery Center they had a program where kids could learn about the animals, and then HIDE FOOD FOR THEM IN THEIR ENCLOSURE!  YES!  Jonathan was too young, so Nathan took him around and I went with the other boys. 
Here they are hiding the food

Hiding grapes under rocks

Moving the branches around to make it a little more interesting for the bears

 Then the bears were released, and the boys loved watching them find their hidden food.  It was a really neat experience and I'm glad that we decided to go back to do it. 

This is from the next day in the park.  A beautiful waterfall we had to hike to.

 Looking over the edge
Jonathan's hair from the wind!

Along the way we found this neat tree...
This cool tree was the perfect spot to hide in the roots and take a picture.

Cutie by the neat tree, and we had hiked to the waterfall.

Another beautiful waterfall

Geothermal springs
Jack was so funny, it smelled like sulfur and he kept saying "this is the best smell ever!"
Okay kid ?!

Staying safe on the boardwalk with Daddy in the hiking backpack

We were driving and I had commented that we hadn't seen a single buffalo yet...
and then bam, right next to the car!  Nathan was a little nervous :)

Very pretty sight

Mud volcanos

We didn't let this little guy walk around much...too many dangers.
Like hot water, geysers, waterfalls, giant canyons, and mud volcanos to name a few.

What is going to Yellowstone without watching Old Faithful?
That was neat, and I loved watching our children's reactions!

And then at Old Faithful, look who we ran into?!
Our good friends the Beckstroms!!!!
How cool is that? Great family, and great friends.

Our cabin

Later that night having hot dogs and smore's for dinner

The boys loved playing games at the cabin.
We played with the ping-pong balls, pass the pig, and ladder ball (especially during a thunderstorm so we stayed indoors). 

James' beanie baby puppy had a time...getting stuck up on the deer :)
Don't worry, we got him down

Good night from the cabin!  
Three little monkeys shared the two full beds pushed together...they loved it!