My nephews have been coming to Henderson Creek Lodge for four years now so we have some real experience with a kid friendly vacation in Teton Valley, especially those 4 to 10 years old. The two things that are must do’s every time are the rodeo in Jackson Hole and the rec center in Jackson Hole.
The rodeo is a great family and kid friendly event. And if you have never seen a bull ride then it’s a must see. If your kids are under 12, then there is a special treat. Each rodeo, three calves have ribbons tied to their tales. The kids run around chasing the calves trying to grab the ribbon. Those that grab it win a prize, like free rafting for the entire family. It’s a real hoot — kind of like watching six-year olds play soccer. But there’s one hundred of them and no soccer ball!
The rec center in Jackson Hole offers 2 different pools and a giant waterside. There’s a diving board and a climbing wall. One of the pools is especially for children with various waterfall features and a smaller water slide. But the biggest treat is the giant water slide. I’m guessing it is two stories high. In addition, there is a hottub, sauna and steam room. With so many options for everyone in the family, it really is kid friendly vacation spot.
If you’re in Jackson Hole, then be sure to checkout he shootout every night at 6:00 pm on the Town Square in Jackson Hole. This is a real Jackson tradition staged by actors from the local playhouse. The theme changes, but always ends with a mock shoot out. It’s a real taste of the wild west.
Near to Henderson Creek Lodge, Teton Mountain Ranch operates guided horseback riding. This year was the first year both my nephews were old enough to ride, and they loved it. It was a real treat for them to ride a horse on a real trail where you feel like you’re away from it all. The Bagley Family have been grazing in this area for generations and it’s a real treat to have them tell you all about the history of Teton Valley. Today, they operate an elk ranch where you can take a wagon ride that gets you right up close to the elk. For kids that are too little to be on a horse, this is a great alternative. And sometimes, they even let them hold the reins and drive the team pulling the wagon!
When my nephews were younger, they rode at Grand Targhee, where kids can take a ride on a horse that is led by an attendant on foot. It’s a good way for kids to get started. While at Grand Targhee, be sure to check out the climbing wall, and the scenic chairlift ride. There are also plenty of mountain bike trails and you can take your bike on the chairlift and ride down, if you want.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers similar things for kids as Grand Targhee. But at Jackson Hole, be sure to ride the Tram to the top and get a stunning view of Jackson Hole. You’ll also find a bungee trampoline that is very kid friendly and another great vacation stop. And having been to the one in Park City, i can pretty much guarantee that kids will have one of the highest and most fun jumps they can!
For swimming in a warm pool that is actually a hot spring, check out Green Canyon Hot Springs. Or for a great swimming hole, that’s is somewhat an adventure to get to, look for Packsaddle Lake.
You can rent a raft and float the Teton River with the kids. We did that with my nephews when they were younger. The Teton River is fairly mellow (no rapids on the section we floated) and is great for littler kids. Now that my neephews are a little older, they prefer white water rafting on the Snake River in Jackson Hole.
My nephews have always enjoyed short hikes in and around Henderson Creek Loge. It’s a great way for kids to feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere, yet you’re close to your temporary home and close to civilization! It’s a great way for them to experience what nature has to offer and come to appreciate what it means to get away.
Finally, be sure to checkout the Huckleberry shakes at the Victor Emporium. What kid (or adult) doesn’t like ice cream! Now that’s a kid friendly vacation for all ages!