Monday, September 15, 2014

The Great American Road Trip: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson (or, as I call it, Jackson Hole), Wyoming!  What an amazing place!  I have so many memories of my 5th grade summer spent in Jackson Hole!  I couldn't wait for my kiddos to share in those experiences with me.  Here are the details of our summer 2014 visit:

Jackson vs Jackson Hole:  We were told that a man named Jackson was the first to explore this area.  He hunted and trapped in this area that is surrounded by mountains.  So, it was known as "Jackson's Hole".  That name has stuck around for many (including with myself).
Map of the Jackson Area
This map is a good reflection of what I call "Jackson Hole".

Jackson Hole hasn't changed much since I was there as a kid.  However, many of the old time places I liked to visit (like the drug store that had the most amazing malts) have been replaced with big chain businesses (like Starbucks).  

The Jackson Hole Visitors Center is worth stopping to check out.  It includes a small museum, nice gift store, and many other amenities to help start your visit off on the right foot.

Visitors center
Visitors center - I have always dreamed of owning a cabin with one of these in it!
The Town Square - there is one of these on all four corners!

Another famous spot, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, located across from the town square.
They have a small gift shop and they serve meals
- although I found it hard to locate a menu for lunch and there was nothing vegetarian (not that I expected them to).
Town Square

Town Square
When it rains - it POURS!!!!
We had to take cover in a store or about a half hour.
The streets were flooded and it remained that way for a while after the rain passed.
Lots of "props" in the stores to entertain us.
Whitewater rafting:

Looks fun!  However, we did not go whitewater rafting.  There were a couple of companies that seemed fun and safe for the age of my kiddos.  But, many of our days in Jackson were filled with rain.  We had also heard that the water was still VERY cold due to the snow still melting off the mountains.  Apparently June is not the best month for rafting in Jackson, WY with kiddos.  So, we skipped this adventure with plans to raft on a future vacation.  I was kind of bummed because I have only been rafting once in my life and it was during my stay here in 5th grade.  My dad and I rafted the Snake River!  Maybe I will bring my kiddos back to this place some day...  I'd love to relive that memory with them!

I remember the "Lunch Counter" rapid very well :-)

I loved this as a kid!  You ride up the mountain on a ski lift, get off the lift, grab a "slide" and then ride down the hill.  I remember racing down the mountain (not supposed to race but it's hard not to when you have a friend on the slide right next to you).  This ride now costs $15 pp each time but, even as an adult, it is an amazing adventure!  I have to admit that you need to ride it more than once to really enjoy it.  The first time down you are getting familiar with the slide.  The second time you are more open to going super fast!

You can't go out west without going to a rodeo!  Even my husband, who was not excited about going, had a great time!  We purchased our tickets online in advance.  We were able to select our seats online too!  We opted for the covered area (in case of rain or uncomfortable sun).  The covered area is directly across from the main "stage" so you get the best view from there.

My sons smirky cowboy look ;-)

Kiddos getting ready to catch a sheep!
Jackson Scenic Tram Ride - located in the Teton Village.  The village is set up like a ski town.  It reminded me of Aspen, Colorado.  Many big resorts, lots of things to do within walking distance, ... 

We were told that this ticket was also good for a ride on another ski lift
(open lift - not enclosed) but we did not have time to check that out.

The tram.
The ride up.

A view from the top.
You do get out and walk around at the top (unless you opt out).
You have a few minutes before the next tram arrives.
Then, when you are ready, you hop on a tram to head back.
The top.
Hot chocolate, coffee, and food at the top.
We heard that they have amazing pancakes.

Covered Wagon and Meal Experience - Bar T 5:  I highly recommend this adventure for all ages!

Waiting area (after check-in) and the story starts here.
Don't forget to use the restroom since the only ones in the mountains are portable toilets.
Gift shop.
Heading up the mountain trail.
It was a raining evening but the show goes on rain or shine.
The wagons do have pull down sides to help keep you dry.

Entertainment along the way.
He was warning us about the "Indians" ;-)
Wagon train circle.
The "Indians" waiting to rob us!
My son was actually concerned that this part of the show was real - LOL!
And the show continues.
Sooo many laughs!
Audience participation.

Getting ready to head back.
My little lady got to "drive" the wagon.
Granite Hot Springs:  This is another place that I visited as a kid but didn't work out for us to visit during this trip (due to constant rain).  It is a little ways out of the city but it is a great way to experience a swim in a hot spring that is clean ;-)

Have you been to Jackson?  Did you experience anything fun that I didn't mention?  I'd love to hear!

Check out the rest of our road trip here.

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