01 of 08
National Icon: A Park for All
But perhaps its most important icon is this massive gate, that welcomes visitors to the world's first national park: "For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People." Dedicating a huge park "for the people" was a monumental idea.
02 of 08
Natural Wonders: Old Faithful Geyser
Old Faithful is the most famous "geothermal feature" in Yellowstone, and is sure to be most people's list of "top things to do in Yellowstone". Seeing this geyser shoot skyward at a predictable time is definitely a high point.
Yet other natural wonders in Yellowstone are arguably even more magnificent....
03 of 08
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces
The Mammoth Terraces, for instance --just a short walk from the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel-- has an otherworldly beauty.
04 of 08
More "Geothermal Features"
Everyone gets a (fun!) education in Geology 101, at Yellowstone. The entire area is a volcanic crater, with molten rock three miles below the surface. Yellowstone has the most diverse "geothermal features" on earth: geysers, hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles....Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Wildlife ViewingDefinitely a top thing to do at Yellowstone: the Park offers wonderful opportunities to see wildlife. With luck, you'll glimpse a wolf or grizzly bear. Certainly, you'll see elk and herds of bison. The Hayden and Lamar Valleys are prime areas for wildlife viewing.
06 of 08
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
A whole other area to explore, in this National Park: this beautiful canyon of the Yellowstone River has stunning scenery.
07 of 08
Yellowstone National Park has man-made charms as well, with three unique historic inns, including the magnificent "Park rustic" Old Faithful Inn. The Yellowstone Lake Hotel, meanwhile has a completely different style, as does the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel near the north entrance.
08 of 08Families can sign up for special Lodging and Learning programs, offered by the Yellowstone Association Institute. Price is modest, in comparison to upscale Family Adventure vacations offered by adventure tour companies; families get lodging, some meals, plus a program of activities. Take a hike with an Institute naturalist, learn to track animals and snowshoe in winter-time...