4 Ways to Enjoy Jackson Hole with Kids in Unpredictable Spring Weather!
There is an amazing amount of outdoor opportunities for even the youngest child to enjoy here in Jackson Hole! However, when that inevitable rainy day comes during your visit, there are still some pretty fun things to do indoors as well.
Spring is a great time to visit Jackson Hole—generally, the hotel rates are lower, food is cheaper, and everything is less crowded. However, visiting during the “off-season” as it’s known does have a bit of unpredictability to it, and it’s good to have a couple back up plans should rain (or a snowstorm… it’s happened!) hit and your kids are too little to really be able to dress up and embrace it.
What’s the weather like in spring in Jackson Hole?
Simply put, it’s called “the mud season” for a reason! While the Jackson valley floor is often thawed near the start of April, the higher elevation areas where a majority of the hiking and exploring occur are still slushy, or even snowy.
Visit the raptors of the Teton Raptor Center
The Teton Raptor Center is an amazing way to get up close and personal with local raptors of the area, including falcons, eagles, and owls. You can often find them hosting regular public events in town (in June they do a popular event for Father’s Day called “Raptor Fest”) or you can visit their center at the historic Hardeman Barns (although currently all programs are being held at the Old Wilson Community Schoolhouse in Wilson). Private bookings are also available that include a very in-depth, personal experience with these amazing birds. Check out the program list and more here (https://tetonraptorcenter.org/attend-a-program/public-programs/)
Go on a wildlife tour
Spring brings new life into Jackson Hole—the snow melts away, green starts to take over once again, and plenty of new animals can be spotted on wildlife tours. Elk, bison, deer and more local wildlife can often be seen with adorable babies and the wonderful wildlife guides know where to find them.
Even I still get giddy and excited when I see the adorable baby animals! Don’t forget, however, that they are still wild and do not get too close to them. If you want to try and spot them yourself, however, check out the wildlife spotting guide here (http://www.jacksonholetraveler.com/article/grand-teton-national-park-wildlife-spotting/) to plan out your sightseeing.
Wildlife tours are often in a covered vehicle, such as a van with a window at every seat, and are a great way to experience the beautiful unpredictability of spring in the Tetons while remaining warm and entertained.
Attend one of the many unique events that happen during spring in Jackson Hole
While there are always events happening in Jackson, May really is when Jackson Hole starts blooming again with all the summer events starting for the season! (See things to do) Additionally, check out the community calendar to see what events are going on during your visit.
Some highlights include
Old West Days Parade, which is chock full of horses, wagons, and cowboys that will delight even the littlest one.
Jackson Hole Shootout that happens every day (Memorial Day through Labor Day) except Sundays at 6 p.m. on the Town Square—your family can look forward to some Old West action, complete with popping guns in the oldest running shoot out in the country. Best of all it’s free and there is even sitting space (though it’s fun to be up close so the kids can really feel involved with all the action)!
Explore and learn at the multiple visitor centers throughout Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park
Take advantage of a “free day” by learning more about the unique animals and features of the area through the many beautiful visitor centers we have.
You’ll find the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center just on the edge of the National Elk Refuge, marked by a beautiful sculpture of the native wildlife (that also happens to be a great picture opportunity). Inside, you will learn all about the National Elk Refuge through informative exhibits and information on elk habitat and behavior. This is a must for you if your kids are trying to collect all the Junior Ranger Badges. The Jr. Blue Goose Ranger Activity book is also available.
Another wonderful visitor center is the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, located off the Teton Park Road in Moose, on your way to Grand Teton National Park. This is a beautiful, 22,000 square foot facility that offers plenty of learning and exploring experiences for all ages. Little kids will enjoy being able to touch real fur and antlers from local wildlife, as well as see the history of the area through 3-D maps and real life like set ups of the environments each animal lives in. Older kids (and adults!) will also be able to enjoy seeing the evolution of mountain climbing in the Tetons, as well as the Native American artifacts and history from the area. You can, of course, pick up the “Grand Adventure” Junior Ranger activity book here, or print it off ahead of time if you’re too excited to wait: (https://www.nps.gov/grte/learn/kidsyouth/beajuniorranger.htm)
Are you excited to visit Jackson Hole with the kids this spring?
No matter the weather, Jackson Hole is a beautiful place. I hope you find these activities as a great Plan B should your outdoor plans be affected by unplanned weather events.
If you would like to find more things to do with the family, be sure to check out this list of 15 Fun Activities in Jackson (https://www.thecrazyoutdoormama.com/jackson-hole-things-to-do-with-family/) the kids will love!
Stacy is a married mom of three living in Jackson, Wyoming, and is thankful for every minute of it! She loves to camp and hike most weekends with her husband and her three young kids. If not outdoors, she can often be found playing in the “bear cave” in her kid’s playroom or planning her next trip over a cup of strong black coffee! She blogs about it all over at The Crazy Outdoor Mama!