"I was just a kid the last time I visited Yellowstone." That's how the story begins for so many of Yellowstone National Park's visitors. And this single short sentence speaks volumes about the world's first national park and what it means to America and the world.
Yellowstone certainly has lots to offer children young and old. It's been a tradition for parents to provide their children the same meaningful Yellowstone experience they had as kids. The park has always been a "family vacation" spot. Geysers, wildlife, special family programs and packages, Junior Ranger programs, camping, fishing, picnicking, and exploring are all part of the great experience that awaits kids, parents, grandparents and everyone in between. But there's more to Yellowstone than just the usual list of things to do and see. How about goat packing or visiting an Indian Powwow in Yellowstone country? Yes, the meaning of visiting Yellowstone as "a child" runs deeper than our chronological ages.
Whether eight years old or eighty, Yellowstone's visitor is still a child in the best way. Geologically, Yellowstone is our elder, representing hundreds and hundreds of generations before us. And, as a wise and experienced matriarch, Yellowstone has lots to reveal to us.
Environmentally, Yellowstone is our mentor, the founding member of the national park system and the original inspiration that prompted a young nation to prioritize and protect special natural places.
Spiritually, Yellowstone is a disciple. It kindles feelings and understandings in us that few other places can even reach. It provides perspective, solace, retreat, comfort, pathways, sensitivity, inspiration, energy, magic, and provokes wonder and awe. When embraced by Yellowstone we understand just how small and how big we really are.
Everyone is a child in Yellowstone. And, needless to say, there is magic here for the 8-year-old and the 80-year-old. Compared to Yellowstone, we are newborns. And whether you've just completed your first visit or your 31st visit to the park, you'll still be able to say; " I was a just kid the last time I visited Yellowstone."