What Can I Do With My Children?
Take A Hike
With just about every park locale offering flat to moderate walking, a family hike is a great way to burn youthful energy and to reach undeveloped, uncrowded spots with remarkable views and natural beauty. Take a picnic and make a day of it!
Enjoy A Bike Ride
The best family bicycle riding is in Yosemite Valley, which features miles of bike trails. Bring your own, or rent bicycles at Yosemite Lodge or Curry Village.
Zipline and Aerial Adventures
Bring your family 3 to 93 to experience an exciting activity in Mariposa. Yosemite Zipline and Adventure Ranch offers a seven line progressive zipline course, aerial adventure course, and gold and mineral panning.
Visit Happy Isles
The Nature Center at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley is devoted to kids, with wildlife exhibits, nightlife display, and a number of other presentations. There are books for sale and “Explorer Packs” on a variety of topics can be checked out. They include activities for children designed to help them learn more about the natural world they live in.
Help Them Become Junior Rangers
There are two self-guided “junior ranger” programs for kids in Yosemite. Children 3 through 6 can become “Little Cubs” and earn a button by completing the activities set out in The Little Cub Handbook, available at visitor centers throughout the park. The Junior Ranger Handbook is for those aged 7 to 13, and completion of the program allows them to become Junior Rangers and receive a certificate and patch. Any questions? Check with a ranger for more information.
Explore The Indian Gallery And Garden
Within the Yosemite Museum in Yosemite Valley, a room has been dedicated to the culture of the local Native American people. Besides a number of educational displays, there is often someone demonstrating basket making or some other traditional art of the Miwok people. Behind the museum is a garden area that included exhibits about the local Indians, and reproductions of several historic structures othey might have used.
Butterfly Festival Bring the kids to Mariposa during the butterfly festival and they will sure to be impressed by nature. This usually happens in May of each year. Check the website www.mariposabutterflyfestival.net.
Take In A Campfire Program
What better way to finish off a day than attending a traditional campfire program? During the summer, there are usually such programs offered by rangers in campgrounds throughout the park, and there is also a fee-based “Old-Fashioned Campfire” at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley in spring, summer, and fall. Check the Yosemite Today newspaper for schedules.
Winter Activities For Kids
Engage In Snow Play
Grab your sleds, toboggans, and inner tubes and head to the snow play areas at the Crane Flat Campground or just outside the South Entrance at Goat Meadow on Highway 41. Relatively gentle and clear slopes have been identified for hours of slipping and sliding.
Go Skiing Or Snowboarding
The ski area at Badger Pass is perfect for families, with nine runs, multiple lifts, and lessons offered by a first-rate ski school. Rental equipment is available for snowboarding and downhill and cross-country skiing.
Visit The Skating Rink
From November through March when weather allows, an outdoor ice rink operates at Curry Village beneath the shadow of Glacier Point and also at Tenaya Lodge. You can rent ice skates, and there’s a warming hut, lockers, a fire pit, and a snack bar. The phone number is 372-8341.
Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride
Let the kids experience a special treat – authentic horse drawn sleigh rides pulled by Belgian Draft Horses complete with jingle bells. This is a truly unique experience for the whole family. Contact: Yosemite Trails Saddles and Sleigh Company or make your online reservations at www.YosemiteTrails.com
Snowshoe With A Ranger
Snowshoe walks are offered at Badger Pass by National Park Service rangers for adults and children 10 years and older. Rental snowshoes are available. Check the Yosemite Today newspaper for schedules.