Traveling with kids requires a “bag of tricks,” as many parents will tell you. Beyond the books, pipe cleaners, coloring books, road trip games, and movies, sometimes that bag of tricks must extend beyond the confines of the vehicle.
I caught up with Kelly Roseberry, local mother, on her approach to road trips with two kids and where she takes her kids for adventures in the area. In addition to a few clever tips, I put together a family itinerary through Wyoming’s Wind River Country from all of her great ideas.
With more than 5 million acres of public land in the form of forests, mountains, lakes, prairies and colorful desert, it’s easy to find a place to pull over, get a little space, and stretch your legs. Take in the views and enjoy the fresh air.
Make your first in-town stop at one of the museums or chambers of commerce to pick up a Wind River Explorer Guide created by the Fremont County Museum System. The passport-style booklet has spaces for stamps at interesting and educational locations around the county.
Here are some highlights and some of our own additions:
Pan for Gold in South Pass City State Historic Site
In the late 1860s, thousands flocked to South Pass City in hopes of striking it rich. Though the gold boom eventually busted, many of the original buildings remain, including the Carissa Mine. South Pass City Historic Site remains one of the best-preserved mining towns in the West. You’ll all learn from the historical self-guided walking tour, and the kids will love the chance to pan for their own gold flakes!
Day Trip on Loop Road (Lander to Sinks Canyon to Louis Lake to Highway 28 and back to Lander)
This driving tour is so much more than a drive, and as a result, it will take you one full day to maximize your experience. You will drive through Sinks Canyon, up the steep switchbacks into the mountains, past several high mountain lakes. Then, you will join up with Highway 28 and the historic area of South Pass, before returning with a view of the wonder that is Red Canyon. It’s not just a drive, as it offers many places to picnic, take short kid hikes, rent a boat, other?
Be a Junior Ranger in Sinks Canyon State Park
“It gives them activities to do and a purpose, and then they get a little badge and they feel really special,” Kelly said of the Junior Ranger program at all National Parks and some State Parks.
Sinks Canyon State Park’s Junior Ranger Program includes a booklet with questions about geology, history, and ecology of the canyon that they get to research in turn for a stamp and badge. Just a short drive from downtown Lander, this is an excellent place to stop and stretch the mind as well as the legs
Visit Lander’s Children’s Museum
The Children’s Museum in central Lander provides children the opportunity for innovative learning experiences that encourage them to interact with their surroundings. It is targeted toward the 3-12 age group. Enjoy a variety of hands-on exhibits in the fields of math, science, art, music and reading as a family.
Get your Fix at the Crux in Lander
The kids need to move, and you need more caffeine. Your one-stop shop is the Crux Coffee Shop on Main and Third Streets. This stop is complete with a climbing wall, a great view of historic downtown Lander, and all the espresso you need to get to your next stop while the kiddos nap.
Check out CATS in Riverton
Traveling opens doors to great lessons, and the doors to the Central Wyoming Center for Art, Technology and Science (CATS) are in the heart of Wyoming’s Wind River Country. Custom-designed exhibits are housed in the nine learning areas that comprise CATS. The often-changing exhibits are all built on the foundational belief that children learn through play.
Play Hide-and-Seek at the Dubois Overlook
The Dubois Overlooks is the only place on Earth from which you can see all three mountain-building processes (volcanic, tectonic, and glacial). In addition to looking for each other during a quick game of tag or hide-and-seek, look for the informational signs to help you find the three mountain formation types in this incredible view.