Kids 'N' Snow; Winter Fun in West Yellowstone!

Winter can be tricky with little ones. Shorter days and colder temperatures keep them couped up more than their little bodies can stand. But discovering the joys of winter can seem a bit intimidating if you're not from a cold weather state. West Yellowstone is a haven for snow sports and is a favorite place for families to vacation. So recognizing an opportunity, community partners got together and created an event to introduce kids to the joys of winter sports.

In 2010, Kids' N' Snow began as a test. The program was so successful it has grown to over 1,000 participants, was awarded the 2014 "Tourism Event of the Year" by the Montana Office of Tourism, and was the recipient of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums/Disney Nature Grant recognizing them as an AZA Nature Play Site.

The event now takes place four times per winter, once each month from December through March. Local experts host workshops such as a Kid's Ice Fishing Camp, Learn to Ski Basics, or Pack Chats with the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center experts. There's also a snowshoe walk, dog sled rides, snow art, and snowmobile rides. The day is arranged so kids can participate in as many or as few sessions as they would like, ending the day with s'mores, ice skating, and sledding!

If your trip allows, coordinating with one of the official Kids' N' Snow dates is a fantastic opportunity. 2022-23 dates are Dec 17, 2022, Jan 7, 2023, Feb 4, and Mar 4. Registration is open now!


Kid making a snow angel. Photo by Jonathan Finch


If your trip doesn't coincide with one of these dates, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore. The ice-skating rink and sledding hill are open daily and free of charge. (You will need to bring your own skates and sleds.) In addition, free Heel and Wheel offers snowshoe and Nordic ski rentals and lessons, which can be tailored to ability and interest levels, whether you are brushing up on technique, learning a new style, or looking for local knowledge of the area. Skiing and snowshoeing inside Yellowstone, while it's closed to vehicles, is a truly magical experience your kids won't soon forget.

The Kids 'N' Snow Scavenger Hunt is a fun way to explore the town during your downtime. First, stop by the KNS Headquarters at the West Yellowstone Visitor Center and pick up your clues. From there, venture around town and find hidden treasures. Take photos as they find them, and then show them to the coordinator at KNS to collect their prize!

The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a must-do. These bears, wolves, otters, and raptors cannot live in the wild and act as ambassadors for their species. Guests can learn about the animals while watching them up close. The Keeper Kids program is always a big hit. Designed for ages 5-12, the hands-on 30-minute program teaches kids about their eating habits. The kids then get to accompany the keeper to hide food for the animals, then watch them find it and learn first-hand how they use their smell to find food.

If you venture into Yellowstone National Park, make time for ice skating at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge! (Including free skate rentals!) If you stay the night, you'll find miles of ski and snowshoe trails right outside the door, plus a range of skier tours and shuttles. And the cozy lodge is perfect for board games, puzzles, or gathering by the fireplace.

Spend some time in West Yellowstone, and you'll discover a new approach to winter!


Young boy Nordic skiing. Photo by Dave Hebert