Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone

Are you planning on visiting Yellowstone? Looking for up close encounters with wolves and bears? Of course, there’s a chance to see wolves and bear in Yellowstone National Park. We have seen them at varying distances each time we have been to the park. Whether you get to see these great animals in Yellowstone or they evade you during your stay a trip to West Yellowstone to visit the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is a side trip worth the effort and fuel!

While the main attractions here are the bears and wolves, there’s more! Other exhibits that are definitely worth checking out include river otters, birds of prey, ground squirrels and more. The onsite Bald Eagles are rescued birds that are no longer able to fly in order to hunt for themselves.

The Grizzly bears are rescues or bears that have been trapped looking for food and/or finding it too close to humans or have become aggressive toward humans. GWDC offers an enrichment program that involves allowing younger children to participate in hiding snacks/treats for the bears to find when the are released from their dens into the habitat. Since our visit, I have noticed that there have been some habitat changes and some of the bears have been relocated. Great news for the Grizzlies!

GWDC is home to three packs of grey wolves for a total of 9 wolves. The exhibit is set up to offer excellent unobstructed views of the wolves, well, being wolves. The handlers provide enrichment through adding scents and hiding bones and fish.

The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center provides a wealth of information about these amazing wild animals. Handlers provide talks about behavior and we even caught a bear talk that involved how to properly use bear spray. Bear proof and not so bear proof products were also on display showing just how strong and determined these bears are especially when it comes to food.

Want to know more? Visit the GWDC website to plan your visit and learn more about this non-profit Wild Life Park and Educational Facility. If you are looking for a campsite nearby, we have just the secret spot! It wouldn’t be a secret if I told everyone about it now would it?!

Lewis and Clark Caverns, Montana

This impulsive stop was entirely worth the short distance out of our way. We are slightly fascinated with deep dark damp caves. Here, we took a guided tour of the cave system. We got to hear about the caves’ history as well as history about the area and the park.

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park in Montana offers camping and cabins, hiking and biking, fishing and hunting and so much more. Our favorite part about this park was the cave tour. Especially the stalactites and stalagmites.

It is important to dress for going underground. It is definitely cooler in the caves. Another important thing to keep in mind is the bats. No, the bats will not get you, but you shouldn’t wear shoes that you have worn in other caves. Wearing different “clean” shoes that have not been in other caves helps protect bats from a fungal infection. With Covid-19 visitors also need to wear a mask inside the caves.

Before we went on the tour we looked at pictures taken in the caverns. Wow did they look great. We did not have extra lighting or any kind of fancy equipment. We are not even sure they want people using lighting equipment. It is best to check on those type of rules directly with the park.

For more current information visit the Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park website. You can also make reservations using their website.

San Diego Zoo

It is impossible to do the San Diego Zoo in one day. We know because we tried. We arrived bright and early before the Zoo opened and walked our butts off all day. Literally, we walked our butts off all day and we still did not see everything. We didn’t even attempt to go to the Safari Park.

We walked at least 15 miles according to my fitness tracking app on my phone. Our middle child will tell we we almost died! We did spend the day in high gear to get as much of the San Diego Zoo in as possible.

This amazing bird is a Secretary Bird. Our youngest was thrilled to get this picture. I would guess that the Secretary bird could be one of his favorite stops while were visiting the animals at the zoo.

On to the Skyfari gondola ride of TERROR! Just kidding, but can you see the look that says – we are off to our deaths mom, don’t take any more pictures. Well, that feeling didn’t last long and we were able to enjoy both of our rides on the Skyfari.

There was on part of our ride that was scary. We saw a small child standing on the safety rail of their gondola about halfway through the trip! Don’t do that kids, it’s a long way down. Goodness!

At the end of the day, and I mean it they were closed, we made our way out with almost seeing everything. We suggest at least 2 days to enjoy the Zoo and another day at least for the Safari Park. Don’t take my word on the Safari Park, we haven’t been yet.

Go to San Diego Zoo’s Website for more information.