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.

Yellowstone National Park

We have visited Yellowstone National Park three times over the past 6 years. Each time we visited we got to see plenty of wildlife. I won’t go on and on in this post about Yellowstone. It is an amazing, yet smelly place, to to go visit the inside of a super caldera(you know, the inside of a volcano). Yellowstone is a hot spot for not only buffalo traffic jams, bears being bears, and giant herds of elk; there are also plenty of places to stop and enjoy super heated water and volcanic gases. Our advice is to follow park rules and stay on boardwalks. Stepping off of the boardwalks to get closer to a hot spring can lead to fatal injury.

What I want to talk about is a curiosity. At a location I am not going to disclose inside Yellowstone we experienced seeing something truly strange – each of the three times we visited. Now, this involves elk and only elk. There is a meadow that you can drive by and the main attraction, at least for us, has become a pair of bull elk. The best buds like lounging around, just relaxing and perhaps enjoying watching tourists drive by. Here is the thing about these fellas, they don’t appear to move. It’s not that they aren’t looking around, eating, and what not. It is, each visit we have found them in the same exact spot and doing the same exact thing. Ruminating away and growing this seasons antlers. I’m not kidding, we found them in virtually the same positions.

While we have plenty of excellent pictures of other elk. These guys we far enough from the road to make getting a good shot on our phone camera while we were driving. We were not prepared for something like this. Of course, what are the odds of this even happening? We hope to see them again on our next visit!

Please remember that even elk are wild animals. Do not approach any of the wild animals in the park. Encounters with these and other animals in the park can lead to serious injuries and even death.

For more information visit the Yellowstone National Park website.