To take a walk through history is to take a stroll through Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. This area of the National Park really hits home the fact that Yellowstone is really old. It is hard to imagine but in 1886 the U.S. Army marched into Mammoth Hot Springs to protect Yellowstone’s natural resources. So to take a walk and see the old cavalry barracks and the parts of Old Fort Yellowstone that are still up is like taking a promenade through the past.
Now if you have never been to Yellowstone National Park I do not recommend spending a lot time in the town and villages found in the park. The park is huge. There are just so many things to see, do, and hike. That large amount of time spent not doing those things will probably end up feeling like a waste. The towns can be a good place to learn about the park, but take it from this teacher, the best way to learn is by doing.
However, if you have been to Yellowstone, checking out the visitor centers, historical museums, and villages can be a great way to get a fuller picture of the parks history. A great place to do this is the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. There they have guided and self-guided tours or if time is pressing take the online tour of Fort Yellowstone. For families with young children a stop here especially the Albright Visitor Center can be a nice treat for the kiddos. They have a dedicated children’s area with hands-on displays, dioramas of the animals found inside the park, as well as their famous junior ranger’s programs.
During our first two visits to Yellowstone National Park we spent as much time as we could on the trails and seeing the sights. On our most recent visit we spent a little bit more time in areas like the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. One of our kids loves touch tables and interactive exhibits and just learning things in general. We have been lucky in that area. Secondly as awesome as seeing hot springs and waterfalls are sometimes it is nice just to go someplace, sit down and relax a little. Working on a junior ranger’s worksheet provides a little bit of a break between drives not only for us but our kids as well.
Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District is a nice little stop if you have the time. Mammoth Hot Springs should be a place on your list to visit when in Yellowstone. The Hot Spring Terrace are an incredible sight. Also the resident elk lounging about the buildings and homes is fun to see. While a visit to Yellowstone will probably afford you many chances to see elk there is something about seeing them munching on the grass lawns in Mammoth that makes Yellowstone a unique experience.
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