All of us at Zephyr Adventures love Yellowstone. It is truly an amazing national park and, located as it is in the backyard of our headquarters in Red Lodge, Montana, we think it is the single best park in the world. Geysers, mudpots, wild animals, and beautiful scenery all combine to make it a wonderful destination for all ages.
In 2005, we decided to run our first-ever family vacation, choosing Yellowstone as the location. Back then, most of us working for Zephyr full time were unmarried and without kids. But I had a niece and nephew aged 12 and 10 who were primed for a western adventure. I decided to leave the guiding to the professionals (i.e. my fellow guides, Kris and Terry) and take Erica and Brian on the tour with me.
What a win for everyone! I was amazed, astounded, and floored how well our version of a family vacation worked for all parties. We purposefully arranged some activities and meals together, knowing parents would want to participate in their kids’ fun. But other events were separate, allowing the kids to bond while the parents enjoyed a more vigorous hike or a glass of wine together.
And did the kids ever bond! Interestingly, on all our family vacations the kids do so much better than the adults at integrating. From pretty much the first five minutes, the kids are best friends and have a wonderful time together. Everyone is part of the group. I think this is due to meeting other kids they have never seen before, the mix of ages, and the fun of being on vacation with Zephyr guides as the chaperones.
The parents have the hard role, learning to relax and let our guides run the show.
Now, 12 years later, I too am a parent. I have been on many family vacations and realize it is my job to entertain, soothe, and educate my daughter Sydney all while I am also dealing with the logistics of a vacation. This is why I am looking forward to bringing Sydney on her first Zephyr Family Adventure and her first experience in Yellowstone, when I can again be just another participant loving the structure of a Zephyr family vacation.