We pulled into the Old Faithful area parking lot with George and Gladys snoozing in the back. Jay and I looked for a place to turn around, as we had missed the turn to our campsite inspite of our high-tech navigation system. Jay and I focused on the signs and traffic.
"Mom! Dad! Is that a geyser??"
"Yeah, Honey, I think you just found Old Faithful," I said flatly, "I guess we've seen it. Let's go home."
"Noooooooo!!!" he replied immediately, knowing well I was teasing him.
Of course, we wouldn't go straight home. We are proper tourists. After checking into our campsite and a morning tour of West Thumb Geyser basin, we returned to Old Faithful.
We did what we were supposed to do.
We waited - faithfully, of course (for over an hour). And, as expected, we took the classic picture of 'Old Faithful' above.
What we have learned as experienced National Park tourists, is to always check out the Junior Ranger program. At Yellowstone, they also have an absolutely awesome 'Young Scientist' program. The ranger provides a backpack with tools (such as an infra-red temperature gauge that allows you to take the temperature of the hot springs from the board walk - so cool!!) The kids really enjoyed it, and my husband and I fought over the geeky toys.
The program takes 4 - 6 hours to complete, which seems like a lot, but the kids left understanding more about the Yellowstone caldera than I probably learned in geology class in the 5th grade. Even George can happily point out a 'geyser.' And, truly, it was SO FUN.
The hottest hot spring we measured was 181 F. The Yellowstone River ran around 56 F.
Andrew and Jay are on the right side enjoying their science lesson.
While our kids were enjoying the science games, we accidentally wandered by Beehive geyser just in time to see it erupt (which it only does once a day, and not on a very regular schedule).