A visit at the National Museum of Wildlife Art
Upon our arrival, we decided to visit the National Museum of Wildlife Art. We were quite curious to find out more about the fauna around the area. Since it was lunch time and we had heard about the Palate, the restaurant in the museum, we had some food first. Having asked for their current recommendations, we picked a blue cheese soup and a meatloaf dish, not expecting too much. Our taste buds were excited though, alongside with the fantastic view we enjoyed.
After this delicious energy kick, we dived into the art galleries and were impressed with the size and the quality of the exhibition. We would not have anticipated all that, judging from the outside. The organization and composition of the galleries, offering a mix of modern, classic, national and international artwork regarding various facets of wildlife, are well thought through. Moreover, there is even a really appealing part for kids, offering interactive activities to trigger their learning interest.
The welcoming Bentwood Inn
By the time we left the museum, it was time to make our way to our accommodation. We stayed at the Bentwood Inn, which lies a bit outside of Jackson in Wilson. It is a distinguished bed & breakfast property that offers a warm welcome and comfortable and cozy rooms when you are not sitting by the inviting fire place in the “living room”. Andy and Nastassia, the innkeepers, gladly shared advice and information whenever needed. They easily succeeded in making their guests rather feel like staying with friends.
Preparing for the perfect winter adventure
Early on the next morning, we got prepared putting on layers (it was about -18°C, i.e. 0°F) to be ready for being picked up for our snowmobiling adventure through Yellowstone by Scenic Safaris (the organizing company). It was a drive of about an hour in a small bus through Grand Teton National Park to the lodge where we had breakfast, completed our final preparations (special warm gloves, boots, jump suits, helmets) and started off from. On the way, we met the other members of our group and the later guide was also our driver, Jarred.
When we arrived at the Flagg Ranch, at first, we were a little surprised about the amounts of people there. However, everything was managed so well, that it all worked rather seamlessly. Everyone was welcomed, offered a seat for a quick, but nice hot breakfast buffet. Later everyone was attended well to ensure he/she had all pieces of their outfit in the sizes needed.
Next, Jarred introduced us all to the rules for snowmobiling and the handling of our machines. He also made us aware of the dangers of possible accidents if not adhering to the former. Since we were both first timers driving a snowmobile, the next positive surprise was just ahead: although it took a bit to adjust, it wasn’t that hard at all.
Snowmobiling through Yellowstone
And then our group was finally ready and we got onto our snowmobiles to head out on our ride. Even just the first few minutes felt amazing: the light blue sky with the sun shining down on us and nature all around. We made a quick stop to catch a photo at the entrance sign of Yellowstone. Then we continued on our trip toward Old Faithful, our destination, around noon. We came by beautiful Louis Lake, all frozen, and some amazing waterfalls, half covered in snow and ice. Jarred swiftly led us to the most scenic places and had us stop shortly to enjoy them, take photos.
On time, we arrived at Old Faithful to see it erupt. Its beautiful fountain of hot water and steam magnificently contrasted with the light blue sky. (We were so lucky with the weather!). After a quick and tasty lunch, we headed out again snowmobiling. This time we marveled at some smaller geysers and the famously known colorful hot (and partly highly acidic) pools. This is where we also saw some wildlife, like some Canadian geese, insects and various kinds of fish in the nearby stream. We also got lucky in the end and saw a group of bison, even with little ones. Later, we even got quite close to two other ones.
You should be aware that although the winter scenery is absolutely stunning, it is also the season when you are much less likely to see wildlife, as opposed to the summer time. Nonetheless, you may be just as lucky as us. Throughout our visit we also saw moose, bold eagles and elk.
Afterwards, Jarred drove us all back to our accommodations and we happily shared our memories and photos on the luxury shuttle van.
Our conclusion and advice
All in all, our guide Jarred was very friendly, fun and helpful answering patiently all questions, while guiding us at the right speed swiftly and safely snowmobiling around Yellowstone on our tour to make sure we got the most out of our adventure. With all we saw that day, including the wildlife (with the bison being our highlight), the lakes, waterfalls, woods and views of the Grand Tetons, it was the perfect snowmobiling experience through Yellowstone.
So, here is some piece of advice from our side before you decide to embark on this great adventure. Make sure to collect all the information you need from Scenic Safaris‘ friendly and helpful staff on the phone (don’t underestimate their advice regarding foot warmers and putting on layers!). And if you have a chance to plan your trip independently of holidays and high seasons, keep in mind that there are less people between December 15 and 20, as well as around the middle and end of January and February (apart from President’s Day), until the first week of March.