Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wolf & Grizzly Discover Center

The weekend before Halloween we made a last-second decision to drive to West Yellowstone for the day.  It was also the day after Mr. Yost's birthday.  We'd planned to go to Yellowstone Park for his birthday, but the weekend was COLD.  One of the other reasons we wanted to do a short road trip was so I could study.  It seems to get harder and harder to find time to read my CFP(R) material.  Fortunately, I am one of those rare people who can actually read in the car and not get sick. 

The morning started off like so many mornings when we try to get everyone out of the house.  At first it seems like everything will be just fine.  Then, about 30 minutes before our ETD everything hits the fan.  It never fails that the kids start getting needy and we still have 23 things to do before we leave.  This trip was no exception.  We managed to throw some snacks and warm clothes in the car and head-out around 9:00 am.  I'm pretty sure Vivi was screaming and the kids were asking over and over when they could turn on the iPad and then we realized that "we" forgot my study material.  It was touch-and-go all the way until about Gallatin Gateway.  At that point we figured it would be an even bigger disaster to go home, so we pushed on.  Around Big Sky the roads started getting bad and we ended up driving on snow pack for the next hour.  That wasn't exactly what we'd expected, but luckily Vivi had fallen asleep and the kids were engrossed in a show at that point.

As with all of these types of little mini-adventures, the day turned out great.  Since it was bone-chilling cold, there was virtually no-one else at the discovery center.  We got front row views of the bears, wolves and the raptors.  We watched and listened to the kids looking at all the exhibits and asking questions about everything they saw in the museum area.  After about an hour we asked one of the locals for a restaurant recommendation that wasn't MickeyD's.  We ended up at Wild West Pizza which looked like a hole-in-the-wall from the outside.  We were very pleasantly surprised at the food and the atmosphere including a sweet ski movie playing on the big screen - Happy Birthday Mr. Yost! 

After getting our fill on meatless/cheese-less pizza for us and some awesome looking mac and cheese for the kiddos, we went back to the discovery center for about another hour and a half. 

The day ended with a fairly peaceful drive home where we actually had one of those moments where we could enjoy the kids being the age they are now.  It was quite a stark contrast to how we felt as we headed out of the house in the morning.  I guess I had some time to sit and realize that in another 5 or 10 years the kids will all be sitting in the car with their headphones on and glaring at us from beneath their shaggy, in-their-eyes hair while we cheerily extoll the virtues of a family day trip to West Yellowstone.  Who knows, maybe I'll be wrong and we'll get the same kind of excited grins and cheers that we do now when we announce one of these mini-adventures.  If we don't, I'll just remember back to days like these and be glad that we didn't turn around before we even gave it a chance.