Yosemite, with kids, revisited, part 2

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Places To Go

While we were in Yosemite, we stayed in Wawona, in the Southern part of park. I had not spent much time there in the past, so it was new to me as well as the kids. Although I think I still prefer the Northern part of the park, there is a lot to do and see in the Southern part. Right near the South entrance to the park is the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. This is the largest stand of giant redwoods in Yosemite. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to visit the grove. While I'm sure the adults would have loved it (did I mention that Jared was almost named Redwood?) I suspect the not-quite-so-giant trees we did see were pretty impressive to our little ones.

We did get a chance walk down to the South Fork of the Merced River. We let the kids play in the water and climb on the rocks for a while. This was a huge hit with the kids, but I think Rachel (my wife) set a world record for the most heart attacks in one day. With Jared being the oldest at four, we were very lucky to have found a part of the river where someone had built a rock barrier to make a kind of wading pool; even Jared was a little young to climb around in the river too much. One thing I will say is that the fact that everyone had Aqua Socks type footwear made it possible to enjoy the water -- without them the kids would have spent the time complaining that their feet hurt. These shoes can be found pretty cheaply these days, but an old pair of tennies will work just as well.

The Wawona Hotel, very close to where we stayed, was of little interest except for the big lawn -- the kids thought it was fun for running and rolling. We did enjoy a barbeque dinner on the lawn there on the Fourth of July (normally, it's only done on Saturdays) which was good and not too expensive -- if you and your kids aren't big eaters, just get all-you-can-eat sides for them and share your main dish (the chicken is a pretty big serving). One word of caution -- they do not have milk available. The golf shop supposedly did, but all the guy could find was some a month out of date (yuck!). If your kids drink milk, bring your own. Otherwise, they have water, lemonade, iced tea, and coffee; soda, bottled water, and beer are an extra charge.

Just outside the South entrance of the park is the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad. Jared had recently learned to go poo in the potty and one of his promised rewards (aka bribes) was a ride on a train. The train wanders around the forest following the route used by a lumber company a century previously. It stops halfway along the ride at a picnic grove to let people stretch their legs and to refill the train's resevoir with water. All along the trip, the conductor/brakeman tells the history of the railroad and the area, pointing out, also, the many different plants and trees that grow there. The ride was, I think, enjoyed by everyone, young and old. At $40 for the four of us (Sara rode free), it's not a bad outing.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.