With all the kid-friendly things to do in Yosemite, the park is a source of lifelong connections with the natural world for the young and is also a lifelong fountain of youth for many. Camping, hiking, going on ranger walks, playing in the Merced River, scrambling on boulders near Indian Caves, learning about Yosemite's wildlife and sequoia trees are things that'll have ageless value for kids. Start off gently, watch out for the temptations of tall rocks to climb, but have fun in this family-oriented national park.
The National Park Service has a strong interest in involving the next generation in the care of Yosemite so encourages activities for families. They've directed more funds at the excellent Junior Ranger program in the past couple years and now swear-in 24,000 new Junior Rangers a year - wonderful growth for a valuable operation in the long-term stewardship of Yosemite.
Active stuff for kids starts with what comes naturally: scrambling on rocks, playing in the water and using sticks or pine cones as toys. For structure you can take them horseback riding in the Valley, Tuolumne Meadows or Wawona, or if they're old enough float the river in a rental raft from Curry Village. Bring bikes or rent them at Curry Village or Yosemite Lodge (trailers or kid seats are available for hauling little ones) and pedal the 6 miles of safe bike trails in the east end of Yosemite Valley.
A great American tradition of learning on the trail... read more
Tuolumne Meadows Campground
Family camping with activities and all meals provided... read more
Northside Drive & Southside Drive
The best in environmental education for school groups... read more
Happy Isle Loop Road & Southside Drive
Family-oriented exhibits with a Junior Ranger emphasis... read more
Yosemite Lodge Drive & Northside Drive
Summertime evening programs at the Lodge... read more
Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village
Paved bike trails in Yosemite Valley's east end...
Glacier Point Road
Since its opening in 1935, Yosemite's Badger Pass Ski Area, has been a favorite vacation spot for generations of skiers... read more
Wawona Road & Southside Drive
A couple hundred yards from parking; 600' of vertical splash... read more
An easy half-hour loop to the base of a park icon...