The word vacation might conjure up images of tropical beaches or maybe far off countries without romantic languages, but consider the beautiful destinations right here in our own country. Our National Parks showcase the incredible landscapes while preserving them for generations to come. Yellowstone National Park is one of the most awe inspiring places that I have ever visited. Every feature of the park is like looking at a postcard. The views are nothing short of miraculous, and the landscape gives us a glimpse to the inner workings of the Earth. It is a must see destination. If you aren’t sold on it yet, here are some interesting facts about the park.
1. There have been inhabitants in Yellowstone for more than 11,000 years. From indigenous tribes to European settlers, Yellowstone has a long history. Within the park there are preserved sites that offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Check out Obsidian Cliff where some of the first inhabitants used the rock to make crude tools.
2. The 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Act on March 1st, 1872. This made the Yellowstone the world’s first National Park. It was no longer available for public settlement. The foresight to preserve this piece of land has saved a corner of the Earth’s history.
3. Within Yellowstone there are more than half of the world’s active geysers. These hot springs erupt with scalding water and shoot high up into the air. Old Faithful is the most famous geyser in Yellowstone, and it erupts more frequently than any other geyser in the park. Standing there as it rumbles, sputters, and blasts through the air, it is an experience like no other.
4. The volcanic activity within Yellowstone provides the habitat for heat loving microscopic organisms called thermophiles. Some of these thermophiles are similar to the first microbes that were capable of photosynthesis. That means these thermophiles are ancestors of the microbes that have made it possible for humans to exist in the atmosphere on Earth. Is that not incredible?!
5. View the boiling mudpots! Microbes aid in breaking down rocky areas into thick, muddy clay that gurgles and boils from the steam of thermal waters deep below the surface. Minerals make many of the mudpots a variety of beautiful colors which is why they are often referred to as the paint pots. Its almost like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.
6. The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in Yellowstone. The vibrant colors and the steam make it look almost surreal.
7. Over 330 species of birds have been sighted in the park and 150 actually nest in the park. Among those wondrous landscapes, you will see all kinds of wildlife.
8. Yellowstone is home to 67 species of mammals. You’ll see big horned sheep hop along rocky cliffs, buffalo will walk right alongside your car, and moose can be found meandering in the distance. It is like traveling through a zoo.
9. In the 34,375 miles of Yellowstone, the park stretches into three states, and there are five different entrances. Visitors can spend an entire vacation moving through the park and never seeing the same thing twice.
10. There is a Youth Conservation Corps that offers a month long program for children 15-18 years old. 2015 is the 26th consecutive summer that Yellowstone has provided this incredible opportunity for young adults to learn about the park and experience real life work opportunity in wildlife conservation. The program pays minimum wage with deductions for room and board.
This park is incredibly beautiful! The rainbow of colors and the science behind such complicated formations makes this more than just a picturesque vacation. It is learning experience that provides insight into the delicate nature of our Earth’s inner workings. Yellowstone is more than just sight seeing, it tells the importance of taking care of our planet. People from all over the world come to this special park. It is a vacation must!