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May 22, 2012

Little Red Riding Hood and other adventures in the Yosemite Valley

The little red and blue riding hoods

After writing detailed posts on biking and hiking as well as swimming, rafting, horse-riding and climbing in the Yosemite Valley, I had to give the kids – and their parents – a breather. Hence the inspiration for the light-hearted -and short – piece.

Here is a list of silly things we’ve done as a family or that we like to do whenever we are in the Yosemite Valley. Some of them have almost become rituals for our family and the kids know the drills to a T – they usually involve an ice-cream or a beer. Others were part of a bigger project and deeply tickled our creativity. Whatever the case, they all feel good. Feel free to make up your own silly pleasure to enjoy the valley.

Have fun being silly:

  • Dress up your kids as a storybook character and have them raid the butter shelves at the Village Store (before you put them back). Or take a little red riding hood walk through the giant redwoods of Tuolumne Grove. We did this as part of our Yosemite re-enactement of the little red and blue riding hoods. Just the look on people’s faces at the store and on the trails was priceless. our girls insisted on stocking their baskets with goodies they munched on along the way.
  • Get an ice-cream for the kids at the Yosemite Village store. The freezers are conveniently located by the cashiers – or you can have a larger selection inside.
  • Let the kids choose a tchtotcke such a Yosemite mug or a Yosemite teddy bear. Yes it’s tacky but hey, they might deserve it if they went on a long hike today.
  • Walk inside the Indian Museum and have the kids play traditional native American games on the same elevated platform in the last room. Our girls love the stick game.
  • Grab a children’s book, stop at the Ahwahnee Bar for drinks (lemonade for the kids, cold beer for the adults) and go for a comfy storytime in the hotel’s majestic lobby or lounges.
  • Reserve the Sunday brunch at the Ahwahnee and be ready to indulge. If need be, eat lightly the night before. The kids get coloring pages, WikiStix and the royal treatment. The piano player knows incredible variations on “It’s a small world.” It’s the best brunch deal I’ve ever seen and if you’re not staying at the Ahwahnee, you’ll still feel great. ASk for a table next to the windows for a view of the meadows.
  • Stop by  the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and after touching all the displays in the nature museum, head to the auditorium for a spectacular documentary movie on the national park.
  • Check the ranger programs and try to take your kids to a campfire program. Guitar, hot cocoa, stories, natural history – it doesn’t get any more authentic.
  • Pick a nice postcard at the Ansel Adams Gallery and write a letter to the grand-parents or other relatives with your kids. When you’re done, walk over to the microscopic post office and mail it. Done deal!
  • Take the shuttle bus for at least one stop. Heck, make it a full tour of the valley! It’s free, it’s electric, and the kids can sit on the platform at the front or on the elevated seats at the back.

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