No matter when you visit Yosemite National Park, you’ll discover all kinds of talks, walks, and other free, family-friendly activities going on. Nothing else tops off your Yosemite vacation like gathering around a campfire to listen to a ranger chat about wild black bears, or joining a guided wildflower walk or snowshoe trip. After-dark stargazing and nature-film screenings, junior ranger programs, and arts-and-crafts workshops and storytime hours for kids are just a sampling of what the park offers to enrich your Yosemite experience. To find out what’s going on today, check the extensive event listings in the park’s free seasonal newspaper, the Yosemite Guide.
Ranger Programs in Yosemite Valley
For many park visitors, the Yosemite Valley is where all the action is. The valley is also where you’ll find the most ranger-led activities and programs happening every day of the year. In summer, start your day off by having coffee with a ranger at a campground amphitheater, discussing which ranger-guided hike to take your family on later in the day.
How about a junior rangers’ stroll around the Happy Isles, or a naturalists’ ramble to explore wildlife or Native American traditions? Evening programs around Yosemite Village and at the park’s lodges and campgrounds are always interesting, whether they’re old-fashioned campfire singalongs, costumed historical reenactors, colorful slide-show presentations or short films about nature.
Yosemite Theater Programs
Have you seen the “other stars of Yosemite” yet? We aren’t talking about the cascading waterfalls, towering granite monoliths, pristine mountain streams and lakes or wildflower strewn meadows. And we don’t mean the sparkling night skies either. The other stars of Yosemite are the Stars of Stage and Screen at Yosemite Theater!
Relax and enjoy live performances, films and presentations inspired by Yosemite. It is perfectly OK to take a break from hiking, biking, swimming and other outdoor adventures, to unwind after a day of driving, to stretch your mind as well as your legs in the comfort of the Yosemite Theater. With seating for 148 people, this is a personal theater experience in a calm and leisurely setting. Our shows highlight the many sides of Yosemite, from history and culture to adventure and natural beauty.
Ansel Adams Gallery Photography Walks
Park rangers are not the only ones who lead guided hikes, outdoor activities and other family fun in Yosemite Valley. Located in the heart of Yosemite Village, the Ansel Adams Gallery leads morning photography walks year-round and offers digital camera classes to help you brush up on your skills (reservations required, fees apply www.anseladams.com/photography-education).
Yosemite Art and Education Center
Between April and October, the Yosemite Art and Education Center inspires visitors to explore their creative side with classes (small donation requested) in watercolor and plein-air painting, ink drawing, travel journaling and more. Sign up a day in advance at the nonprofit center, where you can buy art supplies, too.
LeConte Memorial Lodge Evening Programs
From May through September, the Sierra Club’s historic 1904 LeConte Memorial Lodge on Southside Drive offers educational evening programs aimed at curious adults who want to learn more about Yosemite’s ecosystem and cultural history. Year-round, the park’s concessionaire, Delaware North Companies (DNC), offers family scavenger hunts, children’s theater and storytelling hours, twilight strolls, stargazing programs and other outdoor activities.
Educational Programs Elsewhere Around Yosemite National Park
When all of the park’s roads are open during summer, the valley is not the only place where rangers give nature talks and lead hikes. You can join a ranger-guided wildflower stroll and go birding at Tuolumne Meadows. Or catch the sunset at Glacier Point while a ranger expounds on the bird’s-eye vista that inspired John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt, then hike out to Sentinel Dome under the light of a full moon. At Wawona, learn from park rangers about Yosemite’s pioneer history and explore the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Ranger-led evening campfire programs take place at many campgrounds all over the park during the busy summer season.
Also read more about Yosemite’s Junior Ranger Programs.