Filmmaker Ken Burns, his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan and Tauck Tours are launching two new wintertime journeys that explore Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area. The new itineraries – a one-time, eight-day event with the opportunity to personally meet Burns and Duncan, and a nine-day Tauck Culturious journey with multiple departures – Tauck Winter in Yellowstone will debut next January 2012. Both will offer unparalleled access to the park, to naturalists and other park experts who will share their insights, and to experiences that travelers can’t typically enjoy on their own.
Burns and Duncan were the creators of the acclaimed PBS documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” and Tauck Tours is an award-winner in premium quality guided tours and cruises. The new Yellowstone trips are the latest product of the “Ken Burns American Journeys” partnership announced last year by Burns, Duncan and Tauck, which crafts travel experiences based on the themes and topics explored in Burns’s films.
“When Dayton and I signed on to work with Tauck, our very first idea was creating an exploration of Yellowstone in winter. The park hosts three-and-a-half million people each year, but less than 3% of those visitors experience Yellowstone at its very best, during the winter months,” said Burns. “In winter, the normal crowds are gone, the park has a special majesty and serenity, and the opportunities to see wildlife are incredible.”
Wildlife viewing at Yellowstone is enhanced in winter because ground cover is thinner and animals stand out more clearly against a white background of snow. Heat from the park’s geothermal features can also reduce snow accumulations in specific areas, attracting grazing animals that dig through the shallow snow to reach underlying grasses. Those grazing animals in turn often attract wolves and other predators that help make a winter experience in Yellowstone so memorable. “You’ve never really seen Yellowstone until you’ve been there in winter,” added Duncan. “It’s ten times more spectacular.”
The eight-day “Winter In Yellowstone” event is limited to 210 attendees, split into two groups of 105, starting on January 6 and January 8. The two groups will come together to personally meet Ken Burns and attend his keynote address at the Old Faithful Visitors Center on January 11. Throughout the rest of the event, the groups will experience the various itinerary components in staggered schedules on different days.
The event (from $4,190 per person, double, plus air) features stays at the Chico Hot Springs Resort, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Spring Creek Ranch. Activities include explorations aboard heated, motorized snowcoaches (specially equipped vehicles with treads and skis instead of wheels) and wildlife viewing in areas including the Lamar Valley, Norris and Lower Geyser Basins, Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Optional activities during free time include ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Tauck has assembled an all-star roster of experts who will offer special presentations on the history, culture and biology of Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. Attendees will meet Burns prior to his keynote address, and learn about the making of the Burns/Duncan film “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” from Duncan. Bob Landis, who contributed dramatic footage of wolves to the film (the film’s only footage not personally shot by Burns or his team) will share adventures from his four decades as a wildlife cinematographer. Other speakers include Paul Schullery, a naturalist, historian and author of over 30 books who has lived in Yellowstone for nearly 40 years, ecology and mammalogy expert Jim Halfpenny, and National Park Service expert Gerard Baker.
Included in the event price are airport transfers, accommodations, most meals, all sightseeing, lectures and other presentations, and a farewell cocktail reception and dinner at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
CULTURIOUS “WONDERLAND: YELLOWSTONE IN WINTER” ITINERARY
Tauck is also offering six departures of a similar itinerary as part of its Culturious collection of immersive, small-group trips for active boomer-age travelers. The nine-day “Wonderland: Yellowstone In Winter” itinerary will operate in January, February and March with an average group size of just 20 travelers per departure, and conclude with two nights at the Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming (rather than the event’s one-night stay at the Spring Creek Ranch). Priced from $3,490 per person, double, plus air, the Culturious itinerary will also feature a similar roster of experts and lecturers, although Burns and Duncan will not be present. Those interested in learning more can visit their local travel professional, call us at 800-942-3301
About “Ken Burns American Journeys.”
“Ken Burns American Journeys” is a partnership between the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan, and Tauck, an 86-year-old leader in premium quality guided land journeys and cruises. The partnership, which creates travel experiences exploring the themes of Burns’s films, is comprised of three parts:
“Ken Burns Events.”
One-time events featuring personal appearances by Burns. Besides the new Yellowstone winter event, other events have explored the Civil War in and around Washington, DC, and the birth and evolution of jazz in New Orleans.
“Crafted By Tauck & Ken Burns” itineraries.
In-depth journeys designed by Burns and Duncan with Tauck. These itineraries operate with multiple departure dates, and current offerings explore the national parks of the U.S. Southwest, the Civil War and its impacts in the mid-Atlantic region, and Yellowstone National Park in winter. (“Crafted By Tauck & Ken Burns” itineraries do not include personal appearances by Burns or Duncan.)
“Stories By Ken Burns.”
Original, filmed narratives from five to 15 minutes long, “Stories By Ken Burns” vignettes are shown to guests during “Ken Burns Events,” on “Crafted By Tauck & Ken Burns” itineraries and on select Tauck journeys. Each features Burns and/or Duncan sharing their personal reflections on the places guests are visiting with Tauck, and the people and cultural issues that shaped the history of those places.
Other Ken Burns tours: Most Hallow Ground: Ken Burns Inside the Cival War