If you want to get back to nature, few places in America are better than Wyoming. The state offers excellent hiking, stunning mountain views, unique wedding venues, hotels, and some of the best skiing in the country. Wyoming is also a great destination for people interested in discovering the spirit and the history of the Old West. Attractions include unique museums, natural hot springs, and beautiful botanic gardens. Here are the best things to do in Wyoming.
1.Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
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Offering spectacular views of the Teton Range, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is consistently rated as one of the best ski resorts in North America. The resort is best known for its extreme, steep terrain and its 4,139-foot vertical drop, and it is a popular destination for adventurous backcountry skiers and free skiers.
However, there are several options for beginner and intermediate skiers as well. Accommodation is available at the base of the resort, and there are also a number of on-mountain dining options. The resort is typically open from the end of November until the beginning of April.
3395 Cody Ln, Teton Village, WY 83025, Phone: 307-733-2292
2.Old Trail Town
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Based on the town that Buffalo Bill and his associates established in 1895, the Old Trail Town is made up of a number of historical Western buildings that date back to between 1879 and 1901. The site is home to 26 buildings filled with historical artifacts, most of which were collected within 150 miles of Buffalo Bill's original settlement.
Several gravesites have been relocated to the site as well, including that of mountain man 'Liver-Eating' Johnson. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, and the museum is open from mid-May until the end of September
1831 Demaris Dr, Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-587-5302
3.Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Wyoming
© Heart Mountain Interpretive Center
The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center was one of ten camps in which Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II, and the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center was set up to preserve and share the history of the camp.
The museum offers a number of interactive exhibits as well as photographs and various artifacts. Exhibits cover topics such as the forced wartime relocation of Japanese Americans and the factors and events leading up to their confinement. A paved walking trail runs around the site; it is 1,000 feet long and typically takes visitors approximately 30 minutes. Museum hours vary according to the season.
1539 Rd 19, Powell, WY 82435, Phone: 307-754-8000
4.National Museum of Wildlife Art, Wyoming
© National Museum of Wildlife Art
The National Museum of Wildlife Art is a world-class museum located on the side of a bluff overlooking the National Elk Refuge. It holds more than 5,000 pieces of art depicting various wild animals from every corner of the world.
In addition to the permanent and temporary collections inside the museum, there is also a three-quarter-mile long trail outside that offers breathtaking views and various works of fine art. Other amenities include a museum shop, a cafe, and an interactive children's gallery. Free self-guided audio tours can be borrowed, and guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more people.
2820 Rungius Rd, Jackson, WY 83001, Phone: 307-733-5771
5.The Historic Occidental Hotel Museum
© The Historic Occidental Hotel Museum
Originally founded in 1880, The Historic Occidental Hotel allows visitors to step back in time to the days of the Old West. The hotel is located near the Bozeman Trail, and it has been associated with famous people like Buffalo Bill, Ernest Hemingway, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The hotel shut down in 1986, but was purchased by new owners in 1997 and restored to its former glory. Today, visitors to the hotel can get a drink and relax in the famous saloon, enjoy a meal at the Virginian Restaurant, or stay in one of the authentically Old West-style rooms.
10 N Main St, Buffalo, WY 82834, Phone: 307-684-0451
6.Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center
© NPS Photo
Located in Grand Teton National Park, the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is a 22,000-square-foot facility that was created to welcome and orient visitors to the park. Highlights of the discovery center include a raised relief map of the park, a collection of Native American artifacts, and streaming video footage of the park that is projected onto the floor.
A variety of educational programs are offered throughout the year, and anyone wishing to go backpacking or boating in the park can purchase a permit here. The center is open all year round, but hours vary according to the season.
Grand Teton National Park, 1 Teton Park Rd, Moose, WY 83012, Phone: 307-739-3300
7.Things to Do in Wyoming: Old Faithful Visitor Education Center
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Old Faithful is the best-known sight in Yellowstone National Park, and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center provides information about the incredible geyser as well as about the rest of the hydrothermal features in the park.
Exhibits cover topics such as the volcano underneath the park, life in the extreme environments of the park's hydrothermal features, and the most recent scientific research taking place in the area. Two educational films are shown several times daily in the state-of-the-art theater; admission is free. Plenty of parking is available, and the center is open between April and early November.
Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Rd, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190, Phone: 307-344-2751
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8.Grand Targhee Ski Resort
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Located in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the Grand Targhee Ski Resort is known for having spectacular scenery and deep powder. Lessons are available for both adults and children, and there are runs to suit skiers and snowboarders of every skill level. Thrill-seekers can also take advantage of the resort's two terrain parks.
During the summer, visitors can enjoy scenic chairlift rides, a variety of music festivals, or a round of golf at the 9-hole Targhee Village Golf Course. In addition to a variety of accommodation options, the resort boasts a cafe, a restaurant, and a full-service bar.
3300 Ski Hill Rd, Alta, WY 83414, Phone: 307-353-2300
9.The Star Plunge, Wyoming
© The Star Plunge
Located in Hot Springs State Park, Star Plunge Water Park is a year-round attraction that offers a variety of indoor and outdoor hot and cold pools. The pools are naturally heated, and some have water or air jets.
One of the other highlights of the water park is the "Vapor Cave", a naturally created sauna cut into the side of the mountain and heated by hot mineral water. There are also three water slides, a diving board, a basketball hoop, and a weight room. The park is open every day from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., and season passes are available.
115 Big Springs Dr., Thermopolis, WY 82443, Phone: 307-864-3771
10.Things to Do in Wyoming: Buffalo Bill Dam
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Started in 1905 and completed in 1910, the Buffalo Bill Dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The dam was the highest in the world when it was built, and it still stands as an impressive feat of engineering.
Educational exhibits and a short film can be seen in the Buffalo Bill Visitor Center, and visitors can also walk to the top of the dam for excellent views. Self-guided audio tours are available for rent, and the visitor center is open every day from the beginning of May through to the end of September
4808 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-527-6076
11.Cody Firearms Research
© Cody Firearms Research
Located in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the Cody Firearms Museum is the most complete collection of American firearms on the planet. There are more than 7,000 different firearms and 30,000 firearms-related artifacts for visitors to admire, and almost every major gun manufacturer in the world is represented here.
The museum is also home to a records office where, for a fee, gun enthusiasts can obtain information about specific firearms made by Winchester, Marlin, and L.C. Smith. Museum memberships are available, and they come with benefits like unlimited admission and free serial number searches.
720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-587-4771
12.National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
© National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Open since 2002, the National Historic Trails and Interpretive Center is a nonprofit 11,000-square-foot center that provides visitors with information about some of Wyoming's most important National Historic Trails.
There are four permanent exhibits, which cover the history of the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Pony Express trails between the years of 1841 and 1868. The center also often hosts special events like living history presentations, film screenings, and holiday celebrations. Temporary traveling exhibits can often be seen as well. Admission is always free, and the center is open from Tuesday to Saturday, excluding select holidays.
1501 N Poplar St, Casper, WY 82601, Phone: 307-261-7700
13.Mormon Row Historic District
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Located in the southeastern section of Grand Teton National Park, Mormon Row is made up of six different historical homestead complexes. The homesteads were established by Mormon settlers in the late 1900s, and they built an intricate system of ditches and dikes to irrigate their crops.
Other features of the site include two picturesque barns, a windmill built in 1946, and excellent views of the Teton Range. A trail brochure can be obtained in the parking lot, and an interpretive sign here will provide visitors with the information they need to understand the historical importance of the site.
Grand Teton National Park, 83012 Kelly Ave, East Liverpool, OH 43920, Phone: 307-739-3300
14.Fort Laramie National Historic Site
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Before being abandoned in 1890, Fort Laramie was the biggest and most well-known military post on the Northern Plains. Today, the Fort Laramie National Historic Site seeks to preserve the site and share its history with the world.
The visitor center offers a variety of educational displays, and visitors can also view a number of ruins and restored buildings. Visitors should allow approximately 2 hours to tour the site, and 30-minute-long interpretive talks are open daily during the summer months. The park is open 365 days a year, and the visitor center is open every day except for Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and Christmas.
965 Grey Rocks Road, Fort Laramie, WY 82212, Phone: 307-837-2221
15.The Wyoming Dinosaur Center
© The Wyoming Dinosaur Center
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center and Dig Sites was constructed after dinosaur remains were found at the nearby Warm Springs Ranch, and it is one of the only dinosaur museums in the world that has a real excavation site within driving distance.
The museum boasts more than 30 mounted dinosaur skeletons, including the only archaeopteryx available to the public in North America, a display of a 35-foot Tyrannosaurus rex charging a triceratops, and a supersaurus known as "Jimbo". There are plenty of educational exhibits as well, and visitors will also have the opportunity to visit a working dig site if they wish.
110 Carter Ranch Rd, Thermopolis, WY 82443, Phone: 307-864-2997
16.Fossil Butte National Monument
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Encompassing more than 8,000 acres, the Fossil Butte National Monument was created to preserve the rich paleontological history of the ancient lake bed of Fossil Lake. Visitors can get out and explore the area thanks to two hiking trails and a 7.5-mile-long scenic drive complete with interpretative signage; there is also a shaded picnic area furnished with tables and charcoal grills.
The visitor center has more than 300 fossils on display, including birds, fish, and a 13-foot crocodile. Other exhibits here include an educational video, an interactive computer program, and a 'rubbing table' where visitors can create a fossil imprint to take home.
Kemmerer, WY 83101, Phone: 307-877-4455
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17.Things to Do in Wyoming: Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
© Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
The Cody Dug Up Gun Museum offers visitors the unique chance to view a variety of historic guns and weapons that have been found in various conditions and at various locations throughout the country.
There are more than 1,000 guns on display, representing a wide range of historical periods including America’s War of Independence, the Gold Rush era, the Old West, and World Wars I and II. The museum is open 7 days a week from May through September, and admission is free. Financial donations are gladly accepted, as are donations of relic guns and other weapons.
1020 12th St, Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-587-3344
18.Buffalo Bill Center of the West
© Buffalo Bill Center of the West
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West comprises five different museum buildings and a research library. Highlights include works of art depicting the American West, interactive natural history exhibits, a large collection of American firearms, and various artifacts of the Plains Indian people.
There is also an entire building dedicated to showcasing the life and times of William F. Cody, the creator of the Buffalo Bill character. Hours vary according to the season, and the museum is closed Thanksgiving, New Year's, and Christmas days.
720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY 82414, Phone: 307-587-4771
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19.Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
© Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
Created to celebrate the history and the heritage of the American West, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum is a non-profit organization that offers visitors the chance to step back in time. There are more than 60,000 artifacts in the museum collection, including authentic clothing from the mid-1800s, various pieces of folk art, and one of the largest historic collections of horse-drawn carriages in America.
The museum also offers an interactive children's learning center, educational programs for all ages, and a variety of events, including the popular Cheyenne Frontier Days Western Art Show held every summer.
4610 Carey Ave, Cheyenne, WY 82001, Phone: 307-778-7290
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20.Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Wyoming
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The beautiful Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are made up of 27 different landscapes spread out over 9 acres. In addition to a wide range of plants and flowers, the gardens include a specially designed garden labyrinth, a wetland area with a zig-zag boardwalk, and one of the first greenhouses in America to be heated entirely by solar power.
There is also a three-quarter-acre interactive garden village designed for children. The main grounds are open every day from dawn until dusk, while the children's area is open 6 days a week. General admission to both sections is free of charge.
710 S Lions Park Dr, Cheyenne, WY 82001, Phone: 307-637-6458
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21.University of Wyoming Geological Museum
© University of Wyoming Geological Museum
The University of Wyoming Geological Museum is dedicated to both scientific research and public education, and it features a number of exhibits that introduce visitors to the past environments of the state of Wyoming. The museum is proud to display a number of dinosaur skeletons, including those of a Tyrannosaurus rex, a triceratops, and a stegosaurus.
Visitors can also marvel at "Big Al", the most complete allosaurus fossil ever found, or check out the working fossil preparation lab. No admission fee is charged, and the museum is open every day except Sundays and selected holidays.
2111 E Willett Dr, Laramie, WY 82072, Phone: 307-766-6622
© Trail End
Completed in 1913, Trail End is a lavish 13,748-square-foot mansion built in the Flemish Revival style. It functioned as former Governor John B. Kendrick's summer home between the years of 1913-1933, and his wife and son resided here for 28 years after he passed away.
The building became a state museum in 1982, and today it is a beautifully furnished example of life in the early 20th century. Most visitors opt for self-guided tours, but group tours can be arranged if booked 3 weeks in advance. The museum is open from April 1 until December 14 and there is a small admission fee.
400 Clarendon Ave, Sheridan, WY 82801, Phone: 307-674-4589
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23.Things to Do in Wyoming: Tate Geological Museum
© Tate Geological Museum
Located on the campus of Casper College, the Tate Geological Museum is home to a collection of more than 3000 fossil and mineral specimens that span a geological time from the Precambrian to the Holocene Epoch.
Highlights include a 11,600-year-old Columbian mammoth known as Dee, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Stan, and fossilized footprints of flying pterosaurs. Visitors can also observe the working fossil prep lab or visit the interactive 'Dino Den' filled with hands-on activities designed for children of all ages. There is no admission fee, and the museum is open 6 days a week throughout the year.
125 College Dr, Casper, WY 82601, Phone: 307-268-2447
24.Museum of the Mountain Man
© Museum of the Mountain Man
Established to preserve the important historical sites of the fur trade in Wyoming, the Museum of the Mountain Man is named after the men who dedicated their lives to the fur trade and to exploring the American wilderness.
In addition to occasional temporary exhibits that cover various topics relating to the Old West, the museum is home to a number of permanent exhibits, including Jim Bridger's rifle, a collection of Winchester arms, an authentic Shoshone sheephorn bow, and an elaborately furnished buffalo-hide tipi. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day between May 1st and October 31st.
700 E Hennick, Pinedale, WY 82941, Phone: 307-367-4101
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© A-OK Corral
Located only 15 minutes away from the town of Jackson, the A-OK Corral offers scenic horseback rides through the beautiful Wyoming wilderness. A number of options are available, including short rides lasting one to three hours and full or half day tours that include lunch.
Wildlife sightings are common, and some tours give guests the opportunity to splash through a creek on horseback. Riders of all abilities are welcome, but most tours have a minimum age requirement of 8 years old. The ranch is open 6 days a week between May 15th and Labor Day, and reservations are recommended.
9600 US-89, Jackson, WY 83001, Phone: 307-733-6556
25 Best Things to Do in Wyoming
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Photo: Courtesy of oldmn - Fotolia.com
- Old Trail Town, Photo: Courtesy of Brad Pict - Fotolia.com
- Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Wyoming, Photo: Heart Mountain Interpretive Center
- National Museum of Wildlife Art, Wyoming, Photo: National Museum of Wildlife Art
- The Historic Occidental Hotel Museum, Photo: The Historic Occidental Hotel Museum
- Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, Photo: NPS Photo
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, Photo: Courtesy of f11 photo - Fotolia.com
- Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Photo: Courtesy of Jaimie Tuchman - Fotolia.com
- The Star Plunge, Wyoming, Photo: The Star Plunge
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Buffalo Bill Dam, Photo: Courtesy of macfly 68 - Fotolia.com
- Cody Firearms Research, Photo: Cody Firearms Research
- National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Photo: National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
- Mormon Row Historic District, Photo: Courtesy of srong krod - Fotolia.com
- Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- The Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Photo: The Wyoming Dinosaur Center
- Fossil Butte National Monument, Photo: Courtesy of rossforsyth - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Cody Dug Up Gun Museum, Photo: Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
- Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West
- Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, Photo: Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum
- Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, Wyoming, Photo: Courtesy of Oleksii Sergieiev - Fotolia.com
- University of Wyoming Geological Museum, Photo: University of Wyoming Geological Museum
- Trail End, Photo: Trail End
- Things to Do in Wyoming: Tate Geological Museum, Photo: Tate Geological Museum
- Museum of the Mountain Man, Photo: Museum of the Mountain Man
- A-OK Corral, Photo: A-OK Corral
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of srong krod - Fotolia.com