Wyoming is one of the few states that truly captures the spirit of the American West. Known for majestic geographical landmarks such as the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains and thundering herds of iconic American Bison, there’s not much more about this rural locale that the rest of the country knows about. However, there’s so much more to the Equality State than its stereotypical features.
Experience Wyoming’s Rich Cultural History by Touring these 6 Wyoming Museums
Making a visit to a local museum is a very common activity for visitors of a new state or town, but it’s actually one of the best ways to learn a lot more about the history and culture of the region. Eating and sightseeing is great and all, but taking home some newfound knowledge can make your trip far more fulfilling than you might think. Wyoming is home to more than 70 museums with hundreds of exhibits about all kinds of interesting subjects, and here are 6 interesting options for you to consider.
1. Walk with the Dinosaurs at Wyoming Dinosaur Museum – Thermopolis, Wyoming
If you’re at all a fan of prehistoric life, you should find the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum to be quite intriguing. The center consistently tops the charts of best dinosaur museums in the world and features many breathtaking fossil displays. The star of the show is an enormous Supersaurus skeleton stretching over 100 feet across the display floor. Even when viewing other exhibits, the tail and neck of the huge beast still casts a shadow over visitors. Other notable sights include “Stan” the adult T-Rex, a nearly complete Archaeopteryx skeleton known as “The Thermopolis Specimen,” and skeletons of Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Velociraptor. With organized tours, children’s digs, and other special events, the Wyoming Dinosaur Museum is a must-see for fans of giant extinct lizards.
2. Take a Ride Back in Time at Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Cody, Wyoming
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is one of the greatest museums featuring exhibits about the American West in the country. Actually, the center is comprised of five separate Western-themed museums. The Buffalo Bill Museum explores the life, times, and influence of Colonel William F. Cody. The Plains Indians Museum showcases the history and culture of Wyoming’s original inhabitants. The Whitney Western Art Museum is filled with painted works, sculpted works, and other Western artifacts. Gun enthusiasts, especially those interested in historical firearms and military weapons would be right at home in the Cody Firearms Museum. Finally, the Draper Natural History Museum contains a collection of the various organisms that call the Greater Yellowstone area home. Each individual museum is worth a look, so dedicate an entire day when you plan on stopping by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
3. Bug Your Buddies for a Trip to the University of Wyoming Insect Museum – Laramie, Wyoming
Most people would rather keep their distance from any six-legged critters, but some are fascinated by the little creepy-crawlies known as insects. Insects might be frightening because they can look odd and menacing, but the truth is that humans fear what they don’t know much about. Just one visit to the Wyoming Insect Museum should enlighten you on the beauty and importance of insects in our world. This impressive collection features more than 250,000 species from the Wyoming area and all over the world, so plan on bringing some comfortable shoes when you’re in the mood to eye some bugs. Even though some of the insects on display are the stuff of nightmares, checking out the University of Wyoming Insect Museum is well worth losing a bit of sleep.
4. Believe that Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum Will Make Your Day – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Sometimes the strange and unfamiliar frighten us, but they can also be so interesting at the same time. Enter the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, a collection of over 200 exhibits that feature shrunken heads, two-headed organisms, and even vampires? Everything from x-creatures to supernatural topics are explored in this museum, but you won’t just find scary things here. You’ll also experience plenty of awe-inspiring human feats including a life-size bison made out of paper clips and other things you didn’t think people could create. You’d have to make your way to Jackson Hole to discover the all mysteries that lie within. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to bring home something unusual as a souvenir.
5. Soar the Skies at the Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting
When asked what superpower they would like to have if only one could be chosen, many people describe spreading their wings and flying like the birds. Well, that was made possible thanks to the invention of the airplane. The Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting celebrates one of mankind’s most revolutionary inventions, and the highlights of the collection include fighter jets and bomber planes from the Second World War. Since the planes are parked outside in a huge field, the museum is only open during the summer months. Unfortunately, guests aren’t allowed to take any planes out for a test drive as most have been long out of commission.
6. Rockpile Museum – Gillette, Wyoming
The Campbell County Rockpile Museum focuses on local and regional history with an emphasis on the culture and people of Campbell County, Wyoming. The Rockpile Museum serves as the local history center for the residents of and visitors to Campbell County with the mission of collecting and preserving while interpreting the history of Campbell County and northeast Wyoming through exhibits and programs. Permanent and changing exhibitions along with educational programming, performances, and events provide insight into the interesting past and present of the area.
These five great Wyoming museums should keep individuals of all ages thoroughly entertained, but they’re just a small sample of what Wyoming has to offer. You should visit museums based on the subjects that truly interest you. Even if museums aren’t typically your thing, check one out, and you might be surprised.