12 Great Museums to Visit in Wyoming - Wyoming Magazine


12 Great Museums to Visit in Wyoming


12 Great Museums to Visit in Wyoming

Wyoming attracts visitors from all over the world who want to personally experience the scenic beauty and majestic landmarks, such as the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. History enthusiasts can experience the historical era of railroads and mining, cowboy tales and old trails, which are all representative of the Old West history.
As Wyoming is such a historical site, it is also home to an abundance of museums. If you are planning a trip to Wyoming, you’ll definitely want to include museums in your itinerary. Wyoming museums are home to numerous galleries and exhibits that can give you and your family the ultimate Old West experience. No matter where you are settled in Wyoming, the following museums have attractions that can intrigue even the hardest to please member of your family.

1. Wyoming Dinosaur Museum – Thermopolis

Do you find prehistoric life intriguing? If so, you won’t want to miss an opportunity to tour one of the top dinosaur museums in the world that features astonishing fossil displays. Don’t be spooked by the shadow of the gigantic Supersaurus skeleton that stretches an amazing 100 feet across the display floor. This giant is often the star of the show, but it is only one of many notable attractions. The museum also houses “Stan” the adult T-Rex, which is a nearly complete Archaeopteryx skeleton, otherwise known as “The Thermopolis Specimen.” Be sure to make time to view the skeletons of Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Velociraptor and enormous extinct lizards.

2. Buffalo Bill Historical Center – Cody

A visit to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is anything but boring. The center houses five separate museums with Western themes that can entertain you for hours. This Historical Center is a must-see for families, offering exhibits of interest to every member. The culture and history of original inhabitants of Wyoming is showcased at the Plains Indians Museum. The Whitney Western Art Museum displays painted and sculpted works, and other Western artifacts. The life and times of Colonel William F. Cody can be explored at the Buffalo Bill Museum. Gun enthusiasts can spend hours exploring the various historical firearms and military weapons housed in the Cody Firearms Museum. Lastly, science lovers can take time to appreciate the collection of various organisms that inhabit the Greater Yellowstone area in the Draper Natural History Museum.

3. University of Wyoming Insect Museum – Laramie

Are you frightened by insects? A visit to this Insect Museum may be just what you need to lessen your fright, as you can learn enlightening facts that can increase your appreciation of their presence. Big or small, creepy or intriguing, you’re sure to see all kinds of insects from the Wyoming area and around the world with the museum’s collection of over 250,000 species.

4. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum – Jackson Hole

Upon entering Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, you will encounter over 200 hundred exhibits that range from strange and unfamiliar to inspiring hand-made creations. Here you will discover the mysteries that lie within including vampires, shrunken heads and two-headed organisms. Enjoy the museum’s creative exploration of topics including extraterrestrial creatures and supernatural forces. Before ending your tour, be sure to check out the hand-made creations that you didn’t think were possible including a life-size bison crafted using paper clips.

5. Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting – Greybull

Among the museums in Wyoming, this museum is unique as it celebrates one of the most revolutionary inventions, the airplane. The Museum of Flight and Aerial Firefighting welcomes visitors from all over the world who make the travel to see famous aircrafts. Displays feature mighty bomber planes, transport aircrafts and fighter jets that are some of the last remaining examples of planes from the Second World War. The museum also showcases the PB4Y-2, which is a heavily fortified plane that was used in the South Pacific against the Japanese. A visit to this museum is an excellent educational experience for aircraft enthusiasts.

6. Rockpile Museum – Gillette

Interested in the past and present culture of Wyoming? The Campbell County Rockpile Museum focuses on local and regional history, while emphasizing the culture of those who reside in Campbell County. Here you can be entertained by exhibits, performances, educational programs and special events, offering you an interesting insight of the past and present times of the area.

7. Wyoming State Museum – Cheyenne

Here you can learn everything this is to know about Wyoming’s culture, past and present. The Wyoming State Museum features galleries dedicated to Wyoming historical era artifacts, common Wyoming wildlife, and the state’s mining industry. Housed in the museum is the cast of a full-size Camptosaurus skeleton, which is one of the first discovered dinosaurs in Wyoming. You will have the opportunity to learn the way of life of the first people to inhabit Wyoming to present Wyomingites. Before you leave, experience Wyoming’s history personally, by dressing up as a soldier or cowboy and testing your skills in a chuck wagon.

8. Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum – Rawlins

See what life was like inside the Old Wyoming State Penitentiary that was in use from 1901 to 1981. This Wyoming museum is now listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is representative of the Old West’s grizzly past. Tour guides tell interesting tales of the prison’s history and the imprisoned inmates, while guiding you throughout the prison. Visitors can see what life was like for prisoners on death row and you can even have the opportunity to sit in the gas chamber.

9. Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum – Cheyenne

If outdoor rodeos catch your attention, this is one of the museums in Wyoming you must see. The drama and romance captured by the very first rodeo in 1897 is displayed in a popular museum exhibit – Cheyenne Frontier Days: A Frontier Phoenix. View the region’s most intriguing western artifacts, including the most extensive carriage collection around. Children are given a special opportunity to explore in the children’s gallery.

10. Fort Caspar Museum – Caspar

Go back in history by touring an 1865 military post reconstructed by this Wyoming museum. The post is situated on a major, historical river crossing. Then, continue on to explore the museum’s exhibits featuring the Plains Indians, prehistoric people, ranching and energy industries, frontier army, western emigrant trails and the City of Casper.

11. National Museum of Wildlife Art – Jackson

If you have an appreciation for art, the National Museum of Wildlife Art will definitely intrigue you. Art collections date from 2500 b.c. to the present. The collection captures the history of wildlife in art. The European exploration of the American West is captured in the museum’s collection of 19th and 20th century American art. You can also view the only representations of the frontier era in the United States history as many of the artworks predate photography.

12. Lander Children’s Museum – Lander

Don’t leave the kids out, Wyoming museums can be fun for them too. No matter the age, children can engage in a variety of interactive exhibits and hands-on experience to play, learn and explore. Events and exhibits change throughout the year, but some of the fun ways children can learn during play include making fountains, erupting volcanoes, exploring dinosaur fossils, creating epic bubbles and even taking time to have some fun with slime.

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  1. Bonnie

    January 29, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Just FYI it’s no longer the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. It’s now the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. ????

    • Emily Jewell

      January 30, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      Sorry about that Bonnie, thanks for letting us know!

  2. Karen

    February 3, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I would love to check out the Greybull Museum Aerial museum especially since I live in Greybull! That said, it is rarely open unless you have a scheduled tour or they are having a special public day.

    Call ahead to schedule a tour!

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