(BPT) - If you’re looking for the ideal family adventure this fall or winter, look no further than Casper, Wyoming. Between dozens of phenomenal outdoor recreation areas plus fun and educational historic sites and museums, you can find plenty of activities just right for all ages — whether for a week or two, or an action-packed weekend.
Here are some items to put at the top of your next travel itinerary in the great state of Wyoming.
1. Hit the trails for a blast from the past
Were you one of the many schoolchildren who played the Oregon Trail educational game in school? If so, you’re probably very familiar with the story of that trail, which connected Missouri all the way to Oregon. Once frequented by fur trappers, wagon trains full of settlers and homesteaders, ranchers, miners and more, the eastern part of the trail goes right through Casper — as do the California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails, too.
Start at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center to enjoy interactive kid-friendly exhibits to learn all about the trails, and then live part of this touchable history by following the actual ruts of these trails on horseback or by wagon ride with Historic Trails West.
2. Explore the great outdoors
Casper Mountain offers biking and hiking trails galore, along with opportunities for camping or 360-degree views near beautiful Garden Creek Falls. You can bike together along the Platte River Trails or fish in one of dozens of locations throughout the area. Fishable all year-round, the North Platte is a bucket-list destination for both novice and experienced fly-fishing enthusiasts. And you don’t have to leave town to experience great fishing with your family, as the North Platte River flows right through the city. Prefer to use a guide? Casper has experienced outfitters and guides to ensure you’ll all have a great experience.
3. Embrace winter sports
Once the snow flies, it’s just the beginning of amazing adventures in Casper. You can enjoy exciting downhill skiing and snowboarding at the Hogadon Basin Ski Area, plus cross-country skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing at the Casper Mountain Nordic Trail Head. Off mountain, kids and parents can play together at David Street Station’s ice skating rink.
4. See dinosaurs, mammals and fossils
Do your kids love dinosaurs? If you have a budding paleontologist in the family, they’ll love seeing the finds at the Tate Geological Museum. The Tate houses over 3,000 fossil and mineral specimens, including dinosaurs. One of the most spectacular is Dee, an 11,600-year-old Columbian Mammoth who lived in the modern-day American West during the Pleistocene, or Ice Age. You’ll find a life-sized bronze of a juvenile T. rex right outside the museum, and you can learn about Lee Rex, the first T. rex found in Wyoming that has stayed in the state.
5. Visit kid-friendly and educational hotspots
You can combine learning with excitement by visiting other family-friendly venues designed with kids in mind:
- The Science Zone — a hands-on educational center where kids can have fun while learning about exotic animals and insects, or even build and create original works in the Engineering Zone.
- Casper Planetarium — offering programs exploring the night sky and the universe, featuring the cutting-edge Mediaglobe-II system, which allows for a stunning full-dome presentation similar to an IMAX theater.
- Werner Wildlife Museum — focusing on indigenous Wyoming wildlife, as well as providing displays about animals from around the world.
While traveling with your family, please stay safe by following all local health and safety protocols at the venues you visit. Follow recommended guidelines such as washing hands, social distancing and/or staying home if you are sick. Some local businesses may request that you wear a mask, so it's recommended to pack two per person in case they're needed.
“When it comes to family travel, Casper is a hidden-gem destination,” said Amanda Scherlin, marketing manager for Visit Casper and the mother of twin boys. “It combines fresh-air activities — like hiking, biking and fishing — with history that’s touchable, interactive and interesting to a variety of ages.”
Learn more about all these family activities and more at VisitCasper.com.