CASPER – From the great outdoors, to art galleries and museums, a two-hour drive to Casper could provide for a weekend stocked with fun.
On the drive up I-25, Casper Mountain may be the first site Casper has to offer that’s viewable from the road. The mountain, which is part of the Laramie mountain range, has an elevation of more than 8,000 feet. There are trails for both hiking and biking all through the mountain. It also boasts a skiing spot, archery range and several camping spots.
For other outdoorsy ideas, the city of Casper has a wide range of opportunities to fish, bike and hike throughout the area.
On a rainy day, or if indoor attractions are more the speed of the weekend, Casper offers days full of ideas. If kids are in tow for the weekend trip, one option is to do the “passport to adventure”. Thirteen of Casper’s museums and attractions joined together to form a “passport” for children to learn more about the Casper area.
Each of the museums has a question in the passport that can be answered by exploring the site. If a child gets to six museums in the book and answers all six questions correctly by Aug. 31, he or she can enter to win one of eight grand prize packages.
The passport is comprised of Art 321, the historic Bishop Home, the Casper Planetarium, the Crimson Dawn Museum, the Fort Caspar Museum, the Morman Handcart Historic Sites, the National Historic Trails Interpretive center, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, the Science Zone, the Tate Geological Museum, the Werner Wildlife Museum, the Western History Museum and the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum. The passport is available at all 13 locations and has a brief introduction, including hours, addresses and pricing, on each site.
The Nicolaysen Art Museum recently had the Nic Fest, which closed down the streets around the museum for street vendors and live music. Although the Nic Fest is in the books, there are still several exhibits to see.
Currently on display at the Nicolaysen is an exhibition of paintings by both Aaron and Jenny Wuerker (Married to the Landscape), Moments in Nature, which is paintings by Carol Swinney, Square States and Moonscapes by Patrick Kikut and Out of this World, a “sci-fi pulp art from the collection of Fred Taraba.”
To continue along the Oregon Trail from Fort Laramie, Fort Caspar in Casper is the next major stop. The reconstructed fort, which was redone in 1936, offers a look into life during the mid-1800s.
The Fort also houses a replica Mormon Ferry, which were used in 1847 and beyond to get people, livestock, goods and supplies across the North Platte River. There is also the Fort Caspar Museum on site, which not only houses the history of Fort Caspar, but all of central Wyoming. The museum is celebrating Caspar Collins Day with re-enactors, toys and games on July 22 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
For an in-depth look on the historic trails that connects Fort Laramie and Fort Caspar, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is a good place to stop. Offering an intensive look at the Oregon, Mormon, California and Pony Express Trails, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center looks at not only the trails through Casper, but beyond.
“During your visit, you will be able to explore exhibits related to names that are truly legendary in Western Wyoming, and on the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express Trails,” the website for the attraction (nhtcf.org) said. “Through these exhibits, we capture the real-life drama that the half-million pioneers experienced as they followed these trails between 1841 and 1868.”
Whether looking for a getaway in the wilderness, or bouncing from museum to museum, Casper has several attractions to fill a weekend. For more information on what Casper has to offer, check out visitcasper.com.