Bear sightings, although infrequent in Yellowstone, are thrilling all the same. Your family will remember these magnificent animals for their power and grace.

Family Vacations in Wyoming Overview

More than 600 species of wildlife inhabit Wyoming’s diverse terrain of plains, foothills and high mountain ranges, so animal watching adventures are always within reach for families that enjoy exploring the wilderness.

When families finally take a break from boating, fishing and wilderness walks, they can learn about Wyoming’s history by exploring the states elaborate museums, national monuments and many other historical attractions.

In the following article, you’ll find profiles of some of Wyoming’s most popular attractions, events and activities for kids. Included is contact information to help you plan your trip as well as photos of each destination. Here’s a preview:

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Buffalo Bill Historical Center

The five museums at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody contain an internationally acclaimed collection of Western Americana.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Devils Tower National Monument

The sheer drama and spectacle of this vertical rock monolith has been a beacon to visitors for hundreds of years. When people see a rock that tall, they just naturally want to climb it.

Cody, Wyoming

Cody, Wyoming is the one town in the U.S. where the Old West lives on.

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days is the world's largest outdoor rodeo, earning the nickname "The Daddy of 'em All." But it's not just a rodeo, not by a long shot. It's a midsummer celebration of Western heritage, food, art, and music.

Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark

Wyoming's Medicine Wheel is located in a remote area of the Bighorn National Forest at an elevation of 9,642 feet on Medicine Mountain. It is one of the oldest active religious sites on the planet: For 700 years, this mountain has been sacred.

Wyoming is steep in Native American culture and history. Continue to the next page to learn about Western Americana and the natural wonders of the greater Yellowstone area.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Buffalo Bill Historical Center offers summer adventures workshops for kids, teens and adults.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Buffalo Bill Historical Center

The five museums at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody contain an internationally acclaimed collection of Western Americana. Featured within its walls are masterworks of Western art, a rich collection of Native American artifacts, exhibits on the natural history of the greater Yellowstone area, and an enormous Winchester gun collection.

The museum staff has developed special materials, events, and exhibits just for the younger set. At the Whitney Gallery of Western Art kids can pick up a family guidebook. After completing its questions, they can trade it in for a souvenir. In the Draper Museum of Natural History, kids receive a passport that gets stamped at various stations.

Continue to the next page for a "close encounter" with Wyoming's Devil Tower national Monument -- a state landmark that truly is "out of this world."

Buffalo Bill Historical Center Information

Address: 720 Sheridan Ave

Cody, WY

Telephone: 307/587-4771

Hours of Operation:

  • Jan - Mar, and Oct: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Tues. - Sun.
  • Apr: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily
  • May - Sept: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., daily
  • Sept - Oct: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., daily

Admission: $15 adults; $6 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Devils Tower was popular even before Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but the movie helped popularize it as an icon of the West.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Devils Tower National Monument

The sheer drama and spectacle of this vertical rock monolith has been a beacon to visitors for hundreds of years. Hiking through the adjacent meadows and exploring nearby forests and boulder fields are fun activities, but climbing stands out as the most alluring activity. When people see a rock that tall, they just naturally want to climb it.

A number of climbing schools are licensed to operate at Devils Tower. Each offers play days where visitors learn the basics of rock climbing. The play days are appropriate for children ages four and older, and kids as young as seven have climbed to the summit.

Outfitters supply all the necessary equipment, including sticky-soled rubber climbing shoes. After an initial lesson, visitors start out on the less challenging north end of the tower. It's not uncommon for a novice climber to ascend between 50 and 200 feet on the first attempt. Families that wish to keep climbing can take follow-up instruction where they learn the skills that will help them make it to the top.

Continue to the next page and learn about William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and the "Rodeo Captial of the World" -- Cody, Wisconsin.

Devils Tower National Monument Information

Address: Highway 110

Devils Tower, WY

Telephone: 307/467-5283

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: $10 per vehicle or $5 per person

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

The terrain around Cody, Wyoming, is remarkably varied, running the gamut from rolling hills to red rocks to evergreen-laden mountains.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Cody

Named for its founder, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, this is one town in the country where the West lives on. Cody, Wyoming, is a bit of a bug in amber, with wooden boardwalks fronting its historic storefronts on Sheridan Avenue, the city's main drag. Sure, minivans have replaced horse-drawn wagons, and modern development has not passed over Cody entirely, but the culture here still smacks of the Old West in many ways.

The city bills itself as the "Rodeo Capital of the World," and it's tough to argue. It's the only city in the country that has a rodeo every night of the week, all summer long: the Cody Nite Rodeo. With a population of about 9,000 people, Cody is not a big city by any means, but it shines in comparison with its similarly sized peers.

The 300,000-square-foot Buffalo Bill Historical Center, for instance, is a world-class museum with five distinct wings dedicated to Native Americans, natural history, Western art, firearms and "Buffalo Bill" Cody himself. Outdoor recreation is also big in these parts. The Shoshone River runs right through town, and there are mountainous destinations in its backyard, including Yellowstone National Park just 52 miles to the west.

The West just isn't Wild without its cowboys, and what's a cowboy without a rodeo? Click on the next page to read about the Cheyenne Frontier Days, the world's largest outdoor rodeo.

Cody Information

Address: Visitor Center

836 Sheridan Ave.

Cody, WY

Telephone: 307/587-2777

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

Cheyenne Frontier Days runs for 10 full days of rodeo, concerts, and western history.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days is the world's largest outdoor rodeo, earning the nickname "The Daddy of 'em All." But it's not just a rodeo, not by a long shot. It's a midsummer celebration of Western heritage, food, art and music. There's even a carnival midway and much, much more. The main event, of course, is the rodeo. Bronco riding, steer roping, wild-horse racing, team roping, and barrel racing are standards -- but bull riding is the main attraction and grand finale.

The appeal and lofty status of bull riding in the rodeo world is due in large part to Cheyenne Frontier Days. The bulls weren't reliably ornery until livestock contractors bred a Brahma bull from India into the mix for the event in the 1920s. These beasts weighed more than 1,500 pounds each and were perfectly angry and ferocious buckers, making way for their widespread acceptance in the sport ever since.

The first Frontier Days was staged in 1897. The event began as a plan hatched to revitalize the economy after the silver bust of 1893. Since its beginning, Frontier Days has been a volunteer operation, and its success is due to the thousands of hospitable Wyoming residents who make the event possible each year. In fact, they feed more than 30,000 rodeo fans a free pancake breakfast every year.

If the Frontier Days rodeo has left you with sore muscles, take a trip to the Medicine Wheel on Medicine Mountain. Find out how to use spirituality to heal those aching bones on the next page.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Information

Address: Frontier Park

4610 Carey Ave

Cheyenne, WY

Telephone: 307/778-7200

Hours of Operation: Fourth week in July

Admission: Cost varies

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

©Shannon Gilly. Measuring 75 feet across, Medicine Wheel in northern Wyoming has been an active religious site for thousands of years.

Family Vacations in Wyoming: Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark

Wyoming's Medicine Wheel is located in a remote area of the Bighorn National Forest at an elevation of 9,642 feet on Medicine Mountain. It is one of the oldest active religious sites on the planet: For 7,000 years, this mountain has been sacred. Medicine Wheel is part of a larger system of interrelated religious sites, altars, sweat lodge sites, and other ceremonial venues, and it is still in use.

In recent years, members of dozens of Indian nations have held ceremonies here, including the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Crow. The lasting artifact at the site is the actual Medicine Wheel, which is 75 feet in diameter and composed of 28 "spokes" of rocks intersecting in a central rocky cairn. Originally built several hundred years ago, it is now a National Historic Landmark enclosed by a simple fence of rope. It is considered one of the best-preserved sites of its kind.

Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark Information

Address: Bighorn National Forest Burgess Junction Visitor Center

U.S. Hwy. 14, 1/2 E of Burgess Junction

Sheridan, WY

Telephone: 307/674-2600

Hours of Operation: Dawn - Dusk

Admission: Free

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Wyoming State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Wyoming, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.