Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Parks

Just in case you aren’t aware, Memphis is famous for its rich connections to the music. I have discussed all of the music-related attractions that the city has to offer in my previous two posts which you can check out here and here. If you are in search for things to do in Memphis, TN beyond the music, there are two beautiful parks in the city that you should check out. They are Mud Island River Park and Overton Park.

Mud Island River Park

(Photo courtesy of Memphis CVB via Flickr)

Mud Island River Park is located just off the bluff of downtown Memphis within the mighty Mississippi River. It is very unique because its riverwalk is actually a scale replica of the lower Mississippi River that stretches from Cairo, Illinois all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. As you wind your way on the scenic riverwalk, you will learn interesting information about the river and its engineering feats.

Once you reach the end of the riverwalk, you will be pleasantly surprised to see it emptying into a lovely pool area that represents the Gulf of Mexico. You can go for a sail in a pedal boat within the pool area. You will also be treated to breathtaking views of downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River. Also located in Mud Island River Park is a museum called the Mississippi River Museum.

The museum is located at the northern end of the riverwalk. It is dedicated to exploring 10,000 years worth of lower Mississippi River history. One of the standout features of the museum is a life-size replica of a riverboat that hosted gamblers and revelers. Another thing you will notice at the museum are wax sculptures of historical figures that were connected to the Mississippi River such as Mark Twain and Mike Fink.

The museum contain eighteen galleries for you to explore, including five that are dedicated to the river’s role in the American Civil War. The admission fees to the museum are $10 for adults and $8 for children aged from 4 to 11. Those who are aged under 4 will get free admission.

Overton Park

(Photo courtesy of gatesofmemphis via Flickr)

Overton Park is located on Prentess Place about 4.5 miles east of downtown Memphis. This beautiful park is home to some attractions that I would like to mention.

Memphis Zoo

(Photo courtesy of Unicurse via Wikimedia)

The Memphis Zoo is located in the northwestern portion of the park. This zoo is divided into sixteen distinct areas. They are all well worth exploring, but there are some that I will share here on this post. The first area is called China. It takes up three acres of the zoo and gives you a sampling of China in term of culture, animals, architecture, and horticulture.

The standout animals at the zoo are the giant pandas named Ya Ya and Le Le. Some other animals you can encounter there include Pere David deer, Asian small-clawed otters, white-naped cranes, and Francois langurs. The Dragon’s Lair area is specially designed in order to house the world’s largest lizards. The lizards are known as the Komodo Dragons and are native to small islands in Indonesia.

They are up to ten feet long and weighs up to two hundred pounds. There are three of them for you to encounter there. Those of you who savor penguins will want to head to the Penguin Rock area. It is the home of the black-footed penguins. They are found in a variety of places including Antarctica, Galapagos Island, and southern and southwestern Africa. There are about 22 black-footed penguins at the zoo.

The last area of the zoo to be mentioned here is called the Zambezi River Hippo Camp. This area has a river setting similar to the Zambezi River which is the fourth longest river in Africa, traveling through six countries for 1,600 miles. The star animals in this area are the hippos. They are notable for swimming with their eyes and nostrils above water while the rest of their bodies are submerged underwater.

The zoo’s general admission tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $13 for children aged from 2 to 11. Free admission is given to those under age 2. You can head here to buy your tickets to the zoo.

Brooks Museum of Art

The Brooks Museum of Art is located in the southwestern portion of the park. This is the largest and oldest art museum in the US state of Tennessee. This art museum contain 29 galleries of art to explore throughout three stories of space. The museum is home to a collection of over seven thousand works of art including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and examples of the decorative arts.

The museum is especially notable for its paintings in the Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionist, and 20th Century themes. Also worth checking out at the museum are works from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Americas. The museum is also known for placing sculptures outdoors on its grounds such as Aquacade, Bronze Babe, Two African Male Lions, and Foil. So, be sure to check them out as well.

The prices of admission to the art museum are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for students as well as youth aged from 7 to 17. Those who are under the age of 7, teachers, and veterans will enter free of charge. Cafe Brooks is the art museum’s onsite restaurant. You can buy souvenirs at the Museum Store.

Formal Gardens, Veterans Plaza, and Trails

The park is home to lovely formal gardens lined with symmetrical plantings. They are shaded by crape myrtles. There are benches available for you to relax and soak in the beauty of the formal gardens.

The two-acre Veterans Plaza is dedicated to honoring more than 2,500 veterans from Memphis and Shelby County who were killed during World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm. For those of you wanting to go for a walk or run, the park is home to shaded forest trails, including a 1.4-mile limestone loop.

These two parks offer additional things to do in Memphis, TN. So, if you are looking for something more to do after visiting Memphis’ music-related attractions, I would suggest you visit these beautiful parks.

Memphis Hotel

Should you need a hotel to stay overnight at in Memphis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest you book your stay with.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street

This hotel is located just steps north of Memphis’ famed Beale Street, the official home of the Blues. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, Beale Street has plenty of restaurants to choose from such as B.B. King’s Blues Club, Silky O’Sullivan’s, and Dyer’s Burgers. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with coffee makers and mini refrigerators while the suites come with full kitchens and separate living rooms. They all come with WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $306. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these parks in Memphis in the past? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Memphis, TN – More Music

As I mentioned in my previous post, Memphis is renowned for its rich music heritage. The city was home to Elvis Presley, the legendary rock and roll musician from the mid 20th century. It is the home of historic Sun Studio which is where the rock and roll music genre was born. Elvis recorded his first tunes there. Memphis’ iconic Beale Street is officially known as the home of the blues.

Even with these things, there is more to the music in Memphis than meets the eye. In fact, the city is also home to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame Museum. So, if you are hungry for more music-related things to do in Memphis, TN, you should definitely pay a visit to them all.

Stax Museum of American Soul Music

(Photo courtesy of Victor Chapa via Wikimedia)

The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is located on East McLemore Avenue about 2.6 miles southeast of downtown Memphis, near Interstate 69. This museum is a replica of Stax Records which once operated there from 1957 until 1976 when it had to shut down because of bankruptcy. When Star Records was in operation, it was notable for its recordings in the soul music genre.

Some of the most well known musicians who recorded there include Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Booker T. & the MGs, and Rufus and Carla Thomas. The museum include a replica of a modest country church that served as the true birthplace of the soul music genre.

Those of you who love to dance will be pleased to know that there is a dance floor called Express Yourself. This is where you can dance to the tune of Stax-recorded tracks. In the Hallowed Ground area of the museum, you can check out recording equipment from the period when Stax Records operated. This area also contains an exact replica of Studio A where the musicians used to cut records.

It is notable for its gently slanted floor which contributed to the special sound of Stax Records. Before it became Studio A, it was once a movie theater. Within the Wall of Sound area, you will notice walls that are filled from floor to ceiling with cases containing all the albums and singles that were released by Stax Records during its operation.

A listening station is also located in this area where you can listen to some of the albums and singles. You will want to make sure to check out the Super Fly area. This is where you can view musician Isaac Hayes’ custom car called Cadillac Eldorado. It was bought in 1972 and is renowned for its special features including a refrigerated mini bar, television, 24-carat gold exterior trim, and white fur floorboard carpeting.

The admission fees for the museum are $13 for adults, $12 for military members, seniors, and students; and $10 for children aged from 9 to 12. Those who are aged under 9 will enter for free.

Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum

(Photo courtesy of Gary J. Wood via Wikimedia)

The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum is located on South B.B. King Boulevard just a short walk south of Beale Street in Memphis. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of musical pioneers who overcame racial and socio-economic obstacles in order to create the music that had a major impact on the world. The museum is divided into seven permanent exhibits.

The first exhibit is called Rural Culture. This exhibit focuses on the farm workers of the Mississippi Delta who sang melodies as they labored to create a new music genre. In the Rural Music exhibit, you will learn about how rural communities in the Mississippi Delta came together to start a musical revolution. Coming to Memphis is the third exhibit.

It tells the story of those who moved to Memphis from the rural communities to work in the cotton mills and warehouses. It shares about how they used this opportunity to share their music on Memphis’ Beale Street, leading to a thriving scene.

In the Sun Records & Youth Culture exhibit, you will learn about how poor and aspiring musicians like Elvis Presley and B.B. King couldn’t afford to record their tunes at a fancy studio. And as you will see, they ended up recording at Sun Records where they ultimately went on to become legendary musicians.

The Soul Music exhibit focuses on legendary black musicians who got their start by walking into Stax Records from the streets. Social Changes is the exhibit that takes a deep dive into how the civil rights movement of the mid 20th century influenced the movement for the rock and roll music genre. The seventh and last permanent exhibit is Bravo Gallery.

This exhibit will highlight the individuals who influenced the world with their tunes. The admission prices for the museum are $13 for adults and $10 for youth aged from 5 to 17. The admission is free of charge for those aged under 5. The museum also houses a gift shop.

Blues Hall of Fame Museum

(Photo courtesy of John Phelan via Wikimedia)

The Blues Hall of Fame Museum is located on South Main Street just south of downtown Memphis. This museum opened in 2015, making this a relatively new attraction. It puts the spotlight on the blues music genre and its musicians. There are currently over four hundred inductees into the blues hall of fame. They are divided into five key areas: Performer, Individual, Album, Single, and Literature.

There are ten galleries in total within this museum and they all include interactive touchscreen displays. You can learn about the history of the blues, hear the stories about the inductees, listen to blues music, and watch videos. The museum is also sprinkled with one-of-a-kind blues memorabilia such as R.L. Burnside’s guitar, Koko Taylor’s dress, and Otis Spann’s piano.

The prices of admission to the museum are $10 for adults and $8 for those aged from 13 to 18. Those who are under the age of 13 can enter free of charge. There is also a gift shop onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.

These are the additional things to do in Memphis, TN. Overall, there is plenty for music fans to love about the city.

Memphis Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your Memphis visit, I have got your back. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

The Peabody Memphis

(Photo courtesy of Trevorbirchett via Wikimedia)

This is Memphis’ most famous hotel. So, it is absolutely worth the stay. This historic hotel was originally built in 1869 at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets in the heart of downtown Memphis. It remained in operation at that location until 1923.

During that time period, it attracted famous guests such as US presidents Andrew Johnson and William McKinley, Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and Confederate president Jefferson Davis. The hotel then moved one block away to its current location on Union Avenue. It opened again in 1925. This hotel is designed in the Italian Renaissance architectural style.

It is famous for its Peabody Ducks who live on the rooftop and make their daily treks to the lavish lobby. The hotel boasts a whopping seven restaurants and bars. They include Peabody Restaurant, The Grand Lobby, Peabody Deli & Desserts, Peabody Afternoon Tea, Capriccio Grill, Chez Philippe, and Peabody Corner Bar.

In addition to these restaurants and bars, a jaw-dropping six shops are located within the hotel. They include Peabody Lego Shop, Gir Collection, Lansky at The Peabody, Lansky Lucky Duck, Lansky 126, and Lansky Accessories Shop. The hotel’s indoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, and fitness center are all housed in The Peabody Athletic Club.

(Photo courtesy of TonyTheTiger via Wikimedia)

A full-service resort-style spa called Feather Spa at The Peabody is also located onsite. There are also history tours of the hotel available if you are interested. The hotel’s luxurious rooms and suites have recently gone through a multi-million dollar renovation. They feature custom paint colors and commissioned wall art that pays tribute to Memphis, the blues, Mississippi River sunsets, and the Peabody Ducks in subtle ways.

Many of these rooms and suites will offer you gorgeous views of downtown Memphis. Depending on which suite you choose to book at the hotel, you may have access to kitchenettes with microwaves and mini refrigerators, fireplaces, and/or wet bars. WiFi is featured in all the rooms and suites.

The average rate for a standard room range from $168 to $440. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some additional photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to a musical journey to Memphis? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Memphis, TN – Music Roots

Memphis is located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in the southeastern corner of the US state of Tennessee. It is renowned for its strong blues connection. In fact, Memphis is the official home of the blues as designated by the US Congress. The city is also famous for being the birthplace of rock and roll. This is also the city where Elvis Presley lived and recorded his tunes. As a result of all this, music fans are sure to find things to do in Memphis, TN.

Graceland

(Photo courtesy of Bjoertvedt via Wikimedia)

Graceland is located around eight miles south of downtown Memphis on Elvis Presley Boulevard near Interstate 55. This is the stately estate where Elvis Presley lived. Elvis was a legendary rock and roll musician during the mid 20th century. He lived at the estate from 1957 until his death in 1977 at the age of 42. The mansion is designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style.

The front and side of the mansion feature tan Tishomingo limestones that are sourced from the US state of Mississippi while the building’s rear feature stucco. There are two pairs of white columns on opposing sides of the mansion’s entranceway. The mansion has two floors and a basement. It contains a total of 23 rooms which include eight bedrooms and bathrooms.

There are a few interesting things to point out within the mansion. The Music Room houses a black baby grand piano and a 1950’s style television. The Jungle Room is notable for its indoor waterfall of cut field stone. What is most interesting is that there is a room in the mansion’s basement with a pool table. It turns out that Elvis was an avid pool player who bought the pool table in 1960 to play on within his mansion.

During your tour of the mansion, you will learn the personal side of Elvis, who was known as the King of Rock and Roll. In addition to the mansion itself, the estate grounds also house Elvis Presley’s Memphis which is a collection of museums and/or exhibits dedicated to Elvis’ overall life. Here are a couple of them to note. The first one is Elvis: The Entertainment Career Museum.

This is where you can check out hundreds of artifacts from Elvis’ legendary rock and roll music career such as a collection of gold and platinum records, jumpsuits, and guitars. Elvis was known for his love of cars. He owned at least twenty of them and you can check them out at the Presley Motors Automobile Museum. A few cars on display include a Pink Cadillac, a 1975 Dino Ferrari, and a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk.

As far as tickets are concerned, you will want the Elvis Experience Tour. This will get you access to the entire Graceland estate including the mansion itself and the museums and exhibits. The prices are from $38 to $73. You can head here to buy your tickets. The estate also house numerous onsite restaurants and gift shops. So, you may want to check them out also.

Sun Studio

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Littlehand via Flickr)

Sun Studio is located on Union Avenue just east of downtown Memphis. This is the iconic recording studio where the rock and roll music genre was born. The recording studio began its operation in January of 1950 with the first rock and roll recording being done by Jackie Brenton and his Delta Cats for the single called “Rocket 88”.

Elvis Presley began his legendary career by recording at this studio fresh out of high school in August of 1953. When he first started recording at the studio, he was not very successful. However, after just under one year later, Elvis began to hit it big with his recording of Arthur Crudup’s single, “That’s All Right”.

In addition to Elvis, other famed musicians of the past who recorded at the studio include B.B. King, Ike Turner, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash. The music greats of today who have recorded at the studio include Maroon 5, U2, Paul Simon, and Beck. Today, there are guided tours available for Sun Studio.

You will be led throughout the two floors of the studio by a guide who will narrate its history and how it launched the careers of some of the most famous musicians. The guide will also play some of the songs that were recorded by the famous musicians when they operated out of the studio.

The tour tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students, military members, and seniors. Those who are aged between 5 and 11 will receive free admission. There is also a gift shop available onsite if you are interested in souvenirs.

Beale Street

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

Those who have visited Memphis before, will most likely recognize Beale Street. This is the city’s most iconic street. It is the heartbeat of the blues in Memphis. In 1977, the US Congress designated Beale Street as the official home of the blues. As a result, blues-themed restaurants, bars, and shops dominate the brick-paved, largely pedestrian street in downtown Memphis.

And they often host musical performances at the same time. So, they can be overwhelming, but they are all worth checking out as no two musical performances are alike. Famous musicians have been known to surface on Beale Street.

These include Albert King, Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. Beale Street is notable for its cool neon signs that hang from buildings. They all will light up at night. So, it’s well worth visiting the street at night as well.

Music fans won’t want to miss out on these things to do in Memphis, TN. Also, if you are a fan of country music, you will want to consider taking a trip east to Nashville. It is renowned for its association with country music. I encourage you to visit this post to learn more about the world-class country music attractions you can visit in Nashville.

Memphis Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Memphis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis – Beale Street

This hotel is located on Peabody Place which is just off Beale Street to the north. There is free breakfast and coffee available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few dining options just around the corner include Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar, Maciel’s Tortas & Tacos, and Itta Bena. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with coffee makers and mini refrigerators while the suites come with full kitchens and separate living rooms. They all feature WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $155 to $306. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Comfort Inn Downtown

This hotel is located on North Front Street in downtown Memphis, about fifteen minutes north of Beale Street. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast and coffee for you to enjoy. If you get hungry, a few restaurants in the immediate area include McEwen’s on Monroe, Blue Plate Cafe Downtown, and Willie Moore’s Restaurant & Lounge. The hotel contains an outdoor, rooftop swimming pool with some nice skyline views.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. The hotel rooms and suites on the upper floors will offer breathtaking views of downtown and the Mississippi River. They will also offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $119 to $217. You can visit here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to seeing what Memphis has to offer in connection to its music heritage? Feel free to leave a comment here.

What To Do In Wyoming – Thermopolis

The US state of Wyoming is a trend-setter when it comes to preserving the country’s treasured natural beauty. In fact, the state is home to the nation’s first national park, national monument, and national forest. The state is also know for being sparsely populated with peaceful small towns and cities dotting its wide open spaces. One example of these is Thermopolis.

The word, Thermopolis, has the Greek meaning of “Hot City”. Thermopolis is renowned for its mineral hot springs. It currently has the only traffic stoplight in all of Hot Springs County. It sits on the banks of the scenic Bighorn River at the point where it becomes the ever more scenic Wind River. Thermopolis is well worth the stop for what to do in Wyoming.

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Green via Wikimedia)

Hot Springs State Park

(Photo courtesy of Charles Willgren via Wikimedia)

Hot Springs State Park is located in the northeastern part of Thermopolis. This is where the mineral hot springs are located. So, this is the first place in town that you will want to visit. The best known mineral hot spring in the state park is called The Big Spring. This is the largest mineral hot spring in the world. This hot spring has a turquoise and green look to it.

The Big Spring pumps 3.6 million gallons of water each day at a scorching 127 degrees F. The hot spring houses at least 27 minerals and feeds all the places within the state park. The best place for you to soak yourself into a hot spring pool is the State Bath House. It is a beautiful place within the state park. It offers both an indoor and an outdoor hot spring pool that you can use for free.

The hot spring pools at the bathhouse maintain a temperature of 104 degrees F. Another nice place for you to take to a hot spring pool is Hellie’s TePee Pools. They have a sizable outdoor pool that maintain temperatures ranging from 94 to 100 degrees F which is a little cooler, but still lovely. Better yet, it comes with water slides for you to use.

If you would like to soak into waters a little warmer within Hellie’s TePee Pools, there are numerous hot tubs onsite that you can use. The admission fees there are $12.50 for ages 5 to 62, $10 for ages of at least 63 and active military members, and $6.50 for ages 3 and 4. The admission is free for those aged under 2.

Aside from the mineral hot springs, the state park is renowned for its unique geological feature called the Rainbow Terraces. They look kind of like waterfalls and have vibrant natural colors. They are created from the minerals of the hot springs water, algae, and plankton. The Rainbow Terraces are found along the Bighorn River which travels through the state park.

There is also a paved walkway beside them. So, you will want to go for a walk to appreciate the beauty there. Also found within the state park is a suspension foot bridge that cross the Bighorn River. It is called the Swinging Bridge and it offers a great spot for viewing the river as it flows under the foot bridge.

Hot Springs County Museum

The Hot Springs County Museum is located on Broadway Street just west of the southwestern corner of Hot Springs State Park. This is the museum dedicated to the interesting history of Thermopolis and Hot Springs County.

The main museum feature two re-created settings from the area’s pioneer era which generally took place from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The first one is a bar called the Hole in the Wall Bar. This was where the notorious outlaws from the gang of the same name, used to hang out. The outlaws include Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

The other re-created setting is called Old Town Thermopolis which feature wooden boardwalks with pioneer-era buildings such as an old general store, doctor and dentist offices, a jail, a newspaper and print shop, and a barber shop. The main museum also houses one of the largest collections of American Indian artifacts in Wyoming.

There are also a collection of plant and animal fossils from the area’s prehistoric era. You can also view displays of local rocks and minerals. Military buffs will be happy to know that they can check out artifacts from area soldiers who have been part of several conflicts. Overall, the main museum has two floors brimming with interesting area lore.

Across the street from the main museum building is the museum annex which include historic structures like a one-room school, a 1918 poverty shack, agricultural and petroleum buildings, and a railroad caboose. The prices of admission to the museum are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and children aged from 6 to 17, and $1 for Hot Springs County residents.

There is free admission for veterans, active military members, and children aged under 6. There is also a gift shop available onsite.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center

(Photo courtesy of Wyomingdinosaurcenter via Wikimedia)

Those who are fascinated with dinosaurs will want to check out the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. It is located just east of the Bighorn River in Thermopolis. This museum contains an impressive collection of dinosaur fossils ranging from tiny Trilobites who lived in the seas to giant Pterosaurs who ruled the skies. This museum showcases one of the largest and most unique fossil collections in the world.

This museum is only around fifteen minutes away from its many dig sites. That makes this museum one of the few dinosaur museums in the world to be within driving distance of dig sites. There are guided tours available at one of the dig sites. During the dig site tours, you will learn interesting things like digging practices, the tools used for digging, and the dinosaur fossils found there.

Also, depending on the timing of your dig site tour, you will even get to watch the museum staff actually doing the work. The prices for the combo museum admission and dig site tour are $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for seniors, veterans, and kids aged from 4 to 12. Free admission is given to those aged under 4.

Wind River Canyon

(Photo courtesy of J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

Wind River Canyon is an amazing sight to behold. This is the place where the canyons border the Wind River on both sides. The best way to experience this Wyoming beauty is to go for a drive south of Thermopolis on US Route 20 until you reach the small town of Shoshoni. The drive will last for around 32 miles.

The majority of US Route 20 closely follows the canyons and river as they snake their way towards Shoshoni, making for some of the most scenic drives in Wyoming. There are even a few tunnels under the canyons on US Route 20. As you drive down the route, you will come across numerous viewing spots where you can stop the car to soak in the stunning views. You will see that it is worth your time.

So, Thermopolis should certainly be on your checklist for what to do in Wyoming. Also, Thermopolis is about an hour and 17 minutes drive southeast of Cody, the eastern gateway city to Yellowstone National Park, via Wyoming 120. It is renowned for the beautiful Buffalo Bill Center of the West which is home to five world-class museums under one roof. You can learn more about it here.

Thermopolis Hotel

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Thermopolis, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel

This historic hotel is located on East Park Street just east of the Bighorn River within Hot Springs State Park. This hotel offers free breakfast. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include One Eyed Buffalo, Black Bear Cafe, and Las Fuentes. There is an outdoor heated swimming pool and mineral water hot tub at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $97 to $153. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to Thermopolis before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In Wyoming – National Firsts

The US state of Wyoming is renowned for its rugged beauty and wide open spaces. It is the most sparsely populated state in the country with an estimated population of 578,759 as of 2019. And yet, the state ranks as the tenth largest when it comes to land mass. Believe it or not, Wyoming made significant contributions to the advancement of women in America as you can see here.

But, did you know that Wyoming is home to not just one or two, but three firsts in the country? It has the first national park in Yellowstone National Park, the first national monument in Devils Tower National Monument, and the first national forest in Shoshone National Forest. All three of them are well worth your time for what to do in Wyoming.

Yellowstone National Park

(Photo courtesy of James St. John via Flickr)

Yellowstone National Park is located in the northwestern portion of Wyoming, near the state border with Montana and Idaho. As I have previously mentioned, this is the oldest national park in the United States, having been designated a national park in March of 1872. Yellow National Park is best known for its breathtaking geysers. The most famous of these is Old Faithful.

Steamboat Geyser is the largest active geyser in the world. A few other geysers at the national park include Castle Geyser, Lion Geyser, and Beehive Geyser. Overall, there are on average 465 active geysers at Yellowstone National Park in a given year. In addition to the geysers, the national park is renowned for its thermal hot springs which give off a rainbow color hue.

One such thermal hot spring is called Grand Prismatic Spring. This is the largest hot spring in the country and the third largest worldwide. The national park maintains a network of boardwalks to give the public ample opportunities to get closer and more personal with the breathtaking geysers and thermal hot springs.

(Photo courtesy of Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia)

Yellowstone National Park is also home to Yellowstone Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in North America that is above the elevation of 7,000 feet. The entrance fees for the national park are $35 for vehicles, $30 for motorcycles and snowmobiles, and $20 for those arriving by foot or bicycle.

Also of note is that the entrance passes are good for seven days after being purchased. Yellowstone National Park also contain multiple visitor centers and/or museums. You also may want to consider visiting the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, located in the national park’s eastern gateway city of Cody, Wyoming. It is a large, beautiful complex that houses a whopping five world-class museums. You can learn more here.

Hotel Suggestion: Best Western Premier Inn & Suites

This hotel is located on Eighth Street in Cody which is about 97 miles east of Yellowstone National Park via US Route 20. There is an onsite restaurant and bar called the 8th Street Restaurant. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available at the hotel for your workout needs.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $156 to $329. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Devils Tower National Monument

(Photo courtesy of Jonathunder via Wikimedia)

Devils Tower National Monument is located in the northeastern portion of Wyoming, near the state border with South Dakota. It was designated in September of 1906 as the first national monument in the country. The signature feature of the national monument is Devils Tower itself. Devils Tower is a laccolithic butte that is composed of igneous rock.

It soars about 867 feet from the base to the summit, giving it an imposing presence within the national monument. Devils Tower is said to be 65 million years old. It is considered to be sacred by the Northern Plains tribe. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can try your hand at climbing Devils Tower to reach its summit.

If you successfully reach the summit, you will be met with gorgeous views of the Wyoming scenery. There are five hiking trails for you to choose from during your time at the national monument. By far the best one is Tower Trail. On this hiking trail, you will head up a short, steep path that goes from the visitor center parking area to the base of Devils Tower.

Once at the base, you will go in a 1.3 mile loop around the butte. The loop offer sweeping views of the surrounding area, even if you don’t climb to the summit. Also on Tower Trail, you will find Native American prayer cloths attached to trees. These represent the tribes’ spiritual connection to Devils Tower. There are also benches on this trail where you can relax and appreciate the views.

The entrance fees for Devils Tower National Monument are $25 for vehicles, $20 for motorcycles, and $15 for those arriving by foot or bicycle. Once the entrance passes are bought, they are good for up to seven days. There is also a visitor center onsite with a gift shop and a bookstore inside.

Hotel Suggestion: Best Western Devils Tower

This hotel is located on Wyoming Highway 24 in Hulett which is about twelve minutes drive northeast of Devils Tower National Monument. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include R Deli, Ponderosa Cafe, and Red Rock Cafe. The hotel contains an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

Those looking for a place to workout can use the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $93 to $165. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

Shoshone National Forest

(Photo courtesy of Viplav Valluri via Wikimedia)

Shoshone National Forest borders Yellowstone National Park to the east and southeast and is easy to reach from Cody. It became the nation’s first national forest in March of 1891. The national forest is known for hosting some of America’s most rugged, remote, and scenic areas. It is home to Gannett Peak which soars to the height of 13,804 feet in order to become Wyoming’s highest peak.

At the other end of the elevation spectrum is the stunning Clarks Forks Canyon with its mouth at 4,600 feet above sea level. The national forest include parts or all of three mountain ranges and five wilderness areas. Alpine lakes, rushing streams, waterfalls, glacier-carved valleys, cliffs, wildflower-covered slopes, forests, and snow-capped peaks all make up for a photo-worthy scenery in Shoshone National Forest.

And then there is the ghost town of Kirwin which once thrived on mining. History buffs are sure to fall in love with this ghost town as it is littered with interesting lore regarding its settlement and development during the late 19th century and early 20th century. You can visit the national forest free of charge. There are over 1,300 miles of hiking trails and four scenic byways within the national forest for your enjoyment.

These three Wyoming beauties have made history in the United States by being the first national park, national monument, and national forest respectively. So, they all should be visited for what to do in Wyoming. What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these history-making locations? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Olympia, WA – Serene State, Serene Capital

Washington state is a marvel when it comes to its natural beauty. The state’s capital city of Olympia lives up to the state’s reputation for natural beauty. It has lush evergreen environments, lakes, and serene inlet coastlines on the southern end of Puget Sound. It also boasts of being in a prime location, right between Olympic National Park to the northwest and Mount Rainier National Park – both of which I have previously mentioned. Here are the things to do in Olympia, WA.

Old Capitol Building

(Photo courtesy of Steven Pavlov via Wikimedia)

The Old Capitol Building is located on Washington Street Southeast in downtown Olympia. It is renowned for its castle-like appearance. In fact, it is locally known as The Castle. It was built in the early 1890’s. At first, it was used for the Thurston County Courthouse. But, its most notable use was for the state capitol. It operated as the seat of Washington state government from 1905 until 1928.

The building currently operates as the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington state. But, it is still open to the public to visit at no charge. The Old Capitol Building is designed in the Romanesque architectural style. The building was built using Chuckanut stone from Whatcom County. It features two conical towers.

There were once twelve conical towers, however, ten of them were destroyed by a large earthquake that struck the area in 1949. When the building was first built in the late 19th century, it was a testament to the architecture of the Pacific Northwest region. It stood tall as a beacon of hope, democracy, and Washington state pride.

Former US President Theodore Roosevelt visited the building in 1903 and gave an address to around ten thousand people who gathered around the building. When you visit the building, you will find hallways filled to the brim with paintings, photographs depicting the history of the building, and pictures drawn by both local students and people from Olympia’s sister cities around the world.

Also, across the street from the Old Capitol Building is a small, lovely park called Sylvester Park. It houses a statue of John Rankin Rogers who served as the third governor of Washington state from 1897 until 1901.

Washington State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Colebourne via Flickr)

The Washington State Capitol is located on Sid Snyder Avenue Southwest south of downtown Olympia. It currently serves as the seat of state government in Washington state. It contains four floors and houses the office of Washington state’s governor, Jay Inslee, and chambers of the state legislature. It is designed in the American Neoclassical architectural style.

The beautiful state capitol is constructed of limestone sourced from the tiny Washington state village of Wilkeson. The state capitol features a 287-foot masonry dome. That makes this the tallest self-supported masonry dome in the United States and the fifth tallest in the world. The building’s north entrance features a portico with eight Corinthian columns.

The north entrance is reached by walking up 42 granite steps. This number of steps represents the number of states admitted into the United States up to and including Washington state. The state capitol is known for its gorgeous lamps and Roman fire pots in the building’s rotunda that were made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany and Company.

The state capitol also features a gorgeous 10,000-pound chandelier above the rotunda featuring life-size faces, human figures, and a whopping 202 lights. There is also a large brass bust of first US president, George Washington, inside the state capitol. That makes perfect sense as Washington state is named after him. There is a free guided tour of the building available for you. It lasts for fifty minutes or so.

The state capitol’s grounds are just as beautiful as the building itself. So, you will want to spend some time exploring the grounds. It features many gardens and memorials.

Parks and Open Spaces

(Photo courtesy of Jon. D. Anderson via Flickr)

In order to help showcase its natural beauty, Olympia features many parks and open spaces for you to enjoy during your time there. I have already mentioned one such park so far in this post – Sylvester Park. Another park that you will want to check out is Heritage Park. It is only a short walk west of the Old Capitol Building and north of the Washington state capitol.

This lovely park travels along a long, narrow path along scenic Capitol Lake. It passes in front of downtown Olympia from the state capitol grounds up to Budd Inlet. On the southern end of the park, a trail winds its way down from the state capitol grounds at the top to Capitol Lake at the bottom in a twisty fashion.

Within Heritage Park, there is a continuous walking path along the lake. Located at the northern end of the park where Capitol Lake almost meets Budd Inlet, is a nice fountain. Also, if you look south from this part of the park, you will get a gorgeous view of the state capitol dome which features prominently in the horizon.

If you are a wildlife watcher, you may want to consider traveling a little bit north of downtown Olympia. By doing so, you will reach Woodard Bay National Resources Conservation Area which runs along Henderson Inlet. This peaceful open space is renowned for being a sanctuary for a variety of birds, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, and a colony of bats. So, it is well worth checking out.

These are the things to do in Olympia, WA. Those of you wanting to marvel at the majesty of the old and new state capitol buildings and soak in the natural beauty by visiting parks and open spaces will find great pleasure with being in Washington state’s serene capital city.

Olympia, Washington Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Olympia, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

Hampton Inn & Suites Olympia Lacey

This hotel is located on Martin Way East just northeast of the interchange of Interstate 5 and Sleater Kinney Road in Lacey – a suburb just east of Olympia. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Ricardo’s Restaurant, Dirty Dave’s Gay Nineties, and Brewery City Pizza CO. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

There is also a fitness center available for you to use during your time at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $105 to $167. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Ramada by Wyndham Olympia

This hotel is located on Martin Way East just west of its interchange with Interstate 5 in Lacey. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few restaurants nearby include Casa Mia, Brewery City Pizza CO, and Ricardo’s Restaurant. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. For those looking for a place to workout, the hotel offers a fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $101 to $105. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever visited Olympia before? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Things To Do In St. Charles, MO – A City Of Charm

St. Charles is a suburb of St. Louis located on the mighty Missouri River northwest of the bustling city. If you haven’t visited St. Louis and/or are looking for suggestions for what to do there, you can head here. Or if you would prefer to visit the city’s Forest Park specifically, this post will do for you. Even though St. Charles is a St. Louis suburb, it is a charming destination in its own right with some interesting lore.

St. Charles was founded in 1769 by a French-Canadian fur trader – Louis Blanchett. It was originally called Les Petites which means “The Little Hills” in French. The city served as a temporary state capital for the US state of Missouri in the early 19th century. It was also known to be the last civilized stop of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition as they proceed to explore the American West in 1804. I would suggest that you visit the St. Charles Historic District for things to do in St. Charles, MO.

St. Charles Historic District

(Photo courtesy of Matt Ridings via Flickr)

The beautiful St. Charles Historic District is brimming with charm. This is one of the oldest and largest historic districts in the state of Missouri. The beating heart of the historic district is Main Street which is paved with brick. The ten blocks or so of Main Street is filled with dozens of restaurants and shops housed in historic brick buildings that were restored to their 19th century glory.

Many of the restaurants have outdoor patios so that you can dine outdoors and soak in all the charms. One such restaurant is called Bradden’s. It is located on South Main Street north of Pike Street. This restaurant is known to offer a roster of American fare and wine. The restaurant uses home-style cooking as the method for preparing their dishes for diners to enjoy.

The countless shops found on Main Street offer many one-of-a-kind items for you to purchase and take home as souvenirs. So, browse as many of them as you can. Main Street also contain two tiny lovely parks to help beautify the brick-paved street. They are Berthold Square Park and Kister Park. There is also a sizable and lovely park just a very short walk east of Main Street.

This park is called Frontier Park and it is along the Missouri River. I would suggest arriving there via Perry Street which is a short, serene pedestrian street. That will lead you straight to the beautiful, circular Lewis and Clark Monument. If you don’t have your own bicycle, but would like to bicycle, I would suggest that you head to the Bike Stop Cafe which you will pass by on Perry Street on the way to Frontier Park.

They have bicycles available there for you to rent for bicycling on the path inside Frontier Park. There are also tasty coffees available at the Bike Stop Cafe if you want some. Also, there are trolleys that you can ride up and down the historic district so that you can get somewhere more specific without having to do the walking all the time.

First Missouri State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Smallbones via Wikimedia)

The First Missouri State Capitol is located across South Main Street from Berthold Square Park. It served as the seat of Missouri’s government when St. Charles was the capital of Missouri from 1821 to 1826. St. Charles competed with eight other Missouri cities for the right to serve as the temporary capital of the state until construction was completed for the permanent state capital of Jefferson City in 1826.

The state government was granted free rooms to be used for the state legislature to meet in. These rooms were on the second floor of the old state capitol, above a hardware store and a residence. The old state capitol is actually four brick buildings connected together. It is known for its rough-hewn timbers and dark wood floors.

During your time there, you can learn about how the state government was formed and what life looked like in the early 19th century. The admission fees for the old state capitol are $4.50 for adults and $3 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under the age of six get free admission.

Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum

The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum is located between Frontier Park and the Missouri River at the southeastern corner of the historic district. This is the museum where you can learn about the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition. This museum offers Native American artifacts and Missouri River habits that the expedition encountered on their journey westward.

The museum also house full scale replicas of the keelboat and pirogues that the expedition used to journey to the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th century. You can also check out the artwork, Missouri River Walk. This is the largest indoor mural in the state of Missouri.

The entrance fees for the museum are $5 for adults and $2 for children under the age of 17. There is also a gift shop onsite called The Trading Post.

So, the St. Charles Historic District is excellent for things to do in St. Charles, MO. Also, have you wondered about where the mighty Missouri River navigates its way through the United States? It also travels through the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.

Both of their respective capitals, Bismarck and Pierre, are located on the Missouri River. If you are wondering about places that you can visit in Bismarck, you can visit this post to learn more. As far as Pierre is concerned, you will want to head here for what to do if you end up in South Dakota’s capital.

St. Charles, Missouri Hotels

If you are in search of a hotel room to stay overnight at in St. Charles, I will give you a helping hand. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book your stay at.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, St. Charles, MO

This hotel is located on South Main Street just south of the St. Charles Historic District. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Given this hotel’s proximity to the historic district, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. A few of them include Magpie’s Restaurant, Hendrick’s BBQ, and Trailhead Brewing Co. This hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $83 to $171. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hampton Inn St. Louis/St. Charles

This hotel is located on West Clay Street near the interchange of Interstate 70 and Harry S. Truman Boulevard around nine minutes drive west of the historic district. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Also, there are onsite barbeque facilities available if you are planning any cookout during your stay.

If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Mario’s Donuts and Cafe, Lil Mickey’s Memphis Barbeque, and LongHorn Steakhouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub available at the hotel. If you are in need of a place to workout, there is a fitness center available for you at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $96 to $148. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to visiting the St. Charles Historic District? Feel free to leave a comment below.