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 Cody, Wyoming – Buffalo Bill Museums

Cody serves as the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park which is the oldest national park in the United States. You can learn more about this amazing national park by visiting this post. The gateway city of Cody was founded in 1896 by William F. Cody who is best known as Buffalo Bill. He was known for being an intrepid Western showman. He passed through this area in the northwestern portion of the US state of Wyoming in the 1870’s.

He loved the area so much that he returned some twenty years later to set up the town which he named after himself. His legacy can be found at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West which contains five world-class museums under one roof. The architecture and grounds of the complex blends nicely into Wyoming’s rugged beauty. So, if you find yourself in Buffalo Bill’s namesake city, you will want to visit the Buffalo Bill complex for things to do in Cody, Wyoming.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Hermans via Wikimedia)

Buffalo Bill Museum

The Buffalo Bill Museum is the inaugural museum in the complex. This is the place where you go to learn about the overall life of Buffalo Bill himself. You will gain an insight into how he came to be known as Buffalo Bill. You will see the fame and success that Buffalo Bill gained through his signature Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows.

This museum also explores the influence that he had on the economic and cultural development of the American West. Some of the artifacts that are showcased at this museum include Wild West show props, wagons, a stagecoach, dime novels, and family heirlooms. The museum houses about twelve exhibits for you to explore.

For example, the Big-Game Hunting exhibits will have you explore Buffalo Bill’s lifelong passion for hunting big game. This exhibit features a re-creation of one of Buffalo Bill’s hunting camps. Envisioning the New West is another one of the exhibits at the museum. It explores Buffalo Bill’s vision of what the future of the American West should look like.

Plains Indian Museum

The second museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Plains Indian Museum. It shares stories related to the cultures, traditions, trials, and triumphs of Plains Indian tribes, both in the past and today. This museum houses one of the country’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts. You can find timeless artifacts from the 19th century along with modern works done by today’s Native American artists.

This museum contains five exhibits to check out. The first exhibit is Adversity and Renewal. This exhibit explores the past, present, and future of Plains people. It also showcases the changes and innovations in their material and spiritual culture since being placed on reservations in the late 19th century.

The exhibit, Buffalo and the People, is concerned with the role that the buffalo has had in the economy and spirituality of Plains tribes. The Honor and Celebration exhibit explores the ceremonies that Plains tribes have performed, both in the past and the present. The exhibit, Land of Many Gifts, explores the village life of Plains people in the historic era.

This exhibit also showcases the contributions of women to the societies of Plains tribes. In the Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) Migration exhibit, you will learn about how the Cheyenne tribe travelled and the role that dogs and horses played in their ability to migrate.

Whitney Western Art Museum

Art lovers will want to check out the Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill complex. This museum is dedicated to showcasing Western art. This museum is considered to be one of the best Western art museums in the United States. You can view works of art by famed Western artists such as Charlie Russell, Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt.

The exhibits at the museum divide works of Western art into individual subjects. They are wildlife, Western landscapes, Native American depictions, Western heroes and legends, and historic events. During your time at the museum, you will come across a re-creation of a cabin called Absarokee Hut which was occupied by famed Western artist, Joseph Henry Sharp. He was known for his paintings of Native American peoples.

Draper Natural History Museum

(Photo courtesy of Charles (Chuck) Peterson via Flickr)

The fourth museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Draper Natural History Museum. This museum is focused on all things Yellowstone National Park. This isn’t really surprising at all, given the Buffalo Bill complex’s proximity to the national park itself. You will learn about the diverse animals and plants that are found in Yellowstone National Park.

You will also learn about the natural history of the national park at this museum. There are a total of three exhibits available at the museum. They are Expedition Trailhead, Alpine-to-Plains Trail, and Monarch of the Skies. One of the things that you will notice at the museum is a replica of a female grizzly bear who was often photographed near Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance before being killed by a car.

Cody Firearms Museum

(Photo courtesy of Nickeyrc via Wikimedia)

The fifth and final museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Cody Firearms Museum. This museum had just recently gotten a facelift last year. As the museum’s name indicate, this museum is all about the firearms. This is the most comprehensive firearms museum in the country. This museum is home to over 10,000 firearms and related items that span the time period from the year 1400 to the present.

You will also learn about the many roles that the firearms have played through history. This museum is divided into six themes. They are Introduction, Evolution of Firearms, Story of the West, Military History, Science of Firearms, and Art of Firearms.

These are the five museums that are contained within the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. So, if you are looking for things to do in Cody, Wyoming, you will want to make sure to visit the Buffalo Bill complex. The admission prices for the complex are $19.25 for adults, $18.25 for seniors, $17.75 for students, and $12.75 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under age 6 get free admission.

You can head here to buy your tickets to the complex. I would like to note that the tickets are good for two straight days. Here is a fun fact – the NFL team of Buffalo, New York is called the Buffalo Bills. Also, the wide open spaces of Wyoming is also notable for its thriving ranching lifestyle. I have covered a few lovely Wyoming ranches that you can visit right here. So, I encourage you to go there to learn more.

Cody, Wyoming Hotels

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your Cody visit, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest for you.

Best Western Premier Ivy Inn & Suites

This hotel is located on Eighth Street just a short distance south of the Buffalo Bill complex. If you get hungry, there is an onsite restaurant called the 8th Street Restaurant which is also a bar serving alcoholic beverages. The 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 $156 to $329. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

AmericInn by Wyndham Cody

This hotel is located on Yellowstone Avenue just three minutes drive southwest of the Buffalo Bill complex. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include The Cody Cattle Company, The Local, and Our Place Cafe. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. The hotel also houses a fitness center for your workout needs.

All of the rooms at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $125 to $226. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you thrilled about the idea of visiting a whopping five museums all in one place? Feel free to drop a comment below.

National Parks Of The US – Caves

National parks of the US are meant to showcase what is particularly unique about a piece of land in the country. Depending on what comes to your mind when you think of national parks in the country, you may not realize that three of the country’s national parks are dedicated to showcasing the breathtaking beauty of America’s caves. So, today, I would like to highlight the three national parks that are centered on caves.

Mammoth Cave National Park

(Photo courtesy of USGS via Wikipedia)

Mammoth Cave National Park is located in the central portion of the US state of Kentucky just northeast of Bowling Green. This national park is home to the longest known cave system in the world at 400-plus miles long. Not just that, but also more mileages continue to be added over time as the cave system continue to be explored. Mammoth Cave is noted for its limestone formations with luminous shapes.

The cave houses an underground river and shallow pools. Also located in the cave are grand, high-ceiling cave rooms located deep underground. The cave is known for being the home to a variety of bats. These include the Indiana bat, the gray bat, the little brown bat, the big brown bat, and the eastern pipistrelle bat. In addition to these bats, the cave is also home to eyeless cave-dwelling crayfishes and shrimps.

Mammoth Cave can only be explored as a part of a guided tour. There are a variety of cave tours available during the spring scheduling season which starts today and lasts until May 22nd, 2020. One such tour is the Frozen Niagara Tour. The centerpiece of this tour is the Frozen Niagara room. This is one of the must famous underground cave rooms in the cave.

The Frozen Niagara room is filled with natural decoration. This is an easy tour to take part in and only requires you to take on twelve steps. This tour travels for around one-fourth mile round trip. Another tour to mention is the River Styx Cave Tour. This cave tour travels along the cave’s underground river, River Styx.

This tour is aimed at geology buffs wanting a deeper look at how Mammoth Cave had taken form over millions of years. This tour is moderate in difficulty and requires a total of 600 stairs to climb. The distance is about 2 and a half miles for this tour. Each of the cave tours at Mammoth Cave require separate tickets in order to take part in them. The prices for the tickets varies by cave tours.

For example, the tickets for the Frozen Niagara Tour go for $14 for adults, $10 for youth, and $7 for special access. You can go here to check the cave tour schedule and make a reservation for a tour.

Hotel Suggestion: Holiday Inn University Plaza – Bowling Green

This hotel is located on Wilkinson Terrance in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There is an onsite restaurant at the hotel called The Hartland Cafe. Atrium Lounge is the hotel’s onsite bar while Seattle’s Best Coffee Shop is where you can order a cup of coffee onsite. The hotel houses an interior garden atrium for a serene environment. There is also an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

A fitness center is available for you to use during your stay. The hotel rooms come with WiFi and coffee makers while the suites also come with mini refrigerators, microwaves, wet bars, and separate bedrooms and living/dining areas. The average rate for a standard room range from $106 to $186. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

(Photo courtesy of Wing-Chi Poon via Wikivoyage)

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the southeastern area of the US state of New Mexico, near the state border with Texas. There are actually more than 119 caves within this national park, but Carlsbad Cavern is the most well-known cave and the focus cave for most tours. Carlsbad Cavern is renowned for its network of vast underground chambers.

Those vast underground chambers are up to 250 feet tall from the floor to the ceiling. They house stunning limestone formations of various colors and shapes. Many of the limestone formations are lit up with electric lights in order to make them more visible. Carlsbad Cavern is also noted for being the home to a group of bats called the Mexican free-tail bats. They take refuge in the cave from April to September.

There are two categories of tours available to explore Carlsbad Cavern. The first category of tours is the self-guided tour. This is where you can explore the cave on your own. There are rangers stationed along the way to answer any questions you may have as you explore. There are two self-guided tour routes available for you to explore the cave.

The first one is called the Big Room Trail. This is most certainly the easy route with mostly flat terrain along the way. The centerpiece of this self-guided tour is the Big Room. This is the largest underground chamber in this cave. The Big Room measures almost 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet tall. This self-guided route lasts for about 1.25 miles.

The second self-guided tour route in the cave, on the other hand, is the challenging one. It is called the Natural Entrance Trail. It is an extremely steep route, but one that also rewards you with stunning limestone formations including Devil’s Spring, the Whale’s Mouth, and Iceberg Rock. This route is about 1.25 miles long. The other category of tours for exploring Carlsbad Cavern is the guided tour.

There are four guided tours in this cave. They are King’s Palace, Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, and Hall of the White Giant. These guided tours will explore the other branches of the cave that aren’t available for self-guided tours. The entrance fee for Carlsbad Cavern is $15 for adults aged 16 and up. Those aged under 15 get free entrance. The entrance tickets are good for three days and can be used for self-guided tours.

The guided tours, however, will each require an additional ticket to take part in. You can view the guided tour schedule and make a reservation for one of them by going here.

Hotel Suggestion: Sleep Inn & Suites

This hotel is located on National Parks Highway in Carlsbad, New Mexico just northeast of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby options include Blue House Bakery and Cafe, The Trinity Hotel Restaurant, and YellowBrix Restaurant. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center available.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFI, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $143 to $277. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Wind Cave National Park

(Photo courtesy of US National Park Service via Wikipedia)

Wind Cave National Park is located in the southwestern corner of the US state of South Dakota, near the state border with Montana and Wyoming. This is the first cave to be designed as a national park in the United States and the world. Wind Cave received its name because of barometric winds at its entrance. The cave is renowned for its boxwork formations.

Boxwork formations are rare anywhere else in the world. In fact, about 95 percent of the boxwork formations on Earth are found in Wind Cave. In addition to the rare boxwork formations, the cave is home to frostwork and popcorn formations. There are three guided cave tours that you can take part in. These are Garden of Eden Tour, Natural Entrance Tour, and Fairgrounds Tour.

In terms of hiking skill levels, the first two guided cave tours are moderate while the third one is challenging. The amount of stairs to climb range from 150 for Garden of Eden Tour t0 450 for Fairgrounds Tour. Each of these three tours will each require a ticket to participate. The first tour goes for $10 for adults and $5 for ages 6 to 16. The second and third tours will each go for $12 for adults and $6 for ages 6 to 16.

All of the three tours are free for those aged under 6. There are unfortunately no self-guided tours available at Wind Cave. You can head here to check the schedule for the guided tours.

Hotel Suggestion: Baymont by Wyndham Hot Springs

This hotel is located on South 6th Street in Hot Springs, South Dakota just south of Wind Cave National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. For the hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Woolly’s Grill & Cellar, Big Time Pizza, and Dairy Queen. If you are looking to have a cookout, there are barbeque facilities available outdoors at the hotel for that.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms will have WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $62 to $155. You can go here to view your booking options and/or browse some photos.

These are the national parks of the US that are dedicated to showcasing the beauty of the country’s caves. So, if you are itching to explore a cave, you will want to consider one of these caves.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced any of these caves before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

National Parks Of The US – The Oldest National Parks To Visit

One thing that makes the United States unique is its breathtaking national parks. National parks are federal designations that are given for pieces of land that are considered to be very special. They are preserved by the federal government for the enjoyment of the general public. The designation of national parks in America began in the latter half of the 19th century. Here are the oldest national parks of the US you should visit.

Yellowstone National Park

(Photo courtesy of Frank Kovalchek via Wikimedia)

Yellowstone National Park is the first ever national park to be designated in the country. The national park was designated in March of 1872. The national park is located in the northwestern section of the US state of Wyoming with small portions also located in the states of Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone National Park is famous for its stunning geysers.

Over half of the world’s active geysers are found at this national park. There are between 500 and 700 geysers that are active at the national park every year. In addition to the geysers, there are other compelling hydrothermal features at the national park including hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles. All of these hydrothermal features are found in areas of Yellowstone National Park called thermal basins.

Thermal basins are accessed by walking onto boardwalks. A boardwalk is the best way to view the geysers and other hydrothermal features. There are also designated trails available that also offers breathtaking views of thermal basins if you prefer them. Yellowstone National Park is also notable for its large population of bears. In fact, the national park is known as bear country.

Wolves and bisons are among other groups of animals that populate the national park. Yellowstone National Park is also home to Yellowstone Lake which is the largest freshwater lake in North America that is above 7,000 feet in elevation. The scenic lake sits at an elevation of 7,732 feet above sea level.

The entrance prices for the national park are $35 for non-commercial vehicles, $30 for motorcycles and snowmobiles, and $20 for individuals arriving on foot or bicycle. The entrance passes are good for up to seven days after being purchased. An onsite visitor’s center known as Albright Visitor Center is housed within the national park. There are exhibits regarding the national park as well as a bookstore there.

Hotel Suggestion: Gray Wolf Inn and Suites

This hotel is located on South Canyon Street in West Yellowstone, Montana which is located just northwest of Yellowstone National Park. This hotel has two new onsite amenities. The first one is outdoor patios with fire pits. The other new amenity is a fitness center. In addition to these new amenities, the hotel also offers an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is continental breakfast available at the hotel. If you are looking to dine out, a few choices include Taqueria Las Palmitas, Three Bears Restaurant, and Wild West Pizzeria & Saloon. All of the hotel’s rooms have coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The hotel’s suites will have full kitchens along with separate bedrooms and living/dining areas. WiFi is available in all the rooms and suites.

The average rate for a standard room range from $104 to $474. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Sequoia National Park

(Photo courtesy of LGalcan via Wikimedia)

Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park to be established in the US. The national park was designated in September of 1890. It is located in the US state of California in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The national park is renowned for being the home to Giant Forest.

Giant Forest is home to incredibly large trees known as giant sequoias. One of these is called the General Sherman Tree. This is the largest tree in the world. This tree is 275 feet tall and measures at over 36 feet in diameter at the base. The trunks of the giant sequoias are known to stay wide until they reach up to sixty feet above the base.

The giant sequoias help to give Sequoia National Park the nickname of A Land of Giants. The Giant Forest is home to multiple hiking trails which will allow you to see unique features like the General Sherman Trees, Moro Rock, Round Meadow, and Tokopah Falls. There is also a museum located within the Giant Forest known as the Giant Forest Museum.

There, you can learn about the area and check out the small onsite book store. In addition to the Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park also contains the western slope of soaring Mt. Whitney which is the highest mountain peak in the contiguous US at 14,505 feet high. The entrance fees for the national park are $35 for vehicles and $20 for individuals. The passes are good for up to seven days after the purchase.

Hotel Suggestion: Wuksachi Lodge

This hotel is located on Wuksachi Way inside Sequoia National Park. This breathtaking hotel has a stone and cedar mountain lodge architectural design. It is surrounded by a sequoia forest, making for a serene hotel stay. There is an onsite restaurant at the hotel called the Peak Restaurant. An onsite shop is also available at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms have an upscale, natural decor that involves natural granite rock, oak, cedar, and hickory woods into the design. As nice as these rooms look, there is one problem. It is that there is no WiFi in the rooms unfortunately. The hotel does offer WiFi in certain areas, but it is very slow. So, don’t expect to do much except maybe checking a few things like e-mail, the weather and some social media.

This is due to the remoteness of the surrounding area in which this hotel is located. All of the rooms at the hotel offer scenic views of the surrounding sequoia forest and mountain peaks. There are coffee makers and mini refrigerators in all the hotel’s rooms. The average rate for a standard room range from $124 to $331. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

Yosemite National Park

(Photo courtesy of Johan Viirok via Wikimedia)

Yosemite National Park was established in October of 1890. That makes this the third oldest national park to be designated in the country. It is located within the Sierra Nevada mountains in the central section of California. Yosemite National Park is famous for a wide variety of breathtaking environments. These include granite cliffs, waterfalls, deep valleys, giant sequoia groves, glaciers, and more.

There are numerous waterfalls throughout the national park. One such waterfall is Yosemite Falls. This is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. Yosemite Falls is about 2,425 feet long. It is divided into three waterfalls known as Upper Yosemite Fall, the Middle Cascades, and Lower Yosemite Fall. The best time to see the waterfalls in Yosemite National Park would be during the spring.

That is because this is when the snow begins to melt into water which will then flow down from the upper areas to the lower areas of the national park. This results in stunning waterfalls. The most famous landmark in Yosemite National Park is Half Dome. This stunning granite rock formation measures at 5,000 feet high above the valley floor.

You can get close and personal with Half Done by hiking on Mirror Lake Trail. This is a paved trail that travels for one mile to Mirror Lake and then circles the lake for five miles. In addition to Half Dome and Mirror Lake, you can also get gorgeous views of spots like Tenaya Canyon, Mount Watkins, and Washington Column.

The entrance fees for the national park are $35 for vehicles, $30 for motorcycles, and $20 for individuals arriving by foot or bicycle. The passes to Yosemite National Park are good for up to seven days after being purchased. If you would like to learn about the history of Yosemite National Park and how it became an inspiration for other national parks across the country, you can head to Pioneer Yosemite History Center.

Hotel Suggestion: Yosemite Valley Lodge

This hotel is located on Yosemite Lodge Drive within Yosemite National Park. It is close to Yosemite Falls which is the waterfall that I mentioned earlier. This scenic hotel is designed with wood and glass meant to reflect its surroundings. The Mountain Room Restaurant and Base Camp Eatery are the two onsite restaurants available at the hotel. There is an outdoor swimming pool at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer stunning views of the scenery that Yosemite National Park is renowned for. They all offer mini refrigerators and coffee makers. There is WiFi available in all of the rooms and suites, however, the speeds are very slow due to the remoteness of the surrounding area. So, keep that in mind.

The average rate for a standard room range from $192 to $749. You can view your booking options and/or browse some photos by going here.

These are the original national parks of the US that you will want to visit. All of these national parks were designated in the latter half of the 19th century before automobiles even existed. You will also want to check out this post to learn about the newest US national parks to visit. What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these national parks before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

National Parks Of The US – The Newest National Parks You Should Visit

One thing that makes America a great country to behold is its network of national parks. National parks of the US help to showcase what is uniquely beautiful about the country. National parks are considered to be treasured pieces of land to be protected by federal law against being significantly altered. When one thinks of national parks in America, they might think of national parks like Grand Canyon or Yellowstone.

But as it turns out, there is more uniquely beautiful lands in the country than meets the eye. In an effort to highlight more of America’s treasured beauty, new national parks have been designated in recent years. Here are the most recent national parks you should visit.

White Sands National Park

(Photo courtesy of Dhaval Shreyas via Flickr)

White Sands National Park was designated in December of 2019. This is the most recent national park to be established in the US. The national park is located in the southern portion of the state of New Mexico, near the border with the state of Texas. This national park is noted for its sweeping field of white sand dunes. The white sand dunes are composed of gypsum.

This is the largest gypsum dunefield in the world. The white sand dunefield is shaped to resemble great waves. The white sand in the national park is in fact so white that it looks like snow. One interesting thing about the white sand dunefield is that it can change its appearance. That is because strong winds will shift the white sand around the national park, varying up its appearance.

This national park is home to more than 800 species of animals. These include mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and invertebrates. They all have developed skills for adapting, surviving, and even thriving in what is considered to be a very harsh environment for them in which there is very little surface water and highly mineralized ground water.

Also, if you look closely, you can notice the tracks in the white sand left by the animals. That indicates that they must have headed in those directions recently. There are five established trails for you to hike on at the national park. They are Interdune Boardwalk, Playa Trail, Dune Life Natural Trail, Backcountry Camping Trail, and Alkali Flat Trail.

They vary in term of challenge level and the length of time it takes to complete the hike. The Interdune Boardwalk is the easiest trail to hike on and takes on average about 20 minutes to complete. On the other end of the spectrum is the Alkali Flat Trail. This is the most challenging trail to hike on and will take on average about three hours to complete.

The entrance fee for the national park are $25 per vehicle, $15 per person, and $20 per motorcycle. It should be noted that the per person fee is only charged if there is only one person in a given vehicle. Also of note is that the entrance passes are good for up to seven days after being purchased. There is also a visitor’s center at the national park.

There is a museum within the visitor’s center where you can learn all about the national park and its history. A store called White Sands Trading Company is located onsite. You can also find restrooms and shaded picnic tables at the visitor’s center.

Hotel Suggestion: Comfort Suites Las Cruces I-25 North

This hotel is located on North Telshor Boulevard in Las Cruces, New Mexico which is located just to the southwest of White Sands National Park. Complimentary breakfast is offered at this hotel. If you are looking for nearby restaurants to dine at, a few of them include The Pecan Grill & Brewery, Farley’s Food & Fun Pub, and Corner Bakery Cafe.

There is an indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s suites come with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $161. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Indiana Dunes National Park

(Photo courtesy of Tom Gill via Flickr)

Indiana Dune National Park was established in February of 2019. So, this is the second newest national park to be designated in the US. The national park is located in the northwestern part of the US state of Indiana on the shore of Lake Michigan. It is noted for its rugged dunes that hug Lake Michigan for about 15 miles.

In addition to the rugged dunes, there are also wetlands, rivers, forests, and prairies available to explore within the national park. There are 50 miles of hiking trails in total within the national park. Indiana Dunes National Park is home to a total of 14 hiking trail systems for you to choose from based on your hiking skills and preferred hiking length. I will share a few of them right here with you.

The first trail system is called Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm, Little Calumet River, and Mnoke Prairie. This trail system will have you hiking through a variety of environments. You will get to explore a forest of maple, beech, basswood, and oak trees, the Little Calumet River, and the Mnoke Prairie. You can also check out the historic sites Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm.

This is an easy to moderate trail system that will take on average two and a half hours to complete. Another trail system is the Paul H. Douglas (Miller Woods) Trail. This is a trail system where you can soak in the breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the dunes. This trail system will also have you exploring an environment that is rare on Earth. It is called the black oak savanna.

The black oak savanna’s native grasses and wildflowers, including lupine, are known to thrive in the sunlight and open forest floor. Indiana Dunes National Park is also a great place for viewing the gorgeous sunsets over Lake Michigan. Oh and also, you can go swimming in the lake during the summer. The fee for entering the national park via the West Beach entrance is $6 per car per day.

There is also a visitor’s center at the national park. There are lobby displays and brochures that showcase Indiana Dunes National Park. You can also shop at the Eastern National bookstore located inside the visitor’s center.

Hotel Suggestion: Comfort Inn & Suites

This hotel is located on West US Highway 20 in Porter, Indiana which is where Indiana Dunes National Park is located. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you are hungry, a few nearby dining options include Octave Grill, Wagner’s Ribs, and Third Coast Cafe. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available for your usage at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $61 to $122. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or browse some photos.

Gateway Arch National Park

(Photo courtesy of Lewis Hulbert via Wikipedia)

Gateway Arch National Park is the third most recent national park to be established. It was established in February of 2018. The national park is located in downtown St. Louis on the front of the Mississippi River. It is the home of the iconic Gateway Arch which is what strikes people the most when they think of St. Louis. The Gateway Arch is the symbol of the United States’ push to expand westward during the early 19th century.

Gateway Arch National Park is also a memorial to the first civil government to be established west of the Mississippi River and the debate surrounding slavery spurred by the Dred Scott case. The arch measures at 630 feet high. That makes it the tallest arch in the world. The Gateway Arch is made of stainless steel.

There is a tram ride that will take you to the top of the arch where you can soak in the sweeping views of downtown St. Louis and the Mississippi River. The ticket prices for that are between $12 and $16 for adults and between $8 and $12 for children aged 3 to 15. The tram ride is free for those aged under 3. You can buy the tickets for the tram ride here.

Located underneath the Gateway Arch is the museum. During your time at the museum, you can learn about the westward expansion of the US, the construction of the Gateway Arch, among other topics. The museum also houses a gift shop and a cafe. Also located within Gateway Arch National Park is the historic Old Courthouse. This is where the first two trials of the Dred Scott case took place in 1847 and 1850.

It was also there that Virginia Minor pleaded her case, in the 1870’s, for a woman’s right to vote in the country. The Old Courthouse is also open to the public as a part of the national park. The general entrance fee for Gateway Arch National Park is $3 for adults. It is free for these aged under 16.

Hotel Suggestion: Drury Plaza St. Louis at the Arch

This hotel is located on South 4th Street in downtown St. Louis, right by Gateway Arch National Park. The hotel takes up three historic buildings which are all on the National Register of Historic Places. Distinct features of the hotel include matching millwork, Italian marble, and Waterford crystal chandeliers.

Also, recently in 2017, a terrance was added on the eighth floor to allow for breathtaking views of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. For the hungry, an onsite restaurant known as 5:30 Kickback is available. Free popcorn and soda are given in the hotel’s lobby daily. There is an indoor swimming pool along with two hot tubs at the hotel.

You can head to the hotel’s fitness center for your workouts. Many rooms and suites at the hotel will offer breathtaking views of downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch. All of them will have WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $144 to $286. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

These are the newest national parks of the US that you should visit. Before these national parks received their designation, they were previously designated as a national monument, a national lakeshore, or a national memorial. What are your thoughts? Are you planning a trip to feast your eyes on any of these national beauties? Feel free to leave a comment here.

What To Do In Wyoming – Ranches To Visit

The American state of Wyoming is a state of natural beauty to behold. The state has the soaring mountain peaks, the national parks, and the wide open spaces that are sure to delight any nature lovers. Wyoming is a very sparsely populated state. So, there isn’t as much in the way of civilization.

One thing that brings out Wyoming’s appeal is the scenic ranches where animals such as horses and bisons graze peacefully. If you are a ranch lover asking yourself about what to do in Wyoming, you will want to check out these ranches.

(Photo courtesy of J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

A-OK Corral Horse Creek Ranch

A-OK Corral Horse Creek Ranch is located on South US Highway 89 in Jackson, Wyoming. This ranch is owned and run by the Child family. This ranch offers horseback rides through mountain trails. This ranch offers a one hour, two hour, or three hour horseback rides. There are also half day and full day horseback rides available at the ranch too and they also come with lunch.

During your horseback ride, you can take in gorgeous views of the Gros Ventre Wilderness and the Teton Mountain Range. You will ride along the scenic Snake River and come across breathtaking wildflowers. You can also observe a variety of wildlife as you ride along. The horseback rides at this ranch are suitable for people regardless of their riding ability.

The prices for the horseback rides are $40 for one hour ride, $55 for two hour ride, $70 for three hour ride, $85 for half day ride, and $150 for full day ride. In addition to the horseback rides, the ranch offers what is called pack trips. These are basically camping trips that are done via horseback riding.

What happens is that you will stay at least one night at a camp, have home cooked meals that are prepared on campfires, go horseback riding, and go fishing in the streams. Where you will go and how long the camping trip is will depend on which package you choose.

For example, Package #1 will last for two days and one night. Package #1 will have you stop at Granite Hot Springs where you will have a chance to soak into one of the natural hot springs. Package #2, for example, will have you head to one of the high mountain lakes. Package #2 lasts for three days and two nights.

The prices per person for the pack trips are $475 for Package #1, $875 for Package #2, and $1050 for Package #3. This ranch also offers fishing trips via horseback riding. This will come with lunch. Also, if you are in need of fishing gear, they will have them on hand. If you are interested in a fishing trip, the price for that is $225 per person.

Hotel Suggestion: Wyoming Inn of Jackson Hole

This hotel is located on West Broadway in Jackson. This luxury western-style hotel has an onsite restaurant called The Whistling Grizzly. The hotel’s beautiful lobby, called Grand Western Lobby, house a wood burning fireplace and wild life art by renowned artist Thomas Mangelsen. The hotel is home to a brand new indoor hot tub. There is also a fitness center, also called Fitness Room, at the hotel.

The hotel’s rooms and suites have a western feel to it with western furnishings. The hotel’s suites have gas fireplaces in them. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer breathtaking views of Jackson’s natural beauty. At the very least, you can look forward to WiFi, Keurig coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves in the hotel’s rooms and suites.

The average rate for a standard room range from $109 to $417. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Terry Bison Ranch

(Photo courtesy of Troy Cawley via Flickr)

Terry Bison Ranch is located on Interstate 25 Service Road East in Cheyenne, the state capital of Wyoming. This ranch is more than 100 years old and has some interesting history to it. Francis Emory Warren was the most famous owner of this ranch. He was the first governor of Wyoming in 1890 and served as Wyoming’s first senator during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Former President Theodore Roosevelt was known to have visited this ranch a few times during the early 20th century. US Army General John “Blackjack” Pershing was a frequent visitor to the ranch and it was there that he married Francis’ daughter. Today, the ranch is owned by the Thiel family. The ranch is now 27,500 acres and stretches into Colorado.

There are many activities to be had at this ranch. Arguably the best one is the Bison Train Tours. This is where you will ride the custom-built trains on a narrated tour to see the bisons roaming the ranch. In addition to the bisons, you will see other animals such as ostriches and camels. The price for this is $15 for adults, $7.50 for these aged 4 to 12. These aged 3 and under get a free pass.

The ranch also offers Sunday Lunch Train in which you ride and have lunch on the 0ld-fashioned train. The train will leave from the Trading Post located on the ranch. The price for this is $14 per person plus $13 for the meal. There are the one hour horseback rides available at this ranch. Small children can look forward to the pony rides.

The prices are $48 per person for the horseback rides and $10 per child for the pony ride. If you are looking for something more thrilling, you will want to consider the one hour ATV Tours. You will be able to go around the ranch property and see the countryside and the animals roaming around. The prices are $79 per driver and $69 per rider. Drivers must have a valid driver license in order to operate the ATVs.

There are also two onsite restaurants at the ranch. They are Senator’s Steakhouse and Brass Buffalo Saloon, and Tombstone Cafe. If you are looking for souvenirs, you can check out the Trading Post Gift Shop located onsite.

Hotel Suggestion: Fairfield Inn & Suites Cheyenne Southwest/Downtown Area

This hotel is located on West Lincolnway in Cheyenne. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If you are looking for somewhere to eat nearby, a few options include 2 Doors Down, Luxury Diner, and Paramount Cafe. This hotel also has a Bar-B-Q and picnic area outdoors. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at this hotel. You can workout at the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $84 to $129. You can book your stay and/or check out the photos by going here.

Durham Bison Ranch

Durham Bison Ranch is located on State Highway 59 South in Gillette, Wyoming. The ranch has 55,000 acres of land. This ranch has owned and operated by the Flocchini family since at least 1930. It has a prairie landscape with a mixture of rolling hills and peaked buttes. There are many animal species at this ranch from elks to mule and whitetail deers to coyotes to badgers.

Over 80 species of birds have been known to roam the ranch. But the most notable of the animals at the ranch are the bisons. The bisons that roam the ranch trace their origin back to the Yellowstone National Park. This ranch is also famous for exporting some of the best meat, including bison meat, to some of the finest restaurants in the United States.

This ranch offers the Durham Ranch Tour. As a part of this tour, you will wander around the ranch and observe the bisons and other animals that also live on the ranch. You will learn about the history of this ranch from its humble beginnings in the early 20th century to being one of the largest bison ranches in North America that is now home to more than 2,500 naturally raised bisons.

You will also learn about how the ranch makes wise use of its resources in its operations. You will get a sense of what life on the ranch is like during this tour. Also, during the tour, you will be served to a bison lunch at one of the few local restaurants that serves bison meat sourced from this ranch.

Hotel Suggestion: Wingate by Wyndham Gillette

This hotel is located on Cliff Davis Avenue in Gillette. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There are also barbeque facilities at this hotel. If you are looking for a nearby restaurant to dine, a few options include The Prime Rib Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Old Chicago, and Applebee’s. This hotel has an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available at this hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites include WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and Keurig coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $65 t0 $99. Head here if you would like to explore your booking options and/or browse some photos.

If you consider yourself a cowboy at heart and are wondering what to do in Wyoming, you will want to visit these ranches. What are your thoughts? Do you feel like a cowboy inside? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Las Vegas For Kids

There has long been a perception that Las Vegas is for adults only. That there is nothing for kids to do in Las Vegas. In fact, Las Vegas has been referred to as a “Disneyland for Adults”. All of this can be attributed, in a big part, to the fact that Las Vegas is dominated by a large number of flashy and themed casinos where you can participate in various gambling activities.

In the United States, people are required by law to be at least 21 years of age in order to gamble and Las Vegas is not exempt from this. But the good news is that there are indeed things to do in Las Vegas for kids. So, my aim today with this post is to help you sort all this out by offering you a few things to do in Las Vegas that you can do with kids.

(Photo courtesy of Lasvegaslover via Wikipedia)

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

This attraction is located at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in the Las Vegas Strip. The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat will make you feel like you are in a tropical setting. There are four pools at the attraction containing 2.5 million gallons of water in total. These pools are home to gorgeous artificial reefs.

The attraction is home to the bottlenose dolphins, including a new baby dolphin who was recent born this past August. This baby dolphin represent the fourth generation of bottlenose dolphins at this attraction. The baby dolphin and its mother, Bella, can be found in the Birthing and Research Pool. White tigers, white lions, and leopards can also be found at this attraction along with the bottlenose dolphins.

There are a few exciting activities available to take part in. These include Trainer for a Day, Painting with the Dolphins, and Yoga with the Dolphins. The admission prices for this attraction are $22 per adults and $17 per child aged between 4 and 12. These aged under 4 gets free admission. You can go here to purchase the tickets.

The High Roller

(Photo courtesy of Nate Stiller via Wikimedia)

The High Roller is located at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in the Las Vegas Strip. This is the tallest observation wheel in the world at 550 feet tall. There are over 28 capsules that can hold up to 4o people on each. Each capsule is large enough that you can walk around within it. Each ride on the High Roller will last for about 30 minutes.

You will get a sweeping 360 degree view of not only the Las Vegas Strip, but also the broader Las Vegas region. In fact, you will be so high on the observation wheel that you can see up to 25 miles in every distance that you look when the sky is clear.

The daytime ticket prices for the High Roller ride are $22 for adults and $9 for youth. The ticket prices for the night ride on the High Roller are $32 for adults and $19 for youth. You can buy the tickets by going here.

Las Vegas Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

The Las Vegas Eiffel Tower is located at the Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino in the Las Vegas Strip. This is a half scale replica of the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The viewing deck is about 460 feet high. You will be able to ride a glass elevator all the way up to the top of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Las Vegas Strip and its world class hotel and casinos.

There is also a restaurant, known as the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, located on the 11th floor of the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower. If you are looking to buy a souvenir photo, you can do so at the Total Snapshot kiosk located onsite. The ticket for the ride up to the viewing deck goes for $24 for adults and $21 for youth. You can buy the tickets here.

Tournament of Kings Dining Show

The Tournament of Kings Dining Show is located at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino in the Las Vegas Strip. This is an exciting medieval dinner and show. This takes place in a 900-seat theater-style arena. You will get to watch an epic battle between rival groups of medieval knights. Knights can be seen riding around on their horses and wielding their knightly swords. There will also be special effects too.

You will be given a three-course meal to dine on as you watch the medieval show play out. The ticket to the medieval dinner and show will start at $78 per person. You can go here to order your tickets.

Shark Reef Aquarium

The Shark Reef Aquarium is located at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in the Las Vegas Strip. This is where you can go to view and learn about the various exotic water-related creatures. As the name of this attraction indicates, the signature water-related creature feature are the sharks.

There are more than 100 sharks in total, including 30 of them in the main tank which is one of the largest in the United States with 1.3 million gallons of water. There are two underwater tunnels that will make you feel like you are deep inside the sea. There are a total of 14 exhibits at the aquarium.

The admission prices to the aquarium are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, and $19 for children aged 4 to 12. Admission is free for those aged under 4. You can buy the admission passes here.

These attractions mentioned above help to demonstrate that Las Vegas is more than just an adult’s playground. There are truly things to do in Las Vegas for kids as these attractions prove.

The Hotels

Now, let’s get on to the hotels. The unique thing about hotels in Las Vegas is that many of them are combined hotel and casinos. Here are two hotel and casinos that I would suggest you to book with. Even though the signature onsite amenity at these hotel and casinos are obviously the casinos themselves, rest assured that there are plenty of onsite amenities that kids can enjoy also.

Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas is located southeast of the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Road in the Las Vegas Strip. This hotel and casino is themed with the feeling of being in Paris. As I mentioned earlier in this post, this hotel and casino is home to the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower. There are two onsite shopping district. One is called Le Boulevard while the other is called Bally’s Promenade.

These two onsite shopping districts are modeled to resemble romantic Parisian streets. They offer a variety of shops that sells products that are inspired by Paris. There are many onsite restaurants at this hotel. Some of these restaurants serve French cuisine. These include, but is not limited to, Burger Brasserie, Mon Ami Gabi French Restaurant, and Le Village Buffett.

Paris Las Vegas offers a unique rooftop swimming pool that is beautifully tucked into a manicured French garden. This swimming pool is called Soleil Las Vegas Pool. There is also a fitness center available at this hotel and casino.

All of the hotel and casino’s rooms and suites are designed with a chic European look, Versailles-style fixtures, and luxury romantic decor. At the minimum, you can look forward to WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators as room amenities. The average rate for a standard room range from $109 to $437. You can go here to book your stay and/or view some photos.

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace is located northwest of the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd and Flamingo Road in the Las Vegas Strip. This iconic hotel and casino is themed to immerse you into Rome. Caesars Palace offer a unique group of swimming pools called Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods is designed in the Roman architecture with statues of various gods from the Roman mythology.

There are a total of seven swimming pools for you to choose from within Garden of the Gods. There are a lot of onsite restaurants to choose from at Caesars Palace. These range from Bacchanal Buffet to Restaurant Guy Savoy to Mesa Grill. There are two onsite shopping districts. One is called Appian Way Shops and the other is called The Forum Shops.

Both of these onsite shopping district are also inspired by ancient Roman architecture. They house a range of shops offering Rome-inspired products. The Forum Shops also house a 50,000 gallon aquarium and an animatronic show called The Fall of Atlantis. A fitness center is also available at Caesars Palace.

The rooms and suites at this hotel and casino are designed with sleek modern decor, stone accents, luxurious furnishings, and Roman artwork. This design is meant to make you feel like a royal. At the very least, you can expect WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $163 to $589. If you would like to explore your booking options and/or check out the photos, you can do so here.

What are your thoughts? Are you feeling motivated to bring your kids with you to Las Vegas knowing that it isn’t an adults-only destination? Feel free to drop a comment below.

Places to Go In Colorado – Hot Springs to Check Out In 2020

2020 is almost upon us. That doesn’t just mean a new year, but also a new decade. Colorado is world famous for its colorful natural beauty topped off with towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, many of them toppling 14,000 feet in height. One thing that defines Colorado is its countless hot springs.

There is a reason why numerous cities and towns in Colorado have names that ends with the word “springs”. Colorado Springs is the most obvious one as it is the biggest city not just in Colorado, but also the United States, to have such a name. As far as places to go in Colorado is concerned, these are the hot springs that you should check out in 2020.

Before I start, I just want to let you know that each of the hot springs that are mentioned here is a part of a hotel. So, here we go.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs

(Photo courtesy of trickofthelight via Flickr)

The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is located on East Sixth Street in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This charming resort hotel is home to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool which is said to be the largest mineral hot spring pool in the world. The Ute tribe called this hot spring pool “Yampah”. This word translates to “big medicine” because of its perceived health benefits.

The big section of the hot spring pool maintain a water temperature of about 90 to 93 F while the smaller section of the hot spring pool maintains a water temperature of about 104 F. There are a total of 15 minerals contained inside the hot spring pool. Construction is currently ongoing to add a new aquatic park at the hot spring pool called the Sopris Splash Zone.

The new aquatic park will add water slides, a water fountain, kid play zones, and more to the hot spring pool. When the construction is completed, the aquatic park will open during the summer season. Also, during the summer months, you can rent a cabana at the hot spring pool.

During your stay at this resort hotel, you will get unlimited access to the hot spring pool. The hot spring pool is open year round. There are other amenities at the resort hotel in addition to the hot spring pool. There is an onsite restaurant called The Poolside Grill to feed the hungry. This resort hotel also offers a spa called Spa of the Rockies which offers a full service menu.

You can also work out at the fitness center known as the Athletic Club. The fitness center also offers fitness classes if you wish to participate in them. There is an onsite store at the resort hotel called The Shop where you can buy swimming-related items and more.

All of the rooms at the resort hotel are neatly designed with the soothing earth tone palette and rich finishes. All of the rooms offers WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $199 to $332. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some additional photos.

The Springs Resort & Spa, Pagosa Springs

(Photo courtesy of Jonathan Blundell via Flickr)

This resort hotel is locate on Hot Springs Blvd in Pagosa Springs. Available at this scenic resort hotel are 23 naturally hot therapeutic mineral hot spring pools. In addition to these hot spring pools, there is a mineral water lap hot spring pool that is being fed by the world’s deepest geothermal hot spring. All of these hot spring pools are located along or near the gorgeous San Juan River.

The water temperatures range from 87 to 114 F depending on which hot spring pool you choose to enter. When you stay at this resort hotel, you get 24 hours access to these hot spring pools. Even though these hot spring pools are the signature feature at this resort hotel, they aren’t the only thing available onsite. There are two onsite restaurants. One is called the Barefoot Grill another is known as Cafe.

If you are looking to drink alcoholic drinks, you can do so at one or both of the two onsite bars. One bar is called Canteen and another is called the Phoenix Bar & Atrium Lounge. The resort hotel also has a spa called the Pahgosa Spa which itself contains a store, the Pahgosa Spa Boutique, where you can buy a variety of items. A range of onsite activities are offered, from biking to fishing to snowshoeing.

This resort hotel offers a range of room and suite options ranging from the basic hotel room to the luxurious suite that resembles a condo. At a minimum, you can look forward to WiFi, a mini refrigerator, and a coffee maker. The rooms and suites are spread throughout the grounds of the resort hotel.

The average rate for a standard room range from $383 to $521. You can book your stay and/or check out additional photos by going here.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, Nathrop

This resort hotel is located on County Road 162 in Nathrop. The breathtaking resort hotel has four groups of hot spring pools. The first group is called the Historic Bath House. This is the oldest group of hot spring pools as it was built in the mid 19th century, just after the American Civil War was over. Two different hot spring pools are in this group. They are the soaking pool and the exercise pool.

The water temperature reach for 105 F at the soaking pool while the exercise pool maintains the water temperature in the 90 F range. The second group of hot spring pools is known as the Chalk Creek Hot Springs. Here, the hot spring water bubbles directly from the ground at a water temperature of 140 F. However, you can mix in the cold water with the hot water in order to create your ideal hot spring pool.

The third group of hot spring pools is the Upper Pools & Water Slide. These hot spring pools are connected by the winding lazy river. There is a water slide with hot water running down the winding slide. You can ride it with a mat and once you finish the slide, you will land in a hot spring pool that is rather cold at a water temperature of just 75 F.

The fourth group of hot spring pools is called the Spa & Club. There are two sections here. They are the relaxation pool and the cascading hot spring pools. As for the water temperatures, the relaxation pool is maintained at around 100 F while the cascading hot spring pools range from 101 to 107 F. It should be noted that people must be at least 16 years old in order to enter this group of hot spring pools.

This resort hotel offers additional amenities aside from the hot spring pools. There is a fitness center at this resort hotel with yoga and fitness classes. If you are thirsty, you can check out the onsite juice shop known as the Juice Bar. There is a spa located in the Spa & Club area of the resort hotel. If you find yourself feeling hungry, you can get yourself full at the onsite restaurant called the Princeton Club Restaurant.

There are a range of room and suite options. One option is the new Creekside Suite suites. These new suites are located directly on Chalk Creek. They are designed with modern finishes. These suites come equipped with glass-front fireplaces and kitchenettes. They also offer balconies and patios with gorgeous views of not just Chalk Creek, but also the mountain peaks. WiFi is also available too.

The average rate for a standard room at this resort hotel range from $162 to $512. You can go here to book a stay and/or check out some photos.

So, these are the hot springs in Colorado that you should check out in 2020. What are your thoughts? Does any of these hot springs warm up your heart? Feel free to post a comment right below.

Where To View The Northern Lights In America

Seeing the northern lights grace the nightly sky is a real treat to behold. The northern lights is basically the appearance of natural lights of a color or colors that shows up in the sky at night. These are known as auroras. If you are dreaming of seeing the northern lights, you are probably wondering about where to view the northern lights. Good question as I have got you covered right here.

The United States isn’t as well known for the northern lights as Canada, Norway, or Iceland. But there are places in the United States where you can go to view the northern lights. As a general rule, the further north you go, the better chance you have of seeing the northern lights. For the most part, the time of the year with the best chances of an appearance by the northern lights is during the winter.

In order to get the best views of the northern lights, you will want the sky to be clear of clouds and be free of what you would call light pollution which is more common in towns and cities, especially larger ones. So, with all of this in mind, here are the best places where you can get the best possible views of the northern lights.

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

(Photo courtesy of Denali National Park and Preserve via Flickr)

The Denali National Park is located in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes drive southwest of Fairbanks via State Highway 3. The national park is home to Denali which is the highest peak in the U.S. at 20,310 feet high. The national park is renowned for its wide open spaces, breathtaking mountain vistas, and plenty of wildlife.

All of this combined with the northern lights makes for a stunning scenery at night. The best chances for seeing the northern lights here is during the fall season. I would recommend that you find a spot somewhere on Otto Lake at the northeast corner of the national park for viewing the northern lights as it will reflect on the lake too as well.

Suggested Hotel: Denali Lakeview Inn

This hotel is located on State Highway 3 about 10 miles north of the road entrance to the Denali National Park on the shore of Otto Lake. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There are a few restaurants, stores, and gas stations located a few miles away in the small town of Healy.

The rooms at this hotel are individually decorated and they each have their own compelling names such as Denali Floral and High Cloud. Many of them offer personal decks with views of Otto Lake, Mt. Healy, and Mt. Dora. Some rooms offers recliner chairs and dining tables. All of the rooms are equipped with kitchens/kitchenettes. There is WiFi in every room at this hotel.

The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $153 to $257. You can go here to book a stay and/or view some photos.

Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Idaho

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is located in the entirety of the scenic Idaho Panhandle region of the U.S. state of Idaho. Coeur d’Alene is the main city in this area. I would suggest that you specifically head to Priest Lake to view the northern lights. Priest Lake is approximately two hours drive north of Coeur d’Alene via State Highway 57.

Viewing the northern lights at Priest Lake also offers breathtaking views of the reflected lake and the forested mountain ranges. The best chances of you seeing the northern lights here will happen during the winter.

Suggested Hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandpoint North

This hotel is located on U.S. Highway 95 in Ponderay, about one and a half hour drive southeast from Priest Lake via State Highway 57 and U.S. Highway 2. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and a hot tub at the hotel. A 24-hour fitness center is also available at this hotel. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast.

Even though there is no onsite restaurants at the hotel, there are plenty of restaurants nearby, including Sweet Lou’s Restaurant and Bar and Fiesta Bonita. All of the hotel rooms offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $141.

Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Maine

The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is located in the northernmost corner of the U.S. state of Maine on the U.S. border with Canada. It is about one hour and 23 minutes north of the town of Houlton via U.S. Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 1A. The national wildlife refuge is renowned for its mixture of wetlands, grasslands, and forests.

The best position I would suggest you take up for viewing the northern lights would be along the south shore of Butterfield Brook Pond. This will also allow for breathtaking views of the reflected pond along with the forests and grasslands. The best chances to view the northern lights is in the winter.

Suggested Hotel: Ivey’s Motor Lodge

This hotel is located at the interchange of U.S. Highway 1 and Interstate 95 in Houlton. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There is an onsite bar at this hotel. While there are no onsite restaurants at this hotel at the moment, plenty of restaurants await your hungry stomach nearby, including O’Kelley’s Irish Pub, Pizza Hut, and Tim Hortons.

It is also worth noting that charging stations are available at this hotel for these of you who have electric cars. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room at the hotel range from $77 to $120. Head here if you would like to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Superior National Forest, Minnesota

The Superior National Forest is located in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Minnesota just northeast of the city of Duluth. the national forest is a scenic forest area that is home to the highest waterfall in the state, at 120 feet high, called High Falls. The national forest is also home to Minnesota’s highest point, Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet high.

For viewing the northern lights, I suggest that you to head over to the Oberg Mountain which overlooks Lake Superior. That will offer a jaw-dropping views of the northern lights that will also reflect on Lake Superior. Winter is the best time of the year to view the northern lights as this is when it is the most likely to appear in the night sky.

Suggested Hotel: East Bay Suites

This hotel is located on Wisconsin Street in Grand Marais overlooking Lake Superior. At this hotel, you will have access to the beach on Lake Superior which will also include fire pits seasonally. In the Stones Throw gathering room at the hotel, there is a fireplace as well as a variety of other features such as board games, popcorn and hot chocolate bar (Friday and Saturday night), and live music (Friday night).

The hotel also has a gift shop onsite as well. There is unfortunately no swimming pool or fitness center onsite at the hotel. But, you will get a free pass to the nearby YMCA where you can use its swimming pool and fitness center. While the hotel itself doesn’t have any restaurants onsite, you can find plenty of restaurants within a few minutes walk from the hotel such as Blue Water Cafe, Gun Flint Tavern, and Sven & Ole’s.

Many of the suites at the hotel offers a full kitchen, an electric fireplace, a living room, a dining room, either a patio or a balcony. and breathtaking views of Lake Superior. All of the suites at the hotel have WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $103 to $238. You can go here to book your stay and/or view the photos.

Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

(Photo courtesy of Paul*Nelson via Flickr)

Keweenaw Peninsula is located in the Upper Peninsula region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the northernmost point of Michigan. The Keweenaw Peninsula is renowned for its rugged, forested natural beauty that juts into Lake Superior. I would suggest that you head to the northernmost point of the peninsula to the small, quaint lakeshore town of Copper Harbor at the northern end of U.S. Highway 41.

Once you arrive in Copper Harbor, head up to the narrow Hunter’s Point Park. There, you can soak in the beauty of the northern lights that reflects itself on Lake Superior. Winter is the best time of the year to catch the northern lights there.

Suggested Hotel: AmericInn by Wyndham Calumet

This hotel is located on South Sixth Street in Calumet which is about 45 minutes drive southwest of Copper Harbor via U.S. Highway 41. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. A few of the nearby restaurants include Michigan House Cafe and Brewpub, Toni’s Country Kitchen, and Cafe Rosetta. This hotel offers an indoor saltwater swimming pool, a hot tub, and a sauna.

All of the hotel’s rooms offers mini refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers and WiFi. The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $111 to $713. You can book a stay and/or check out some photos by going here.

These are the best places where you can go and see the northern lights. So, if you are wondering about where to view the northern lights, these places will get you in the best position to see it. What are your thoughts? Have you ever dreamt of seeing the northern lights? Feel free to leave a comment here.