CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming's capital city embodies the spirit of the Old West. It is considered the nation's rodeo and railroad capital, and is home to a variety of museums, historic hotels and mansions, a collection of steam engines, western-themed attractions and shopping, and resorts and ranches.
But there is more to this iconic destination than just boots and spurs: With a thriving art community, a variety of soft adventure opportunities nearby, and an eclectic selection of shopping and dining options, Cheyenne offers travelers an experience that is truly unique. Here is a list of the Top 10 Things not to miss when visiting Cheyenne:
1) Terry Bison Ranch - Terry Bison Ranch consists of nearly 30,000 acres of rolling hills and lush grasslands, and more than 2,300 grazing bison. A motorized bison tour via train allows visitors to feel right in the middle of the herd. Other features include the Sunday lunch train, horseback riding, Kid Corral, old time photo studio, fishing and a Trading Post. The ranch is also home to The Senator's Restaurant and Brass Buffalo Saloon, a full-service old-West restaurant and saloon.
2) Cheyenne Depot and Depot Museum - The Cheyenne Depot, formerly known as the Union Pacific Depot, was built from 1886 to 1887. Known as one of the most beautiful railroad stations in North America, it is one of the last of the grand 19th century depots remaining from the transcontinental railroad. Today, the Cheyenne Depot is home to the Cheyenne Visitor Center, a restaurant, and the Cheyenne Depot Museum. The museum's exhibits and interactive displays showcase the history and romance of the railroad.
3) The Downtown Cheyenne Experience - When visiting , visitors can't help but get into the spirit of the West with the downtown area's many Western stores and museums. The Wrangler and Just Dandy are just a few of the top shops. Visitors wanting to incorporate a touch of the West into their home can swing by Wyoming Home, which feature Western and Wyoming-themed home furnishings.
Also located downtown are a number of attractions and museums that speak to the history of Cheyenne and The West, including the Nelson Museum of the West, which is dedicated to the preservation of fine cowboy and Native American objects, as well as fine Western art.
4) Curt Gowdy State Park and Vedauwoo Recreation Area - Curt Gowdy State Park lies among the picturesque foothills of the Laramie Mountains. The area features granite towers, rocky soils and timbered slopes. Two small reservoirs form the heart of Curt Gowdy State Park. Granite Reservoir, the larger of the two, is an excellent base for water sports as well as rainbow trout and kokanee salmon fishing. Visitors can also visit the ancient rock formations at Vedauwoo Recreation Area, which allows for beautiful sightseeing, hiking, camping and mountain biking.
5) Big Boy Steam Engine - Even in retirement, Old Number 4004 remains an imposing sight. Visitors can see Big Boy, the world's largest steam locomotive, year-round in Holliday Park. Big Boy is one of eight such remaining locomotives on display in the U.S.
6& 7) Wyoming State Capitol - A National Historic Landmark, the Wyoming State Capitol Building is a dominant structure in the Cheyenne skyline. Historically, it is one of the most important buildings in the state (its cornerstone was laid in 1887). The Wyoming State Museum, across the street, houses artifacts and collections showcasing Wyoming's history.
8) Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley - For a fully narrated historic tour of Cheyenne, jump on board the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley. The trolley operates from May through the end of September. Ghost tours are offered in October and Christmas Lights tours in December.
9) Cheyenne Botanic Gardens - The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are an oasis on the high plains featuring nine acres of different landscapes, gardens and plant collections. Some specialty areas include a nationally-recognized inspirational Peace Garden, as well as the Discovery Pond and educational wetland area.
Located in Lions Park, children can explore the solar-powered conservatory and exterior gardens. New to the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is the The Paul Smith Children's Village, which showcases and interprets sustainable systems for food production and preparation, water quality, energy production, habitation, and cultural fulfillment. The Gardens are also home to Engine 1242, the oldest train engine in Wyoming. The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens are open year-round and is free to the public.
10) Bit-O-Wyo Ranch Horse Barn Dinner Show and Trail Rides - A one-of-a-kind Western experience waits at the Bit-O-Wyo Ranch during the summer months. Daily offerings include scenic trail rides escorted by the ranch's experienced wranglers. Friday and Saturday evenings bring a Horse Barn Cowboy Dinner Show featuring the Bit-O-Wyo Blue Water Cowboy Band and the Bit-O-Wyo Horses.