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Casper, Wyoming

Here are some reasons WY you should visit

Located near the center of the state, Casper/Natrona County International Airport (CPR) is dubbed the Gateway to Wyoming.

Sights to see

  • Sights to see
    Jim Good’s Wyoming Wildcatter, a modified T–6 Texan.
  • Sights to see
    The Casper Air Base has interesting aviation artifacts...
  • Sights to see
    The Tate Geological Museum
  • Sights to see
    The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
  • Sights to see
    ...in the Good Aviation and Veterans Museum.

The airport began as a World War II training base for B–17, B–24, and P–39 crews. More than 18,000 airmen trained here and many of the original buildings, hangars, and living quarters still stand. They house such interesting sites as the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum in the original Enlisted Men’s Service Club and the Good Aviation and Veterans Museum in the 461st Squadron Hangar. Two of the airport’s original four runways are in use. The airport is considered one of the finest surviving examples of a World War II-era U.S. Army Air Forces base.

The Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum details the personal lives of Wyoming veterans from the Spanish-American War through World War II and the present. Of interest are the 15 murals painted on the building’s walls—this original artwork was created by four servicemen serving at Casper in the 1940s. It depicts the history of Wyoming, which Cpl. Leon Tebbetts—one of those four artists—hoped would inspire the servicemen billeted here as they trained in the B–17 and B–24 bombers.

You’ve got to stop by and meet “Dee,” the 11,600-year-old Columbian mammoth on display at the Tate Geological Museum, located on the Casper College campus.The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center and Fort Caspar Museum explore the history of the four trails that passed through Casper—the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail, California Trail, and the Pony Express. You’ve got to stop by and meet “Dee,” the 11,600-year-old Columbian mammoth on display at the Tate Geological Museum, located on the Casper College campus. Discovered in 2006 during an oil well drill, the 300 bones of the mammoth were reconstructed and named for the backhoe operator who found them. Dee is a he. The mammoth was estimated to have been 65 to 70 years old when it died during the Ice Age. Also at the Tate are the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex, or T. rex (who is known as Lee), as well as more than 6,000 fossils.

Steer wrestling and goat tying may not have been on your college sports programs, but in nearly 150 colleges and universities across the nation, the sport of rodeo is. And the College National Rodeo Finals have been held in Casper, Wyoming, each June for more than 20 years. More than 400 cowboys and cowgirls from more than 100 colleges compete in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, barrel races, and more.

No trip to a new city is complete without tasting the great food and drink it’s famous for. Backwards Distilling Co. is one of the most unusual spots we’ve found—its quirky cocktails and circus-inspired spirits are worth a trip downtown to David Street Station. And while you are downtown, work up an appetite by exploring Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters, a rambling historic department store that has been providing western gear since 1919. Then on to FireRock Steakhouse for a 24-ounce cowboy cut T-bone or a Wyoming whiskey burger. All USDA angus beef is grilled over a wood fire (try the bison if it’s available). Finish your day with a craft beer from Gruner Brothers Brewing Co. owned by two “hard-working, dedicated, and slightly wind-blown” Wyoming brothers.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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