Monday, October 10, 2016

Day Trip: Thermopolis, Wyoming

By Jeff Burns

Thermopolis Wyoming is the county seat of Hot Springs County, with a population around 3,000.  The name Thermopolis is Greek for “Hot City”, in reference to the numerous hot springs which have drawn tourists to the area since the 19th century.

The Hot Springs State Park is located in Thermopolis, and you can bathe in thermal mineral pools, with a temperature around 104 degrees (F), for free.  There are also two water concessions in the park, Teepee Pools and Star Plunge, where you can pay to enjoy water slides and other pool fun.  Once out of the pool, be sure to drive around the park and see the Wyoming state buffalo herd.

The Hot Springs County Museum is a must-see, with a great collection of artifacts from the 19th and early 20th century.  One great exhibit consists of a simulated raised wooden sidewalk that takes you down a street of the Old West, allowing you to see inside the storefronts.  Across the street, there are several buildings housing special collections, including an old schoolhouse and a caboose.

Interested in ancient history? Technically, pre-history?  East Thermopolis is home to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.  Wyoming is rich in fossils of all kinds, and the museum proudly displays many Wyoming finds, as well as specimens from around the world.  You can see the only Archaeopteryx fossil in North America, and you can even go out to an active dig site.

Enjoy a day in Thermopolis, one of the few you places you can relax in a mineral spring and learn about millions of years of history.