Top 5 Free Places for Little Ones in Casper, Wyoming
Wyoming is a great place for families with young children! Although a search for free, young child friendly activities has decent search engine results, going online to find a good list of them is a challenge. It’s a mixed bag of duplicate activities or misnamed activities in listings, inaccurate/ outdated information, and there isn’t one I’ve found EVERYTHING like you do for places like Los Angeles or New York City or Boston. So this is my list of the top 5 TOTALLY FREE ACTIVITIES for the little ‘pokes. Visiting Casper, Wyoming, can provide an exciting look into the recent past and ancient past…
- Tate Geological Museum is located on the Casper College campus (drive past all the “college” buildings) on College Drive, it’s the building with an almost empty parking lot. Don’t let that fool you – open year round (check for dates/ times), most of the time you’ll have the whole place to yourself. They do appreciate donations; while some of the gift shop items are super cheap at $0.50 each. Along with the mounted Dee the Mammoth and Lee (T-)Rex in the Lab, take all the time you like in a self-guided tour (or ask for a tour by a volunteer) of regionally discovered minerals, rocks, fossils, as well as presentations on TV, and a small indoor area that you can let the kids pretend to dig up their own fossils!
- Werner Wildlife Museum is just a hop, skip, and drive down the road in the building next to the YMCA. In the warm months you’ll see lots of birds in the “backyard” as it is adjacent to a wildlife watching area. If you already visited the Tate, you’ve seen the Bald Eagle (or as my son calls them, and your kids will demand to go to the “dead birds museum” and that’s what this museum if full of – stuffed wildlife of Wyoming.
The man who started this museum was a hunter and collector who donated the building & collection to Casper College for exhibit. If you are a fisher-Dad or Mom you’ll enjoy the differences in the fish species that aren’t easy to see in the Fish & Game rulebook. My son and daughter enjoyed the touch and feel exhibit of furs and horns. I, for one, enjoyed the small birds and was surprised at how big the Raven is compared to the Crow. Open year round (check for dates/ times) I highly recommend going to both it and the Tate back to back, and in warm weather having a picnic behind the building on the grass.
- If the kids are starting to have cabin fever, drive to one of the numerous city parks in Casper. My favorites are Castle Park, off Poplar Street next to the Casper baseball field, and Washington Park, off McKinley Street. Castle Park has a great “castle” playground for big kids and little kids.
Even at 2 years of age my son was gleefully sliding down the 2 story slides. Washington Park has a fun playground too, with a seasonal pool, basketball and tennis courts. Another couple of great outdoors areas are the Yesness Park off of Wyoming Boulevard/Poplar Street with a pond and walk around for little explorers, a bit difficult for a stroller though unless you can do 4 wheeling, and Morad Dog Park off also off Wyoming Boulevard/ C Y Avenue with trails parallel to the North Platte River. Bring a picnic and your imagination!
- More adventurous parents can go day camping on Casper Mountain in Beartrap Meadow County Park just by following Casper Mountain Road where a system of campsites are locate on the front side of Casper Mountain, and further on the Muddy Mountain campground. A much quieter area for camping with amazing views of the backside of the mountain, but not accessible during the winter. Look for my favorite spot at a hairpin turn (guaranteed you’ll do 2 drive bys!) by the first campground area (by the big sign) with a small creek running through it just right for little kids. A short walk is the Lee McCune Braille Trail, an easy walking trail designed for the blind. The majority of the area is doable for wheelchairs too. Beartrap Meadow itself has a giant meadow for a big game of tag, and the surrounding campsites are suitable for day and overnight camping with running water from a spigot, nearby bathrooms, and small playgrounds. Day use is free most areas but overnight is a fee.
- Garden Creek Falls & Bridle Trails, Rotary Park is a lot harder to find unless someone points out the route. If you already went exploring on the mountain you might have caught a glimpse of the falls, this one is the only one on public land.
There are signs posted letting you know when you are on private land. Drive up Casper Mountain Road, at the fork (where the Fire Indication billboard is) take a right so you are driving down into the foot of the mountain. The small faded blue sign noting Rotary Park can be hard to recognize, but it’ll be the first left going up a dirt like road. There is day camping, hiking trails, and a great waterfall within a short walking distance. The walk to the falls is about a leisurely 10-15 minutes, not exactly wheelchair friendly but is okay for sturdier strollers. If it’s a hot day, go ahead and cool your tootsies off in the water!
If you run out of free things to do, check out my parallel posting on the Top 5 Cheap Places for Little Ones for some more ideas. Have you found any fun, free places for little kids in Casper, Wyoming, that I’ve missed?