Facts about Wyoming for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
Wyoming celebrates ARCHAEOLOGY Awareness Month in September. The state has archaeology events and programs throughout the year. Recently, archaeologist have discovered more than a dozen villages dating back over 2,000 years in Wyoming mountains.The Cody Complex existed thousands of years ago years ago. The Hell Gap archaeological site has a large quantity of prehistoric Paleoindian and Archaic period artifacts. Human presence in the Red Desert goes back 12,000 years and Black Art petrogylph there is thought to date back 11,500 years. Researchers interpret the petroglyphs carved into rock at Boar's Tusk, Seedskadee, and East Flaming Gorge areas as biographical, ceremonial, or spiritual expressions. The White Mountain has hundreds of petroglyphs. The Big Horn Medicine Wheel is part of a larger complex of arcahaeological sites that represent 7000 years of Native American adaptation to and use of the alpine landscape that surrounds Medicine Mountain. The Medicine Wheel and the surrounding landscape constitute one of the most important and well preserved ancient Native American sacred site complexes in North America.
A variety of BIRDS are found in Wyoming. There are many Birding Hotspots and Birding Trails. The Yellowstone National Park has lots of birds. Birds are important for the ecosystems in the state by pollinating plants, dispersing seed, and eating insects. The state has several species of grouse including the sage grouse, pheasants, chukar, Hungarian partridge, and wild turkeys. It also has numerous waterfowl including ducks, geese, whistler swans, and the rare trumpeter swan. The State bird is the western meadowlark. The black V on its neck is its most noticeable feature.
Wyoming has a variety of BRIDGES including vehicular truss brudges and arch bridges. The Ayres Natural Bridge is part of the ancient Casper Sandstone Formation formed more than 280 million years ago.The state has 3 Suspension Bridges, and there is a Covered Bridge in Sheridan County. The Swinging Bridge has an interesting history. Many bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in Wyoming.
Wyoming has many scenic BYWAYS. The Rock Springs/Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour can begin in either Green River or Rock Springs. There are also Road Trips. Several cities have Loop Tours including Cody and Upton. The Beartooth Highway is considered one of the best road trips in the state. Wyoming has several Roadside Attractions.
Wyoming has a variety of COMMUNICATIONS including newspapers, radio, television, telephone, and internet. The telephone Area Code for Wyoming is 307. There are Internet Service Providers and Web Cams throughout the state, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation has special webcams.
COUNTIES were among the earliest units of local government established in the Thirteen Colonies. Wyoming has 23 counties. Laramie has the largest population, Niobrara has the smallest. Sweetwateris the largest in size and Niobrara is the smallest. The term county is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of local government below the state itself. There are many cities, towns, & tourist regions throughout the state. The largest city is Cheyenne and the smallest city is Beulah is the smallest. Laramie was named for explorer Jacques LaRamie and was the first Trading post in Wyoming.
Wyoming has 2 DESERTS. The Red Desert has the largest migratory herd of Pronghorn in the lower 48 states, the largest herd of desert elk in the world, and the Great Divide Basin--a large depression along the Continental Divide from which surface water does not flow out to either the Atlantic or the Pacific. The Killpecker Sand Dunes is the largest living dune system in the country. The Red Desert is one of the largest cold deserts in the country. The dominant vegetation of the Wyoming Basin Shrub Steppe is sagebrush.
Evidence of DINOSAURS has been found in Wyoming, and the Triceratops is the State Dinosaur. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis has one of the largest fossil quarries in the world and has full-sized fossil skeletons of 14 dinosaurs. Visitors help dig for fossils during Dig for a Day. Fossil Butte has the largest deposit of fossilized fish in the world. A variety of fossils have been found in Wyoming. The State Fossil is the Knightia, a kind of fish. The University of Wyoming Geological Museum features a 75-foot Apatosaurus (Brontosaurus) skeleton that dominates the museum's exhibit hall. Another highlight is "Big Al," a display of the most complete Allosaurus fossil ever found. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
Public EDUCATION in Wyoming is under the direction of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and policies are outlined by the State Board of Education. When Mrs. Estelle Reel Meyer was elected Superindendent of Public Instruction in 1894, she was the first women elected to a statewide position. There are public and private schools, Indian schools, and pre-school development centers. homeschooling is popular. Information about schools in Wyoming is provided by School Bug and GreatSchools.
Wyoming has Special EVENTS throughout the year including fairs and festivals and State and County Fairs. Cheyenne has a Celtic Music Festival and there is a Pikes Peak Celtic Festival. Wyoming observes Public Holidays and celebrates other special days.
The Wyoming State FLAG was approved in 1917. The red represents Native Americans in the state and the blood of pioneers. The white represents the goodness in the citizens of the state and the blue rectangle stands for the sky and mountains. The State Seal is in the center of the flag. Some counties and municipalities have a flag. The Arapaho Nation has a flag.
The Wyoming FOOD timeline began with wagon trains carrying prospectors and a few settlers. Since the late 1800s, when the Chinese came to work on the railroads, there has been an Oriental influence on cooking. Food is mainly a mix of cowboy cooking and Native American traditions. Settlers of numerous nationalities brought their own native dishes. Wyoming has Food Festivals including a Chili Cookoff at Chugwater. There is an Elk Fest at Jackson Hole with the largest collection of antlers for sale anywhere at a single location. Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies works with more than 200 nonprofit hunger-relief programs all across the the state.
Wyoming has had many FORTS, Stations, & Camps. Most have been destroyed but a some are on the National Register of Historic Places. Fort Bridger has several buildings and a museum. Fort Caspar has a museum which features reconstructed log buildings, including a wooden stockade. It also has a replica of the Mormon ferry that was operated there as well as a model of part of the bridge that later replaced the ferry. In early December members of a living history group host a historical reenactment at the site. Fort Fetterman has an interpretive trail to view the ruins of the fort's buildings. An officer's quarters and an ordnance warehouse have been restored and contain exhibits, artifacts and dioramas about the fort's history. Fort Kearny has a visitor center and self-guided tours of the fort grounds and outlying sites including nearby battlefields. A cabin has been furnished to depict the period quarters of an officer's wife and a non-commissioned officer’s quarters. Some of the buildings at Fort Laramie have been restored. The majority of the buildings at Fort Russell have been maintained. Fort Sanders has 1 remaining building and 2 others have been moved to other places. Fort Washakie was turned over to the Shoshone Indian Agency and lies within the Wind River Indian Reservation. The graves of Washakie and Lewis and Clark Expedition guide Sacajawea are located on the grounds of the fort. Fort Yellowstone is a former United States Army base that currently serves as the administrative headquarters for the Yellowstone National Park.
Wyoming has nearly 100 GHOST TOWNS. Most of them are the result of railroad, coal, and oil industries. Battle has some ruins and an old car, Van Tassel has a few residents, and Gerbo has a few buildings and a cemetery. The foothills of the Wind River Mountains in central Wyoming are dotted with what remains of the gold rush. South Pass, Lewiston, and Atlantic City were built for gold prospectors. Atlantic City is the only one that is not a ghost town. At one time South Pass was a ghost town. Wyoming claims to have many Haunted Places.
The GLOBAL POSTION of Wyoming is approximately 41-45 degrees north and 104-111 degrees west. The geographic center is Fremont. The highest point is Gannet Peak, and the Belle Fourche River is the lowest point. Geocaching is a high-tech game using a Global Positioning System and there are geocaches throughout the state. The topography of the Wyoming varies. The eastern third of the state forms part of the Great Plains and the remainder belongs to the Rocky Mountains.
The HISTORY of Wyoming dates back 13,000 years. Evidence of the Clovis, the Folsom, and the Plano cultures have been discovered throughout the state including artifacts dating back 10,000 years. Large ceremonial blades chipped from obsidian rock in what is now Yellowstone National Park have been found in the Hopewell burial mounds of Southern Ohio, evidence of continental trading networks since around 1000 years ago. A member of the ,was probably the first white American to enter the region in 1807. An expedition party returning from Astoria, Oregon in 1812, discovered South Pass. In 1850, Jim Bridger located what is now known as Bridger Pass. During the early 19th century, fur trappers flocked to the mountains of western Wyoming in search of beaver. The Homestead Act of 1862 attracted many new farmers and ranchers to Wyoming, United States admitted Wyoming into the Union as the 44th state on July 10, 1890. The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming identifies and inventories cultural heritage properties in the state. Wyoming participates in National History Day
Wyoming has a variety of bugs and other INSECTS including grasshoppers and crickets and dragonflies and Damselflies. Wyoming also has many species of butterflies. The State Insect is a butterfly - the Sheridan's Green Hairstreak. The state has Bee Clubs and several thousand colonies of bees.
Wyoming has many ISLANDS on lakes and in rivers. Frank Island is the largest island in Yellowstone Lake and the largest island in the state. There are over 15 islands in Jackson Lake. Freezeout Island is the smallest island in Wyoming and is located in the Green River. Wyoming is on the list of U.S. Islands because they have a Ham radio.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Wyoming Judicial System is made up of a Supreme Court, District Courts, Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts. The federal court in Wyoming is the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming. Appeals from the District of Wyoming are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Many aspects of life in Wyoming focus on KIDS and the state has a special Kids Page. A lot of information about the state can be found at Wyoming 4Kids. Yellowstone National Park has activities and games Just for Kids!. The Environmental Protection Agency has a special kids page and information for kids about Climate Change. There are special Summer Camps for Kids, and a Kids Fishing Day is an annual event in Pinedale. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Wyoming has Public LIBRARIES and Academic Libraries. The Laramie County Public Library System was the first county public library in the country. The State Library is in Cheyenne. The state has a Poet Laureate and celebrates National Poetry Month.
Wyoming has a wide variety of MINERALS. The state is one of the largest producers of coal, natural gas, and crude oil in the country. Black Thunder_Coal_Mine is a surface coal mine, the 2nd most productive mine in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. Wyoming has the largest deposits of Trona (sodium carbonate) in the world and the second largest deposits of uranium in the country. Visit the Mineral Museum Gallery. The Blue agate is one of the beautiful minerals displayed by petrified trees from the Blue Forest. Wyoming has so many gemstones gemstones that it is sometimes called the Gemstone State. Precious stones include jade, diamonds, sapphire and ruby, opal, peridot, agate, petrified wood, and quartz crystals. The state Gemstone is Jade . The Wyoming Geological Survey provides promotes beneficial and sound use of geologic, mineral, and energy resources in the state. The Wyoming Mineral and Gem Society is a non-profit organization that educates and promotes and interest and understanding in the Earth Sciences and Lapidary Arts for members as well as the general public.
Wyoming has many MOUNTAINS Mountain ranges. The Granite Mountains are the tallest in the state. Mountain Climbing is a popular activity. The highest mountain peak in the state is Gannet Peak. The Great Plains meets the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.
Wyoming has MUSEUMS and historical, cultural, and interpretive centers. Highlights of the State Museum in Cheyenne include a coal exhibit, a full-sized camptosaurus dinosaur fossil, and hands-on history rooms for children. The Cheyenne Frontier Old West Museum has a collection of more than 100 old fashioned horse-drawn carriages. Tours are given at the Historic Governor's Mansion that was occupied from 1905-1976 when a new mansion was built.
The first inhabitants of what is now Wyoming were NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo-Indians. Many Native Tribes have lived in Wyoming. The Wind River Reservation is now home to Northern Arapaho and Eastern Band of Shoshone. During the summer, Sacred dances known as Sun Dance are performed, and there are also powwows and rodeos. All-American Indian Days are celebrated in Sheridan and attended by Native American representatives from all over the country. The state has several Indian Casinos.
Wyoming is part of the OLD WEST, (the area west of the Mississippi River in the 1800s). The state has cowboys and cowgirls and Sheridan is one of the top cowboy towns in the country. There are many rodeos during the year. The Cheyenne Frontier Days is a yearly celebration of the Old West and the largest outdoor rodeo in the world. Horseback riding is popular and there are many Horse Trails & campgrounds. Jackson Hole has a Wild West Show every day in the summer. Cody, an Old West Town, was named after "Buffalo Bill Cody" and the main attraction is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.
Wyoming has nearly 600,000 PEOPLE and is the least populated state. Residents are called Wyomingites. Many important people have been born or lived in Wyoming including political figures, athletes, artists, authors, and entertainers.
Wyoming has a variety of REPTILES and amphibians including 12 amphibians and 22 reptiles. The State Reptile is the Horned Toad. There are 4 native species of turtlesThe state has 14 species of snakes. Two of the rattlesnakes are - the Prairie Rattlesnake and the Midget Faded Rattlesnake.
Wyoming has many RIVERS. They are divided by the Continental Divide. Rivers on the east flow to the Missouri River Basin to the Atlantic Ocean, and rivers on the west flow through the Columbia and Colorado River Basins to the Pacific Ocean. Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone River is designated a wild and scenic river. The Wind River changes its name in the middle of the stream becoming the Big Horn River at a site at the north end of the Wind River Canyon, where each year Native Americans hold a ceremony depicting the "Wedding of the Waters."
Wyoming has all form of TRANSPORTATION. The Wyoming Department of Transportation is in charge of transportation in the state and has an Adopt-a-Highway Program. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about traffic and road closures in Wyoming. Jackson Airport is the only airport within a state park. The license plates in Wyoming have featured a bucking bronco since 1936. Holliday Park in downtown Cheyenne is home to "Big Boy 4004" one of the largest steam locomotives in the world. To celebrate its 50th birthday in 2002, Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted into the Union. The vehicle for Wyoming was the Truck Camper.
Wyoming has a variety of TREES and has several National Forests. Shoshone National Forest was the first National Forest in the country. Wapiti Ranger Station was the first Ranger Station in the country and is a Historic Landmark. The Plains Cottonwood is the State Tree. In 1990 a Plains Cottonwood in Albany County was named the largest cottonwood in the world.
Four Ships of the United State Navy have been named USS WYOMING. The 1st USS Wyoming (1859) was named in honor of a valley in Pennsylvania the others in honor of the state. The 2nd USS Wyoming (BM-10) was renamed Cheyenne. The 3rd USS Wyoming (BB-32) participated in World War II. The 4th USS Wyoming (SSBN-742 is the 17th submarine in the Ohio Class.
There is evidence of VOLCANOES having existed in Wyoming. Devils Tower National Monument was formed from the cone of an ancient volcano and was the 1st National Monument. The Leucite Hills were active volcanoes about 2 million years ago. They are unique in that the volcanic material is similar to material that has produced large quantities of diamonds in Western Australia. Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is the largest volcanic observatory monitoring system in North America.
Wyoming was the first state where women had the right to VOTE. It is among several states that have the highest percentage turnout of eligible voters in national and state elections. In 1924, Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female governor in the United State.
The WEATHER in Wyoming is varied because of its Topography which ranges from high mountains to valleys to wide open plains. It is usually categorized as semiarid. Tall mountains trap rainfall and leave the eastern areas dry. Some place in the high mountains have snow year-round. Because of its high altitude, Wyoming has the second coolest climate in the country. The Wyoming State Climatologist and NOAA provide up-to-date weather information. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information about the effect of Climate Change.
Wyoming has a variety of WILDLIFE. The Bison is the State Mammal. More than 3,000 Elk roam parts of the state, and the single largest elk herd in the world is found in Wyoming. There is a National Elk Refuge near Jackson. The state has the largest antelope population and one of the largest wild-horse herds in the country. Wyoming is in the Mountain Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Program and has 7 National Wildlife Refuges. In 1973 the Wyoming Game and Fish Department was created. The Grizzly Discovery Center has bears and a wolf pack. The state has several threatened and endangered species. Wyoming has Threatened and Endangered Species Program.
Time ZONES are established by the Coordinated Universal Time. The United States has several Time Zones. Wyoming is in the Mountain Time Zone and observes Daylight Saving Time. The state has several USDA Plant Hardiness Zones.