National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Wyoming
While in Casper, Wyoming, I ran across the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, which commemorates the westward journey of the more than half a million pioneers that traveled the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails.
The galleries in this 25,000-square-foot center really impressed me. They use life-size dioramas, multimedia exhibits and hands-on activities to educate folks about the thousands of people who passed through the area between 1840 and 1880.
I experienced a bit of what trail life was like by pulling a handcart...hefting a pack...reading diary entries...and sitting in a stagecoach. There's even a covered-wagon "ride" that simulates a river crossing.
Casper is where I-25 meets U.S. Highway 20/26 and State Highway 220 in east-central Wyoming. To learn about the area, call the Casper Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800- 852-1889.
From November through March, the center ( 1501 Poplar St.) is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. In summer, it's open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for youth ages 6-17 and $1 for children ages 3-5.
For details call the museum at 1-307/261-7700.