The 15 Most Fun and Interesting Wyoming Facts You Didn’t Know

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Written by Carlee Parsley

Published: January 24, 2024

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The 44th state of the U.S. and alphabetically last, Wyoming sometimes gets overlooked. However, this state bursts with colorful history, natural beauty, and unique claims to fame. Let’s take a look at 15 fun and interesting facts about Wyoming.

1. You Might Get Lonely

Aerial View of Casper, One of the largest Towns in Wyoming

If you don’t live in one of the bigger cities, like Casper, people can be few and far between in Wyoming.

It may be the 10th largest state in the U.S., but Wyoming is the least populated state with less than 577,000 people calling the state home, according to the 2020 census. For reference, just the city of Dallas, Texas has double the population of the whole state of Wyoming.

2. The Equality State

Wyoming granted women over the age of 21 the right to vote in 1869 — nine years before the 19th Amendment was first proposed. The state was the first to grant this right and led other states to do the same. By 1912, eight other states in the west had also adopted women’s suffrage amendments.

3. Wyoming had the First Female Governor

After the death of her husband, Nellie Tayloe Ross served as the state’s first (and only) female governor when she stepped up to finish her husband’s term. William Bradford Ross won the race for governor in 1922, but died in 1925. Nellie won the Democratic nomination and beat her Republican opponent to serve as her husband’s successor for two years. Though she wasn’t reelected for another term, Nellie went on to serve as the Democratic National Committee’s vice chair and as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s chosen Director of the U.S. Mint for 10 years.

4. Two National Parks

A sunset landscape at the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, where steam rises from geyser vents and hot springs near a forest of lodgepole pine trees, and a herd of bison is grazing.

Yellowstone National Park has the most active geysers of any volcanic field.

Two amazing national treasures sit up in the northwest corner of the state, providing breathtaking beauty to visitors. Yellowstone National Park — the country’s very first national park — also stretches into Idaho and Montana, but a majority of the park resides in Wyoming. More than 3.2 million people visited Yellowstone in 2022, with another 2.8 million people visiting Grand Teton National Park the same year.

5. Islands Galore

For a land-locked state, Wyoming has an amazing number of islands within its borders. Most of the 32 named islands are split between Yellowstone Lake, Green River, and Jackson Lake. Yellowstone Lake sits within the National Park and holds the record for the largest high-elevation lake in North America. Jackson Lake flows through Grand Teton National Park, while the Green River stretches over 730 miles from the northern Wind River Mountain Range to the Utah border.

6. Home of the Buffalo

Wyoming recognizes the buffalo (also called bison) as its state animal, recognizing the tremendous impact these large animals have played on the history and culture of the area. The state is still home to one of the largest bison herds in the country. Ironically, bison as a red meat for culinary purposes is also very popular in Wyoming.

7. Check In for the Ghosts and the History

Ernest Hemingway, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and multiple U.S. presidents have stayed at the Occidental.

The Occidental Hotel and Saloon in Buffalo, WY brings over 140 years of western history roaring into the modern day. The fully restored hotel features themed rooms with original antique furniture, a historic saloon, and famous restaurant. If the stories are true, some of the Occidental’s guests never checked out. The hotel’s reported ghosts have made it the most haunted place in the state. Guests and employees alike report strange occurrences throughout the hotel, saloon, and connected businesses. So whether you go for the history or the hauntings, the Occidental tops many “must visit” lists.

8. Dino Delight

Wyoming’s fossil record includes specimens from the Precambrian, the Earth’s very beginning. Everything from algae and Knightia fish to dinosaurs, crocodilians, and mammals have been found in the state’s soil. In fact, Wyoming is one of the few states to have a state dinosaur! (It’s the triceratops, in case you were wondering.) The Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis hosts one of the biggest fossil collections in the world, as well as dig sites that feature some of the most fossil-rich soil layers in the United States. 

9. The World’s “Oldest” Building

Fossils are so common in Wyoming that there’s a whole house made out of them. Fossil Cabin sits near Medicine Bow, WY and uses bones excavated from Como Bluff. The original idea was to construct a complete skeleton from the bones as a roadside attraction for Thomas Boylan’s gas station. However, there weren’t enough bones for a complete dinosaur, so instead Thomas used nearly 5,800 fossilized bones to create a cabin. Completed in 1932, Fossil Cabin operated as a museum until 1992.

10. Light My Fire

Old mine entrance near Kemmerer, Lincoln County, WY. Constructed of cut stone and concrete, with stair-stepped wings on each side, the portal entrance is an arch that bears the words "No. 6 1913."

Coal and coal mining both play important parts in Wyoming’s history.

Thanks to the rich and dense forest that once stood in Wyoming — way back 66 million years ago — the state now boasts one of the largest coal deposits in the world. The coal extracted from Wyoming’s mines makes up more than 40% of the U.S.’s total coal supply. Coal mining in the state began in the 1860s and, since then, has brought up more than 12.5 tons of coal.

11. Old Steamboat

The Wyoming license plate depicts a cowboy riding a bucking horse, but did you know that bronco was real? Old Steamboat was a famous bucker and starred in rodeos for over 15 years. Riders only successfully stayed on the back of the jet-black horse a handful of times over Old Steamboat’s career. He now embodies the pride and independence of Wyoming and its people. 

12. Jackalopes Abound

Though not one of the most famous cryptids, the jackalope nonetheless has an avid following, particularly in Wyoming. A resident of Douglas, WY first reported seeing the antlered rabbit in 1939, though rumors of the creature exist from far earlier days of the Old West, and the creature is still said to live in remote areas of the state. Since Wyoming’s population is so sparse, who’s to say it doesn’t?

13. A Tower for the Devil

Devil's Tower Wyomina

The magnificence of Devil’s Tower led to its designation as the very first national monument.

An amazing geological structure, Devil’s Tower stands nearly 870 feet tall in the Black Hills region of Wyoming. The Northern Plains tribes hold the Tower as a sacred place and even early white settlers wanted to protect the site. Because of its significance to various people and cultures, Devil’s Tower became the first national monument in the United States in 1906, thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt.

14. Take the Stairs

Many people in densely populated areas take escalators for granted. Moving stairs, what’s new? However, the entire state of Wyoming only has two escalators. They’re both located in Casper, WY banks, and both were part of the original designs for the buildings — back in 1958 and 1979. So, not only are there only two escalators in the state, both are over 40 years old.

15. Let’s Dance

In 2015, the University of Wyoming’s Cowboy Country Swing Club (CCSC) broke the Guinness world record for swing dancing. An amazing 1,184 people took the floor to break the record. Guinness still records this dance as its record holder.

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About the Author

Carlee is a writer and researcher with nearly a decade of experience that ranges from fiction to business. She loves to write about the outdoors, weird and lesser-known animals, and all types of flora.

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