Explore Fossil Butte National Monument and its fossil quarries
Located in beautiful southwest Wyoming, Fossil Butte National Monument is one of the largest deposits of freshwater fish fossils in the world. In prehistoric times, this part of Wyoming was a sub-tropical lake ecosystem. The area’s calm water, lack of scavengers and fine sediment all worked together to create the perfect conditions for preserving fossils. Fossil Butte quarry program participants meet at the Nature Trail and hike a half-mile to the quarry, where they learn about ongoing research at the site and help rangers search for fossils. All fossils found during the program are collected by Fossil Butte and contributed to the site’s scientific research. Anyone planning to attend a quarry program should wear hiking shoes, pack water and sun protection, and expect the program to last for about an hour and a half. Fossil Butte’s visitor center acts as a museum for this ancient site, featuring a number of exhibits that display over 300 fossils. In addition to the fossils and rich history of the butte, visitors can take a ride along the site’s Scenic Drive, stop for lunch at a designated picnic area or attend a ranger program.
Local Sweet Spot – Star Valley Chocolate Cafe
Located in the growing rural community of Afton along the banks of Swift Creek, Star Valley Chocolate Cafe is a local favorite and a must-see (and eat) for any traveler with a sweet tooth. These handmade gourmet chocolates and caramels are all made on-premises, and visitors have the opportunity to taste wonderful espresso drinks made from beans ground right in front of them. Locals often crave the famous hot chocolate, which is made with homemade chocolate syrup and served with foaming, piping hot milk and a whipped cream topping that cradles chocolate and cinnamon sprinkles. There are a variety of syrups from which to select for any latte or steamer, along with muffins, cookies and truffles to die for. All chocolates and candies are made by the beloved owner chocolatiers and are just waiting to be enjoyed.
Experience the Historical Atlantic City – Atlantic City Mercantile
This incredible town transports you back to the 1800s, when the West was wild and hard work was fueled by aspirations of a better life. Near South Pass City, this booming mining town enjoyed short-lived prosperity starting in the late 1860s. Atlantic City had nearly 2,000 miners, many of whom were vacationers or part-time prospectors looking to score gold, so the town had many options for leisure and entertainment. During its heyday, the town reportedly had a brewery, dance hall and opera house. Many original log homes and structures still remain, including a church and general store. Be sure to stop by the Atlantic City Mercantile, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to grab a drink and a bite to eat.
For more information on Wyoming, visit TravelWyoming.com.