August 14, 2012

Wyoming – “The Equality State”

 

Wyoming map

Just the Facts…

 

bird – Western Meadowlark
flower – Indian Paintbrush
tree – Cottonwood
capital – Cheyenne
union – 44th state on July 10, 1890
population – about 1/2 million

 

 

 

The Basics 

Wyoming is the least populous state in the nation – there are fewer people in Wyoming than any other state!  The name “Wyoming” comes from a Native American word that means “at the big river flat.”

Western and central Wyoming is part of the Rockies mountain system, including many separate mountain ranges like the Tetons.  The Great Plains meet the Rockies in Wyoming – most of eastern Wyoming is part of the Great Plains.  The government owns about 1/2 of Wyoming’s land, including three famous national parks – Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Devils Tower National Monument.

The Great Divide Basin is a valley in Wyoming – water that is in the Great Divide Basin just stays put!  It doesn’t flow to any ocean.  Most rivers and lakes have a natural flow towards an ocean (remember the Continental Divide – it is the point at which rivers flow different directions).

 

Its Claim to Fame

Yellowstone!  Yellowstone is the first national park in America.  It was established right after the Civil War in 1872.  Yellowstone contains miles and miles of wilderness, including mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes.  It also has a wide variety of wildlife, including bison, elk, bears, and wolves.  Part of Yellowstone is considered to be an active volcano – volcanic eruptions have shaped the land of Yellowstone over the last 2 million years.  This volcanic activity creates one of Yellowstone’s most famous features – geysers!  A geyser is a hot spring that erupts once in a while, sending hot water and steam up into the air.  Usually geysers are in areas with volcanic activity and natural cracks, or faults, in the earth.  About 1/2 of all geysers in the world are located in Yellowstone!

Devils Tower is our country’s first national monument.  It is an ancient volcano in the eastern part of Wyoming – it is officially part of the Black Hills along the South Dakota border.  Rain and ice has created vertical columns in the mountain, giving Devil’s Tower its unique look.  These columns are still subject to erosion and some of them will break off from time to time.   Thousands of rock climbers come to Devils Tower each year, and some actually make it to the top!

 

What Makes it Tick

Wyoming has a history of granting equal rights to men and women, thus earning the nickname “Equality State.”  Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote!  Actually, women were given the right to vote in the territory of Wyoming, even before it became a state.  In addition, women in Wyoming were pioneers in government service – it was the first state to have a woman serve on a jury, as a sheriff, and as a governor.

Wyoming is in the heart of the Wild West!  Even though cattle ranching is no longer a big part of Wyoming’s economy, it is a big part of its history and culture.  Now, mining is part of what makes Wyoming tick – it is one of the biggest producers of coal in the country!   It also produces coal and oil, and even a few diamonds!

 

If You Visited

If you visited Wyoming, you might visit Old Faithful – the most famous geyser in Yellowstone National Park.  Old Faithful is one of the most predictable geysers in the world – it erupts about every 90 minutes on average.  Explorers noticed the geyser’s natural schedule and named it “Old Faithful” even before Yellowstone became a national park.  When it erupts, Old Faithful shoots boiling hot water over 100 feet into the air for up to 5 minutes!  Even though it is the most predictable, Old Faithful is not the largest geyser in Yellowstone.  Steamboat geyser is the largest, and can shoot water up to 300 feet in the air!

Or, you might go to the Cheyenne Frontier Days – a 10 day celebration of the Wild West.  The Frontier Days Rodeo is one of the biggest rodeos in America, and has the nickname “The Daddy of ‘Em All.”  This rodeo is serious business – the winnings total more than one million dollars for all the events!  While you are there, you might also visit the Old West Museum in Cheyenne.

Or you might go skiing in the mountains!  Northwestern Wyoming is home to a number of ski resorts.  Jackson Hole may be the most popular, with a number of different ski resorts that have views of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks!

 

Want to Know More? 

Check our Wyoming state scrapbook for an industry map, state symbols and information we received from the Governor and Board of Tourism.

Do you live in Wyoming?  Or, maybe you have visited Wyoming?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Wyoming?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Wyoming to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Wyoming.  Visit these websites to learn more:

http://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm

http://www.wyomingtourism.org/

http://www.oldwestmuseum.org/