VISIT THE CROWN JEWEL OF CASPER
LOCATION: FORMER BP-AMOCO REFINERY SITE
Once upon a time, there was an oil refinery near the North Platte River just west of downtown Casper that played a major role in the world’s economy. When it closed in 1991, the site was contaminated with nearly a century’s worth of oil spillage, sludge and buried pipeline. BP-Amoco partnered with the Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Casper to clean up the property. Today, it stands as a shining example of how recreational development and the ecosystem can work hand in hand. Contaminated soils were removed, engineered wetlands and ponds were installed to remove iron and other contaminants, and over 2,000 trees were planted to return balance to the area. Now known as the Platte River Commons, the site features the Three Crowns Golf Course, the Tate Pumphouse, the Whitewater Kayak Park, the Bart Rae Learning Circle and numerous biking and walking paths. Interpretive signage explains how the rehabilitation occurred but the best way to appreciate the transformation is to experience it for yourself.
GET IN THE ZONE
LOCATION: THE SCIENCE ZONE
Hairy tarantulas, bearded dragons, a Bubble Zone and countless rotating exhibits make The Science Zone (TheScienceZone.org) a must for families visiting Casper. This is the ultimate playground with an educational twist. Kids can learn about strange and exotic animals in the Zoo Zone where pythons, iguanas, Russian tortoises and chinchillas live side by side. See yourself through a different perspective in the Reflection Zone. Future engineers of the world can build and create original works with blocks, toys and materials in the Engineering Zone. While this is a guaranteed great time for kids, don’t be afraid to jump in and get your hands dirty and experience the fun along with them. The exhibits may have been designed for kids, but they’re still grown-up friendly.
GO WITH THE FLOW
LOCATION: NORTH PLATTE RIVER
The legendary North Platte River meanders through Casper, creating a peaceful setting for fishermen, runners, cyclists, dog lovers and those who want to be outside for a quiet moment. The Platte River Parkway is a paved path that follows the river for nearly 10 miles from Paradise Valley in West Casper to the North Casper Soccer Complex at Bryan Stock Trail.
Should you hike the entire system, you would pass by many WyoCity attractions including dog-friendly Morad Park, Fort Caspar, Three Crowns Golf Course, a disc golf course, Lake McKenzie Dog Park and Mike Lansing Baseball Field. This extensive system is just moments from a number of hotels in Casper, so while you may not need to drive, you’ll find ample parking along the trails including Jonah Bank or the Tate Pumphouse. Savor the first warm days of spring along the trails of the Platte River Parkway. You’ll be greeted by nature when you step out of your car with the refreshing and awakening scent of a river breeze. This area is a virtual paradise with tall, old growth trees, wildlife sanctuaries and breathtaking scenery.
A literal thread between urban and natural landscapes across Casper, these trails offer views of the mountain, river and metropolitan skyline from just about anywhere. Don’t forget to bring your fly rod and waders since you’ll have the opportunity to catch blue-ribbon trout in the heart of the city. And with dozens of benches and tables along the route, this is an ideal location for a picnic dinner to watch the sunset over the water or a leisurely stroll to see the trees budding the first sprigs of green.
ENJOY THE RIDE
LOCATION: CASPER MOUNTAIN & ACROSS CASPER
If you’re the type of mountain biker who believes the best rides are the ones off the beaten trail, you’ve found your next riding destination. Whether you prefer secluded mountain single track, fatbiking over groomed snow or uncrowded expert paths, Casper’s trails are perfect for both beginning and seasoned bike riders alike. And with April’s unpredictable weather, it’s important to have options. Families and biking newbies will enjoy the paths and dirt trails at Crossroads, which are easily accessible and ridable year-round. Or for a ride as technical and as advanced as it gets, take on the Bridle Trail’s 5 mile outer loop with steep ascents and descents and every surface imaginable. For more of our best rides and other biking areas, visit BikeCasper.com.