Gillette Travel Guide, Wyoming
Gillette is located in northern Campbell County, in the northeast corner of Wyoming. Maybe this does not tell much to a visitor, but if we mention that Mount Rushmore is 150 miles to the east, and Devils Tower (where "Close Encounters" was filmed) is 60 miles to the east, it is sure to raise their interest.
Not densely populated, the city of Gillette is one of the youngest towns in the state of Wyoming and its location is due to a surveyor of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad called Edward Gillette.
In its earlier days, Gillette was a vast land where herds of cattle walked undisturbed. Now it is the „Energy Capital of the Nation", with several massive surface coal mines instead of the vast plains. And if you are interested in the process of mining and in the big machinery used, you are invited to see the mines not only from the outside, but from the inside, too as the mine company and the Gillette Convention and Visitors Bureau jointly sponsor free summer tours to the mine site, where you can see the massive equipment used to extract the coal. The city’s income generators were the huge coal mines and the coalbed methane gas leading to the city’s development.
If you want to know more about the history of Cambell County and Gillette, the best place to go is the Campbell County Rockpile Museum. You will also get a glimpse off the Old West following the stories of trappers, ranchers, cowboys, merchants, and homesteaders together with their significance in history. Among the most appreciated exhibits are the American Indian artifacts, tools, saddles and weapons like rifles, and arrowheads. Among the big exhibits are some antique vehicles, including several Ford Model Ts, and a wagon collection that includes a horse-drawn hearse and an old sheep wagon. Children will also have a great time at the museum as they can dress up in historic and funny-looking fashions from the past, at the "Grandma's Attic" section and there is more: plenty of hands-on displays help children identify the area's animals and they can even climb on vintage tractors. They can also watch on a 10-minute big-screen video, really big “firecrackers”, that is the dynamite used in coal mining.
While you are at the museum don’t miss visiting two old buildings brought from other parts of the county that are adjacent to the museum. Both dating to the early 1900s, one is a historic schoolhouse and the other a homesteader's cabin.
Singles and couples will love the adventure and the romantic escapes offered by the surrounding area, and families will love the variety of activities. The great outdoors at the edge of town is a top attraction particularly in the 1.8-million-acre Thunder Basin National Grassland. The nearby Devils Tower National Monument is visited by all those who like geological wonders and who enjoyed Close Encounters while bird-watchers head towards the waterfowl of McManamen Park. Those who like to do more than watching, that is the hunters, can bag upland birds, elk, mule deer and pronghorn.
Golf players can exercise at Gillette Golf Club or the Bell Nob Golf Course. An array of other exciting events can be enjoyed at the Can-Plex, a massive event pavilion that hosted the National High School Rodeo Finals.
Gillette is a very pleasant place to live and visit with a variety of modern facilities, including a first-class swimming pool and water park, with activities for every age range, price range, and interest. Come to Gillette and you'll feel like your vacation just went over the top!
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