Surrounded by the Wyoming wilderness, the Thermopolis Safari Club feels like another planet. Attached to the Days Inn in the small town of the same name, the restaurant transports diners around the world.
Thermopolis is a special town outside the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. With hot spring pools and easy access to the mountains, outdoor enthusiasts love it.
Let’s look at what inspired the creation of this unique destination and also find some more fun things to do in the area.
Let’s dive in!
About Thermopolis Safari Club
Don’t let the outside fool you, the Thermopolis Safari Club is bigger on the inside. Although it’s attached to the Days Inn in town, the restaurant isn’t typical hotel fare.
The first sign that you’re in for something special shows up immediately. A massive stuffed bear towers over the entrance to the restaurant. Once you enter, a whole menagerie of taxidermied animals populates the space.
The animals in the Safari Club lounge are arranged in ways that mimic nature. Large cats hunt, bears loom, and deer and antelope run. Trophy hunter Jim Mills spent fifty-six years collecting the animals on display. Since it took so long for Mills to gather them, many of the animals represent rare species.
Beyond the decor, the Thermopolis Safari Club offers a wide-ranging menu representing the region. Buffalo burgers and Rocky Mountain Oysters are the most exotic items on the menu.
Anglers can even bring in fish from the Bighorn River, and the chef is happy to cook them.
If you are in the area, you should roam outside and check out what they offer.
Pro Tip: Looking for something unique to explore while in Wyoming? Find out more about What Is The Mystery of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming?
Where Is Thermopolis Safari Club?
Thermopolis, Wyoming, is a destination near one of the most unique landscapes on earth. It’s situated at the northern end of Wind River Canyon, where Wind River becomes the Bighorn River. Wedding of the Waters marks one of the few points where a river changes names mid-stream.
The town grew up around the natural geothermal spas that make up Hot Springs State Park. Big Spring, the largest in the world, makes up the most significant portion of the area. Because of a treaty in 1896, the springs are open to the public for free. The mineral waters are also known for their healing properties.
Surrounding the town are four mountain ranges, the Bighorn Mountains, the Bridger Mountains, the Owl Creek Mountains, and the Absaroka Mountains. Visitors from the Big Horn Basin enter any of these ranges to explore. Roundtop Mountain rises 6,000 feet just north of town and provides epic views.
Wyoming still keeps a bison herd in the state park, part of which extends into town. You can enjoy two hot spring attractions, Teepee Pools and Star Plunge, that offer bathing year-round. Nothing quite beats soaking in a mineral hot spring while the snow falls.
Paleontologists discovered dinosaur bones near East Thermopolis in 1993. The Wyoming Dinosaur Center opened shortly after, and visitors can participate in digs around the property.
The Thermopolis Safari Club is one of the best spots in town to take a beat after a day of exploring. Located within the state park, the club is open seven days a week from 5 pm to 9 pm. The lounge also serves drinks and has a wide range of draft beers.
Best Things To Do Near Thermopolis Safari Club
From the Thermopolis Safari Club, there are a variety of activities within a short trip. Our favorites include mountain ranges, hot springs, and dinosaurs. These are some of the best sights and scenery in the area.
Hot Springs State Park
Hot Springs State Park, Wyoming’s first, opened in 1897. Arapaho and Shoshone tribes would only sell the land to the government if the springs remained free. Since then, they have honored the treaty, and a large bathhouse is open to the public. Rangers keep the water at 104 degrees for bathers.
Bubbling up from the earth at 128 degrees, the hot spring waters bring tourists worldwide. A suspension bridge over the Bighorn River, the “swinging bridge,” provides unique views of the river. You’ll also see the bison herd from the bridge. They’ve been part of the park since 1917 and perfectly capture the region’s spirit.
Hours are 6 am to 10 pm daily, but the bathhouse is open from 8 am to 4 pm.
Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway
The scenic byway runs through the Wind River from Shoshoni to Thermopolis via the canyon. This forty-minute trip through the area is a big attraction.
Unbeatable views of the Owl Creek Mountains’ red and yellow rocks contrast with the Boysen reservoir nearby. Some of the oldest geological formations on the planet rise 2,500 feet in the air along the drive. Black and pink cliffs expose 2.9 billion years of history.
Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the mountain sheep, or bighorns, native to the area.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
Home to the world’s most complete Supersaurus Jimbo, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center is impressive. With over 30 mounted skeletons and one of the world’s only mounted archeopteryxes, dinosaur lovers can’t miss it.
Visitors can also participate in active digs through their Dig for a Day programs. The museum has over 200 displays showcasing the ancient life that once roamed the area. They also have a Tyrannosaurus rex, an Albertaceratops, and a chronological exhibition from the earliest life forms to dinos.
Open seven days a week from 8 am to 6 pm in the summer and 10 am to 5 pm in the winter. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults. Additionally, locals get in for $2!
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Best Camping Near Thermopolis Safari Club
For RVers headed to the northwest, Thermopolis is a perfect stopover. The state park and other nearby amenities make it worth a second look. Here are some of the best-rated camping areas nearby.
Eagle RV Park
RV and tent camping sites available at Eagle RV Park come with everything. Each spot has full hookups, and they also have log cabins for cozy nights. Locations are shady and level, and the owners pride themselves on affordable rates.
Close to Thermopolis off Highway 20, you’ll love being near the Bighorn Mountains, hot springs, and the Boysen Reservoir. They also offer laundry facilities, a large group pavilion, a playground, and an outdoor sink for washing up.
They’re open from April 1 to October 31 and offer super affordable rates starting at $49 for a pull-through site.
Lower Wind River Campground
One of the joys of camping is getting as close as possible to nature. Lower Wind River Campground fits the bill nicely because it’s right on the shore. You can wake up and hit the water from one of the fifty campsites. With unbeatable views, the campground also offers up to ten guests per site, so bring the fam!
It’s perfect for fishing, boating, and river excursions, but the campground is a little noisy at night. Head out on a hike to catch a glimpse of the bighorn mountain sheep in the hills. Make sure to bring binoculars to appreciate the local birds and other wildlife from a distance.
Open year-round, reservations are made online through the Wyoming State Parks website. Prices start around $40 a night.
This Little Detour is a Perfect Addition to Your Journey
Come for the food for the atmosphere. The Thermopolis Safari Club might be enough to get you into the area, but you’ll want to look up from your steak. Hot Springs State Park, which has the largest hot springs in the world, offers days of soaking.
You won’t regret taking a detour on the way to or from Yellowstone. The nearby Bighorn River and Wind River Canyon can both provide peaceful reflection time off the road. In fact, you might just stay.
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