Playing ‘I Spy’ at the Wyoming State Capitol

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Built in 1888, two years before Wyoming became the 44th state, the Wyoming State Capitol building sits at one end of 24th Street in Cheyenne and is the centerpiece of the Capitol Square. Wyoming is called the “Equality State” because it is home to the first female governor (Nellie Taylor Ross in 1925-1927) and the first female Justice of the Peace  (Esther Hobart Morris in 1870). The Capitol building, one of 20 state Capitols designated as a National Historic Landmark, expanded in 1890 and 1917, and went through an extensive four-year restoration process from 2015-2019. The restoration included a tunnel that connects the Capitol Building to the Herschler Building, home to many of the state agency offices.

On our massive summer 2021 road trip through Utah, Colorado, and South Dakota, we passed through Cheyenne on our way to South Dakota. We were sad that we had not made plans to stay more than just the morning (#returnvisit coming ASAP!), but we are grateful we had the chance to explore the Capitol building.

Travel Tips:

  • The Capitol Square is open for (free) self-guided from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, with a docent greeting guests and pointing out important features. Be sure to bring a smartphone to scan QR codes located throughout the building, which provide historical context and trivia, and pick up a coloring book and informational brochures near the main entrance.
  • Check here for updates on hours and special events and download the self guided tour book here.
  • There is two hour, free parking on side streets surrounding the Capitol Square area, as well as a parking garage located at the corner of 25th Street and Pioneer Avenue. There is also handicap parking at the north side of the Herschler Building.
  •   All four, public floors (garden lower level, main level, and second and third floors) are handicap and stroller accessible with an elevator.
  • Restrooms are located on both wings of each floor (and they’re just about the nicest bathrooms we have ever seen in a state Capitol!)
  • Banisters on the second and third floors are very low, so keep an eye on little kids.
  • For nearby dining options, check out this index.
  • Plan on 45-60 minutes for a full exploration of public spaces.

Play “I Spy” and look for the following items:

1. Fossils found in the black tiles on the floor on the main lobby level.

2. “Four Sisters” statues, sculpted by Delissalde, displayed in the four corners of the second floor. The sisters represent the four key values and attributes of Wyoming citizens: hope, courage, truth, and justice and were placed in the four niches in 2019.

3. The Wyoming state seal in the skylights of the Senate and House Chambers.

4. The symbolic upside down spindle in the wooden staircase leading to the Senate Chamber on the second floor, made by the Amish who believe nothing is perfect.

5. Fourteen seats in the historic Supreme Court Chamber. The Supreme Court now resided in a separate building across the street. It is because of this room, which was the site of the Constitutional Convention that led to women’s suffrage in 1869, that the Capitol is designated a National Historic Landmark. Today, completely restored, the room is used for public meetings.

6. Photographs of each session of the Senate and House Representatives on display outside the chambers.

7. Senate and House Chamber murals that depict the “trials and tribulations” of Wyoming’s past.

8. Decorative chairs in the Governor’s Ceremonial Conference Room and portraits of every former governor, on display out the office entrance. The room was the original State Library, dating back to 1890.

9. Various doors to safes on the garden lower level. During the recent renovation, paintings were discovered under layers of old paint.

10.  Original pieces of the dome before the restoration in the 2010s, on display on the lower, garden level.

What’s missing? There are no private offices for any senator or representative- they must complete work at their chamber desk.

Looking for our adventures at other state Capitols? Check out our posts featuring the Capitol buildings in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Colorado.

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7 Comments

  1. I love this. I have a friend who has a goal to visit every state capitol building. When I joined her once to visit the Capitol building in California, I had so much fun and found it so interesting. Now I want to go to all of them too starting with Cheyenne! I love the “I spy” idea for the kids too!

    1. Thanks, Kelly! It is one of our favorite activities whenever we are in a capital city..and I Spy game does keep kids entertained.

  2. Wyoming is on my list of places to visit, and one day I plan to do a cross-country road journey to see all 50 states. Thank you for the helpful advice.

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