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The Albright Visitor Center and Museum, located next to Mammoth Hot Springs, is perhaps one of the park's best known man-made attractions. The original site of a 19th-century U.S. Cavalry post that had been erected in the late 1800s to protect the park from vandalism and theft, the visitor center and surrounding buildings tell the story of Yellowstone's early history, from its designation as the country's first national park in 1872, to the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, when the post was decommissioned.
Still referred to euphemistically as "Fort Yellowstone," the sandstone buildings included the complete living quarters for officers and enlisted men, including a bachelor officer's quarters (now the actual visitor center), horse stables, a chapel and barracks for 200 soldiers. By 1910 more than 300 men were housed throughout the park for the purpose of protecting its natural resources.
The stately buildings now house a visitor center and museum with four primary exhibits, including the Moran Gallery, which houses the watercolor sketches of explorer Thomas Moran and the Jackson Gallery, which includes photographs by William Henry Jackson There is also an audiovisual presentation located in the visitor center. The Park Service also holds popular school-related and summer educational programs on site, which is within walking distance of Mammoth Hot Springs and adjoining self-guided trails.
Beginning in 2007 or 2008, NPS will be doing earthquake reinforcement to the building. The museum exhibits will continue to be open to the public during this period.
The complex serves as the visitor center for the northwest end of the park, which is known for its thermal features and limestone terraces. The visitor center is open 365 days a year and is located five miles inside the North Entrance. Back country permits, fishing and boating permits can be obtained on site during the summer months.
Visitor Center facilities
Location: Five miles south of north entrance, northwest end of park and next to Mammoth Hot Springs
Phone: (307) 344-2263
Seasonal hours: Year round; late August-late May 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Late May - late August 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Accommodations available: Hotel and campground available. Norris Geyser Basin (21 miles south) has a campground and Tower Roosevelt (18 miles east) has a lodge, cabins and campground.
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Compass American Guides: Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, 1st Edition by Brian Kevin. Fodor's Compass American Guides have a new design and practical information you need to make the most of your visit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Easy-to-use practical information you need to get around and experience the best of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Order now...
The Concise Visitor's Guide to Yellowstone by Matt Bolton. Sized perfectly for backpacks this guide offers specifics on food, what to see, children's activities, weather, wildlife, seasonal road closures, ranger programs, visitor centers, what differentiates each section of the park and more. Filled with information, phone numbers, web sites, and detailed maps this is the tool to use when planning a trip to Yellowstone. Order now...
Moon Spotlight Yellowstone National Park by Don Pitcher. 80-page compact guide covering must-see attractions and maps with sightseeing highlights. This lightweight guide is packed with recommendations on sights, entertainment, shopping, recreations, accommodations, food, and transportation, as well as easy-to-read maps. Order now...
National Geographic Park Profiles: Yellowstone Country by Seymour L. Fishbein. Yellowstone Country tours the stunning region that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, a mosaic of national forests, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, countless waterfalls, hot springs and two-thirds of the world's active geysers. Order now...
Yellowstone Treasures by Janet Chapple. Easy-to-understand scientific explanations and diagrams complement detailed travel tips. This revised edition includes 270 pages of road logs and enhanced information for senior and disabled visitors and tips for visiting the park with children. Fully revised geological, historical, and practical information. Order now...
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