Canyon Visitor Education Center

Top choice in Yellowstone National Park

This major center is well worth a visit for its innovative and interactive displays on Yellowstone’s geology. The highlight is a room-sized relief model of the park, which will help you visualize the terrain of your upcoming hike. Twenty-minute movies play on the hour and half-hour, and there are afternoon ranger talks for children.

Upstairs there's a sobering map of earthquakes that happened that day in the park (an average of 2000 each year, most of them in the Norris basin), scratchy black-and-white videos of Old Faithful through the years and a computer animation that details the annual bison migration through the parks. One surprise is the artist's impression of what the park may have looked like 20,000 years ago – covered in a 4000ft-thick layer of ice.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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