Thanks to conservation efforts dating back over 100 years, it’s possible to see herds of buffalo across the country. Check out these five places where you can get up close (but not too close) with this mighty creature and learn about the historical and cultural significance the bison has played in American history.
1. National Buffalo Museum
Located in Jamestown, North Dakota, the National Buffalo Museum features bison art, Native American artifacts and prehistoric bison remains. The highlight is a herd of 25–30 buffalo that roams on more than 200 acres near the museum.
2. Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
About a half-hour from Des Moines, Iowa, the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge is home to some 60 bison throughout a 700-acre enclosure. Bison here are managed for genetic diversity, with each animal individually microchipped for easy identification.
3. Yellowstone National Park
Home to some of America’s most famous natural landmarks, Yellowstone also plays host to the country’s largest public bison population. The bison here are among the few herds that have never been interbred with cattle, and Yellowstone is the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.
4. Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari
Visitors to Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & Wildlife Safari, near Omaha, Nebraska, can drive through the 40-acre Bison Plains, pulling right alongside the imposing creatures.
5. Minneopa State Park
Minneopa State Park, near Mankato, Minnesota, holds the state’s newest herd as well as the opportunity to drive through the 331 acres it roams. If you need help locating the bison, the view from Seppmann Mill overlook, home to the historic Seppmann windmill, can help locate them.
6. Wildlife Prairie Park
Located just outside Peoria, Illinois, Wildlife Prairie Park pays tribute to the American pioneer through its conservation of native animals and plants, as well as animals that would have been brought by early settlers. Enjoy a guided tour by bus or by rail on the Prairie Zephyr to take in the quiet forests and impressive wildlife.