Of all the Visitor Centers in Yellowstone National Park, the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Museum may seem like the most far-flung.
In some parts of Yellowstone, the visitor centers are both conspicuous and central to the layout of the buildings. Old Faithful’s Visitor Center, for instance, is situated exactly to offer visitors a great view of Old Faithful Geyser.
Others, like the Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs and the Canyon Visitor Center, aren’t in the center of things but they’re nonetheless visible parts of the main stretch.
Fishing Bridge Visitor Center occupies an interesting place in Yellowstone insofar as it functions as the visitor center for both Fishing Bridge and Lake. At this point, it’s unique in a few other regards as well.
Like the Madison Museum/Information Station, the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center exemplifies “parkitecture,” a style of architecture oriented around local materials and attuning to the environment. With its stone foundation and wood structures—including log supports throughout—the Fishing Bridge Museum does not jar with the surrounding landscape.
It’s also unique in terms of exhibits. Where most of the other Visitor Centers concentrate on Yellowstone’s geothermal history and/or its geology, the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center is dedicated to Yellowstone wildlife. Specifically, birds.
The main hall of the Visitor Center is chock full of taxidermy birds, all produced by Carl Russell and installed in 1931. The diversity of specimens is incredible. You can see a trumpeter swan standing in a nest, for instance, alongside a clutch of eggs. Some, such as the American white pelican, are suspended from the ceiling, arranged in flight. Besides big waterfowl, the Fishing Bridge Museum also has a diverse array of songsters and other small birds.
And the taxidermy isn’t limited to birds either. The Fishing Bridge Visitor Center also has a grizzly bear sow and two grizzly cubs. Other animal features include a host of antlers arranged on two chandeliers hanging in the main hall.
In addition, the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center does not have any audiovisual displays, meaning it’s just you, the rangers, and the specimens. There is also an Amphitheater, which regularly hosts evening programs throughout the summer.
If you’re on that side of Yellowstone National Park, be sure and pop into the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center. It’s well worth the experience, between the beautiful birds and the charming architecture.