Fort Phil Kearny UPGRADES “Full Moon Fort” Event for 2016
Guided lantern tours are back with new stories and a new process to attend for the 4th Annual Event at Fort Phil Kearny. This year, tour groups will be capped at 20 people and reservations are suggested in order to guarantee a “dark” tour on the evenings of October 14 and 15, 2016 from 8-11p.m. “Light” tours are offered 6 – 7:30 at a reduced rate.
Fort Phil Kearny has partnered with Sheridan’s Trident Theatre to provide guests with a dynamic tour experience. As in the past, stories will reflect the grisly details of fort life, including real characters at Fort Phil Kearny during the time of Red Cloud’s War against the Bozeman Trail Forts. But this year, tales will be carefully developed accounts that may leave visitors with more questions than answers.
“The event has been a total hit – people come from all over the state- so we improved how it’s organized,” says Misty Stoll, Superintendent of Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site. “I’m super excited to be working with Trident. Their tours will be more nuanced in how they build intensity. Visitors will see professional makeup, professional writers and professional storytellers. And of course you can’t beat the power of the fort campus in the full moon. It’s a spooky place.”
Stoll says she decided to turn the tours into a ticketed event and added an evening after 900 people came in four hours last year. “We heard only a handful of friendly complaints – but I wanted to get ahead of it this year and make sure that it’s worth their time.” Stoll made the changes in hopes of eliminating wait times and to make tour sizes more manageable, so that all visitors can hear.
“Light” Tours, from 6 to 7:30 p.m are provided first-come-first-served at $5/carload, will feature a gentler storyline, and will occur before the fort has gone dark. Reservations are not required for Light Tours and groups may be larger. “Dark” Tours will begin at 8 p.m and advance reservations are strongly suggested. Pending availability, tickets will be sold onsite during event.
All visitors are reminded to dress warmly for the outdoor tours. In cases of dangerously cold or wet conditions, the event will be canceled. For announcements and more information visit Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site on Facebook and at FortPhilKearny.com.
Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site is open Wednesday through Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd in Banner, Wyoming off Exit 44 from Interstate 90. For more information call (307) 684-7629 or email the Superintendent at email@example.com.
Before Custer there was Fetterman!
Fort Phil Kearny was one of 3 U.S. Army forts established along the Bozeman Trail in 1866. Named after deceased Civil War General Philip Kearny (pronounced car-nee) the fort’s mission was to protect travelers along the Bozeman Trail against Indian attack.
The Lakota Sioux Indians led by Red Cloud viewed the building of this fort in the middle of their sacred hunting grounds as a threat to their very existence. The Lakota also felt the fort was build in direct violation of an earlier treaty that stipulated this land belonged to them. This fueled a war with the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians led by Red Cloud that eventually led to Captain William J. Fetterman’s entire command of 80 men being wiped out on December 21, 1866. This was the worst defeat suffered by the U.S. Army in the West before Col. George Armstrong Custer’s defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn 10yrs later.
Fort Phil Kearny was burned by the Indians when the Army abandoned it in 1868. Today you can visit the fort grounds and enjoy the scenery of the surrounding hills that has changed little in the past 147yrs. There is also a visitor’s center with a small museum with fort and Indian artifacts, and a bookstore.
Please note changed winter hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays only, Noon – 4:00 p.m.
Winter 2015 Hours: 12:00 p.m. NOON – 4:00 p.m. Wednesday thru Sunday
Fees: Wyoming Residents $2.00, Non-Residents $4.00, Ages 17 and Under: FREE
Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site is located at 528 Wagon Box Rd., Banner, WY 82832. Exit 44 off of Interstate 90.
The Fort Phil Kearny staff in the Interpretive Center and Gift Shop will introduce visitors to the context of the Indian Wars and Bozeman Trail and can guide them through a viewing of the Fort diorama that depicts, to scale, the complete Fort as it would have looked in the fall of 1866. Visitors can then enter the original Fort site, through reconstructed stockade walls, and experience the expansive grounds of the largest stockaded Fort in the west. Corner posts and signs inform visitors where original buildings would have stood, and stockade sections demonstrate exactly how the wall was built to protect soldiers, civilians (including families), and supplies from Native American warriors, as well as large populations of hungry Timberwolves.
Throughout the Fort grounds, interpretation invites visitors to understand Fort life, the colorful characters that resided therein, and appreciate the contrast of a busy Fort operation in such an isolated location. Pets are welcome on site grounds! Please keep all pets on a leash at all times and pick up after them. No pets are allowed inside the Interpretive Center building.