By: ACTB Office Assistant, Chrisanna Lund

"Is this Fort Laramie? How many more miles 'til Yellowstone? Are we almost to Denver?" Such questions are asked often at the Laramie Area Visitor Center, located at 210 East Custer. Whether Laramie was their ultimate destination or they were just travelling through, over 2,300 people from all fifty states and even across the world stopped by the Visitor Center in 2011. After all, who wouldn't want to experience the real west with a cosmopolitan flair?

You may be wondering, what is the purpose of the Laramie Area Visitor Center? The visitor center is supported by the Albany County Tourism Board (ACTB) and exists to bring visitors to Albany County. The Albany County Tourism Board is a volunteer city-county joint powers board and was created in 1989 to administer Albany County's optional county-wide lodging tax. The lodging tax is a 4% sales tax paid on stays in hotels, motels, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts lasting less than 30 days. This optional tax must be renewed by the voters of Albany County every four years and is up for renewal in 2014. The Albany County Lodging Tax generates visitation and recognition of Albany County nationally and internationally through media such as the video below. ACTB also provides grants including from Laramie Jubilee Days and Wyoming High School Football Championships to the Laramie Fall Harvest Swim Meet.

At the visitor center, one will find many brochures and other publications about Laramie and Albany County, as well as publications from across Wyoming and the surrounding states. The proceeds from the lodging tax are used to create and distribute tourism materials including the Albany County Visitor's Guide, eight award-winning Walking Tour brochures of the area, the Vedauwoo and Lincoln Monument, postcards, a Snowy Range Scenic Byway informational brochure, Laramie and Albany County maps, and our "Live the West" promotional DVD. Southeast Wyoming ORV and Snowmobile trail maps are also available, as are Medicine Bow-Routt trail maps.  The eight Walking Tour brochures mentioned above include Albany County Museums, Centennial Tour, Historical Architectural Treasures, Historic Downtown Laramie, The Campus of the University of Wyoming, The Old Lincoln Highway, Railroads of Albany County, and West Side Stories.

Locals are also welcome to stop by and peruse our materials or grab a "Live the West" boot-shaped koozie!

ACTB's "Live the West" website is also a great way to learn about Laramie and Albany County. In 2011, was visited by 1,347,647 people. You can also "Live the West" by visiting our Facebook page or following us on Twitter!

Lastly, the ACTB has recently expanded their outreach by creating a Smartphone App through Go Explore Wyoming!  The app can be found HERE or you can search the iPhone App Store for "Go Explore Wyoming."

So now that you've learned more about the Laramie Area Visitor Center and Albany County Tourism Board, stop by and see us or keep up with us on our website, app, or social media outlets! You can also contact the visitor center by calling 1 (800) 445-5303 or sending us an e-mail. Just keep Living the West in Laramie, Wyoming!