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Buffalo Bill Center Of The West, Cody, Wyoming

Wyoming: Cody the town that Bill built

Cody, Wyoming, is a small western town of about 10,000 people located 52 miles from Yellowstone National Park’s east entrance. Cody was founded in 1896 by Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who passed through the region in the 1870s. He was so impressed by the development possibilities of irrigation, rich soil, grand scenery, hunting, and proximity to Yellowstone National Park that he returned in the mid-1890s to start a town.

He’s still a mighty presence in the town. Here you’ll find museums and scenic byways dedicated to the famed showman, as well as the Cody Nite Rodeo, which features plenty of lasso-wielding cowboys. For the full Wild West experience, you can head to the nearby Old Trail Town – a living museum with traditional cabins, a saloon and old wagons. Cody was listed as Wyoming’s entry in MSN’s “Most beautiful town in every State.

BUFFALO BILL DAM

The Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center is located on the main highway between the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park and Cody. It is open from May until September, so if you are passing by during opening hours it is well worth stopping to check out the visitor center.

The dam itself sits on the Shosone River and was completed in 1910. It was one of the first concrete arch dams in the United States. At 325 feet high it was also the highest dam in the world at the time, and its significance is highlighted by its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Address:4808 N Fork Hwy, Cody, WY 82414
Website:https://bbdvc.com/
Telephone:T:(307) 527-6076
Hours:

HOURS OF OPERATION

MAY 1, 2022 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2022

MONDAY – FRIDAY

9:00 am TO 6:00 pm

SATURDAY & SUNDAY

9:00 am TO 5:00 pm

Admission Fees

Free

OLD TRAIL TOWN

Old Trail Town is a collection of historic western buildings and artefacts, dating from 1879 to 1901, located off the Yellowstone Highway in Cody. Building after building has western history oozing out of the doors and windows. There’s mountain men cabins, a school, a store and of course a saloon. You can also explore the hideout of the Sundance Kid and the bar where he and Butch Cassidy drank. The Hole in the Wall cabin was one of my favourites. There is a small cemetery with the likes of Jeremiah Johnson residing there. Certainly, an interesting place to stop and spend an hour or two wandering around the buildings and soaking up the atmosphere of the Wild West!

Address:1831 Demaris Dr, Cody, WY 82414
Website:oldtrailtown.org/
Telephone:T:(307) 587-5302
Hours:

Open May 15 – Sept. 30 | 8:00am – 6:00pm

Admission Fees

$10.00 for Adults
$9.00 for Seniors, over 65
$5.00 for kids, age 6-12
Kids 5 and younger are FREE

BUFFALO BILL CENTRE OF THE WEST

One of the activities we were most looking forward to during our stay in Cody was a visit to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West as I had heard great things about it. And, I was not to be disappointed. In fact, this is not one museum but is a complex of buildings containing five different museums. It is a place you can easily lose yourself in for a day or more!

Draper Natural History Museum

The Draper Natural History Museum offers a deep dive experience into the natural history and ecology of the Greater Yellowstone area, including what you will experience in the National Park itself. It has a host of great exhibits that give an in-depth overview of the flora and fauna of the area.

A model of a moose in the Draper Natural History Museum
"Free Fall" Bison Sculpture" depicting hunting method of driving buffalo over a cliff

Buffalo Bill Museum

This museum documents the life and times of William F. Cody (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill), and the history and operations of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. In addition, the museum’s collection interprets the history of the American cowboy, dude ranching, western conservation, frontier entrepreneurship, and the source of our concepts about the West.

Plains Indian Museum

To complement the stories of cowboy and the life of the “white man” in the plains of the Western USA, the Plains Indian Museum looks to provide an insight into the lives of Plains Indian peoples, their cultures, traditions, values, and histories, as well as the contexts of their lives today.

Whitney West Art Museum

Probably our least favourite of the five museums was the Whitney West Art Museum. This is a personal preference because the museum does host a series of impressive works of art covering the land, people, and wildlife of the West.

Cody Firearms Museum

We are not big “Firearms” people (if we were this place would have made us orgasmic) but the Cody Firearms Museum is truly impressive in the extensiveness of its collections of firearms, indeed it has the most comprehensive collection of American firearms in the world. In 1975, the Winchester Arms Collection, the heart of this museum, adventured west as a loan from the Olin Corporation. It was deeded as a gift in 1988. To date, the Cody Firearms Museum has over 7,000 firearms with more than 30,000 firearms-related artefacts.

Hiding behind a case of rifles at the Cody Firearms Museum
A 'Swiss Knife' gun at the Cody Firearms Museum
Now that's what I call a knife
Firearms through the ages
Address:720 Sheridan Ave, Cody, WY
Website:centerofthewest.org/
Telephone:T: (307) 587-4771
Hours:

May 1 – Sept. 15 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sept. 16 – Oct. 31 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Nov. 1 – Nov.30 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Dec. 1 – Feb. 28 Thu. – Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mar. 1 – Apr. 30 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission Fees

Adults $22
Seniors $21
Students $20
Kids 6-17 $15
Kids <5 Free

Best time to visit Cody, Wyoming

Summer months are the best time to visit, but you need to be prepared for changes in the weather. If it does snow, it is usually brief and melts quickly. Such events are not frequent, but there are sudden and drastic shifts in weather conditions. Average July temperatures are a maximum of 84.9 °F and a minimum of 54.6 °F. Average high temperatures are in the 70s or 80s, lows in the upper 40s or low 50s. Some hot summers bring records of up to 100 °F.

Cody WY weather tends to be pleasant in autumn, but certainly, temperatures drop, and sudden storms can roll in. The fall months bring a little decrease in the temperatures, but due to the dry climate, the extremely cold chill of winter does not really set in until late November. The average temperatures for fall range from the 50s for highs to the 30s or 40s for lows.

Although the area actually gets about 300 days of sunshine each year, the winter and spring temperatures still make the area very cold. A cold winter can bring lows of 10 °F and the wind is almost a constant. So with the wind chill factor, it can feel like it is much lower. Average January temperatures in Cody are a maximum of 35.9 °F and a minimum of 12.8 °F. Annual snowfall averages about 39 inches. The winds can come from any direction and can be quite strong at 30 to 40 mph, lasting for several days.

Where to stay in Cody

1. CODY WYOMING TROUT RANCH

The tipis are located on Cody Wyoming Trout Ranch which is primarily an RV park. The parking spots are set up on the top of the canyon, but there is a rough road that leads down the hill to the banks of the Snake River, where they have built platforms and installed several tipis. 

The tipis are spacious and could easily accommodate a family. We were travelling alone so we had the whole place to ourselves. They have done a great job of making the tipis cosy with a very comfortable bed (there was also a sofa bed) and some wonderful blankets (even in the summer it can get quite chilly at this altitude.) There are no cooking or bathroom facilities in the tipi – on the outside deck there is a grill if you want to cook (or bring your own grill). There is a portapotty for the tipi residents to use, otherwise, you have to trek up the hill to the RV park where there are washrooms with toilets and showers. 

2. BILL CODY RANCH

Featuring a restaurant, Bill Cody Ranch is set in Cody and also provides a bar and a shared lounge. This 5-star hotel offers a concierge service. The property provides evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.

At the hotel, each room comes with a closet, bed linen and a patio with a mountain view. All rooms have a coffee machine and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer, while selected rooms will provide you with a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher.

3. ROBINS NEST BED & BREAKFAST

Two entrances of Yellowstone National Park are within a 1-hour drive from the bed and breakfast. The nonsmoking property offers several common areas and a large backyard deck.

All rooms are furnished with hardwood floors at the Robins Nest Bed and Breakfast.

Historic downtown Cody is 5 minutes’ walk away as are many fine restaurants, art galleries, bars and shopping

 

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