Established by Colonel William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the small town of Cody is worth a stop to explore its Western heritage and excellent museums.
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
|4808 North Fork Hwy Cody, WY 82414||May & September Mon – Fri: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Sat – Sun: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Jun, Jul & Aug Mon – Fri: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Sat – Sun: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm||Free|
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.
Old Trail Town
Old Trail Town is a collection of historic western buildings and artifacts, dating from 1879–1901, 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 favorites. There is a small cemetery with the likes of Jeremiah Johnson residing there. Certainly and interesting place to stop and spend an hour or two wandering around the buildings and soaking up the atmosphere of the Wild West!
|1831 Demaris Drive Cody, Wyoming 82414||Daily: 8 am to 7 pm||$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 Center 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 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!
|Tickets for:||On-site rate:||Online rate:|
|Senior (65 & older)||$18.50||$18|
|Students (18 & older with valid student ID)||$18||$17.50|
|Youth (ages 6 – 17)||$13||$12.50|
|Children (ages 5 & under)||Free||Always free!|
|May – September 15||8 a.m. – 6 p.m.||Daily|
|September 16 – October 31||8 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Daily|
|November||10 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Daily|
|December – February||10 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Thursday – Sunday|
|March – April||10 a.m. – 5 p.m.||Daily|
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 and in depth overview of the flora and fauna of the area.
The 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 compliment 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 Western Art Museum
Probably our least favorite 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 it collections 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 artifacts.