The other day I wrote about our stay at Buffalo Bill State Park, which is located just nine miles outside of Cody, WY. Cody is a town steeped in Wild West history, as Buffalo Bill Cody helped to found it himself. His hand print is located throughout the town, from the historic Irma Hotel that is still in operation, to the Old Trail Town, which is a collection of authentic buildings from the Wild West, and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is five fantastic museums all wrapped into one.
Stepping into Cody, WY. gives visitors the opportunity to step back in time and truly learn about the area, it’s nature and it’s history as it pertains to the Wild West and the people who called it home for hundreds of years. We had the chance to experience just a small part of what Cody, WY. has to offer visiting families, and we would love to return one day and explore even more!
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
At first you might just this this museum located across from the Visitor’s Center in town is just a museum dedicated to Buffalo Bill, and it is, but it also offers visitors so much more. In fact, it holds five different museums under one roof.
The Draper Museum of Natural History is full of information surrounding the nature and wildlife of the area, as well as the history of how the area was formed, how it has been excavated, and how it is affected by natural disaster such as wildfire. There is a fun interactive stamp book children can pick up here, and fill with pressure print stamps at different locations throughout the museums.
Further in, we came upon the Buffalo Bill Museum, full of history about the life of Buffalo Bill Cody. There is a rather fun film that is shown in the middle of this museum, and it really helps capture the attention of little ones, as well as a replica of a tent that he would have stayed in while traveling. It has real memorabilia that he actually used in it, so be careful that you do not lean over too far, as the alarm on this display is incredibly sensitive. It was interesting to learn more about Buffalo Bill’s life, and how he got started doing stage shows.
The Plains Indian Museum was a wonderful representation of the lives of the Plains Indians, how they lived. There are rooms and rooms of artifacts, replicas and recreations to see here, as well as an automated show that you might miss is you are not aware that a show occurs every so often in that room. The museums gives a feeling of solemness and pride, that even my boys could understand and respect while we walked its halls.
The last two museums within the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, we did not get the chance to explore. If you are visiting this attraction, I highly recommend at least an hour per museum you wish to explore. The Cody Firearms Museum is full of information about the old guns of the West, the people who used them and even a shooting gallery, so bring your quarters! The Whitney Western Art Museum has beautiful art pieces depicting life in the West. I really wish we had had time to explore this area.
Old Trail Town
Old Trail Town is one of those attractions that you think is going to be a bust, but really turns out to be a welcomed surprise. Looking at the collection of buildings from the parking lot, you might think it is nothing more than a recreation of buildings depicting a Wild West town, but Old Trail Town is so much more than that. In fact, almost all of the buildings are authentic remnants from the Wild West days, many steeped in history from some of the most famous gunslingers.
As you walk the streets of Old Trail Town, you come upon building after building that has seen its share of action in the Wild West. Collected from towns near Cody, WY. and brought here to one central locations, these buildings tell a tale of the past. From the Rivers Saloon where you can stick your finger through the real gun shots in the door, to the Mud Spring Cabin where Kid Curry and The Sundance Kid hid out before they attempted to hold up a bank.
Take your time to explore each building in Old Trail Town and plan at least two hours to really learn about the history that is offered here.
If you love stories of the Wild West, and are interested in learning more about its history, then a trip to Cody, WY. should be at the top of your list. More information about what this historic town has to offer, you can visit the Cody, WY. Visitor’s Center website.