The recent cool, rainy weather—and the coming Labor Day weekend—has reminded me that summer is fast approaching its close. Even though this happens every year, somehow I’m always taken by surprise, left wondering, “Where has the summer gone?”
Here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, our visitation demographics have already begun to shift, with fewer families and children touring. We get more couples traveling without kids these days, many of them enjoying retirement with leisurely late summer trips.
My own mother, Mary, is retired too, and she visited recently from a couple states away. While she was here, we did what those of us who live in tourism-oriented communities affectionately refer to as “playing tourist.”
You see, we who hail from tourist towns don’t always “tour” around close to home that much until friends and family visit. But then we pull out all the stops to show off the gems we’re so proud of in our own backyards. I admit that I, too, am sometimes guilty of neglecting the many great attractions available just minutes from my front door—until I get to share it with a guest or two.
We went on the Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tour, offered by Cody Wyoming Adventures, something I’ve been meaning to do for years. I was not disappointed! Our guides, Ken and Mike, were great. Their obvious love for the horses, and their commitment to showing them off while keeping them wild, made it even more special.
The horses were beautiful, and the young one born this year elicited several “awwhhs” from the group.
Our next adventure was a trip to Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site, about 30 miles northwest of Thermopolis, Wyoming. Friends have recommended I visit this timeless site for quite a while, but it took a visit from family to get me there. Again, well worth the trip. The dark varnish on the rock walls helps make the petroglyphs, often difficult to photograph, stand out. Oh, and on the way back, we stopped at the Meeteetse Chocolatier.
…Sorry, our focus on tasting the amazing treats derailed any plans to take pictures of them first.
For this visit, my mom and I couldn’t pack in all the great sites Cody has to offer, like Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue (which we’ve attended more than once before), the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center, Cody Nite Rodeo, Cody Trolley Tours, rafting on the Shoshone River, and many many more that space prevents me from mentioning. We did get in our annual beer-and-nachos night at the Irma as well as our miniature golf game (I think we’re running about even on wins in our once-a-year competition).
And I took mom to the best park in the world, Yellowstone. She may not be quite as enamored of lingering among wildflowers as I am (but she’s patient while I crawl around at flower level with my camera), and we both savored a wonderful lunch at Lake Hotel—especially the sundae we took outside to eat while gazing at the water.
Of course, she spent a lot of time at the Center of the West—the Cody destination of which I’m the most proud (you may call me biased if you like). In addition to our wonderful museums, over the years that I’ve lived in Cody and worked at the Center, my mom has taken all the tours we offer, seen the birds of the Draper Museum Raptor Experience several times, tasted biscuits and beans at the chuckwagon out front, and attended quite a few lectures on subjects relevant to the American West.
And she took in a couple new things this trip: She very much enjoyed our new Whitney Western Art Museum audio tour, and was most impressed with the amazing art unveiled at the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale’s opening reception last week.
Yes, I have great fun “playing tourist” with family and friends when they come to town. I think I can safely say that they enjoy visiting the wonderful attractions in our area—which I am so proud to share with them.
All of us here at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West would love to share them with you too!