Rolling into Cody, Wyoming, is a sight to see. Strolling through downtown can make you feel transported to the Old West, and the mountain views from all angles will take your breath away. You find yourself wondering what made this little mountain town such a getaway destination, when you discover the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Whether you’re passing through town on the way to Yellowstone, or headed back home after a long road trip, the Center of the West is the perfect addition to your vacation.
In this blog post, I will take you through how to spend your day at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Start Your Day at the Center
The very first thing that you will see when entering the Center is the Rendezvous Hall. It is a hustle and bustle section full of people from all walks of life. To begin your day, a cup of coffee and a treat from our coffee shop is the obvious choice. While fueling up for the day, take some time to browse the array of small artwork on display for the annual art show. If authentic Western art is up your alley, all of the pieces are for sale and make a fantastic addition to any home. Really take your time to soak up the energetic atmosphere that the Center provides.
Explore the Draper Natural History Museum
After you are caffeinated and ready to go, the first museum to visit is the Draper Natural History Museum. The interactive exhibits show the nature and wildlife, from both the past and present, descending by elevation. One of my favorite places in the Draper is the bison jump sculpture with a bison bone dig site below it. The Draper is also a great starting point for kids to grab a passport and start collecting stamps that are hidden around the museum.
Learn About Buffalo Bill and the Special Exhibit
Once you have reached the bottom of the Draper, you can walk straight into one of the Center’s new exhibits, 8 Seconds, which is a display highlighting black cowboys in America. Take your time browsing the photos and learn about an industry that is unknown to many. Before heading back upstairs, make sure to check out the interesting collection in the McCracken Research Library.
From here, head upstairs and see the famous Buffalo Bill Museum and learn about one of the most memorable men in the Wild West. Learn about what led him to such fame and fortune, and the people that helped him get there. Rest your legs and enjoy the various videos around the gallery; a fan favorite being the authentic film of a real Wild West Show.
Browse the Cody Firearms Museum
A quick stroll across the Rendezvous Hall will take you to the Cody Firearms Museum, but before you hit that one, stop by Scout Saddle Co. and see old fashioned leather work in real time. Then follow the hallway and marvel at the sheer number of historic and modern firearms that are featured in this exhibit.
If you have a competitive edge, the Firearms Museum has a simulation game where you can shoot some of the firearms that are shown around the Museum.
Rest and Refuel
After visiting those three museums and working up quite an appetite, it is time to visit the eatery. Try one of the very popular and delicious bison burgers or bratwursts. If that’s not up your alley, they also offer salad, soup, and sandwich bars to cater to every visitor’s tastes. Take a seat at one of the picnic tables outside of in the Kyper Dining Pavilion and enjoy occasional live music.
Peruse the Plains Indian Museum
Now it’s time to head back to the Plains Indian Museum, where you can learn about some of the area’s richest tradition and culture. Make sure to go down to the lower level of the museum and check out one of the last intact bison hide tipis. If you’re looking for some more recent Native work, a the ‘Native Art Today’ exhibit has incredible artwork created by modern Native American artists.
Indulge in Some Extra Activities
By this time, it is 2:30 p.m. (you can also catch the show at 9 and 11:30 a.m. as well), and the raptor show is about to begin. Make your way outside to see some of the many rescued birds our staff cares for. You have the opportunity to meet a variety of some of the area’s most adorable owls, scavenger turkey vultures, stunning eagles, hawks, and many more!
If you’re visiting with a larger group or with children, the newly opened escape room, ‘Escape the Vault’ is the perfect place for a bonding activity, or a good spot to drop off some restless kids for an hour of excitement.
Finish your Day the Right Way
The perfect place to wind down from the day is the stunning Whitney Western Art Museum. Grab a pair of headphones and listen to the audio art tour while perusing the breathtaking paintings and sculptures created by western artists.
It’s now the end of the day, your brain is about to burst from all the new knowledge, and you’re ready to call it a day. Before you do, stop by our Points West Market gift shop and pick up a souvenir so you’ll always remember your day at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West!