Cody serves as the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park which is the oldest national park in the United States. You can learn more about this amazing national park by visiting this post. The gateway city of Cody was founded in 1896 by William F. Cody who is best known as Buffalo Bill. He was known for being an intrepid Western showman. He passed through this area in the northwestern portion of the US state of Wyoming in the 1870’s.
He loved the area so much that he returned some twenty years later to set up the town which he named after himself. His legacy can be found at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West which contains five world-class museums under one roof. The architecture and grounds of the complex blends nicely into Wyoming’s rugged beauty. So, if you find yourself in Buffalo Bill’s namesake city, you will want to visit the Buffalo Bill complex for things to do in Cody, Wyoming.
Buffalo Bill Museum
The Buffalo Bill Museum is the inaugural museum in the complex. This is the place where you go to learn about the overall life of Buffalo Bill himself. You will gain an insight into how he came to be known as Buffalo Bill. You will see the fame and success that Buffalo Bill gained through his signature Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows.
This museum also explores the influence that he had on the economic and cultural development of the American West. Some of the artifacts that are showcased at this museum include Wild West show props, wagons, a stagecoach, dime novels, and family heirlooms. The museum houses about twelve exhibits for you to explore.
For example, the Big-Game Hunting exhibits will have you explore Buffalo Bill’s lifelong passion for hunting big game. This exhibit features a re-creation of one of Buffalo Bill’s hunting camps. Envisioning the New West is another one of the exhibits at the museum. It explores Buffalo Bill’s vision of what the future of the American West should look like.
Plains Indian Museum
The second museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Plains Indian Museum. It shares stories related to the cultures, traditions, trials, and triumphs of Plains Indian tribes, both in the past and today. This museum houses one of the country’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts. You can find timeless artifacts from the 19th century along with modern works done by today’s Native American artists.
This museum contains five exhibits to check out. The first exhibit is Adversity and Renewal. This exhibit explores the past, present, and future of Plains people. It also showcases the changes and innovations in their material and spiritual culture since being placed on reservations in the late 19th century.
The exhibit, Buffalo and the People, is concerned with the role that the buffalo has had in the economy and spirituality of Plains tribes. The Honor and Celebration exhibit explores the ceremonies that Plains tribes have performed, both in the past and the present. The exhibit, Land of Many Gifts, explores the village life of Plains people in the historic era.
This exhibit also showcases the contributions of women to the societies of Plains tribes. In the Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) Migration exhibit, you will learn about how the Cheyenne tribe travelled and the role that dogs and horses played in their ability to migrate.
Whitney Western Art Museum
Art lovers will want to check out the Whitney Western Art Museum at the Buffalo Bill complex. This museum is dedicated to showcasing Western art. This museum is considered to be one of the best Western art museums in the United States. You can view works of art by famed Western artists such as Charlie Russell, Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt.
The exhibits at the museum divide works of Western art into individual subjects. They are wildlife, Western landscapes, Native American depictions, Western heroes and legends, and historic events. During your time at the museum, you will come across a re-creation of a cabin called Absarokee Hut which was occupied by famed Western artist, Joseph Henry Sharp. He was known for his paintings of Native American peoples.
Draper Natural History Museum
The fourth museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Draper Natural History Museum. This museum is focused on all things Yellowstone National Park. This isn’t really surprising at all, given the Buffalo Bill complex’s proximity to the national park itself. You will learn about the diverse animals and plants that are found in Yellowstone National Park.
You will also learn about the natural history of the national park at this museum. There are a total of three exhibits available at the museum. They are Expedition Trailhead, Alpine-to-Plains Trail, and Monarch of the Skies. One of the things that you will notice at the museum is a replica of a female grizzly bear who was often photographed near Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance before being killed by a car.
Cody Firearms Museum
The fifth and final museum at the Buffalo Bill complex is the Cody Firearms Museum. This museum had just recently gotten a facelift last year. As the museum’s name indicate, this museum is all about the firearms. This is the most comprehensive firearms museum in the country. This museum is home to over 10,000 firearms and related items that span the time period from the year 1400 to the present.
You will also learn about the many roles that the firearms have played through history. This museum is divided into six themes. They are Introduction, Evolution of Firearms, Story of the West, Military History, Science of Firearms, and Art of Firearms.
These are the five museums that are contained within the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. So, if you are looking for things to do in Cody, Wyoming, you will want to make sure to visit the Buffalo Bill complex. The admission prices for the complex are $19.25 for adults, $18.25 for seniors, $17.75 for students, and $12.75 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under age 6 get free admission.
You can head here to buy your tickets to the complex. I would like to note that the tickets are good for two straight days. Here is a fun fact – the NFL team of Buffalo, New York is called the Buffalo Bills. Also, the wide open spaces of Wyoming is also notable for its thriving ranching lifestyle. I have covered a few lovely Wyoming ranches that you can visit right here. So, I encourage you to go there to learn more.
Cody, Wyoming Hotels
If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your Cody visit, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest for you.
Best Western Premier Ivy Inn & Suites
This hotel is located on Eighth Street just a short distance south of the Buffalo Bill complex. If you get hungry, there is an onsite restaurant called the 8th Street Restaurant which is also a bar serving alcoholic beverages. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available at the hotel.
All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $156 to $329. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.
AmericInn by Wyndham Cody
This hotel is located on Yellowstone Avenue just three minutes drive southwest of the Buffalo Bill complex. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include The Cody Cattle Company, The Local, and Our Place Cafe. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. The hotel also houses a fitness center for your workout needs.
All of the rooms at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $125 to $226. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.
What are your thoughts? Are you thrilled about the idea of visiting a whopping five museums all in one place? Feel free to drop a comment below.