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Archive for January, 2012


How to please your whole family with a trip to Cody/Yellowstone Country – Part 2

So what are the “Must Dos” in Cody/Yellowstone Country?

Buffalo Bill Historical Center exterior with two tepeesThe Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody is a necessity when visiting the Cody area. The Center is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West.”  My family never tires of the Center. You can learn about Buffalo Bill, the Plains Indians, western art and Yellowstone. The Center also boasts the largest collection of firearms in the world-a favorite of the males in my family! Don’t forget to check out the gift shop for great souvenirs. You can bundle your museum trip with the Cody Trolley Tour at a discounted rate. The Trolley will pick you up at the front door of the museum and take you on an hour long tour.  This 22-mile tour in a classic trolley explores places, people and lore of the area.

Step back in time as you stroll through the original town site of Cody locatedBuildings of Old Trail Town with mountains in the background at Old Trail Town. Historic buildings of the area have been carefully moved to the site in addition to authentic artifacts. My favorite building is the saloon. It is a quaint building with great character. This saloon could probably hold about 20 people. We forget that Hollywood has depicted saloons as sprawling buildings when in fact they were small. That is why western boom towns had so many saloons!

Visitor's Center at the Buffalo Bill Dam siteBuffalo Bill had many dreams for Cody and the Buffalo Bill Dam was one that was achieved. When it was completed in 1910, it was the tallest concrete dam in the world.  The dam visitor center is a great spot to enjoy tranquil waters of the reservoir and take the audio tour to learn about the dams construction and the area wildlife. The dam is also a great spot for a picnic lunch.

One of Cody’s best kept secrets is Tecumseh’s Trading Post out by the RodeoStore front of Tecumseh's with signage & flags grounds. Tecumseh’s is an old west museum and old west miniature village. My kids can’t get enough of the 7000 sq. ft. miniature village that depicts the historical events in Wyoming and Montana from the 1600’s to the 1800’s. The miniature train that can be controlled by visitors is a favorite for kids of all ages. The western artifacts rival most museums. This family owned and operated collection is truly special. They graciously share their collection with the public at no charge!

Cowboy holding a saddle in front of Meeteetse Chocolatier storyMeeteetse also has a wonderful treasure in the Meeteetse Chocolatier! Sample gourmet confections made by owner Tim Kellogg who is also a bronc rider and working cowboy. These chocolate delights are made by using only the finest ingredients and are meant to be enjoyed in the “here and now.” Don’t miss this unique shop with amazing treats located on the quaint boardwalk in Meeteetse!

Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center between Cody and Powell isBuildings of the Center an amazing learning opportunity for everyone in the family.  Ten thousand Japanese-Americans were interned at this facility during World War II. Learn about why and how the internees spent their time at the camp. The Center offers a self-guided tour in addition to the Learning Center.  You can pick up the Cody Trolley for a tour to the Center and through area farm land.

Bull rider on a bucking bullCody has the longest running nightly rodeo in the country which has earned it the distinction of being the “Rodeo Capital of the World.” Rodeo season begins June 1st through August 31st. Enjoy this outdoor rodeo with plenty of excitement and mountain views.  Whether this is your first rodeo or you are a connoisseur, it is sure to be a great time!  

Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue is a wonderful Branson/style music show Dan & Hannah Miller singing and playing instrumentsthat is a family favorite.  Enjoy classic cowboy favorites, poetry and much more. If you want to truly experience the West, you must take in the Dan Miller’s show!

These are just the highlights in Cody/Yellowstone Country. There are so many great things to do from the relaxing to the adventurous. Don’t forget to minimize the stress of planning by allowing everyone in the family a voice in the vacation!

Until next time, happy traveling in Cody Country!


How to please your whole family with a trip to Cody/Yellowstone Country

Old Faithful Geyser with person standing on the boardwalkPlanning your summer vacation to Yellowstone and stumped on how to choose an itinerary that will please everybody in your family?  It may seem like a no win situation since your family cannot even agree on a TV show to watch together.   So many decisions to make – do you choose an all-inclusive destination, stay in Yellowstone, a hotel or B&B, do you fly or road trip it? I am lucky because my kids are great travelers and love the adventure of a road trip! Your kids may revolt at the thought of a road trip with the family! How do you make it work so everyone is happy?

It does not have to be overwhelming.  It can actually be fun! Start by People in a rafting going through whitewater rapidsrequesting the Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country 2012 Vacation Guide or go to www.yellowstonecountry.org . Both are full of great information on activities, lodging and events happening in the area. The website even offers sample itineraries. I love sitting down at the kitchen table with all the vacation planners, travel guides and web materials spread out.  Each member of our family gets a different color highlighter and goes through all the materials and highlights the attractions/activities with things that look fun to them. My ten year old tends to have twice as many picks as everyone else because everything looks exciting when you are ten!  Remember, this is round one.  In round two, everyone has to pick their top 3 choices. It is always great when multiple family members pick some of the same choices. Those become the “must-dos.”  In round three, everyone gets to defend their choices with a question and comment period from the family.  Some options are easily eliminated at this point as it is probably not appropriate for the three year old to learn to kayak on this trip!

People on horseback riding along side a creek with mountains all aroundYour family should finally have a list of activities and lodging options that work for everybody.  I love this process because every family member feels like they had a part in planning the trip and aren’t just along for the ride. We also set ground rules like no complaining about an activity that wasn’t your pick. Who knows, your 16 year old may really enjoy the horseback ride his 12 year old sister chose! 

On our trips, we allow our children to choose where we eat lunch each day. Inside of an ice cream parlorOne rule is it has to be local fare, no chain fast food. We rotate through the kids so everyone has their day. Mom and Dad have exclusive rights to the dinner meal!  We have a lot of fun with this. Sometimes we are in a town that has a great ice cream shop so we allow the kids to choose ICE CREAM for lunch!  We instantly become the coolest parents ever! Because this precedent has been set, our kids get real creative and make some interesting choices.  This tradition makes for great leverage at the evening meal when the kids aren’t thrilled with our pick.  I just say, “Remember, you had a funnel cake for lunch.”  They just can’t argue with that! Cody/Yellowstone Country has great options for dining for the whole family. Be sure to request or pick up a dining guide from the Chamber of Commerce (www.codychamber.org) or ask your front desk staff at your hotel. And yes, Cody does have a great place to get ice cream for lunch!

 Check back next week for the “Must Dos” in Cody/Yellowstone Country!

 Until next time, happy traveling in Cody Country!


New Year’s Resolution to Travel More


Waterfall, tree and rainbowIt is that time of year when we reflect on the past year and start making resolutions and plans for the upcoming year.  Do you resolve to make the same changes each January?  The ever-so-popular “lose weight,” “get fit,” “get organized,” “quit smoking,” seem to be on many lists. Why not resolve to do something fun like traveling more in 2012? You don’t have to think “globally” when it comes to travel. Why not explore some of the treasures we have in Wyoming! Have you been to Yellowstone? Has it been 20+ years since you were there? Have you explored the area around Yellowstone? Make 2012 the year to really get to know Cody/Yellowstone Country

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue at the Cody Theatre

Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue

Let me help you plan your trip!  Start your Wyoming vacation by flying into Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody on jet service from either Salt Lake City or Denver.  I recommend spending two nights in Cody right from the start. Stroll the downtown shops and mosey over to the Irma Hotel for the Gunfighters street theatre performance. Dine at the restaurant in Buffalo Bill’s historic Irma Hotel. After dinner, check out Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue. Spend another day at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, dining at a local restaurant and an evening at the Cody Nite Rodeo.

Mountains and valley floorNow let’s head out to experience Yellowstone. The drive from Cody to the East Entrance of Yellowstone is incredibly scenic! There are several lodges and ranches that offer horseback riding, fishing and lodging in the East Yellowstone Valley. Spend the next three days exploring Yellowstone. Marvel in the wildlife, geothermal activity and breathtaking scenery. Whether staying in an RV or in one of the Park’s hotels, you will be experiencing the majesty of spending the night in one of the most spectacular places on Earth! Three days in the Park allows you to explore the Park’s features. If you want to get into the backcountry, plan on spending another day. I recommend exiting the Park through the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City, MT and travel down Hwy 296 Mountains and wildflowersto the Beartooth All-American Highway (Hwy 212) into Red Lodge, MT. The Beartooth Highway is the highest elevation highway in Montana and Wyoming. Expect to see pristine mountain landscapes, several lakes, forests and alpine tundra. You may even get to see a herd of mountain goats!  The pass always makes me want to sing “the hills are alive with the Sound of Music!”

Map of Beartooth HighwayOn your way back to Cody, don’t miss to Heart Mountain. It is the prominent mountain you will see to the north of near town. It is a geological wonder! Scientists come from all over the world to study it. It’s unique because the rocks at the summit are 300 million years older than the base and are of a different type and era. It is believed that a massive landslide occurred from the Cooke City area due to volcanic activity. Whatever the cause, it has created a majestic landscape that is visible throughout the Cody area!

Spend your last night in Cody enjoying a nice dinner and picking up thoseStreet and shops last souvenirs to mark your amazing trip to Cody/Yellowstone country! One of my family’s favorite dinner options is Zapata’s and a visit to the adjoining Cowtown Candy store – sometimes we go there first!

Let your trip to Cody Country/Yellowstone be the start of a travel tradition. I think I will start planning my 2012 Yellowstone getaways right now! 

Until next time, lovin’ life in Buffalo Bills’ Country!

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