So what are the “Must Dos” in Cody/Yellowstone Country?
The 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 located 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!
Buffalo 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 Rodeo 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!
Meeteetse 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 is 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.
Cody 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 that 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!