Buffalo Bill Blog

Feb
27

Shh. Don’t Tell the Kids They’re Learning Something

Don’t tell anyone, but I can be one of the sneakiest people you have ever met. Especially when it comes to kids. I have figured out ways to get kids to enjoy learning vacations without even realizing they are learning.

When families come into town, we often head over to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCW). I never tell the kids they are going to a museum because I don’t want them to put up any barriers or start saying things like “Oh no, not another museeeeeum.” You know, using the tone where teenage daughters roll their eyes and say “Oh, Mother” and turn “Mother” into a three-syllable word.

I don’t want them to think they are learning anything. At least until it is too late.

Fortunately, we have an array of “please touch” exhibits and wow-inducing displays that showcase our region’s history and Western spirit and introduce our larger-than-life town founder. The Buffalo Bill Museum features wall-sized displays and interactive exhibits spotlighting the showman’s legendary Wild West Show, encounters with royalty and some of the colorful characters who traveled with him.

One of my first tricks is to casually let it slip that when he was still known as just Bill, Cody was a Pony Express rider who often made a 320-mile ride using 21 horses. The kids like that fact, but they really start to think when I tell them that he was only 14 at the time. I know many parents who say they would like to send their teenagers out the door to go on a long ride that takes nearly a day, but I don’t think they really mean it.

The Buffalo Bill Museum is just part of the BBCW, and I try to show the kids as much as possible knowing that their interests are all over the place. The Draper Museum of Natural History features some terrific displays, and most kids are fascinated with the wolves that were reintroduced close to 20 years ago. The Cody Firearms Museum is usually met with complete enthusiasm or with skepticism. The skeptics are often captivated as they realize just how much engineering and innovation go into creating firearms.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Others take to the Plains Indian Museum and want to learn more about the history of American Indians tribes. The creative types are drawn to the Whitney Western Art Museum, and I always make sure to stop for a little extra time to view the works of my favorite painter, Albert Bierstadt.

Tecumseh’s Miniature Village

Tecumseh’s Miniature Village

Sometimes with the littler kids, I promise to take them to the coolest diorama they have ever seen. Since most of them have made dioramas at school, they have a pretty good idea what to expect. When they get to Tecumseh’s Old West Miniature Village and Museum, however, they are pretty amazed at just how big it is. I take them around the room-sized, glass-enclosed display and again I casually tell them about a few scenes illustrating the history of the West.

Diorama depicting the settlement of the west

Diorama depicting the settlement of the West

Now when I really pull off my best sneaky work is when I convince kids that they should gather some information, shoot a few pictures and even take some notes because when their teachers assign them a project, they won’t really have to do much “work.” Instead, they can just pull out the stuff they gathered on vacation. I also tell them to play it coy about where and when they learned these things. If they think they are pulling a fast one on their teachers their enthusiasm goes up even more.

I also love it when the parents tell me that their kids repeat things they learn weeks and months later. Nothing compares to that experience.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and thinking up new ways to teach your kids about the West – in Cody, Wyo.

Feb
21

Planning a golf getaway in Cody, Wyoming

What is it about the Olympics that makes me want to try all sports?


Golf course in Cody, Wyoming

Plan a golf getaway in Cody, Wyoming!

I don’t know about you, but when I watch the Olympics I want to head to our ice arena, strap on my skates and start doing laps. I am sure that I look just like the speed skaters as they hit those turns performing those perfect crossovers. In fact, the Dutch skaters – especially the Mulder twins – would probably ask me for a few training tips.

A girl can dream, can’t she?

If it’s not skating, I want to drive to Sleeping Giant and spend the afternoon on my snowboard in the terrain park or racing some friends on skis in an impromptu slalom. Or we could cross country any number of places in the area. I wish we had a bobsled run, and something about curling is simply mesmerizing.

To most of us here in Cody, the specific activity is not always the most important thing. The most important thing is getting out and enjoying any number of activities. This summer I intend to hike, bike, fish, fly, ride and more.

Something that I also plan on mastering this year is golf. While I have played many times, I am sure that the only reason I am not shooting par is that I just need new clubs. Right?

We have two nice courses I highly recommend here in Cody Country for a Wyoming golf getaway.

The Olive Glenn Golf & Country Club opened in 1970 and is host to many Wyoming State Golf Association tournaments. The biggest event was a 1997 international ladies tournament won by Loren Ochoa who went on to become the world’s top-ranked women’s golfer. Maybe it’s because she was so good and made the game look so easy that the rest of believe we are just one lesson or a new putter away from breaking par.


Olive Glenn Golf & Country Club in Cody, Wyoming

Play at the Olive Glenn Golf & Country Club in Cody, Wyoming!

Olive Glenn is open April 1 to November 1. It features 18 holes and is relatively flat with plenty of trees and water defining the holes. The course is very walkable, and the superintendent is a stickler about wearing the proper footwear. That means no cowboy boots anywhere near the course.

The Powell Golf Club is located seven miles outside the town of Powell. It features 18 holes measuring close to 6,700 yards. Each nine has a distinct feel to it. The holes on the Desert nine holes are defined by sage wood and grease wood plants that are more trouble than you might think. People are tempted to rip it as far they can because of the wide open look, and the result is a high-risk, high-reward half round.

On the Pines half of the course, golfers need to change their approach and be more concerned with the trees lining both sides of many holes. If you just wail away with your Big Bertha driver, you are going to eventually pay for it.

Both courses feature friendly staffs, restaurants, driving ranges and practice facilities. And of course, the surrounding scenery will make you glad you selected Yellowstone Country for a golf vacation.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and practicing my putting while watching curling – in Cody, Wyoming.

Feb
06

The Easy Way to Plan a Vacation to Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, Or What I Like to do in my Free Time

When it comes time to plan a summer vacation in Cody (or Yellowstone or Wyoming) my friends have developed a foolproof method.

They let me do it for them.

I don’t mean to be a busybody; it’s just that my enthusiasm kicks in when I hear the words “Yellowstone Vacation” or “I’m thinking of heading to Wyoming this summer, do you have any special tips or suggestions?”

I can put together a three-, five- or 10-day itinerary faster than you can say “Corrie, slow down and take deep breaths. You’re starting to concern me.”

When people do allow me to share my experience, the first thing I suggest is that they try to envision just how much space we have here in the West. Wyoming on a single page in the road atlas can look like it is the same size as Ohio. Not even close. To illustrate, Interstate 80 across Wyoming is a little more than 400 miles while Interstate 80 across Ohio is close to 235 miles. People move here for our wide open spaces and big skies, but they learn quickly to not try and see everything in one day.


Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Exterior of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

My second Wyoming vacation tip is to plan, but don’t plan too much. If you are coming to Cody this summer, by all means plan to attend the Cody Nite Rodeo or visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West  or any other great attractions. You don’t, however, need to declare that if it is Wednesday afternoon you have to experience the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center or spend exactly one hour at Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West. The region is full of fun, quirky, historic, unusual, somber, light-hearted, rugged, rustic and comfortable places. What they are not are items to be crossed off your list.


Rodeo every night in Cody Country, June — August

Rodeo every night in Cody Country, June — August!

My third suggestion is something I learned from my parents. Let each person choose an activity, and then everybody else has to participate. My mother was never a water person and would not choose to go rafting, but she had an absolute great time navigating the rapids on the Shoshone River here in Cody. And different people simply notice different things. You expect great artifacts at the Center of the West, but if you look closely at the items at Tecumseh’s Old West Miniature Village and Museum you will begin to realize that the owner has amassed an incredible collection of his own.


Beehive geyser

Beehive geyser is one of many geysers that erupt regularly in Yellowstone National Park!

There are great reasons that vacationers from around the world come for a summer vacation in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country. Many people travel here and then return again and again.

If you insist on bypassing “Corrie’s Vacation Planning Service,” here is one final tip. Go to www.yellowstonecountry.org for information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, suggested itineraries, weather and more. Be sure to check out  the “Buffalo Bill’s Travel Saver” page for the latest travel packages and discounts.  Or you can call the Cody Country Visitors Center  at 1-800-393-2639.

Jan
28

New Furniture

 

furniture - sofa, table, lamp on rug

I confess. I tend to get pretty attached to my stuff. I still have my childhood stuffed bison – which my parents named Teddy – I swear! – that was chewed, squeezed, thrown, stomped and drooled upon. And I’ll never throw it away.

But anyone who has been to my house lately would probably agree that some of my furniture is getting pretty worn and ragged. I have a chair with a chunk out of one of the legs thanks to my puppy, and a sofa with the stuffing coming out of one of the cushions. For awhile, I just turned that cushion over but now the stuffing is coming out of both sides and the throw blanket covering that spot isn’t fooling anyone.

So I’m going furniture shopping. Did you know January and February were two of the best months of the year to shop for furniture? Fortunately, Yellowstone Country has dozens of designers and furniture makers who specialize in the Western rustic style of furniture that was first made famous by Thomas Molesworth, who supplied distinctive Western-style furniture to some of Cody’s finest guest and dude ranches from the 1930s through the ‘60s.

I’m thinking of replacing the chair and sofa with two chairs, an accent table and table lamp. The hardest thing about doing this is deciding which fabulous piece to buy!

You’ve probably heard of Doug Nordberg, who often incorporates  antlers and generously stuffed fur-covered cushions in his furniture designs for Nordberg Furniture. Estes Woodworks  is another great place to shop for furniture. I’ve had my eye on one of their leather-topped tables for ages. Marc Taggart is another great furniture designer. There’s a barrel chair covered in suede and edged with fringe trim that would look terrific in the corner of my living room.

Most of the two dozen or so furniture builders in town will provide you with tours of their showrooms, and they’re happy to talk to you about how they craft their unique pieces. And their furniture is also sold in the many galleries and shops in town.

And of course nearly all of these designers participate in Cody High Style, where their furniture is celebrated in exhibits, highlighted in seminars and on display during studio tours.

January and February can be on the quiet side, so it’s a great time to shop for that perfect piece for your home. I think I might even have a little party once I replace the furniture. Perhaps we can have a little ceremony when I throw out the throw blanket and carefully place Teddy in just the right spot on my new table.

Until next time I’ll be busy measuring and shopping for western style furniture in Cody!

cartoon cowgirlCorrie N. Cody

Jan
21

Sleeping Giant Discount

 

skiiers on snowy mountain

While I don’t have a large house, I do love hosting and entertaining out-of-town guests.

During the summer my guest room is often used by friends and relatives coming to town on vacation, to visit family or to attend class reunions. When you live in such a desirable destination, you learn to either embrace these opportunities like I do, or you develop strategies to ensure guests stay somewhere else.

I believe I do go a good job of making people feel welcome. I recently hosted some good friends who were having their hardwood floors sanded and refinished. When it was time for the stain and topcoats, they avoided their house by moving in with me for the weekend where we enjoyed great conversation and watched the Rocky Mountain region’s Broncos make their way to the Super Bowl.

In the next few weeks, however, I was faced with a dilemma as two sets of friends want to visit at the same time.

Since my house is not big enough for everyone, I wasn’t sure what to do. I was already committed to the first set of friends who called me, but I wanted to do something to take the sting out of turning the second group away.

Fortunately, Sleeping Giant Ski Area helped come up with a solution. Because one group planned on skiing while they were in town, I referred them to some of our local hotels who have developed a package that results in discounted lift tickets at the ski hill.

Our non-profit, family-friendly ski area located west of Cody is offering a “Ski and Stay” package in partnership with several lodging properties in the Cody area. The package includes up to four full-day $20 lift tickets for skiers. Hotels cover a broad spectrum of budgets and styles, including charming guest ranches, luxurious boutique inns and budget-focused, family-friendly hotels.

Lift tickets normally cost $30 for adults ages 19-69, $24 for juniors ages 13 – 18, $14 for children ages six – 12. Lift tickets are free for skiers 70 or older and five years and under.

I plan on joining the group one of the days they hit the slopes as I just love nothing more than a day downhill skiing.

Since Sleeping Giant reopened five years ago I start to get grumpy in the winter if I don’t make it out there every week or two during the season.

First opened in 1936, Sleeping Giant is one of the country’s oldest ski areas. When it reopened five years ago after a multi-year closure, the ski area unveiled a much-lauded terrain park that is one of the few in the country that was constructed almost entirely of materials found on the hill.

The hill is located in the Shoshone National Forest near the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park and features two chairlifts and a magic carpet, snowmaking equipment and the terrain park featuring quarter pipes, rails, boxes and jumps.

If you are heading out this way soon, please let me know. If I cannot put you up for a night or two, perhaps I can at least take you out to my favorite ski hill.

Lovin’ life – making tight parallel turns – in Cody, Wyo.

Corrie N. Codycartoon cowgirl

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