If your family is anything like mine, there’s at least one family member who gets a little compulsive about group activities. Believe it or not, in my family that person is not me; it’s my history-loving Dad.
He can spend days wandering through the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. And we always let him have his way, because every time he visits he buys a great steak dinner for the whole gang.
Here are six ways my Dad likes to explore the history of Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country:
- Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The massive, world-renowned Buffalo Bill Center of the West houses five superior museums under one modern roof, but the museum got its start in 1927 in a historic building across the street that now houses the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce and the Cody Country Art League. The Center of the West is comprised of the Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum and Plains Indian Museum. The Center employs a variety of techniques – interactive displays, life-sized vintage photographs, exhibits – to engage and inspire visitors.
- Cody Firearms Experience. Cody’s newest attraction, the Cody Firearms Experience gives history-loving visitors a chance to see – and shoot – replicas of guns throughout the region’s history, from the Indian Trade Musket in use from 1760 to 1830 to the Winchester Model 1873 Rifle, which was marketed as “the gun that won the West.” A state-of-the-art indoor firing range gives visitors a chance to test their aim – and fire a Gatling Gun.
- Cody Dug Up Gun Museum. While this fun and family-friendly museum has only been open for five years, it houses a collection of relic guns and weapons throughout American history. This is a must-see for travelers interested in guns and history.
- Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center. This important interpretive center is situated at the site of the Heart Mountain Internment Camp, home to some 14,000 Japanese-American citizens – mostly from California – who were interned there following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Opened in August 2011, the Interpretive Center includes thoughtfully presented exhibits that explore that difficult period of our country’s history.
- Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West. An enclave of 26 frontier buildings (one used by Butch Cassidy and his gang), Old Trail Town offers a built-in teaching moment. Astonished youngsters are often heard commenting about how small the houses were back then.
- Pahaska Tepee. This is where Buffalo Bill went to relax with friends such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Prince of Monaco. Built in 1904, this hunting lodge sits just outside the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. It was called Pahaska after the nickname given to him by the local Indians; it means “long hair.” The rustic log lodge displays many gifts given to Cody by guests.
Until next week, I am lovin’ life and appeasing my history-loving Dad in Cody, Wyo.