I know I’m showing my age, but I was a big fan of Jim Nabors’ Gomer Pyle when I was a kid, and my friends and I would try to outdo each other with our imitations of his signature line, “surprise, surprise, surprise.” No self-respecting kid from Cody could really ever master the southern accent, but that didn’t stop us from running around town and yelling “surprise, surprise, surprise” every time we did something fun. Which in Cody, was practically every day.
The line has been on my mind this summer because my little town of Cody has a bunch of surprises in store for the summer visitors who have been enjoying Cody’s hospitality.
New digs for Dan Miller. My favorite cowboy singer, Dan Miller, and his super-talented Empty Saddles Band have moved to a new venue at the new Kuyper Dining Pavilion in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West this summer. And there’s also a dinner-and-show option. Dan Miller and his band are now in their 12th year, and they have performed their distinctive brand of cowboy music for more than 110,000 visitors from some 65 countries around the world. The pavilion opened in June, and I made sure I bought a seat for the new dinner-and-show on one of the first nights. You can also buy a ticket for the show only or for the show, dinner and museum entrance.
Zippity do dah. Sleeping Giant Ski Area – one of my favorite places to be in the winter – is now on my summer-season fun list, with a new zip line that travels more than 3,520 feet as high as 93 feet above the ground in the wilderness region just outside of the East Entrance to Yellowstone. There is a video on the Sleeping Giant website that demonstrates the two ways to disembark from the course. You can just walk down the stairs, or you can take the “Quick Drop,” a 35-foot free fall to the ground. Gulp.
Shooting the guns that won the West. One of the most inventive attractions I’ve seen in a long time is the new Cody Firearms Experience, where you can tap into your inner Annie Oakley and shoot replicas of guns from history. There’s also a kid-friendly Western-themed arcade with pistols that shoot lasers at moving target like snakes and skunks. There is also a room full of all sorts of wild critters you would see in Cody Country – stuffed of course!
And – surprise, surprise, surprise – Cody has a bunch of big anniversaries this year too. This year is the 120th anniversary of the town of Cody and the 5th anniversary of the Heart Mountain WWW Interpretive Center. It’s also the 20th year our own Cody Gunfighters have been putting on their nightly show in front of the Irma Hotel. Plus, it is the 125th anniversary of the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
Until next time, I’m loving life – and all of its surprises – here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country.