This story was created in partnership with Cody Yellowstone.
When the famous old west buffalo hunter, tracker, scout and showman, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was asked to guide a group of Washington DC politicians to Yellowstone National Park in 1890, he spotted an opportunity.
Buffalo Bill noted that there was a need for a “gateway” to the east entrance to the Park. Being an unconscionable opportunist (some say “gambler”), Cody set his sights on creating a hospitality center for Park visitors arriving from the east. With his gamble, Cody, Wyoming was born.
Today, Cody still serves as a major hospitality center and the last stop before the East Entrance to Yellowstone. From authentic western ranch experiences, world class museums, historic buildings and amazing feats of engineering, Cody is a must-stop on for grand American adventures. There is much to do in the Cody Yellowstone area, and here are some ideas for packing as much as possible into three days on your holiday.
Day 1: Grand American Adventure, Culture, and History
One of the first stops you will need to make is at the historic Irma Hotel. Built by Buffalo Bill and named after his daughter Irma, the hotel immediately transports you back to the early 1900s. Grab a hearty western style lunch at any restaurant before climbing aboard a local trolley-style bus for a Cody history tour. This tour will give you perspective on the town and its history, which will enhance the rest of your stay in Cody.
Spend the afternoon strolling along Main Street and visiting the local shops. This is when you might want to finally buy that cowboy hat you’ve always wanted.
Top off the evening at the Cody Nite Rodeo, a Cody tradition that happens every night between June 1 and August 31.
Day 2: Your Grand American Adventures Continue
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is an expansive, award-winning museum specializing in American West culture and history, Native American history, the animals native to the area, the history of guns, and so much more. You could conceivably spend your entire three-day holiday in the Museum of the West, if you didn’t have many other adventures to experience.
But one of the other stops you don’t want to miss is the Cody Firearms Experience. This exhibit explores the importance and history of how the gun helped shape western expansion. The highlight of the Cody Firearms Experience is the opportunity for visitors to actually shoot a gun under the tutelage of an experienced firearms instructor.
After your day of learning and shooting, experience a Cody original. The Dan Miller Cowboy Music Revue is a fun and entertaining live music show that happens every night but Sunday during the summer in the Buffalo Bill Music Hall. Dan and his friends sing and play their instruments while peppering the show with funny stories and amusing historical references. It is a family friendly night of pure western entertainment.
Day 3: Time for some Outdoor Adventure and even more History
It’s time to experience the unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities in and around Cody. Without playing hard in the great outdoors, your great American adventure will not be complete! So start the morning with a guided float of the Shoshone River. The float is not technical, but there are a few rapids, so plan on getting your “seat and feet” wet.
After the float, break out the fly rod for some world-class trout fishing for a few hours before heading back into town to visit two very interesting places.
Old Trail Town is stocked with original buildings from the late 1800s that were saved and moved into town. Also, if you have time left in the day, visit the Cody Dug Up Museum. This free museum is exactly what its name implies: a wonderful collection of various artifacts a local historian and amateur archeologist dug up in and around Cody.
If you are moving on to Yellowstone National Park as part of your grand American adventure, be sure to stop along the route at the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center on the way. The dam was built by, you guessed it, Buffalo Bill to provide a reliable water supply to Cody and generate some of Cody’s electrical power. It is truly an engineering marvel and well worth the stop.
To get the most out of your grand American adventure and your holiday to Yellowstone, do not miss the opportunity Buffalo Bill gambled on and won in beautiful Cody, Wyoming.