Date of Trip: September 2002
Lets start with Buffalo Bill. In Cody there is the Buffalo Bill Historic center. If you are at all interested in the history of the west, then you must visit here. The Irma Hotel in the middle of the main street was built by Cody for his daughter Irma.
For such a small town the street is unfeasably wide. It turns out this was the original layout that allowed oxen carts pulled by teams of 18 oxen to swing around and do a 180 degree turn. The width of the street this left in many western USA towns is perfect for the motor car. Room for cars parked at both sides of the road, two lanes each way and a central lane for turning. At the far western end is the Buffalo Bill Center. The city park is on your right as you look down main street. Towards the center of main street there are many shops and places to eat. At the extreme east end of the street is another area called I think the old town. It’s boardwalks and shops are again nice to visit.
Buffalo Bill Historical Centre: Visit here and allow at least half a day to make a reasonable stab at seeing all there is to see.
- Buffalo Bill Dam: Just outside the west end of town is a nice way to spend and hour or two. Walk along the top of the dam and marvel at the view down the rocky canyon and send some time in the visitor center.
- Irma (Buffalo Bills Daughter) Hotel Hotel: In the middle of Cody’s main street built by Buffalo Bill for his daughter Irma.
- Model Village: I expected this to be really tacky, but was actually very informative and accompanied by an impressive array of artifacts.
- Trail Town Trail: This town is a collection of original wooden cabins that have been taken down, transported here, and rebuilt into a good idea of what an original town in the old west would have looked like.
- Cody Night Rodeo: If you haven’t seen a rodeo go see this one. The awesome power of the bulls used for bull riding has to be seen for real to be believed.
Best Way to Get Around:
This is the self proclaimed best museum of the west in the USA. I can well believe it, it was a wonderful place to visit. It actually now consists of 5 museums (the 5th, the Draper Museum of Natural History opened this year  and I have not sen it). The ones I have seen are:
- Buffalo Bill Museum: The story of Bill’s life and his famous wild west show.
- Whitney Gallery: Fantastic western art. Paintings and sculptures depicting the west.
- Plains Indians: Thought provoking insight into the plains indian culture swept aside by the white european march across the west.
- Cody Firearms: A wonderful collection of antique firearms. Shows the evolution of many famous ‘brand’ e.g. Colt 45.
- Draper Museum: New museum added in 2002 shows the natural history of the area.
- Checkout the web site at www.bbhc.org/
Dine in the Irma Hotel named after Irma, Bill’s daughter. The hotel is listed on the national register of historic places. Perhaps watch the free shoot out re-enactment immediately outside the hotel first to place you back in history.
Its a busy bustling restaurant with the lively hum of families enjoying good food. We had the buffet which was splendid and included fine prime rib. For the latest information checkout the menu page on the hotels Web site.
Have a drink at the famous original cherry wood bar or on warm evenings or days sit with a drink on the boardwalk outside and watch the life on main street Cody pass you by.
Its unlikely that you will visit Cody and not go to nearby (about 70 miles west) Yellowstone National Park. To set you up for a good first day, set off early from Cody and head up the Shoshone Canyon past Buffalo Bill dam and the reservoir behind it. After a wonderfully scenic drive getting ever more mountainous and tree covered, you reach Pahaska about 55 miles outside Cody and just a couple of miles from the East Entrance to Yellowstone. Stop for breakfast/brunch depending upon how early you got up.
This is the site of Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge. The original building is still there in the grounds and it is hauntingly evocative to sit on the veranda and peer through the windows and imagine yourself back in time.
In the modern building there is a good restaurant and the obligatory gift shop. You can actually hire cabins here and go horse riding into the hills. I’ve promised myself I’ll go back and do that someday.
Refreshed and ready for anything hop back in the car and see Yellowstone.