A Family Guide To Cody – Wyoming

Cody – Wyoming is one of those destinations that conjures up images of the Wild West when this area was unexplored and still a wilderness.

It’s a gateway to Yellowstone National Park but is a brilliant destination in its own right.

Colonel William Frederick Cody or as he is more commonly known Buffalo Bill helped found the town in 1896.

He loved the area and owned property near town.

It’s easy to see why he fell in love with this part of the world with its exquisite nature, beautiful landscapes and plentiful wildlife.

I think we fell in love with the area too.

Here’s our family travel guide to Cody – Wyoming to help you plan your adventure to this amazing part of the USA.

Cody - Wyoming - Buffalo Bill Monument

The Buffalo Bill Monument

Learn At The Buffalo Bill Centre Of The West

Whether you’re a fan of the American West or want to find out more about the history, geography and natural history of the area, this is the must-see destination of Cody – Wyoming.

I’ve been wanting to visit for years so when we had decided we were going to visit Yellowstone National Park, a visit to Cody was a must.

The Buffalo Bill Centre of the West is a huge museum, in fact, it’s five museums all rolled into one.

Founded in 1917, the centre preserves the legacy and vision, of Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill Museum

The museum documents the life of William F. Cody aka Buffalo Bill through exhibits including personal belongings, stories and film.

There’s not another figure who represents the American West more prominently than Buffalo Bill, from his days as an army scout, trapper and buffalo hunter to becoming the master showman with his Wild West Show that toured the world.

Cody - Wyoming - Buffalo Bill Museum

A American West Stage Coach In The Buffalo Bill Museum

Cody - Wyoming - Buffalo Bill

A Young Buffalo Bill

Cody - Wyoming - Buffalo Bill Memorabilia

Coat, Hat And A Pair Of Rifles Belonging To Buffalo Bill

Plains Indian Museum

The Plains Indian Museum tells the story of the lives of Plains Indian peoples, their cultures, traditions, values, and histories, as well as the contexts of their lives today.

Artefacts and costumes showcase the Plains Indians lives and traditions.

Cody - Wyoming - Plains Indian Museum

The Plains Indian Museum

Cody - Wyoming - Exhibit In The Plains Indian Museum

Head Dress In The Plains Indian Museum

Draper Natural History Museum

If you’re planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, you should definitely check out this museum.

You’ll learn all about the ecosystems of the park along with displays about the wildlife.

We found it really helpful in getting an understanding of the park before our visit

You’ll also be able to learn all about Yellowstone, the supervolcano and the geology of the area.

Cody - Wyoming - Moose Exhibit

The Draper Natural History Museum Moose Exhibit

Whitney Western Art Museum

The spirit of the American West comes alive in the artwork of the Whitney Western Art Museum.

Paintings, sculptures and other artwork portrays the American West throughout history.

Cody Firearms Museum

This part of the centre is dedicated to firearms and has over 7,000 on display.

The classic pistols of the Wild West to military weapons and rifles of all sorts can be seen.

They even have the original Lone Rangers pistol from the tv show.

Cody - Wyoming - Gallery Of Gunfighters

The Whitney Western Art Museum, Gallery Of Gunfighters

Take A Look Inside The Irma Hotel

Along the main street of Cody – Wyoming you’ll find the Irma Hotel built by Buffalo Bill and named after his daughter, Irma Cody.

It’s still a hotel and restaurant and a look inside will take you back in time to the days of Buffalo Bill.

It has retained its old world charm but now instead of landowners and the gentry, it’s filled with tourists.

Trophy heads of moose and elk still adorn the walls and you can just imagine William Cody walking the halls or sitting out on the veranda.

A focal point is the back bar made of cherry and presented as a gift to Cody by Queen Victoria.

Cody - Wyoming - The Irma Hotel

The Irma Hotel Built By William F Cody

Cody - Wyoming - The Irma Hotel Interior

Inside The Irma Hotel

Stroll Sheridan Avenue

Sheridan Avenue is the main street through Cody and it’s where you’ll find all of the souvenir shops, eateries and the Irma Hotel.

It’s nice to just stroll along and take in the atmosphere and try to imagine back to the days of Buffalo Bill when he would parade his Wild West Show through town after being around the world.

You’ll find the Buffalo Bill Centre at the far end of Sheridan Avenue.

Cody - Wyoming - The Irma Hotel

The Irma Hotel On Sheridan Avenue

See A Rodeo, At Cody Rodeo Nights

We visited after the rodeo season has finished on the 1st September so we weren’t able to go and see this but it would have definitely been on our list for a Summer visit.

It’s an amateur rodeo that takes place weekly throughout the Summer at the specially built stadium in town.

There is also a professional annual Cody Stampede that takes place once a year.

Cody - Wyoming - Cody Nite Rodeo

Cody Nite Rodeo ( not our photo )

Our Thoughts On Cody – Wyoming

I personally love these history packed old American West towns.

Although horses have been replaced by cars and cowboys by tourists, Cody – Wyoming still keeps a hold of the magical feeling of the Old West.

The Buffalo Bill Centre Of The West is such a unique destination on a grand scale with so much to learn from its displays.

We were there nearly a whole day and had to be kicked out at closing time there was so much to see.

You could spend more than a day just in the centre.

Be aware that coach trips come through in the afternoon and the places get busy with the tours.

We stayed in Cody for three nights and used it as our base for visiting Yellowstone National Park.

It’s 50 miles away but Cody is the last place you may find a room before the park entrance.

We found it ideal but the one drawback was that most restaurants close fairly early in town, so after a long day in Yellowstone not much was open by the time we drove back to Cody.

Cody - Wyoming - Cody

The Buffalo Bill Centre Of The West

The Nitty Gritty

How To Get To Cody – Wyoming

Cody isn’t somewhere that you’ll just go through on your way to somewhere else unless that place is Yellowstone National Park.

Cody is South of Billings, North of Salt Lake City and East of Yellowstone.

It’s a great base for visiting Yellowstone if you don’t want to stay in the park lodges.

We stayed for three nights and drove back and forth to the park each day.

We drove from Seattle on the West coast but you could fly into Jackson or Bozeman and rent a vehicle from there.

Where To Stay

So there are loads of places to stay in town but they get filled up pretty quickly especially in the Summer with visitors to Yellowstone.

We visited at the end of the season ( Cody more or less shuts down by the end of Sept/October ) in September and getting a room on arrival was fine.

We visited the tourist information office near the Buffalo Bill Centre to ask about recommendations for hotels.

In the end, we got a fantastic deal by negotiating on a cabin at the Buffalo Bill Village.

The cabins are owned by the Holiday Inn and you have use of the Holiday Inn swimming pool.

We had our pick of cabins and went for a two queen bed cabin with bathroom.

It was lovely and quiet, unlike the hotel that seemed to be packed and quite noisy.

Where To Eat

We didn’t try too many places as we were pretty much driving back and forth to Yellowstone most of the time.

We would leave before sunrise and get back late evening.

Most restaurants close fairly early ( around 8 pm).

We did try Granny’s Restaurant ( that was recommended to us ) just across the road from the Holiday Inn.

It was pretty normal fair and not anything special at all really.

There are lots of other places to eat on Sheridan Avenue which is the main street through Cody.

More information

You can get more info on The Buffalo Bill Centre Of The West here

For info on Cody town click here

And for information about the Cody Nite Rodeo click here

Cody - Wyoming - Buffalo Bill Cabin Village

Our Cabin At The Buffalo Bill Village