Favorite Things to Visit
If you plan to be in Cody at least a day, and enjoy museums, then the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is a must. Photo 2 shows a statue that may be seen near the Historical Center--many people like to have their picture, or their children's photo taken standing next to this statue. Photo 3 shows a bronze titled Washakie, Chief of the Shoshone, a bronze by R.V. Greeves created 1999. This Statue may be seen in the yard of the Historical Center.
Another very unique and must see museum is Old Trail Town. If you enjoy learning about the history of the old west and plan to be in Cody for more than a day don't miss this gem.
Take time to walk along Sheridan Avenue, the main downtown street of Cody. Stop and look in some of the local Indian shops and art galleries. Some of these stores have excellent quality items. Some of my fondest memores are watching the sunset over Carter and Cedar Mountains, visiting the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and wandering through Old Trail Town. Watching Big Horn Sheep out the South Fork of the Shoshone River in the winter, and grizzly bears along the North Fork of the Shoshone River in the spring. Camping at Big Game Campground along the North Fork and watching beavers working on their home near-by. One time in a late fall we camped in another National Forest campground close to Yellowstone and watched a large buffalo come into the campground and scratch his sides against a picnic table.
Working out at our wonderful 'Quad Center' may or may not be fun, but it is a great way to stay in shape.---Out of towners welcome. Two great swimming pools, exercise equipment, racketball, basketball, therapy pool, hot tub.
Canoeing and Kayaking
InYellowstone Park canoeing is allowed on Yellowstone Lake, Lewis Lake, and Shoshone Lakes, as well as some smaller bodies of water within the park. No boats are allowed on any river inside the park except the waterway between Lewis and Shoshone Lakes. A permit must be obtained before launching your canoe. Check at the Canyon and Mammoth Backcountry Offices, Bechler Ranger Station, and at the West and Northwest entrance gates for these. Permits are $10 per year or $5 for seven days. A Coast Guard-approved life vest is required for each person in the canoe. Be aware that high winds may appear suddenly and the water temperature is very cold in the park, so crossing large expanses of open water is not recommended.
Another area where canoeing and kayaking can be enjoyed is Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area near Lovell. (See my Off the Beaten Path: Scenic Drive to Big Horn Canyon section.) You can launch at Barry’s Landing and paddle north through 400-foot sheer cliffs for miles toward Yellowtail Dam in Montana. The water is very deep at 150-200 feet. The canyon is fairly narrow so that it feels more like paddling through a river than a lake, but unlike a river there are no noticeable currents. Winds and storms, however, can develop suddenly. Because of the sheer cliffs in most areas it can be difficult to stop along the shore in many places, so be sure to check weather reports before venturing out, and as always wear your life vest.
The Bear Tooth Highway also will carry you to canoeing opportunities. (See my Off the Beaten Path: Scenic Drive Through Sunlight Basin section.) Although there are a number of beautiful small lakes in this area, you will find that many are too far from the highway, or too small to canoe on, but a few are accessible and make for a pleasant excursion. Again beware of the water temperature.
Scenic Drive Through Sunlight Basin
There are a number of beautiful mountain drives around Cody. The drive into Sunlight Basin (the Chief Joseph Highway) is especially nice. Drive about 20 miles north of Cody on highway 120. The road traveling through the basin is highway 296. It passes over Dead Indian Pass, which features one of the most outstanding vistas in the state. The spectacular Sunlight Creek Bridge is the highest in the state, stop and walk out to look down into the canyon. At one time there use to be a sign on this bridge stating No Fishing Allowed From Bridge. Looking at the river far below, you will have to laugh at the ridiculousness of this sign! It was so funny, that I missed it when the sign was finally removed. From here you will follow the road to the Beartooth Highway. At this intersection you have a choice of two scenic paths back to Cody. You can turn west and go through the scenic Montana communities of Cook City and Silver Gate and enter Yellowstone through the northeast gate. Travel through the park and exit at the east gate and back to Cody. Or you can go up the Beartooth highway with it's many small lakes to the pass and on down into Red Lodge, Montana. CBS television's Charles Kurault has called this 'America's most scenic highway.' You will wonder why this area isn't a National Monument or Park. I consider it one of Cody's best kept secrets. From Red Lodge it is an hour’s drive back to Cody. Both loops are favorites of locals, but I love the one over the Beartooths the best. You can pack a picnic, or eat in one of the above mentioned small communities.
My last photo was taken along the Beartooth Highway in August.
Great Enertainment and Dinner at one place
"Buffalo Bill Chuckwagon dinner and song show"
In Cody Wyoming there is plenty to do, like the Cody night rodeo, and the Museum, 50 minutes away from Cody you even have Yellowstone national park, were always looking for great entertainment and places to eat. Well here is one that has both of them, good food and entertainment. The Buffalo Bill Chuckwagon is a buffet style dinner that you eat while being entertained by several cowboys on stage. There idea was making you feel like you were back in old Cody Wyoming, eating dinner after a long day of riding in a chuckwagon. Well it’s a fun night, and you definitely don’t want to miss the chance to eat at the Buffalo Bill Chuckwagon in Cody Wyoming. Here is there website: www.buffalobillchuckwagon.com
Buffalo Bill Historical Center, A Cody Gem
"BBHC’s Cody Fire Arms Museum"
Many people pass through Cody each year on their way to Yellowstone National Park. Some, spend a day or two in town, others just pass on through. With all that Cody has to offer, it could be a vacation destination on its own. Of all the various activities one can do in town, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC) is my favorite. In this photo you see a display from the BBHC’s Cody Fire Arms Museum. This is a recreation of Camp Monaco. In 1913 Prince Albert I of Monaco came to the United States to visit a friend, A. Anderson, who owned the Palette Ranch, which was located south of Cody. W.F. Bill Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, our town’s founder, guided the prince and his party on a hunting trip up the North Fork of the Shoshone River, where they set up camp about 65 miles west of town. While in this camp, the Royal Artist, Louis Tinayre, carved a section of an ancient Englemann spruce with the inscription CAMP MONACO 1913, a bear paw print which symbolized the Prince's killing of a black bear, and the flags of the United States and Monaco. This tree stood until it died because to conditions caused by the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fires. In 1993 the Forest Service allowed the Camp Monaco Tree to be cut, and sections of it flown by helicopter to Cody. The base of this tree, with its carving, can now be seen as part of this recreated camp. The tree, not shown in this photo, is located on the left side of the display.
"BBHC’s Whitney Gallery of Western Art"
The Whitney Gallery of Western Art contains sculptures and paintings, created by contemporary artists, as well as masterworks by revered artists. To enhance your visit to the Whitney you will also find recreated studios. In this photo you see the recreated studio of W.H.D. Koerner, who lived from 1878 to 1938. Koerner was born in Germany, however his family immigrated to the United States, where he was raised in Iowa. He is best known for his work as an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post, where much of his work was devoted to the American West.
One of the contemporary artists, whose work you will view, is James Bama, a local artist who lives in Wapiti Valley. This painting, titled Contemporary Sioux Indian, is of Wendy Irving, a modern day Oglala Sioux. He is wearing a choker necklace, a ribbon shirt, and his braids are wrapped with otter skin, all symbolizing old traditions of his people. Bama placed Irving against a pealing background with the words No Parking, Violators Towed Away. This symbolizes the American Indian, who wanting to preserve traditions, sometimes feels as though he does not fit in the world of the modern white man.
"BBHC’s Plains Indian Museum"
If you are at all interested in the Plains Indians, don’t miss the BBHC’s Plains Indian Museum. It has the finest collection of Plains Indian’s art and artifacts in the United States. You will enjoy stories, artifacts, modern day Indian clothing and art, as well as recreated scenes. In this display case you see a number of items. The cradle on the left is an 1885 Cheyenne cradle and is made of blue seed beads, deer hide, wool trade cloth, and wood. The cradle just to the right of the blue beaded one is also a Cheyenne cradleboard from 1885. It is made of white seed beads, deer hide, wool trade cloth, and wood. There are also a number of children’s toys, as well as a young girls dress in this display.
This is one of my favorite displays within the Plains Indian Museum. This is a full, standing tepee, with the door flaps folded back. The interior is designed to show you what a tepee home may have looked like. Walk around the outside of the tepee, and sit on the bench or floor in front of the open door. A story will begin, narrated by an American Indian that will tell you about life in a tepee, and what the objects within the tepee are.
"Buffalo Bill Historical Center's Garden"
As you walk from the front entrance straight back to the Plains Indian Museum, you will walk through a glass hallway with gardens on both sides. If it is a nice day, and you are not rushed, take time to step into the gardens. It is a pleasant outside experience, complete with sculptures and historic buildings. The photo was taken on an early, cloudy, spring day in May. It is of the garden that will be on your left as you walk toward the Indian section. The yellow house that you see in the background on the right side of the photo is Buffalo Bill’s boyhood home. This home is on the National Registrar of Historic Places in the United States. This two story home was built in 1841, and was originally located in LeClaire, Iowa, on the Mississippi River. In 1969 the BBHC purchased this building, and moved it to Cody. The sculpture that you see in the foreground is entitled Sacajawea and was created by Harry Jackson, a local artist who also has a studio in Italy. There are a number of works by Jackson in the Whitney Museum of Art. Sacajawea was a Shoshone Indian woman who was part of the Lews and Clark Expedition between 1804 and 1805 as they traveled thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean.
This sculpture is a 1997 bronze created by R.V. Greeves. The sculpture is of Crazy Horse, a respected Lakota Indian, who fought to preserve his territory and his people’s way of life. He was killed in 1877, when struggling while being arrested. While his arms were held by one of the arresting officers, a soldier ran him through with a bayonet. This sculpture is located in the garden to the right as you walk from the main entrance of the BBHC toward the Plains Indian Museum.
"BBHC’s Draper Museum of Natural History"
This is a photo of the Draper Learning Lab, located in the Draper Museum of Natural History. Although this lab is often closed to the public, there is a viewing area. Step up to the row of windows and look in. You may see Draper staff and volunteers working in the lab, creating specimens for future presentations, research, and learning activities. I do volunteer work in the lab twice a week. Some of the things that we do are to create study skins, and specimens such as bird wings, feet, tails, and skulls. Mammals, insects, and plants are also prepared for various museum, scientific, and educational uses. School classes are welcome to visit the lab, and open house days allow the public to ask questions and find out what we do in the lab. This lab is also involved in scientific studies, with such projects as documenting observations of eagle nests, and bird banding activities. If the door is open while you are visiting, come in, look around, and ask questions. One of the questions we get, is where do the animals and birds come from? We do not kill any of the animals and birds you see on display. We receive them from various licensed people, such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. There are many reasons why these have died. In some cases these are birds that came from our licensed bird rehabilitator, but the bird did not survive. In others they may be window strikes, hit by cars, natural deaths, or killed by poachers. They may also be animals that had to be destroyed by the Game and Fish because they have become a danger to live stock or humans. This is a good reason never to feed large wild animals when you are in the wild. Around here we have a saying, a fed bear is a dead bear. Unfortunately, if you feed bears, coyotes, or other wild animals, they will learn to associate food with people, and loose their natural fear of humans. They then become a danger to humans, and may even begin frequenting areas where people live in search of food.
The Draper Museum of Natural History is also dedicated to teaching the public about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Take time to view this excellent 1:58 minute video that highlights a few of the Draper's educational programs. Draper Education
Another behind the scenes aspect of the Draper is its on going research project on nesting Golden Eagles. Visit this link to read about this research project, including reports from the field. Draper Golden Eagle Nesting Research Project