Fort Cody Trading Post, in operation since 1963, is the home of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show - in miniature. The show, made by Ernie and Virginia Palmquist, took 12 years to carve and contains over 20,000 hand carved pieces - many animated. The Grand Parade features cowboys from all over the world, wearing costumes and carrying their country's flag. The Main Show in center ring features Buffalo Bill himself, cowboys, Native Americans and his friend, Annie Oakley.
OLD WEST MUSEUM - Authentic cowboy gear - vintage chaps, cowboy boots and hats, and beautiful saddles. U.S. Cavalry and Indian Wars items, Native Indian Beadwork, costumes and Skookum dolls.
FORT CODY TRADING POST -- Souvenirs and Gifts - Minnetonka Moccasins, T-shirts, Western Them books. etc.
The best thing about Fort Cody is that it's FREE admission. Great family fun.
This is an interesting adventure for young and old. There are "experts" on hand to explain what you are seeing. When we were up in the observation area we estimated that we observed about a hundred diesel engines and thousands of freight cars. It was especially fun to watch cars pushed over "the hump" and then individually rolled down the hill and onto the correct track where they were coupled onto their train.
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North Platte was home of the man who made the Wild West world-renowned. In his day he was as famous, or even more so, than any entertainment superstar today. No one figure personifies the frontier spirit better than William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, the West's most colorful showman, army scout and buffalo hunter.
This State Historical Park preserves 25 acres of what was originally Buffalo Bill's home, Scout's Rest Ranch. Cody's elegant Victorian house, built in 1886, is a museum, with numerous exhibits depicting the life and times of Buffalo Bill and other members of his Wild West Show, which toured throughout the United States and Europe.
Other attractions in the park include Sandhill Crane viewing and camping facilities. A State Park Permit is required for all vehicles and costs $2.50 daily.
The Park's Hours of Operation are:
March 24 - Memorial Day: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Memorial Day - Labor Day: Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Labor Day - October 24: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The centerpiece of Cody Park is a lake, surrounded by a high chain-linked fence. Inside the fenced area are several species of animals in a natural setting which may be viewed by the visitor. These include:
Animal feed is available through park concessions for those who wish to feed the wildlife through the fence. This is a wonderful opportunity for children and others who want to see the animals at close range.
Western Heritage Museum is directly behind the Lincoln County Historical Museum, and admission is included with your ticket to the museum. It is a collection of authentic pioneer structures which have been moved here from other nearby locations and restored. The buildings are all furnished in period pieces and are open to visitors. In the Western Heritage Village you will find:
Windmill and Water Tower
Pony Express Log Building - 1866
Fort McPherson Headquarters Building - 1863
DAR Log Cabin - 1866
Frederick School and Library
Country School - 1903
Fredricksen "Sears House" with Furnishings
Barber Shop - 1900
Brady Island Union Pacific Railroad Depot - 1866
Two Story Log House - First Homesead in Area - 1869
A part of the Cody Park Railroad Display is a small museum in the picturesque old Depot from Hershey, Nebraska. The Depot has been so well preserved that to walk inside is like stepping back in time to when the station was still in business. Inside is also a collection of memorabilia and several displays which will be of interest to any Railroad enthusiast. Restrooms are also available in the Depot.
The Union Pacific Railroad Co. donated and installed steam locomotive UP 3977 in the Railroad Display area of Cody Park in 1968. It is the biggest locomotive I have ever seen - one of two remaining 3900 class Challenger type locomotives in existence, and the only one on display.
Accompanying the 3977 Unit is a baggage car, mail car, caboose, orderboard water crane, baggage truck and semaphore block signal. Also on display is another train, Unit 6922, donated to the City of North Platte by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1985. It was fun to climb on board and take a walking tour through each of these trains. Since I was camping nearby I also passed the display during the night and was able to observe working headlights, running lights, and marker lights on the locomotives.
The Railroad Display is open May 1 through the end of September, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily.
Cody Park is a large multi-use park owned and operated by Lincoln County. The Park never closes and admission is free. At the entrance to Cody Park is the Wild West Memorial. This is near the site of the historic Old Glory Blowout, the first spectator rodeo held in 1882, staged by William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
The focus of the Wild West Memorial is the life-sized bronze statue of Buffalo Bill. Surrounding the gazebo are 48 U.S. state flags, which represent the U.S. states visited by Cody with his Wild West Show.
There are numerous other ammenities in the park. They include:
Children's Amusement Rides
Picnic shelter rental facility
Wildlife Viewing Area
North Platte River Access
The last three of these I consider to be of enough interest to give them their own tips.
The history, heritage and frontier spirit of Western Nebraska are captured at the Lincoln County Historical Museum. I spent a couple of fascinating hours here and would have stayed longer but it was closing time.
One of the highlights of the museum is the famous World War II Canteen. The interpretative display details the story of volunteers who for 51 months, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, throughout World War II met every U.S. Military train which passed through the major rail hub of North Platte. They provided food, treats, and hospitality for more than six million servicemen and women during the Canteen's existence.
There are numerous other Old West exhibits and displays in the museum which will delight any history buff.
Season and Hours of operation:
May 1st - Labor Day
Sunday - 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Mon-Sat - 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Labor Day - September
Mon-Sat - 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission is $3.00 for adults and $8.00 per family.
William F. Cody, the famed Pony Express rider, Indian fighter, and buffalo hunter turned showman, acquired the nickname "Buffalo Bill" after he killed 4,280 Bison during an eight month period in 1867. He built this barn and ranch, 20 years later, at the height of his popular Wild West Show. He spared no expense. The immense barn, along with the original house, and outbuildings, has been restored and is being preserved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as a State Historical Park.
The barn features Wild West Show memorabilia, original posters, and a movie made of film clips taken at the time the show was touring throughout the United State and Europe. Visitors are allowed to explore both the ground floor and the loft. I found the experience very educational as well as entertaining. It will give you a whole new insight into and appreciation for the "Wild West."