Cody, Wyoming, is known for its rodeo and its famous museum, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Members of our family had been to the museum before and encouraged us to add it to the itinerary. We are glad that we took their advice. We spent most of the day there and it definitely lived up to its billing.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West has an extraordinary collection of artifacts, history, wildlife, and art. This Center is really five museums in one: the Draper Natural History Museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Whitney Western Art Museum, and the Cody Firearms Museum. Each one is very informative and interactive. They have free guided tours and demonstrations. In addition, they also boast a Sculpture garden, the Cody Family Home, a Play park for children, and an authentic Chuck wagon on the front lawn.
David and I enjoyed the guided tour of the Natural History Museum and learned a lot about the wildlife in the area. Also, we went to two talks about Raptors. The first was about owls and they brought three owls out for us to see. The second was also about birds of prey and we saw a golden eagle, a peregrine falcon, and a vulture. It was fascinating to hear about and see these birds.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West also introduced us to Buffalo Bill. He began his career as a well-known scout for the military and for many settlers headed west. He knew how to negotiate passage through Indian territories. After his days on the plains, however, he became a showman with his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. His show, which toured nationally and internationally, introduced many people to the West. In fact, the show traveled to England for a presentation to the Queen. The show included Plains Indians, cowboys, sharp shooters, rodeo acts, etc. He is credited for having changed public opinion about cowboys who, prior to his Show, were thought to have been deceitful and despicable people. After the Show, the cowboy was embraced and even romanticized in many Western novels.
We had a wonderful conversation with the cook at the Chuck wagon on the lawn. He had a fire going and had made some of the best campfire beans and sourdough biscuits that we have ever tasted. He was also a fountain of information about the cattle drives that lasted from the 1860’s to the 1890’s. We asked him many questions and he was very happy to share his knowledge with us.
Here are the recipes for the biscuits and the beans, if you would like to try them.
The day that we spent at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West left us wanting more. We were not able to see everything that this fine museum has to offer. We would highly recommend that you visit it if you are ever in Cody, Wyoming.
Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to a rodeo. We will have to do that next time we find ourselves in Cody, Wyoming.