Adventuring into the Wilds of Yellowstone and Cody Country
The last time I went to Yellowstone National Park and Cody I was 10 years old. It was the first summer my eldest brother no longer lived at home and, now that I am a parent, I believe the trip was my own parent’s attempt to get us two remaining children to bond.
It didn’t work.
I remember lots of trees in Yellowstone and a statute in Cody as well as my other brother, then 17, glaring at me a lot. Keep in mind I was filling the car with my solo version of Reba McIntyre songs, but unfortunately that’s what I remember of my trip.
Fast forward nearly 20 years and I have been anxiously awaiting my return to the Northwest corner of the state. And of course, Wyoming never disappoints.
I, along with around 20 of Wyoming’s highly, highly informative visitor center experts, enjoyed three action-packed days in Yellowstone and Cody Country. Each year, the Wyoming Office of Tourism organizes a familiarization trip to different sections of the state to allow staff to be better informed for our visitors. Not only do they leave better informed, but they experience everything for themselves.
We started our journey in Cody.
Cody serves as the gateway into Yellowstone National Park and home to the East entrance into the park. Not only is Cody the path to first national park, but it holds a plethora of history about Wyoming, the West and of course, Buffalo Bill Cody.
Cody is Buffalo Bill Country. If appropriate, I would underline, bold and italicize the word “is.” And if you want to hear all the fascinating things about Buffalo Bill’s life and the creation of Cody, make sure you take the trolley tour. Our guides were fab-u-lous.
Here’s a quick video to better inform you about the man, the myth, the legend: Buffalo Bill.
Known as one the greatest entertainers to ever live, Buffalo Bill introduced the world to the West. It makes sense that Cody is now the perfect place to experience the West. Whether that’s a rodeo every summer night or experiencing the great outdoors of the area, there’s plenty of opportunities to get wild.
A visit to Cody would not be complete without taking time to experience the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. With five museums, it’s no wonder an admissions pass grants you two days’ access to the facility. Featuring the Buffalo Bill Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum and the Plains Indian Museum, the facility is a Smithsonian affiliate featuring displays on loan from the Smithsonian.
Make sure you leave enough time in your itinerary to experience the Center of the West as best you can. You’ll leave with a favorite, mine was the Whitney Western Art Museum, but each is remarkable.
Here’s a few more can’t miss attractions:
- Dan Miller Show Music Revue-I wish I had been able to capture better photos of this. Dan Miller, joined by his amazing band that includes his daughter, will leave you completely satisfied. Expect to laugh, especially if he sings “It takes a whole lot of liquor to love her”—which was my favorite. His daughter, Hannah, also had a solo performance. A song about Wyoming, both the song and her execution of it left me in tears. Loved it. Read the outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor, they’re not lying.
- Heart Mountain Interpretive Center-The Interpretive Center shows the history of Heart Mountain when it served as an internment camp for more than 14,000 Japanese Americans from 1942 to 1945. The staff is a wealth of knowledge about the internment camp and history of what those imprisoned here went through. Located in Powell, just outside of Cody, the facility opened in 2011.
- Cody Shopping—If you’re like me and you have a habit of letting your vacation spending carry you away, Downtown Cody is the perfect place for you. Stop and the unique shops that line this Western town and grab a bite to eat. If you happen to eat at the Irma Motel and get the prime rib buffet—lucky you. Prepare for a happy little food coma, so shop first.
- Nightly Rodeo-Cody is home to a nightly rodeo during the summer season. Although we missed the season by a few weeks, Cody is a great place to catch a Wyoming rodeo.
- Cody Visitor Center-Sheila and staff at the visitor center are your best resource to create the most memorable Cody vacation.
Look for another blog from me next week about Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. And be sure to share your Wyoming experiences using #WY125. You can catch some our trip photos if you look up the hashtag on your favorite social media site.