Old West Experiences at Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Watch your dinner get prepared at the Cowboy Chuckwagon Experience, see world-class art or experience raptors up close.
These days, there seems to be a hip food truck pulling up to a sidewalk near you, no matter where you go. But just east of Yellowstone, at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, you can get served from the oldest kitchen on wheels in our country: the chuckwagon.
In 1866, Charles Goodnight invented the chuckwagon, a 10-foot by 40-inches wide covered wagon that carried food, water, cooking tools and a Dutch oven. It revolutionized meal time for cowboys who previously had to scramble for food on long cattle drives.
Today, enjoy dinner get prepared while you watch at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s Chuckwagon Experience in Cody, Wyoming. It’s one of many experiences you can have at this Smithsonian-affiliated complex that’s home to world-class art, remarkable Indian artifacts and cultural exhibits. From sensory adventures to breathtaking art by Albert Bierstadt, Remington and C.M. Russell, to live raptor demonstrations there’s enough here to stay for days.
And you may just need that. With five separate museums, the complex spans 300,000 square feet, which is equal to five football fields. All of the museums are included with the purchase of one ticket, which is good for two days of discovery.
While a self-guided journey through the property is a great way to learn, the center specializes in small group, behind-the-scenes tours to help you better understand the history of the American West. Stop by the Exclusive Tour Depot to schedule a customizable tour, or reserve an experience in advance online.
“Our Exclusive Tours program is customized to each person, family or group, so folks can get hands-on with our collections and interact with some artifacts not on display to the public. Whichever museum or museums they want to explore we make the experience fun and unique to them,” says public relations and marketing manager, Ken Straniere.
Learn About the Remarkable Life of Buffalo Bill
And of course, there’s Buffalo Bill himself, founder of Cody and a world-renowned showman whose Wild West shows entertained thousands, including Queen Victoria of England. Discover more about this Old West character at the Buffalo Bill Museum on site.
An understanding of the environment of the West sets the stage for a fascinating look at the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody in the Buffalo Bill Museum. Visitors of all ages are inspired by the story of this courageous scout who achieved fame throughout the world as a showman and forged a civilization on the barren plains.
Opened in 2002, the Draper Museum of Natural History portrays the natural world as it appeared to early inhabitants and explorers. Trailing down a circular walkway from the alpine tundra to the plains, one hears the far-off cry of the wolf, the crackle of a forest fire, or a gust of wind whisking the pine trees. Along the way, one develops a keen understanding of the ways humans interact with their environment, especially in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This first natural history museum of the 21st century employs high-tech and interactive audio and visual display panels and open spaces for hands-on entertainment and education for the whole family.
See Albert Bierstadt
While at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, don’t miss seeing the work of Albert Bierstadt. A western landscape artist, Bierstadt captured scenes from Yellowstone, along with the West’s most iconic landscapes, native peoples and animals. Through his art, he hoped to preserve the dignity of native peoples and draw attention to the decimation of American bison.
His work and that of others in the Whitney Western Art Museum offer visions of the American West through the eyes of its master painters and sculptors. Landscapes by Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran share gallery space with paintings of the classic West by Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, N.C. Wyeth and W.H.D. Koerner.
Experience the Culture of the Plains Indian
The timeless beat of the Indian powwow and the powerful recitation of stories handed down through the ages are among the audio experiences awaiting visitors to the Plains Indian Museum. The use of audio-visual exhibits in combination with one of the nation’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts have created what Crow elder and historian Joe Medicine Crow called a “living, breathing place.”
See the Massive Collection of American-made Firearms
The newly renovated Cody Firearms Museum has the world’s most comprehensive collection of American firearms, revealing the impact of the firearm on history. From Civil War revolvers to Buffalo Bill’s Winchester 1873 lever action used in his traveling show “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” to guns used in Hollywood, you’ll learn the stories behind them all.
The fine art of engraved firearms and revolutionary advancements in engineering are among the surprising elements of the story behind one of the world’s largest and most important collection of American arms, as well as European arms dating to the 16th century.
As you tour the most comprehensive collection of American-made firearms in the world, see how firearms factories, competition, and production innovations have as much to do with the West as the guns themselves.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is located conveniently on the road to Yellowstone’s East Entrance in Cody, Wyoming. Stop by on your way to or from the park, but be warned, you’ll want to budget for at least a full day since there’s so much to see and do. Be sure to check out the calendar of events to see what special things are occurring during your visit.
For More Information:
Buffalo Bill Center of the West
720 Sheridan Avenue Cody, Wyoming 82414