For Immediate Release
Cody, Culture and Kids…Education Looks a Lot Like Fun in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country
CODY, Wyo., February 12, 2014 – Once the textbooks and report cards are stored away for school breaks, kids may think they’re done with all that learning business. In Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, there is no need to tell them otherwise. Because attractions in this northwestern corner of Wyoming disguise learning as fun.
With an array of “please touch” exhibits and wow-inducing displays that showcase the region’s history and Western spirit and introduce Cody’s larger-than-life town founder, area museums and other attractions will resonate for learners of all ages long after they return home.
“Yellowstone Country’s family-friendly cultural attractions are a terrific complement to our destination’s outdoor adventures like rodeo, fishing and horseback riding,” said Claudia Wade, director of the Park County Travel Council, the marketing arm for the region. “The common denominator for all these cultural attractions is that they capture and showcase the spirit of the American West. And many of the experiences can be directly traced back to the influence of the town’s visionary founder, Buffalo Bill Cody.”
Here are examples of Yellowstone Country’s family-friendly cultural attractions.
Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCW) – With five museums under one roof, Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a world-renowned cultural powerhouse.The Buffalo Bill Museum features wall-sized displays and interactive exhibits spotlighting the showman’s legendary Wild West Show, encounters with royalty and some of the colorful characters who traveled with him. The Draper Museum of Natural History inspires youthful adventurers with displays presented as the Greater Yellowstone Adventure. Three large, interconnected galleries showcase the sights, sounds and even the smells of the region with interactive, innovative exhibits. The center also includes the Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum and Whitney Western Art Museum, all with exhibits that will prompt the imagination of youthful visitors. The museum also stages family events like “Family Fun Fridays” with themed activities and presentations like birds-of-prey demonstrations and Dutch Oven cooking classes.
Heart Mountain Interpretive Center – Children may still not fully understand why thousands of Japanese-Americans lived in internment camps during World War II, but they will remember how they lived after seeing this powerful, award-winning museum situated at the site of the Heart Mountain Internment Camp. Designed to resemble the typical barracks-style accommodations that housed its 14,000 internees, visitors see how families lived in poorly lit rectangular buildings, slept on cots and endured a harsh climate and lack of privacy. Young visitors often gather around an exhibit challenging them to “pack” a single suitcase like the internees, who made heart-wrenching choices between warm clothing, cherished photographs and other necessities. There are also displays highlighting poignant stories of friendship, endurance and patriotism.
Irma Hotel – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill and named for his daughter. The hotel’s famous room-long cherry wood bar – still in use today in what is now the hotel dining room – was presented to Buffalo Bill by England’s Queen Victoria. Children love watching the antics of the summer-season Cody Gunfighters from the porch of the hotel and enjoy its buffet-style dinners in the charming Western-themed dining room.
Tecumseh’s Old West Miniature Village and Museum – Most kids like making dioramas, so they are typically mesmerized by this room-sized glass-enclosed display showcasing western and Wyoming history. The diorama features scenes illustrating the history of the West. Hundreds of American Indian artifacts are also on display.
Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center – Completed in 1920, the Buffalo Bill Dam was once the tallest concrete arch dam in the world, and its visitor center showcases not only the dam’s masterful engineering but also emphasizes its impact on tourism and agriculture in the valley. Kids with a penchant for science will learn how water was as much a concern in the days of Buffalo Bill Cody as it is in the West today.
Pahaska Tepee – Children whose imagination is sparked by stories of the American West will love stepping inside Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge, Pahaska Tepee. Buffalo Bill brought his hunting pals – including Theodore Roosevelt and the Prince of Monaco – to this rustic lodge just outside of the East entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Cody was nicknamed “Long Hair” by American Indians in the region, which in their tongue was pronounced “Pahaska.”
Cody Mural Visitor Center – Budding artists will enjoy a peek at the murals on display at the Cody Mural Visitor Center located in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The center features an extensive exhibit of paintings and displays that depict the history of Mormon pioneers who moved from Utah and Idaho to Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. There is also the massive Cody Mural on a domed ceiling depicting the history of the first 70 years of the church.
Cody Dug Up Gun Museum – Opened in 2009, this museum displays hundreds of relic guns and weapons used throughout American history. The museum is located right in the center of town and is a fun and family-friendly stop.
Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West – This enclave of 26 authentic frontier buildings includes one used by Butch Cassidy and his infamous Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. One of the town’s many gravesites belongs to Jeremiah “Liver Eating” Johnston – portrayed by actor Robert Redford in the 1972 film. There is a built-in teaching moment too as young visitors are often heard commenting about how small the houses were back then.
Plains Indian Powwow – Each June American Indian dancers in colorful costumes present traditional dances performed to songs and rhythmic drums. The performances are presented on a hillside just outside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Kids enjoy seeing the pageantry of the dancing, listening to music and sampling traditional fry bread.
Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue – Hailing from Nashville, singer Dan Miller and his Empty Saddles Band entertain crowds with cowboy songs, poetry and jokes. Presented six nights a week during the summer, the show exposes children to a variety of Western music, from cowboy ballads to silly love songs.
Wild Sheep Foundation – The mission of this wildlife conservation organization is to enhance wild sheep populations, promote professional wildlife management and educate visitors about wild sheep and the conservation benefits of hunting.
Yellowstone Country is comprised of the towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as the valley east of Yellowstone National Park.
The area of Park County is called “Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country” because it was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. Buffalo Bill founded the town of Cody in 1896, and the entire region was driven and is still heavily influenced by the vision of the Colonel. Today its broad streets, world-class museum Buffalo Bill Center of the West and thriving western culture host nearly 1 million visitors annually.
The Park County Travel Council website (www.codyyellowstone.org) lists information about vacation packages, special events, guide services, weather and more. Travelers wishing to arrange vacation can also call the Park County Travel Council at 1-800-393-2639.