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Once the textbooks and report cards are stored away for the summer, kids may think they’re done with all that learning business. In Cody Yellowstone, there is no need to tell them otherwise. Because attractions in this northwestern corner of Wyoming disguise learning as fun.

Here are examples of some of Cody Yellowstone’s family-friendly educational attractions. Psst. Don’t tell the kids, but they’ll be having so much fun they’ll never know they’re learning too. 

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Pointing to a sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West(Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a world-renowned cultural powerhouse features five museums under one roof with an array of interactive exhibits certain to inspire kids of all ages. The Buffalo Bill Museum features wall-sized displays spotlighting the showman’s life and times, including the legendary Wild West Show. The Draper Museum of Natural History inspires youthful adventurers with displays that showcase the sights, sounds and even the smells of the region. The center also includes the Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, and Whitney Western Art Museum, with exhibits that will prompt the imagination of youthful visitors. 

The Raptor Experience at Buffalo Bill Center of the West(Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

The Center of the West also features daily and regular fun events like the Raptor Experience, where kids can get an up-close view of some of Wyoming’s Birds of Prey. There are also twice-weekly Chuckwagon Dinners, where families are treated to some good old-fashioned fare cooked over an open flame, just like the cowboys eat.

Heart Mountain WWII 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 visiting Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center — a 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, the Center depicts how families lived in poorly lit rectangular buildings, slept on cots, and endured a harsh climate and lack of privacy. There are also displays highlighting poignant stories of friendship, endurance, and patriotism. 

Cody Trolly Tours

Cody Trolley Tours are fun and educational one-hour tours pack in a lot of information about the town of Cody, Buffalo Bill and the Greater Yellowstone region. The enthusiastic tour guides throw in a few good Dad jokes too, which will make the little ones giggle and the teens roll their eyes. A success all around! 

By Western Hands Museum & Design Center

Art-loving kids will find creative inspiration in this new museum’s displays of Western-made furniture and functional art. By Western Hands Museum & Design Center is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Western design, and it celebrates the crafts of furniture-making, sculpture, saddlery and fine art using materials and motifs found throughout the American West. 

Old Trail Town

Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West Buggy
(Photo: @njrappa)

Old Trail Town/Museum of the Old West is an enclave of 27 authentic frontier buildings, including the hideout of 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 cabins were back then. 

The Irma Hotel

Irma Hotel Signage

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.

Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center

Buffalo Bill Dam & Visitor Center Exterior

Completed in 1910, 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 Cattle Company and Cody Nite Rodeo

The Cody Cattle Company 10

Cody Cattle Company and Cody Nite Rodeo offer a double dose of fun and adventure. These popular nightly events include an entertaining dinner and show with cowboy-themed food and entertainment that will have the kids up and dancing. After the show, head to the Cody Nite Rodeo for an authentic rodeo experience in the Rodeo Capital of the World. 

Cody Dug Up Gun Museum

Relic guns at Cody Dug Up Gun Museum

Opened in 2009, the Cody Dug Up Gun 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.

Wapiti Ranger Station

After all of that educational fun, families will be ready to get physical with an outdoor adventure like hiking through the Shoshone National Forest, a rafting trip on the Shoshone River or a horseback ride in the Wapiti Valley. While you are there, be sure to stop at the Wapiti Ranger Station. The Wapiti Ranger Station is the oldest United States Forest Service ranger station in the United States. The station is in Shoshone National Forest west of Cody, Wyoming, and has been used continuously since it was built in 1903. During the summer months, you can stop by the Ranger station visitor center and talk to a real ranger where your kids can ask questions about the ecosystem that surrounds Cody Yellowstone. 

Are You Ready To Learn a Thing or Two?

Family standing on a world projection at Buffalo Bill Center of the West
(Photo: Buffalo Bill Center of the West)

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. Start planning your Cody Yellowstone getaway today, and be sure to include a few of these educational stops along the way.