10 Free Experiences in Cody, Wyoming
CODY, Wyo., September 22, 2021 – The classic northwestern Wyoming destination of Cody offers proof that vacationers don’t have to spend a lot of money to have an unforgettable vacation. There are numerous cost-free activities in the region where William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody lived, played and eventually founded a town.
“The most lasting memories are made, not bought,” said Ryan Hauck, director of Cody Yellowstone, the tourism marketing arm of the region. “There plenty of ways to have fun, new and unforgettable adventures without spending a dime.”
Here are some free discoveries waiting for visitors:
Download the Travel Storys app and explore downtown Cody and drive to Yellowstone in the company of an audio tour guide. The walking tour highlights the town’s historic landmarks and discusses the colorful characters like Buffalo Bill Cody who worked to create a town that would inspire and delight its visitors. Then buckle up and join a guide on a narrated drive along the Buffalo Scenic Byway from downtown Cody to Yellowstone National Park’s East gate, called the most scenic 52 miles in the United States by President Theodore Roosevelt. The free app was created by Travel Storys in partnership with Cody Yellowstone and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.
Stroll through the three museums that comprise Meeteetse Museums and learn about some of the discoveries, see photos of landscapes and learn about the people who contributed to the region. Once a service garage, the Meeteetse Museum houses permanent exhibits such as “Made in Meetetsee: The Black-Footed Ferret,” which celebrates the remarkable rediscovery in 1981 of the species which was thought to be extinct. The Charles Beldon Museum of Western Photography houses several permanent exhibits including photography and artifacts from the region. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bank Museum displays artifacts such as the original bank vault and safes from the original museum, built in 1901.
Learn about the legacy of Western design. By Western Hands is an innovative museum and gallery that showcases the region’s extraordinary functional art and furniture, a style popularized by Thomas Molesworth, who became the furniture-making darling of Easterners who were charmed by the unique style of furniture found in the region’s dude and guest ranches. A non-profit artisan guild, By Western Hands features exhibits that showcase how the region became the birthplace of Western design and how its artists continue to honor that heritage through their creations.
See Buffalo Bill’s hunting lodge. Pahaska Tepee is where “The Colonel” went to relax with friends such as Teddy Roosevelt and the Prince of Monaco. Built in 1904, this hunting lodge sits just outside the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. It was called Pahaska after the nickname given to him by the local Indians; it means “long hair.” The rustic log lodge displays many gifts given to Cody by guests. A restaurant and gift shop are housed in an adjacent building.
Find “Snoopy the Dog” or “Laughing Pig Rock.” The 52-mile road between Cody and the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park has abundant rock formations and lava flows that have been named by imaginative locals. The road travels along the north fork of the Shoshone River and traverses the Wapiti Valley through the Shoshone Forest.Watch for wildlife along the way. It’s common to see herds of elk gathering in the valleys and even bison and bighorn sheep wandering along the roadway.
If there’s someone in the group who likes to see how things work, they will thoroughly enjoy a visit to the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center. Water was as much a concern in the days of Buffalo Bill Cody as it is in the West today. Cody foresaw that and convinced the U.S. government to build a dam here to help conserve that precious resource. Today, agriculture thrives in this naturally arid area due to his foresight. See the dam and learn all about its construction and benefits. The dam is located six miles west of Cody.
Stroll through history while viewing hundreds of relic guns and other weapons at the Cody Dug Up Gun Museum. This fun and funky museum displays weapons from many periods in American history that have been found buried in the ground in one-time battlefields as well as farms, backyards and wilderness areas throughout the world.
Strap on your walking shoes and explore some of the hundreds of hiking trails that surround the town. There are numerous trails right near town such as the Shoshone Riverway Trail Access, Paul Stock Nature Trail and Beck Lake Park. For more details, download this map of Cody Parks and Public Facilities.
Watch a gunfight. The place to be at 6 p.m. on summer evenings is outside the Irma Hotel to watch the supremely entertaining Cody Wild Bunch engage in Western skits that always end up in a gunfight (often prompted by a damsel in distress). Kids learn a bit about gun safety, and parents enjoy a classic Cody experience without opening their wallets. This fun-loving and slightly wacky group of locals performs most nights in the summer.
View fine Western art created by local artists at the Cody Country Art League, which shares a historic building – the original Buffalo Bill Museum – with the Cody Visitor Center. Artists with ties to the community display photography, oil and watercolor paintings, sculptures and more.
Home of the Great American Adventure, Cody Yellowstone is comprised of the northwestern Wyoming towns of Cody, Powell and Meeteetse as well as areas inside of Yellowstone National Park and the valley east of the entrance. The region is known for rodeos, authentic guest and dude ranches, world-class museums and recreational adventures that reflect the adventurous spirit of the visionaries and explorers who brought the remote region to the world’s attention.
Mesereau Travel Public Relations