The Old American West is a fascinating time in history that has been written about, used as a back drop to countless Hollywood films, celebrated, broken down, created infamous historic figures and remains an intrigue to so many - and Cody, Wyoming is in the heart of where it all happened so if you want your own Wild West experience, Cody is the place for you!
Today you can stroll the wide streets, visiting museums that house actual artifacts from folk like Buffalo Bill, witness "shoot outs" and visit hotels and saloons that still stand from centuries ago, taking you back in time. Cody is rich in history and great for families with so many fun things to do, so we are so excited to share with you our Cody City Guide featuring our "Top 9 Family Attractions" which are just the tip of the iceberg in what you can find out about this WILD Wyoming town!
There are so many fun things to do with kids in Cody, so make sure check out our entire Cody City Guide that we've carefully put together just for you, so you know exactly how to plan your cowboy and cowgirl style family day out when you go back in time to the fascinating Old American West!
Image Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism
In this Cody City Guide, we not only share with youour top 9 things to do with kids and families, but we also share some very fun experiences that will surely make you really feel you are stepping back into history!. We really understand that budgets are something to consider when you travel as a family, so also in this Cody City Guide we list some great FREE things to do with kids!
Cody is really easy to explore without a car so we help you navigate around town, and we also share some really fun facts about Cody that might just surprise you!
If you want to explore a bit further out for the day, our Cody City Guide also lets you in on a really great day trip, and we share some famous faces who are actually from this truly special part of the USA. We hope all of this will make your family time in Cody the best it can be.
So whether this is your first trip saying "yee haw" to Cody, or maybe you were born in Cody but never took the time to see what it has to offer and you wonder "What is there is to do near me in Cody?", then keep reading because we have the top 9 things to do in Cody with kids...and so much more!
Image Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism
The town of Cody was founded back in 1896, and named after one of the founders - a name now synonomous to Wild West history - Colonel William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
Located on the Shoshone River in the Bighorn Basin, the area was actually one of the last to be settled in the lower 48 after treaties were put in place in 1868 to restrict white settlers. It was only in 1878 that the treaties were lifted and settlers began to move in.
"Buffalo Bill" himself invested a lot of time and money establishing the town, and in fact a newspaper named "The Cody Enterprise" started in 1899 honoring "founder" Buffalo Bill as its masthead. By 1900 the town's population was 300. In 1901, the town was incorporated.
Today you'll see reminders of Buffalo Bill all over town. A visit to the iconic Irma Hotel will instantly transport you back in time. Named after Buffalo Bill's daughter Irma, the downstairs saloon is just how Buffalo Bill would have seen it, and you can even stay in the "Buffalo Suite" which was once Buffalo Bill's office.
A true Wild West experience!
Image Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism
Immerse yourself in the magic and heart of Cody with attractions and experiences that really tell the story of the town and those that help build it, and inspire it.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is always a great place to start, before uncovering gems at the Cody Dug Up Gun Museum and Cody Heritage Museum!
Over summer, the town really lights up with the world famous Cody Stampede Rodeo, as well as The Wild Bunch Gun Fights that might just surprise you!
From the creative Historic Cody Mural and Museum to stepping back into the days of the Wild West at Old Trail Town, Cody really is full of surprises and plenty of fun things to do with the family!
With so many fun things to do in Cody, you might just find that inner cowboy or cowgirl in you yet!
Image Credit: Cody Transporation
Whilst a car can be advantageous in Cody as some of the attractions are out of town, there are ways to get you from A to B if you find you've walked too much (as Cody is a great town to stretch those legs and explore in with Sheridan Avenue being the hub for things to do)
Over summer you'll find there are more options for you. If you're attending the rodeo, there is a shuttle bus that runs from June to August. Adults can enjoy a round trip for around $5, $3 for children and under 8s ride free! For more information check out their website.
There is also public transport that can take you from hotels to the shops and some major attractions from June into September.
Main Image Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism
Running seven weeks across summer you can see the incredible story of Buffalo Bill Cody come to life on the stage with singing, dancing, music, and plenty of humor!
Whether you have young buckaroos in the family or an old timer, or maybe you're someone "who is not from around these here parts", this award-winning show is a great way to really get into the spirit of being in the heart of the Wild Wild West!
Can we all get a yee haw and get those vocal chords warmed up to sing along, Buffalo Bill Cody is ready to tell his story!
Source & Image Credit: Cody Wild West Show
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Cody
1Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Formerly the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West deserves a top listing on any "must visits" in Cody. Here, the American Wild West comes back to life with five museums in one filled with exhibits showcasing Plains Indian cultures, artworks, trailblazing cowboys and cowgirls and of course, the legendary Buffalo Bill.
In the Buffalo Bill Museum you can see actual artifacts and possessions of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill himself, and learn about some other larger than life characters that shaped the Wild Wild West.
Image Credit: Center of the West
Cody Heritage Museum is a small yet incredibly fascinating museum that celebrates the rich and diverse history of Cody, from prehistoric times to those pioneers who founded the town, thorugh to WWI and WWII and into the 1950s!
You can see actual photos and artifacts of those who shaped the town, plus learn all about the various industries that influenced it's development from agriculture, oil and gas and the railroad! You can also discover why rodeos became such a staple! A beautiful Heritage Garden accompanies the exhibits and worth a visit.
Image Credit: Cody Heritage Museum
From June through to August every year, the town of Cody hosts its infamous Cody Nite Rodeo, where the whole family can see what cowboys and cowgirls do best!
By attending, you will also be part of history as the Cody Stampede Rodeo officially started back in 1919, and has been held every summer since. It's not only one of the longest running professional rodeos, but it's also the only place in the whole country that a rodeo is performed nightly! Don't miss the Cody Stampede in early July either! Yee haw!
Image Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism
Exploring Cody is fun on foot, but it can be really fun to explore the town via trolley! Cody Trolley Tours have been operating since 2001, and offer a fun and unique way to really see all that this historic town has to offer.
If you only have time for one, look at the "Best of the West" tour. This 60 minute experience brings Buffalo Bill back to life as you explore 22 miles of history. Wheels up kids! As they say, "Give us an hour and we'll give you 100 years!"
Image Credit: Cody Trolley Tours
From open-air tours of Yellowstone National Park, to riding alongside wild mustangs or taking on the rapids of the river, Cody Wyoming Adventures has something for everyone!
If you love the thrills you can choose from short to full day rafting trips along the Shoshone River, or you can exploe Yellowstone in style with their luxury tours. If you love history, the Kirwin Ghost Town Tour could just be what you're looking for! This full-day trip for all ages takes you to an area that was teeming with life in the late 19th century and where today buildings and even belongings still remain just as they were.
Image Credit: Cody Wyoming Adventures
One of, if not THE ultimate Cody experience where you can really take a step back in time - Old Trail Town! Here you can stroll through a collection of authentic buildings from the 1890s, all set out on the actual spot that Buffalo Bill laid out the original town site!
Each of the buildings were carefully brought in from across Wyoming and Montana and re-assemled to just as they would have been back in their Wild West heyday. Cabins include one that was frequented by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as the hideout of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang! Also at Old Trail Town are real life artifacts and gravesites of notable Western figures too.
According to the Cody Firearms Experience, there is no better way to delve into the History, Myth, and Power of the Gatling Gun than to turn the crank on one yourself! In Cody, you can do just that, no matter what your age!
At the Cody Firearm Experience the whole family can take aim in the indoor firearms range, as well as try your hand at indoor ax throwing and even a kids arcade! The experience is also a great way to learn all about the history of firearms, how they would have been used and who would have used them!
Image Credit: Cody Firearms Experience
Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center is a WWII National Historic Landmark featuring an award-winning center home to a permanent collection that preserves what remains of the World War II Japanese American confinement site in Park County, Wyoming.
Here, you can discover the stories of those who were kept here during the war. How did these people arrive in America? What were their lives like before the war and then subsequently after? An invaluable learning experience for all who visit.
Image Credit: Heart Mountain
You're in Cody, Wyoming so of course you need to visit a ranch! K3 Guest Ranch offers half day ranch tours where kids can enjoy a real ranch experience complete with horses, safe shooting ranch and plenty of western style fun!
K3 Ranch also offers overnight Cowboy and Indian themed accommodations, which include a full western campfire style breakfast for when you wake up! Open April to October and only a few miles from downtown Cody, K3 Guest Ranch will put the yee haw into the whole family! Yee haw!
Image Credit: K3 Guest Ranch
Famous Folk From Cody!
Jackson Pollock was an incredibly famous American artist and painter known for his role in the abstract expression movement.
His work was also very well known for his "drip" technique where he would splash and pour paint onto a horizontal canvas.
Image Credit: Public Domain
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody
William "Buffalo Bill" Cody founded Cody in 1895, with the town incorporated in 1905. You can see his stamp all over the town (including the name!) where he spent a great deal of his life.
Buffalo Bill was an American soldier, buffalo hunter, showman and key figure in the American Old West.
Image Credit: Public Domain
5 Fun Cody Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Cody knowledge!
- The oldest church in Cody was built from winnings from a poker game (Buffalo Bill was one of the players too!)
- Ernest Hemingway once visited and you can see his original signature in the guest book of the now Chamberlin Inn. You can even stay in the "Hemingway Suite" which, of course, is the very same room he enjoyed during his time in Cody.
- Cody is home to three pioneer homes that were actually ordered from a Sears Catalog back in 1908!
- The town actually name their rock formations! Names include "Laughing Pig Rock" and "Old Woman and her Cabin"
- Back in 1904 one of Cody’s banks was actually robbed by the infamous Hole-in-the-Wall Gang (and you can see their hideaway in Old Trail Town!)
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Cody
Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
Over 1000 amazing relic guns at this popular Cody museum, with the impressive collection covering a number of eras in history including the Gold Rush, US Civil War, Old West & Indian Wars and World War I!
You can even see weapons from the Roaring 20’s and World War II, and a Musket found stuck in a tree! An amazing museum that captures the history of Cody and the Old West, and fun for kids to venture back in time!
Image Credit: Cody Dug Up Gun Museum
Attend an Old West Shoot Out!
You're in the heart of the Old American West, so why not really live the part by attending a free and entertaining "shoot out" performed by volunteers, just like in the days of Buffalo Bill!
These fun re-enactments occur right outside Buffalo Bill's own Irma Hotel, and run evenings Monday to Saturday from early June to the end of September. There are four different half hour shows that run across summer, so get that front row spot!
Image Credit: Yellowstone National Park Trips
Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center
The Buffalo Bill Dam is not only on the National Register of Historic Places but it's also a National Civil Engineering Landmark! This free admission visitor center and engineering feat is a great way to spend some time with the family, and just 6 miles from central Cody.
Open May to September, this seasonal attraction was completed in 1910 and at the time was one of the very first concrete arch damns built in the entire USA. It was also the highest dam in the world at the time, at 325ft!
Image Credit: BBDVC
Historic Cody Mural and Museum
Perfect for families who love art or Western history, the Historic Cody Mural and Museum has been offering free tours for keen visitors for over 65 years, with the highlight being the mid-century mural religious masterpiece rich in color, content and history.
Open from Memorial Day through to the last Friday in September, the Historic Cody Mural and Museum also offers free on-site information for those who want to explore the museum and exhibits at their own pace.
Image Credit: Cody Mural
Enjoy a concert in the park!
Get those dancing shoes on because every summer the city of Cody hosts a FREE weekly outdoor concert series showcasing the best of local talent.
Held every Thursday across July and August you can dance the evening away to blues, country, pop and even rock and if you're lucky you might just time it right with an Ice Cream Social too! Great for visitors and locals alike!
Image Credit: Codywy.gov
Cody, Wyoming: The Wild West Town
With the East Entrance only 52 miles from Cody, if you even only have one spare day it's well worth spending it on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. This natural wonder is not only the world's first national park, but it's also one of the most unique and spectacular places you could ever visit in the entire world.
Image Credit: Public Domain via YNP
It back back on March 1, 1872 that Yellowstone became the very first national park for all to enjoy. Not only will you be surrounded by incredible wildlife, but also the unique hydrothermal and geologic features that will just amaze.
Yellowstone National Park spans 2.2 million acres, and it's here you have unparalleled opportunities to observe wildlife in an rare and intact ecosystem, as well as explore geothermal areas that hold about half the world’s active geysers (pretty impressive!), and you can also marvel at geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Yellowstone National Park is seasonal, so check online the opening dates for the East Entrance. (Only the North Entrance is open year round). As you get into May and June, more of the internal roads open up and you can easily make your way around the natural wonders - just allow time to be stopped by endless herds of bison!
You can purchase passes online ahead of time, and you can also purchase them at the gate entrance. There are multiple (and seasonal) visitor centers around the park where you can pick up maps, snacks and gifts, but words and images won't be able to do justice to what you are about to see. You can have to see it for yourself!
Here’s our top 4 Yellowstone National Park things to do:
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Let's get the family adventure started!