Featured Activity: Buffalo Bill Center of the West

In the heart of Cody, Wyoming lies a treasure trove of Western history and culture: the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A beacon of enlightenment and inspiration, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the American West—a spirit of adventure, resilience, and boundless possibility. Monuments of history, relics of ancient cultures, antiquated firearms, live birds of prey, and even welcome greetings from Buffalo Bill, await beyond the doors of the most popular cultural attraction in the Yellowstone region.

The premier destination to experience the authentic story of the American West, the Center is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It attracts visitors from far and wide, along with local residents of Cody, Wyoming, with 300,000 square feet of collections of artifacts, interactive displays, western art, and exhibits housed within five museums and one research library.

Whether you’re road tripping through Yellowstone National Park or exploring the lively communities throughout Park County, the Center is the perfect stop on your tour. Less than a one-hour drive from the Park, the Center has something for everyone and has become a memorable part of millions of family vacations and group tours.


With abundant exhibits and activities, each visit to the Center offers a unique and captivating experience that can be enjoyed over a few hours or a few days. And the best part? Each ticket grants guests two-day access to fully take stock of their museums’ carefully curated collections. 

Boasting five incredible museums, the Center fosters an unforgettable education for locals and tourists alike. Each of the museums represent the American West in their own distinct way. 

The Buffalo Bill Museum explores the history and myth of the American West through the private life of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the namesake of the Museum's hometown of Cody, Wyoming. The Museum spotlights his public persona of Buffalo Bill, and the world-traveling spectacle that made him famous: Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.

This spring, complementing the Museum’s memorabilia—including the original stagecoaches used in Buffalo Bill’s traveling show—the Center will debut a special exhibition of one-of-a-kind original posters from Buffalo Bill’s show. Advertising the Frontier Myth: Poster Art of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West opens May 18, 2024. 

The Cody Firearms Museum examines the people and culture of the American West through the world’s most comprehensive collection of American-made firearms. With over 10,000 artifacts, including 4,000 firearms, this Museum is a bucket list must-see to incorporate into your Yellowstone adventures. 

In conjunction with the Poster Art of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West opening this spring, the Museum will debut a separate exhibit featuring firearms from Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, and Johnny Baker. 

The Draper Natural History Museum highlights the American West’s historic and ongoing relationship between man and nature, showcasing the wildlife and landscapes of the Greater Yellowstone region. A complete sensory experience, this Museum transports its visitors with visions, sounds, and smells of Yellowstone.

Hosting a self-guided scavenger hunt throughout the Museum’s four vibrant ecosystems, the exhibits provide a fun-filled, engaging education for kids and adults. On Tuesdays, you can even observe the Center’s scientists in their lab as they work with artifacts and fossils to further uncover the mysteries and wonders of Yellowstone’s plants and wildlife.

Before or after your tour through the Draper Museum, take a break and meet the Center’s live birds of prey. Witness the majesty of twelve live birds including golden eagle, bald eagle, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, turkey vulture, American kestrels, short-eared owl, saw-whet owl, Swainson’s hawk, and a raven. Relaxing with Raptors offers guests an up-close-and-personal view of some of Wyoming’s most recognized predators while their handlers answer questions about the wild animals and their significance within the region.


The Plains Indian Museum reveals how the art, history, traditions, and contemporary lives of Plains Indian peoples helped shape the character of the American West. No cultural tour throughout Yellowstone Country is complete without exploring one of the nation’s largest collections of Native American art and artifacts. 

One of the most enticing exhibits within the Museum is the Nez Perce Buffalo Hide Tipi. A rare example of the resourcefulness of the Plains Indian peoples, this tipi was made in the mid-1800s from at least 13 buffalo hides, sewn by women with sinew and decorated by men with natural pigments.

The Whitney Western Art Museum depicts the tapestry of the American West through the eyes of the artists who interpreted and defined it. Housing numerous works from traditional and contemporary artists including Charlie Russell, Frederic Remington, Thomas Moran, and Albert Bierstadt, the Whitney is viewed as one of the best western art museums in the country. 

Enhance your experience with The Whitney’s new digital guide, accessible through Bloomberg Connects. The first museum in Wyoming to join the app, The Whitney offers access to its world-class art collection and special exhibitions via the free arts and culture app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

The McCracken Research Library advances the appreciation and understanding of the American West by preserving its archival history, supporting exploration of undiscovered resources, and making its large and significant photograph collection digitally accessible. Research by appointment.

Whether you prefer a guided, customized tour based on your interests, or you let your heart (and keen eye) lead the way, there’s no wrong way to explore the Center’s expansive collection of works and artifacts. With everything from authentic chuck wagon dinners and the raptor program to a world-class research library and one-of-a-kind artifacts, the Center offers an engaging and exciting way to discover the persevering history of the American West. 

For history buffs, art enthusiasts, and young cowgirls and cowboys, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West is sure to be an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, saddle up, and journey to Cody, Wyoming, where adventure awaits at every turn.

Center Hours:

  • March 1 - April 30 | Open Daily 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • May 1 - Sept 15 | Open Daily 8 A.M. – 6 P.M. 
  • Sept 16 - Oct 31 | Open Daily 8 A.M. – 5 P.M. 
  • Nov 1 - 30 | Open Daily 10 A.M. – 5 P.M. 
  • Dec 1 - Feb 28 | Open Thurs - Sun 10 A.M. – 5 P.M. 
  • Closed New Year’s, Thanksgiving, & Christmas Day

Let us help you plan
your  adventure

At Yellowstone National Park Lodges, you’re invited to discover or rediscover the magic of the world’s first national park, Yellowstone. As proud stewards of the park and this truly extraordinary American wonder