Undeniably the top attraction in Cody (and one of the best cultural centers in Wyoming), this complex of five museums can easily absorb you for an entire day, if not more. The center is affiliated with the Smithsonian and aims to interpret the story of the American West through science, art, history, and culture. 

The Buffalo Bill Museum  is the complex’s flagship, and it has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a log cabin in 1927. Trace the life, work, and family of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, the famous Army scout, frontiersman, showman, and entrepreneur; exhibits include footage of his Wild West Show and personal artifacts. Get up close with the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s flora and fauna at the Draper Natural History Museum , which features everything from the tiny pika to the enormous grizzly bear. Staff naturalists and interactive exhibits bring the region to life—stop by here before your Yellowstone trip, if possible. At the Whitney Western Art Museum , giant bronze elk share space with paintings and prints from both contemporary and historically significant artists, including Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, and Charles M. Russell, for a look at the landscapes, animals, people and legends that make up the Western art genre. The highly interactive Plains Indian Museum displays beautiful examples of beadwork, headdresses, and moccasins. Listening booths and videos delve into what life is like for modern tribal members, too. And the Cody Firearms Museum’s  7,000-plus guns represent the world’s most comprehensive collection of American firearms, from old muzzle-loaders to Winchesters and Colts to more modern examples. 

Rotating special exhibits, a research library, educational programs, and demos (like the popular live raptor show) complete the experience. A small café and coffee bar can revive you should museum overload set in.