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Buffalo Bill Center Of The West!
When the west is mentioned in a conversation, the first thing that enters the mind of a listener is visions of the old wild west. Thoughts of mountain men, natives, big mountains, pioneers, gold, buffalo, deserts and legendary heroes quickly flash by, before the attention is placed back on matters at hand. It is amazing how the word "west" can conjure up so much attention and admiration, especially after pondering over taking a vacation in this vast region.
To really get the most out of a western vacation venture, it is necessary to know a little something about the history of the wild west. For example, one would be surprised at how often that the footsteps of western heroes can be traced in old ghost towns that have not changed much since the 1800's. While viewing a remote valley between red sandstone mesas, the picturesque scenery casts a different feeling when it is known that a battle took place in the area. When wondering why an outpost was located in a god forsaken spot in a vast barren desert, it all makes sense when knowledge of old west gold prospecting enters the picture. A little bit of western history knowledge can help to put the pieces of the puzzle together and the family vacation can become an educational experience.
The desire to experience key events in western history can inspire an overall theme for a vacation. Visiting destinations along The Oregon Trail, The California Trail or Pony Express Routes is always a worthwhile vacation theme. Visiting tribal villages, trading posts and ancient ruins would be perfect for a vacation with a cultural exchange theme. Following the trail of old west outlaws with the hope of recovering a hidden stash of stolen gold coins is always a popular vacation theme too. Planning a classic western theme style vacation does require doing a bit of historical research ahead of time, in order to make it all happen.
So, where does one go to amass as much old west history knowledge as possible? The answer definitely is the Buffalo Bill Center Of The West in Cody, Wyoming! No place on earth houses as many old west artifacts and exhibits as this museum does. The Buffalo Bill Center Of The West actually is 5 large western museums all in one location. It literally can take two days to thoroughly explore all of the museum exhibits!
The Buffalo Bill Museum section contains just about everything and anything that is connected with Buffalo Bill and the old west. Antiques, clothing and saddlery items are so well preserved that they look like they were made yesterday. There are complete shops, kitchens and industrial exhibits that depict lifestyles of the 1800's. Tons of memorabilia from the Buffalo Bill's Traveling Wild West Show are on display in this museum too.
The Cody Firearms Museum contains the largest collection of western guns in the world. Pistols and rifles that many western heroes and outlaws carried are on display. There are row after row of complete collections of famous western gun manufacturers on display too. Even old Spanish explorer arms and mountain man muskets are part of the collection.
The Draper Natural History Museum houses a vast collection of animal and plant life gathered from just east of the Rockies to the west coast. Ecosystems and predator/prey relationships are conveyed in the exhibits. The geology and mineralogy of western regions is explained in detail too.
The Plains Indian Museum houses both Pre-Colombian native cultural exhibits and educational displays that detail events after European pioneers arrived. Many items from archeological sites provide a wealth of knowledge about everyday life in old west native culture. Visitors will find plenty of information about the tribes of the High Plains in this museum.
The Whitney Western Art Museum is off limits for cameras, so plan on just taking the memories home, unless purchasing a work of western art is what is in mind. Many of the modern works of art are on sale, while the old antique paintings have found a permanent home. The western art collection is vast and many of the works come from famous artists. All I can say is to be sure to allow plenty of time for visiting this great western art museum.
The Buffalo Bill Center Of The West offers group tours, workshops, lectures and family programs. The research library has a vast collection of rare books and photographs that were amassed by prominent western characters, like William F. Cody. The Buffalo Bill Center Of The West is a trading post too. Everything from Native American pottery and jewelry to T-Shirts and Huckleberry Candy can be found at the gift shop.
No vacation in the west is complete, unless a little something of substance is learned along the way. The Buffalo Bill Center Of The West is a great place to start a western vacation venture, because this museum offers such a vast wealth of historical information. While on a family vacation in the Yellowstone neighborhood of Wyoming, traveling down the road a short spell to The Buffalo Bill Center Of The West is certainly worthwhile!