Upcoming park events
Home of famed showman scout William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park at North Platte recaptures the life and career of the famed Pony Express rider, Army scout and buffalo hunter-turned-showman. Since it became a state historical park in 1965, the house and barn have been restored and a wealth of Cody memorabilia has been acquired and placed on display. The mansion is open to the public for self-guided tours from late spring until early fall.
About Buffalo Bill
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was born Feb. 26, 1846, in Iowa. At age 7, his family moved to Kansas, where they were among the first settlers. At age 9, Cody started working for Russell, Majors and Waddell, a freighting firm out of Kansas that also started the Pony Express. He later served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Following the war, Cody earned his nickname “Buffalo Bill” while supplying buffalo meat for the Kansas Pacific Railway. By the mid-1880s, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was in full swing, touring the United States and Europe. The success of the show enabled Cody to build “The Mansion on the Prairie,” as the locals called it. The Second Empire-style house was the largest house in North Platte in the late 19th Century. It was Buffalo Bill’s home from 1886 to 1913. He raised cattle and purebred stallions on his 4,000 acres of land. A large barn was built in 1887 to house Cody’s ranch horses and stallions.
The mansion was built in 1886, when Cody’s Wild West Show was drawing huge crowds, and money for development of the ranch and Cody’s other interests was plentiful. No expense was spared in building and furnishing the ranch, and visitors will see many interesting features. Self-guided tours are available from late spring until early fall.
The barn, along with several outbuildings, has also been preserved and filled with memorabilia from Cody’s days as a performer, as well as artifacts of ranch life. Each Halloween, park staff convert the barn into a thoroughly scary haunted barn, which has proven very popular with park guests.
Camping and picnicking facilities are available on the adjoining Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area.
Fishing; guided trail rides; and rental of kayaks, canoes, tubes and tanks and other activities are available on the adjacent Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area.
Nearby Lake Maloney State Recreation Area and Sutherland Reservoir State Recreation Area both offer great fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities. The Golden Spike Tower in North Platte offers a view of the largest railroad switch yard in the world. Nearby North Platte offers dining, shopping and a chance to learn about the world-famous North Platte Canteen at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.
Address: Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park | 2921 Scouts Rest Ranch Road | North Platte, Neb. 69147-0070
Phone: (308) 535-8035