North Platte’s Cody Park offers something for everyone. Interested in camping? Check. Want to take kids to an amusement park? Check. Interested in seeing wildlife? Check. The park offers so much for visitors to take in, that you could spend a weekend at Cody Park without seeing any other part of the city.
North Platte’s largest city park offers visitors a look into history with a Wild West memorial, train museum, and sports with softball fields and tennis courts, as well as a swimming pool.
Visitors can camp overnight, fish in the lake, and have a barbecue.
The amusement park offers three small rides, each aimed at small kids. Check out the concession stand next door for hot dogs, chips and a drink. Or, get an ice cream cone for cheap. I recommend getting a small ice cream cone. Even the small cones are huge!
Park visitors are welcomed with the Wild West Memorial at the entrance. The memorial honors Buffalo Bill Cody, who settled in North Platte in the late 1800s. Cody Park was home to the “Old Glory Blowout,” which launched Buffalo’s Bill Wild west show career.
The memorial features a bronze statue of Buffalo Bill in the middle of the plaza. The downside to the statue is that it is enclosed in glass and surrounded by bars. This prevents visitors a good view of the statue.
However, the rest of the memorial is attractive. The statue is surrounded by 48 state flags; representing each state Buffalo Bill entertained people with his Wild West show. There are also international flags, which mark the countries he took the show to.
A plaque recognizes the role Native Americans played with Buffalo Bill’s show. While Native Americans may have been portrayed as enemies during the show, Buffalo Bill ensured visitors got to see the real side of life for natives.
A short walk or drive from there is a wildlife viewing area. Visitors can see geese and ducks waddle along.
Elk and deer roam the fenced area. A small group of bison are penned nearby. Llamas graze in their own corral.
Peacocks roam freely in the area. The park is home to a white peacock. We’d never seen one before, so it caught our attention right away.
One thing we thought was humorous was when a gaggle of geese basically ran across the street at dinner time. It’s like an internal clock went off and the geese started scurrying across the street. They ducked (no pun intended) under a gap in the bottom of the fenceline.
Tucked deep into the park is the Cody Park railroad museum. It honors the role Union Pacific Railroad has played in the city’s history.
The museum features a couple of train engines, a mail car and a caboose. A small depot building is located nearby.
The mail car actually has a small exhibit. It features a display on women’s role with the railroad.
The engines are open during the day, and you can stand inside them and get a firsthand look at how an engineer may have seen things on the tracks.
So, Cody Park offers visitors a plethora of things to do, from camping to museums. When you are in North Platte, please check it out. You will not be disappointed.
For more information on Cody park and its attractions, please visit http://www.ci.north-platte.ne.us/recreation/facilities_parks.asp.