Nebraska June 07, 2017
The Charming Nebraska Trading Post That’s Been Around For Decades
Trading posts once dotted the American frontier. They were not only where to go to buy and trade supplies; they were social centers where pioneers could exchange news and stories. While Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte hasn’t been around quite that long, it does pay tribute to those early trading posts and their role in Nebraska’s history.
The tourist attraction and store has been family owned and operated since 1963. Part of its purpose is to celebrate the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, an important figure in North Platte.
North Platte was the birthplace of
Buffalo Bill's Wild West traveling show. Cody himself had a ranch here, Scout's Rest Ranch, which has become another very popular North Platte attraction.
A huge statue of Buffalo Bill stands out front; its base contains the Wild West legend's life story.
Outdoors on the grounds of the trading post, you'll find all kinds of interesting objects that show what life would have been like in Buffalo Bill's time.
There are also fun little amusements, like a "jail" you can do a little time in, a replica covered wagon, a teepee you can go into, some large sculptures (like the big bronze bison at the entrance)...
...and this handsome fellow. He's one of the original "muffler men" that appeared in front of roadside attractions throughout the country in the 1960s. The outdoor stockade space is also used for a summer concert series every year. Various artists play Thursday night shows all summer long; admission is $5 for ages 12 and up.
Inside, Fort Cody has a very impressive collection of Wild West relics all throughout the store. This is the owners' personal collection, and some of these items are more than 150 years old. This is a neat way to learn a little more about Nebraska's Wild West days while having fun and wandering through the store.
One of the stars of the exhibit is the stuffed two-headed calf. Yes, it's real - it was born on a ranch in the 1940s and only lived a few days. It looks remarkable for its age!
But the most fascinating part of the indoor exhibit has to be the miniature animated model of a Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. It consists of more than 20,000 hand-carved miniature pieces that put on a show every half hour.
This fascinating diorama was handmade by Ernie and Virginia Palmquist and took more than 12 years to complete.
You can spend ages just taking in all of the wonderful little details of this miniature world. The show is totally free to watch; it alone is worth a stop if you're passing through the area.
Being a trading post, there are of course plenty of items for sale. You'll find everything from toys, books, and souvenirs...
...to clothing, accessories, and handmade jewelry...
...to Native American crafts and Nebraska-made foods and gifts.
This promotional video gives you a feel for what it’s like to visit this unique Nebraska attraction.
Fort Cody Trading Post is such a fun part of North Platte, a town that’s chock full of great Nebraska and Buffalo Bill history. It’s been a staple of family road trips for decades, and we’re sure it will continue to be so for many more. Learn more at the
official website or Facebook page.
For another fascinating part of North Platte’s history, read
the heartwarming story of the canteen that lifted soldiers’ spirits during WWII.