What’s the difference between a buffalo and a bison? Do they only come in one color, and are there any wild buffalo left in North America? Everything you’ve ever wanted to know but were too afraid to ask can be discovered at the National Buffalo Museum in Jamestown, North Dakota!
Located in Jamestown’s Frontier Village along with the “World’s Largest Buffalo” (click the yellow words to see those stories), the museum offers an expansive gift shop, plenty to see and explore related to America’s National Mammal, and even views of a field in which a live herd of buffalo graze in reflection of days long before the prairie was developed into the cities and farmlands of today!
Travel Tip: Admission to the buffalo museum is $8 for adults, but a discount is offered for active military members and seniors. The gift shop is pretty expensive, but features unique gifts and even bison food items (jerky, etc.), so I’d recommend giving it a peek!
When you enter the museum, the gift shop and admission desk will be on the right, along with clean restrooms and a water fountain. On the left will be the entrance to the exhibit halls. The whole lay-out, and even a few new exhibits, are the result of recent renovations which have drastically improved the whole experience, so if you’ve seen the place before, I’d recommend returning to see the updates!
Just inside the museum a small theater provides a short film detailing the buffalo and their significance to the native populations of the prairie region over the centuries.
Everything evolves and changes over time, and the American Bison is no exception. Exhibits detail the variations of buffalo and how they have changed over time. You have to see some of the massive skulls in person to really appreciate their awesome size!
Perhaps my favorite part of the museum is the observation deck. From here one can view the live herd of bison (numbering about 25-30) as they graze a 200-acre reserve of prairie in much the same fashion as their ancestors did for millennia.
The main display area offers many exhibits on prairie fauna, Indian life, and, most impressively, taxidermied remains of buffalo from the region, including the recently deceased White Cloud, an albino buffalo and local celebrity.
Whether you’re a solo traveler like myself or are exploring the prairie with friends and family, the National Buffalo Museum should certainly be on your list of things to see in North Dakota! If you go, take I-94 from Fargo or Bismarck and take the Jamestown exit 258. The museum is open daily from 8am-8pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Be sure to tell them you read about the museum on Prairie, Party of One!