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“a bit of the old west.”
Review of Boot Hill Museum

Boot Hill Museum
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Dodge City
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The exciting and unique story of early Dodge City is told daily along Front Street at Boot Hill Museum. The museum chronicles the establishment of a rough and rowdy cattle town known as Dodge City. The museum is located on the original site of Boot Hill Cemetery and highlights the glory days as Queen of the Cowtowns with creative, lively, interactive displays and activities the entire family will enjoy. Boot Hill Museum is open all year long where you can belly up to the bar for a cold sarsaparilla, enjoy some of grandma’s homemade fudge in the General Store or take home a lasting memento of your old west experience from the Boot Hill gift shop. During the summer months, children’s activities, gunfight reenactments, country-style dinners and the Long Branch Variety Show provides entertainment like none other! Cool off in the Beatty and Kelley Ice Cream Parlor before you become a character of the past in an Old West Photo.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

When you come to Boot Hill, you really have to appreciate it for what it is. In North Carolina, we had a similar place called Tweetsie Railroad. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it hyped up? Yes. Is it fun? Yes. Just accept that you are going to a Disney-esque replica of the Old West and you will be fine. I appreciated the museum. It had a plethora of information about the Old West days and they have a multitude of special exhibits on the Native Americans and how they were treated by the settlers. I have enough Cherokee in my blood count it, but not enough to get the benefits, so it was especially good for me to see that they did pay tribute to a culture that was decimated by the Old West. The museum, I found to be fascinating. The graveyard was cute and, although it was moved, you could appreciate the burial ground and its significance in the town if you read the placards in the museum. In the town, they have an old saloon where you can buy beer or sarsaparilla (it is root beer, for those of you who are like me and don't like root beer... don't let them trick you). My husband loved the old time saloon and getting a drink at the bar and was deputized by the bartender (not just for kids!). The rest of the town has more museum areas, a small antique shop, a cafe, and the old time picture studio. We had our portrait done (a request by my husband) and the people were very nice and the quality of the photos was good. There are other outbuildings that have exhibits in them, as well, if you continue down the path through "town". Allegedly, the gunfighters are world-famous. It is what you have seen on TV if you ever watched westerns - cap guns and stage fighting. However, it is entertaining, especially for kids or kids-at-heart. The gift shop has a lot of souvenirs, if you are looking for a memento. We stayed for the show at night and found it to be entertaining, except for the high school-aged "saloon girls" who let older men take garters off their legs for $3. That was awkward. Other than that, it was entertaining enough for the price and really is part of the experience. It wasn't broadway or even off-broadway quality, but you go to Boot Hill for the wild west experience. The only downside is that they have a dinner before the show and were unable to accommodate my food allergies, so we ended up going elsewhere in town (where I had an anaphylactic reaction to soy that they claimed wasn't in the food until I emailed corporate... but that is another story... be VERY careful in Dodge City if you have food allergies!). So, that was unfortunate. But, other than that, it was not too expensive for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will keep you and your family entertained for several hours. I have to admit that I was drugged out of my mind on benedryl during the show, so it may have seemed better to me than it actually was. But, it was worth it. If you go, stay at the Boot Hill B&B... good access, good breakfast, and good hospitality.

1  Thank Blondebetty123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2013

We visited the Boot Hill Museum hoping to see the graves of some of the famous gunfighters of the Old West - NOT! It turns out much of Boot Hill was taken over by private concerns over the years and only a few graves remain - mainly of unknown characters. A real big disappointment at $9 per person since the admission price includes the cemetery and the museum.

2  Thank Mikejack52pe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2013

Considering the fact that this museum is arranged around the original location of the Boot Hill Cemetery, but has been re-built, re-arranged, and relocated to this spot mostly with materials from the time period but not necessarily from Dodge City, the price of admission could be lower. A family of 4- two parents and two kids, as it says on the sign- is $35, and you'll be done with your perusing in two hours or less.

That said, there are some really interesting things here, and the museum *is* fun. There are plenty of live re-enactors in the shops dressed in period clothing, and they're happy to answer questions and interact with visitors. In the Long Branch Saloon, a barkeep sells bottled drinks- including Dodge City Sarsaparilla, a real treat- and the piano player bangs out tunes while a can-can girl teaches the kiddos how to dance. The keeper of the next-door general store offers free tastes of homemade fudge (try the salted dark chocolate with caramel) and answers questions about all the antiques from Dodge City on display, not just the items that are for sale. There is an ice cream shop and restaurant that sells lunches, and you can also buy tickets for a nightly (during warm weather months) brisket dinner onsite, followed by a variety show in the Long Branch. Museum exhibits about lawmen and lawbreakers are very detailed, and the original town jail- which is quite small!- is there as well. And watch out- sometimes people act boldly and there are mock gunfights in front of the saloon. Cover your ears!

So yeah, for the size of the museum, the ticket price could probably be lower, and I tend to hate entering and leaving a place through its gift shop. It just screams "tourist tourist tourist!" to me. But, to be fair, there is some pretty neat stuff in the shop and the museum, and it was a nice way to spend a morning in Dodge City. It isn't a place I'd visit regularly if I lived closer, but it's worth seeing once or twice.

1  Thank Momma B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

The museum area was easy to find, as it is located on the main drag, Front Street. You walk in to the souviener shop, expecting to be greeted by someone at the door. Not!! The two young ladies working in the store were consumed with stocking items and assisting customers at the cash register. There was not one to explain the tour process, except a sign posted on the back door that leads to the museum that reads, " You cannot walk beyond this point without a paid ticket." I paid $20 (for two) expecting a tour guide at the back of the shop. I stood outside for 5 minutes and walked back into the store and asked about the tour process. One of the young ladies stated that it was a self-guided tour. Why didn't she explain this at the time I purchased the ticket? Anyway, I picked up the map and we went on our merry way.

1  Thank Precious89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 15, 2013

This was one of our last stops on a two week trip, but really glad we made it here. The history is very cool - my husband and I are big Old West fans. The museum is much more expansive than I had thought it would be. We may have done the inclusive meal and entertainment if we had planned for more time. Love that this is the REAL DEAL - so many authentic artifacts from the history of old Dodge City!

1  Thank TerraleeG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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