Did you know that the world’s second largest collection of space artifacts is in Kansas. Or that nearly all of the tall grass prairie land that once swept across America, is only found in Kansas now. How about that in this southern state there’s a place called Little Sweden, just a few thousand people, but with all the charm and character of a Swedish village.
Some of Kansas top destinations include the Historic city of Dodge City, an important frontier town, and the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. The towns of Wichita and Lindsborg are great stops to experience the rich history of Kansas’ small town life throughout the centuries.
One of Kansas’ most famous moments is immortalized by the Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego. The museum features a collection of over 25,000 Wizard of Oz artifacts. The perfect time to visit is during the Annual OZtoberFEST which is Oktoberfest, Oz-style, and often features original film staff, historians, and others related to the franchise.
Strataca is a salt mine museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, United States. It was previously known as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. The museum is built within one of the world’s largest deposits of rock salt and provides the opportunity to go 650 feet beneath the Earth’s surface. It is a unique attraction for exploring an environs carved from salt deposits formed 275 million years ago.
Old Cowtown Museum
One of Wichita’s main attractions is the Old Cowtown Museum, a living history museum dedicated to celebrating life in Wichita during the 19th century. The 23 acre museum has more than 60 historic and recreated buildings, with 12,000 period artifacts. Visitors to the museum can enjoy learning through hands-on activities, viewing the costumed actors, and observing the live animals and other exhibits.
Fort Scott National State Historic Site
This site is most well-known for its role in the Mexican-American War. During the war the fort was a U.S. Army Base on the edge of U.S. settlement in 1850. After that time it continued to be used as a supply base and to provide protection for the region through the Bleeding Kansas event and the American Civil War.
Visitors are able to see or tour four officers’ barracks, a dragoon barrack, two infantry barracks, the hospital, a guardhouse, the dragoon stables, and several other small buildings.
Boot Hill Museum
The mission of the museum is to preserve the history of the Old West with emphasis on Dodge City. There are over 20,000 artifacts in the complex, including more than 200 original guns. In addition to its historical and educational focus, the museum also provides entertainment for visitors in the form of simulated gunfights and saloon shows.
Top Things to Do in Kansas
Historic Dodge City
One of Kansas’ most famous small towns is Dodge City. The historic city is famous for its influence on American culture and its history as for being a wild frontier town from the “Old West.” The town dates to 1871 and was made famous as part of the Great Western Cattle Trail and its development into a true frontier town with saloons, gambling halls, and brothels that today we’d only picture in a classic western film.
In the downtown area visitors can tour historic Old Dodge City with western-themed architecture, shops, and restaurants.
This Kansas route was made famous as a pathway for driving cattle from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads during the 19th century. The trail went from Rio Grande or San Antonio, Texas to Abilene, Kansas. The route was long and difficult for cattleman, yet essential for the economic health of the region. Today, the trail has left its legacy in films, music, and in several historical destinations. The trail is marked along several major highways.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
The national historic site in honor of the landmark Supreme Court decision which helped to end racial segregation in public schools in the U.S. is located in Topeka, Kansas. The Monroe Elementary School, one of the four segregated elementary schools in Topeka is the site of the landmark today.
One of Kansas’ top attractions is this museum and educational institution in the city of Hutchinson, which houses the second largest collection of space artifacts in the world. It is also famous as being one of only three museums which display flown spacecraft from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions.
The museum’s four venues are the Hall of Space Museum, the Justice Planetarium, the Carey Digital Dome Theater, and Dr. Goddard’s lab which features live science presentations. Some of the most famous items on display include the Gemini X space capsule and the Apollo 13 command module, a Lunar Rover, and a large collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts.
Flint Hills Discovery Center
The Flint Hills Discovery Center features exhibits that explore the ecology, history, and culture of the Flint Hills in Kansas and Oklahoma. It also hosts traveling and temporary exhibits on related themes. The permanent exhibits are arranged in nine topical zones including an immersive theater experience.
Featured within the facility are exhibits detailing local history and preservation of the Flint Hills, a theater, a specialized interactive playground for youth and parents, and a temporary exhibition gallery.
Things to Do in Kansas
The state of Kansas is geographically the center of America, and many locals and visitors think of it as “the Heart of America,” too. On a trip to Kansas visitors can explore important landmarks of America’s history from the frontier era, through the Civil Rights Movement, to today.