Kansas Bucket List ~ Southwest Region

The final installment in the Kansas Bucket List series takes us to the southwest corner before we head into Oklahoma.

La Crosse

  • Kansas Barbed Wire Museum: It doesn’t get much more Kansas than this. You can learn the history of barbed wire here.

Larned

  • Fort Larned National Historic Site: One of the most complete forts remaining from the Indian Wars and located along the Santa Fe Trail.
  • Santa Fe Trail Center and Museum: This center tells the story of the Santa Fe Trail.

Liberal

  • Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz: Come explore the Land of Oz!

Ulysses

  • Historic Adobe Museum Complex and Hotel Edwards: This is part of the National Parks Interpretive Center for the Santa Fe Trail.

All attractions found in the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Kansas Bucket List ~ Northwest Region

We are moving to the Northwest corner of Kansas for today’s Bucket List!

Collyer

  • Castle Rock: This is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.

Ellis

  • Walter P. Chrysler Boyhood Home and Museum: See where the man behind Chrysler grew up.

Goodland

  • National Weather Service: Apparently you can contact this office to arrange a tour of the National Weather Service. Sound interesting and unique.

Norton

  • Prairie Dog State Park at Keith Sebelius Reservoir: Home to a large prairie dog colony.

Oakley

  • Monument Rocks National Landmark: One of the 8 Wonders of Kansas and Kansas’ first National Landmark.

Weskan

  • Mount Sunflower: The highest natural point in Kansas.

All attractions found in the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Kansas Bucket List ~ North Central Region

The North Central Region of Kansas is probably the longest Bucket List of the state!

Abilene

  • Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home: Another presidential museum to check off our list, and one I know little about.
  • Museum of Independent Telephony: Time to learn the history of the Telephone!

Alma

  • Alma Creamery: Home to the famous Alma Cheese.

Bennington

  • Prairie Lavender Farm: Tour a lavender farm.
  • The Linger Longer Soda and Sandwich Shop: Visit a 106 year old soda fountain!

Cawker City

  • World’s Largest Ball of Twine: We love roadside oddities like this!

Concordia

  • National Orphan Train Complex: A museum honoring the Orphan Train movement of the late 1800’s.
  • POW Camp Concordia: Visit an old WWII German POW camp.

Council Grove

  • Neosho Riverwalk-Santa Fe River Crossing: Site of a river crossing along the Santa Fe Trail.
  • Self Guided Tour-Santa Fe Trail in Council Grove: Walk along historical sites located along the Santa Fe Trail.
  • Trail Days Cafe and Museum: Unique dining along the historic Santa Fe Trail.

Fort Riley

  • First Territorial Capital State Historic Site: Location where forces tried to make Kansas a proslavery state.
  • U.S. Cavalry Museum: Shows the history of the mounted horse soldier.

Lucas

  • Bowl Plaza: Public Restroom that is shaped like a toilet.

Marysville

  • Black Squirrels on Parade: Several black squirrel sculptures can be found around town.

Minneapolis

  • George Washington Carver Museum Exhibit: Boyhood home of Carver.

Salina

  • Cozy Inn: Voted Kansas favorite burger and also shown in the top 10 on Travel Channel.

Wamego

  • Oz Museum: An entire museum dedicated to the Wizard of Oz.
  • Oz Winery: Winery themed around the Wizard of Oz.
  • Toto’s Tacoz: Taco joint themed around the Wizard of Oz.

Washington

  • Marcon Pies: Tour a pie factory.

All attractions found in the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Kansas Bucket List ~ South Central Region

After this post, we will be halfway through the state of Kansas!

Dexter

  • Cowley Waterfall and Fishing Lake: This waterfall has been named the #12 most beautiful in the United States.
  • Helium Memorial Park: This park commemorates the United States discovery of Helium.

Goessel

  • Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum: This museum tells the history of the Mennonites who immigrated to the area.

Pawnee Rock

  • Pawnee Rock State Historic Park: This is the halfway point of the Santa Fe Trail.

All attractions taken from the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Kansas Bucket List ~ Southeast Region

We are moving on to our second region of six in the Kansas Bucket List Series.

Baxter Springs

  • Monarch Pharmacy: An old soda fountain along Route 66.

Emporia

  • Jones Park Disc Golf Courses: These two courses are world class.
  • Peter Pan Disc Golf Course: This is home to the Glass Blown Open.

Fort Scott

  • Fort Scott National Historic Site: This fort is part of my National Park Passport.

Galena

  • Cars on the Route: A historic garage located on Route 66 and a tow truck that inspired Car’s Mater.

Independence

  • Little House on the Prairie Museum: Site of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.

Pittsburg

  • Chicken Annie’s Original Inc.: Family owned restaurant that helped make this the Chicken Capital of Kansas.
  • Chicken Mary’s: This restaurant has been featured on Travel Channel and is one of “8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine.”

Pleasanton

  • Marais des Cygnes Massacre State Historic Site: Proslavery men attacked free men at this site. It is also a National Historic Landmark.

West Mineral

  • Big Brutus Inc.: This is the world’s largest electric shovel.

All attractions taken from the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Kansas Bucket List ~ Northeast Region

Many consider Kansas a flyover state, but it really does have plenty to do and see! Here is the 1st of 6 installments in the Kansas Bucket List series.

Atchison

  • Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum: Great place to begin learning about the famous pilot.

Highland

  • Iowa and Sac and Fox Mission State Historic Site: This area was set aside as a mission post for these three Native American tribes.

Lecompton

  • Kansas Territorial Captial Museum: This was the territorial capitol site and also where president Eisenhower’s parents were married.

Topeka

  • Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site: This is one we have visited and it was very eye opening to how Brown vs Board played out.
  • Evel Knievel Museum: Museum dedicated to this famous daredevil.
  • Kansas Museum of History: We had a great time visiting this museum that very clearly laid out the state’s history.
  • Kansas State Capitol: This capitol dome is so unique and a very cool experience to climb above it’s inner dome.

That’s all for the northeast!

All attractions found in the 2018 Kansas Travel Guide.

Wednesday July 15, 2015- Kansas City, MO

Day 4 in Kansas City provided us with another busy day!  It was quite stormy when the morning started off but we didn’t let it stop us!

Even though the skies were dark as we set out in the morning, we got to see some crazy clouds and hear some crazy thunder as we walked around the sculpture park located around the outside of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  This is where you can find those iconic shuttlecocks in Kansas City.  Then as the rain moved in, we ran over to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and looked through their small but intriguing art exhibits.

Following that we found ourselves heading over to the National World War I Museum and Memorial  What makes this museum so special is that Liberty Tower stands in the center of the memorial and overs sweeping views of the Kansas City skyline.  When we first arrived they weren’t allowing people up in the tower since storms were still rolling through.  Since we came on “World War Wednesday” we got in for half price, and the best part is any day you go here, the tickets are good for two days! We opted to go through the museum first.  It begins with a video on how WWI started in Europe and the first museum section details all the events that took place in WWI before America was involved.  Then you watch another video that overlooks a trench replica that details how America came to be involved in the war. The final museum section shows artifacts from the time when America was involved in the war.

We enjoyed lunch in the Museum Cafe, which was very classy.  We both ordered a soft pretzel with beer cheese dip, and when it arrived at our table…well let’s just say that’s the fanciest I’ve ever felt eating a soft pretzel!  The storm had moved out of the area so it was once again safe to go up in the tower. The elevator (which has been revamped) can hold 8 people at a time.  When you get to the top there are about 45 more stairs to climb, but then you can see great views of the city from the outside!  We spent some time up there taking pictures and then came back down and checked out the Museum store.

After our time in the museum we walked up the road to Union Station.  It is so neat to walk in there and see how historic everything still looks and that its so cool that you can still take the Amtrak from there.  We chose to visit because our friends from the night before had mentioned we should check out the special Gridiron Glory Pro Football Hall of Fame Exhibit that is there until Sept. 7.  Boy is this football loving girl glad we did!  We politely walked past all the KC Chiefs gear at the front but had a great time checking out some of the legendary players gear and an even better time trying out the hands on exhibits: like trying on football helmets and pads, helping make an instant replay decision, practicing our field goal kicks and making quarterback passes.  So worth the money!

After all those adventures we made our way back to the hotel, swam for a bit, and then grabbed our Crayola Cafe leftovers and dined in the hotel breakfast area.  We did decide grab some frozen yogurt at Sheridan’s, just up the street from our hotel.  All in all, a very fun day!

Total Cost for Day: $140.21

Art Museum: FREE WWI admission: $14 Lunch: $15.45 GridIron Glory: $31.90 Dinner: FREE Sheridans: $9.36 Hotel: $69.50

Tuesday July 14, 2015- Kansas City, Missouri

Day 3 in Kansas actually was spent on the Missouri side of Kansas City, back to the Kansas Side, and then back to Missouri again.

Day 3 was our actual anniversary during this third anniversary trip.  We really packed this day full of adventures.  We began our day at the Museums of 18th/Vine.  There are two great museums located at this location.  One is the American Jazz Museum and the other is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  These museums charge $10 for admission to each, or you can purchase a joint ticket for $15.  We went through the Jazz Museum first.  I really like how they focused on different jazz artists and had listening examples, but also wished that several of their listening areas hadn’t been out of order.  Neither Andrew and I are into baseball all that much (although I’m trying hard since I live in Cardinals Nation) but I was blown away by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.  I thought it was way more interesting than the Jazz Museum and learned a lot.  Very informative video at the beginning.  There’s lots to read, but they cover the main parts in the initial video so don’t feel like you have to read it all.

Following the museums, we drove over to the Crown Center.  The Crown Center is located right next to Hallmark Headquarters, and is filled with several specialty shops and restaurants.  We knew we wanted to check out the Crayola Cafe, and lucky for us, found two delicious Mac and Cheese dishes on what was also National Mac and Cheese Day.  They give you a placemat and crayons to color with while you wait for your food.  The food was really good and we had enough to take back to the hotel for leftovers later in the week.  We also found a cupcake place in the food court to get some dessert.

After lunch we went over to the Hallmark Visitors Center which offers you a great look into the history of the company for FREE.  The best part besides seeing the Christmas ornament exhibits was where you could make you own bow to put on a present.  You pressed a button and got to watch the machine make it in front of you.  Then it spit it out for you to take home!

After all that we went to the hotel for a quick dip in the pool before heading down to Overland Park, KS to meet up with some old camp friends of mine.  They took us out to Oklahoma Joe’s, which comedian Jim Gaffigan swears has the best BBQ in the nation.  I do have to say the brisket was darn good and I really like the spicy BBQ sauce.

Following that we spent some time chatting at their house and then made our way back to the hotel.

Total Cost for Day: $137.75

Museum admission: $30 Lunch/Dessert: $23.25 Hallmark Center: Free Dinner: $25 Hotel: $69.50

Monday July 13, 2015- Topeka, Kansas

Day 2 in Kansas gave us a full morning in Topeka and then a drive back to Kansas City.

Our first stop of the day was the state capitol building.  Kansas’ building is unique because it actually has two domes: an inner dome and an outer dome.  They offer two different tours: a historical tour of the building or the dome tour.  Even though Andrew had a fear of heights, we opted for the dome tour since that is always the highlight of visiting capitol buildings for me.  We began the tour at the 5th level.  A quick stair climb up we found ourselves on the 7th level sitting at the very top of the dome.  Next we went up another flight of stairs to get us to the outer dome.  This is where Andrew choose to stop.  I had one more level and then a long climb up a spiral staircase to reach the final destination….and outdoor balcony that provides the best views in the city.  Coming down was rather terrifying, so Andrew was probably smart to stay where he did!

Following our visit to the capitol, we went to Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.  This is the site of the actual school that showed “separate but equal.”  This was a neat place to visit because even though they have put in exhibits detailing the timeline that led to Equal Rights, the building still had all the old characteristics it would have had back then.  They even have an old classroom set up like a Kindergarten classroom.  Well worth the visit.

Our final stop in Topeka was the Museum of the Kansas National Guard.  This museum was actually located back towards our hotel.  We went here because Andrew is always interested in military history, but I must say I was in for a pleasant surprise as well to discover that this museum houses a replica tv set from M*A*S*H*.

We grabbed a quick lunch at Burger King before heading out of town.  Our first stop in Kansas City was the American Girl Store since I was (and sort of still am) and avid collector and it’s on my bucket list to visit each store.  This store is still located on the Kansas side of Kansas City and was about half an hour from our hotel for the night.  I got my souvenir shirt while there and then we drove up to our hotel.  We stayed near the airport, which isn’t the closest to all the Kansas City attractions, but offers a nice budget stay and had an outdoor pool (Andrew always considers a pool a necessity, and this hot week I’m sure glad he did.)  We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner since it was right up the road from our hotel and then spent the night hanging out in the pool at the Sleep Inn.

Total Cost for the Day: $112.09

All attractions: free Lunch: $14.88 Dinner: $27.71 Hotel stay: $69.50

Sunday July 12, 2015- Topeka, Kansas

Day 1 of our 3rd anniversary trip brought us to Topeka, Kansas. Neither of us had ever been to Kansas before.  Maybe we didn’t get far enough into Kansas, but it certainly was a lot hillier than I expected.  As we drove through Kansas City on the Missouri side we had the opportunity to view both the Kansas City Royals Stadium and the Kansas City Chiefs Stadium.  They sit right next to each other!

We also got to experience life on the Kansas Turnpike.  Let’s just say it was quite the experience.  It turns out that you don’t just pay a normal toll like other toll booths I’ve experienced in Illinois.  You pull up and take a ticket.  Later when you get off they collect your toll based on the distance between the two toll points.

We arrived in Topeka around 3pm.  We decided to check out Kansas Museum of History since it’s not open on Monday’s and we only had Sunday and Monday to spend in Topeka.  The museum is located on the North side of town, pretty far away from any other attractions in Topeka.  The museum has lots of neat exhibits throughout the history of Kansas.  Sometimes it can be a little bit confusing as to which direction to turn but all in all a great learning experience.

Following our time at the museum, we got settled into our hotel.  We stayed at the Super 8 at Forbes Landing.  It was located pretty far south of town, and driving along seemed like there was nothing down in that area, but the hotel was very new looking and had an indoor pool!  The staff were friendly and it was a very quiet stay.

We tried Cici’s pizza for dinner that night.  Really good chain pizza restaurant.  All you can eat pizza, pasta, and salad (including dessert pizza’s) for just $5.55 a person! I can’t wait to go there again.  Loved the bread sticks and loved the buffalo chicken pizza.

We ended the night hanging out at our hotel and enjoying some time in the pool since it was so warm the week of our trip!

Cost for the day: $107.02

Museum admission: $16 Dinner cost: $11 Hotel cost: $80.02