This self-guided auto tour includes Kansas City, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Cabela’s, Legends Outlets, Olathe with the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, Topeka with the historic Kansas Capitol, Manhattan with the Flint Hills Discovery Center, Abilene and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Salina and the Rolling Hills Zoo, and Wichita.
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1. Kansas City, KS
Lewis & Clark Park at Kaw Point, an inspiring historic site at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, is where Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery camped and recovered after their exhausting journey against the rising currents and a strong headwind on June 26, 1804. Today, the park offers walking and biking trails, an education pavilion, open-air encampment theater, and outstanding views of downtown Kansas City. Murals and signage recognize the area’s history and Native American tribes.
Kansas City, KS is home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Kansas Speedway, Sporting KC, and an array of exciting attractions, unique-themed restaurants and shopping experiences. The Village West area boasts 400 acres of shopping. Find big bargains at Legends Outlets, Cabela’s, and Nebraska Furniture Mart. History comes alive at the Quindaro Overlook, Old Quindaro Museum, John Brown Statue, and the Underground Railroad Museum. All are a part of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.
Shawnee Town helps visitors re-live life on the farm in the old days while the Wonderscope Children’s Museum opens young minds to the future.
Western history comes alive at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site. Ride in a stagecoach and see a working 19th century farm complete with crops, livestock and fun.
4. Overland Park
Spark your child’s imagination at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead where they can be hands-on with the best outdoor experiences. Take a stroll through the beautiful Museum at Prairiefire, the only location outside of New York to host American Museum of Natural History exhibitions. Get an adrenaline rush at iFly—their 120 MPH wind tunnel allows to you experience free-fall conditions as you skydive indoors. Explore Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens or the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art for a more cultural experience. Overland Park’s charming downtown is home to eclectic shops and local restaurants, all just 20 minutes from Kansas City, Missouri.
Lawrence is home of the University of Kansas and the Haskell Indian Nations University. The mounted remains of the cavalry horse Comanche, who was the lone survivor of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, is on display at the University of Kansas’ Natural History Museum. Lawrence invites visitors to stroll, dine, and shop in its scenic downtown area. Attractions include the exhibits and documents at the Dole Institute of Politics, the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, the University of Kansas’ Natural History Museum, the Lawrence Art Center, and the Lied Performing Arts Center, as well as the Watkins Community Museum of History.
Visitors won’t want to miss the Kansas historic state capitol. At the Kansas History Museum they can see a Cheyenne tipi, a Wichita grass lodge, an 1880 steam locomotive, and exhibits and displays that bring Kansas’ frontier history to life. Topeka also features Old Prairie Town, the Great Overland Stage Museum, and the Combat Air Museum. Popular Topeka destinations also include the historic Ritchie House, the Topeka Zoological Park, the priceless Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows at First Presbyterian Church, and the Ted Ensley gardens.
Manhattan is home to Kansas State University. Adjacent to the university you’ll find Aggieville, an 125-year-old shopping district offering unique eateries, bars and restaurants. Historic downtown Manhattan features the Flint Hills Discovery Center with fascinating interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. The Riley County Historical Museum showcases the area’s pioneer heritage. The Konza Prairie Biological Station features buffalo in their native prairie. Walk on “the wild side” at the Sunset Zoo. The Wildwood Outdoor Adventure Park offers seven thrilling zip-lines. Tuttle Creek Lake provides great outdoor adventures and is located five miles north of Manhattan on US 24.
A bronze statue of a hard-riding Pony Express rider, plus life-style interactive murals and barn-quilt blocks depicting the Pony Express, are all located in Marysville Park. The original Pony Express Station No. 1, the Korster House Museum, and the 11-mile Marshall County Connection are all popular visitor destinations. The Hollenberg Pony Express Station northwest of Marysville on the Little Blue River is also a popular destination.
Over 100 vintage cars, trucks, and tractors are on display at Herrs Memory Lane, and Pony Express and Oregon Trail rooms are featured at the County Historical Museum.
This town remembers Wild Bill Hickok, John Wesley Hardin—the “baddest” outlaws in all the west and all the wild days in Old Abilene Town. Abilene was the epicenter of Texas Cattle Drive Days in the 1870’s. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, by sharp contrast, remembers the general who led allied forces in Europe during World War II. Abilene’s popularity as an Old West Cowtown is enhanced by the Dickinson County Heritage Center, the C.W. Parker Carousel, and the Abilene Smoky Valley Excursion Train.
The Rolling Hills Zoo is home to 418 animals and 118 species, and creates a “trip around the world” through lifelike dioramas and animatronic figures. The Smoky Hill Museum chronicles the history of this region with both permanent and changing exhibitions. Don’t miss their children’s area—The Curiosity Shop—new in 2017. Sculpture Tour Salina is a downtown outdoor exhibition of artwork, on loan from across the country, which changes each May.
Newton is home to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the 1886 Warkentin House, and the Harvey County Museum.
Twenty-three acres of structures, streets and stories make up Old Cowtown Museum, bringing to life the wild and wooly days when Wichita hosted Texas cowboys coming up the Chisholm Trail. The Mid-America Indian Center, the Great Plains Nature Center, and the Sedgewick County Zoo are three prime examples of all the great things to see in Wichita.
Visitors can tour nearby Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Red Rocks Historic Site, and the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to John Redmond Reservoir north and south of Emporia for outstanding examples of the bounty and beauty of the Great Plains.
For more information, visit VisitKansasCityKS.com.