Explore the storied past of a state that saw outlaws, iconic pilots and a girl named Dorothy. Visitors can walk in the foot steps of cattle drivers and stand in the spots where gunslingers exchanged fire.
No town epitomizes the Wild West frontier quite like Dodge City. The home of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, Front Street — the town’s main drag — played host to legends. You can become a character of the past in an Old West Photo. Relive the legend in historic downtown Dodge City.
Buffalo once roamed the area, and in 3 years, over 3 million were killed for their hides. A good buffalo hunter could make more than $100 per day in the 1800s. Cattle drives also became big business. Dodge City became known as a rough and rowdy cattle town at the midpoint of the Santa Fe Trail, which runs from Missouri to New Mexico. See Fort Dodge, an important outpost on the western frontier. It was a supply base for troops engaged in fighting the Indian Wars on the plains and was established to protect wagon trains moving along the trail carrying supplies. The fort is located just a few miles east of Dodge City.
From exploring the many family attractions within beautiful Gage Park, to the heart-pounding excitement of the NHRA Kansas Nationals, you will discover that Topeka offers many things to do during your visit. Step into history by following in the footsteps of Civil War abolitionists or 1950s Civil Rights supporters and discover Topeka’s role in our nation’s fight for freedom. Drop into the North Topeka Arts District for an amazing First Friday Artwalk filled with all kinds of art, music, food, shopping and fun. Spend a relaxing day on the links, or search for treasures at one of our many antique stores.
Travel back in time with a ride on a 1908 vintage carousel and enjoy the sights of Gage Park onboard a mile-long mini-train ride. Experience “serious fun” at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center’s interactive exhibits with unique indoor and outdoor play areas. Follow the path of the trailblazers in the Civil Rights Movement and the desegregation of public schools at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.
Lake Shawnee offers fishing, boating, sailing, and swimming. Within the 1,100-acre park surrounding the lake are foot trails, a golf course, a marina, tennis courts, shelter houses, and ball diamonds. There is also a campground that has 140 sites, visited each year by people from 48 states and several countries.
Tasty Green Beans
Taste the flavors of the heartland in this delicious recipe. Recipe by the Good Sam Team
- 16 oz fresh green beans
- ¼ cup minced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 bacon slices
- Nut or seed of your choice (slivered almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Olive oil
- Pot of water
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.
Cook bacon until crispy. Crumble bacon.
Cook green beans to your liking (boiled or blanched).
In large sauce pan, combine green beans, onions, garlic and bacon and simmer for 10 minutes. Avoid overcooking.
Wichita earned its nickname “Cowtown” during the late 19th century, when ranchers moved herds along the Chisholm Trail to the railroads in town. The largest city in the Sunflower State has sure come a long way since then. World-class museums have cropped up along the Arkansas River and a creative arts scene has given the metropolis a sophisticated edge. Between the new attractions and modern neighborhoods are still remnants of Wichita’s ranching past — look closely in Old Town to find them.
Top attractions and renowned museums dot the banks of the Arkansas River. Go to the water’s edge to discover the Keeper of the Plains, a Native American statue which guards the city at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers. If you can, come at night to see a ring of fire blaze around the 44-foot-tall sculpture. Further down the river is Botanica Wichita, home to dozens of themed gardens and more than 4,000 species of native and exotic flora. The Wichita Art Museum is less than a mile away and worth a visit for its impressive collection of American art. Be sure to check out the new Art Garden too which blends outdoor sculptures with lush plant life. You can also inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists at Exploration Place, a kid-centric museum packed with hands-on exhibits.
On sweltering days, cool off at one of the many waterparks in town. Most families opt for Rock River Rapids, the largest waterpark in the area with a lap pool, lazy river and six slides. If you’re up for a more extreme experience, head to Splash Aqua Park. The inflatable park rests on a lake in the southwest corner of Wichita and contains everything from trampolines and swings to slides and jumps. If you prefer to stay dry, grab your fishing rod and toss a line in Sedgwick County Park or Watson Park– both of which are stocked with plenty of rainbow trout. Severy City Lake and Eureka City Lake are situated about 70 miles outside of Wichita and promise hauls of bluegill.
Lace-up Your Hiking Boots
In Wichita, you’re never too far away from a great hike. Trek along the two-mile Chisholm Creek Park Nature Trail through forest, prairie and wetland terrain. Deer are often spotted along this path so make sure to keep your eyes peeled. Two hours west is the Chautauqua Hills. Bursting with jagged rock formations and tall hardwood trees, this area will make you feel like you’re not in Kansas anymore. You can get a close-up view of the rocky topography by following the 15-mile Elk River Trail or the three-mile Table Mound Trail. The Teter Nature Trail within El Dorado State Park offers a scenic loop through woodlands, while the Buffalo Tracks Canyon Nature Trail in Kanopolis State Park unveils ancient buffalo tracks etched in rock.
Where the Arts Thrive
The arts flourish in this part of Kansas, leaving you spoiled with entertainment options. Watch dance performances at Ballet Wichita, listen to international singers at the Wichita Grand Opera or get immersed in a Broadway production at Music Theatre Wichita. You’ll want to take a stroll down Galley Alley as well, an outdoor space adorned with colorful murals and art installations.
Good Times Ahead
Annual events and festivals show off the best of Wichita. In April, watch knights engage in weaponry combat at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival and bust a move during the Wichita Jazz Festival. Riverfest runs for nine days from the end of May into June and brings the community together with fireworks, drone races, parades and hot air balloon rides. The Air Capital Bacon, Beer and Bourbon Festival follows shortly after with more than 75 beer varieties and infinite bacon samples on offer. In July, locals take to the streets for the Moonlight Car Show, the largest car show in the region featuring over a thousand vehicles. The First Friday Gallery Crawl also occurs on the first Friday of every month and gives you the chance to visit more than 30 art venues.
Cowtown Culture and Aviation Heritage
Relive the city’s ranching days at the Old Cowtown Museum. Costumed guides bring this living history museum to life with blacksmith demonstrations, longhorn cattle drives and re-enacted shootouts. There are also 26 historic buildings to explore ranging from a saloon and general store to a church and jail.
The Travel Air Manufacturing Company was born here in 1925 and it didn’t take long for Wichita to turn into an aircraft construction center. The city became known as the “Air Capital of the World” and continues to house design and construction facilities for Bombardier, Airbus and Learjet. You can retrace Wichita’s contributions to the airline industry at the Kansas Aviation Museum.
For More Information
Kansas Office of Tourism & Travel
Dodge City CVB
Greater Topeka Partnership
Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau