Ready to grab your kiddos and hit the road? Below is a list of 10 family-friendly Kansas destinations:
Kansas City Metro
Kansas City Metro is a great spare-of-the-moment vacation. Throw some overnight bags in the car and enjoy a stay at Great Wolf Lodge, Kansas City’s premiere indoor waterpark resort. With a family restaurant, arcade, game shop, gift shop, confectionary shop, and outdoor miniature golf, families have everything they need underneath one roof. For those seeking one-of-a-kind experiences, kids of all ages will enjoy the Museum at Prairiefire, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm Historic Site, and the Moon Marble Company.
Topeka offers a taste of Kansas history, from the earliest civilizations to the recent past. Topeka visitors can explore the Kansas Museum of History, Kansas State Capitol Building, and Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. To let the kids unwind, the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is located on nine acres within Gage Park, and provides interactive exhibits that emphasize math, science and the arts.
Sightseers can “get their kicks” on Route 66, the historic byway offers a variety of experiences while driving the original portion of the Kansas Route 66 Historic Byway. Visitors can drive across one of the few remaining Marsh Arch Bridges, commonly known as Rainbow Bridge. In Baxter Springs, Kansas, the Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum is dedicated to preserving the rich regional history. Offering something for everyone, the Southeast Kansas Nature Center at Schermerhorn Park explores everything from hands-on materials to woodland and grassland trails to Schermerhorn Cave.
The Manhattan/Wamego area proves there’s no place like Kansas for 100 years of Oz history at the Oz Museum. Vacationers can also discover interactive science, history, and culture at the Flint Hills Discovery Center, view all the creepy crawlies at the K-State Insect Zoo, and over 200 animals at the Sunset Zoo.
In the region of Salina/Minneapolis, at the Rock City national landmark, journeyers can climb on rocks the size of houses and follow the interconnecting trails through native grasses and wildflowers. Explore the history of the Smoky Hills region as it comes alive at the Smoky Hill Museum with captivating exhibits; the 350 animals that inhabit the Rolling Hills Zoo; and the different exhibitions at the Salina Art Center.
Wichita has so much to do – discover and explore pre-history to modern day, to beautiful landscapes, to rare and endangered animals. Visitors can get lost in the possibilities at Exploration Place, Old Cowtown Museum, Sedgwick County Zoo, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, and Museum of World Treasures.
Hutchinson offers a truly unique destination with Strataca, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, located 650 feet beneath the earth’s surface in a salt bed formed 275 million years ago. A trip to Hutchinson wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Cosmosphere, Dillon Nature Center, or Hutchinson Zoo.
Find 80 million-year-old sea monsters and other terrifying creatures that once occupied present-day Kansas in Hays at the Sternberg Museum of History. Be sure to create a custom hat at Sunflowers and Silos, learn more about the Fort Hays army post at the Fort Hays State Historic Site, and see firsthand, the twin towers of the “Cathedral of the Plains” rising in the air.
The Dodge City Area was once the mecca for cowboys and gunfights. Located on the original site of the Boot Hill Cemetery, Boot Hill Museum highlights the glory days of the cow towns. Also in Dodge City is the Wright Park & Zoo, including an aviary and petting zoo. Visitors can stretch their legs on the spiral staircase at the Big Well Museum in Greensburg and learn more about how this community was rebuilt after a destructive tornado.
Make a splash in Garden City at the Parrot Cove Water Park and then enjoy the outdoors. The Lee Richardson Zoo features over 300 animals from all over the world and is designed for fun, learning and discovery. At Ward’s Petting Zoo, admission includes a guided tour and food to feed the animals. A must see, is the Sandsage Bison Range & Wildlife Area, the oldest publicly owned bison herd in Kansas.