Who doesn’t love a good story? The North Central region of Kansas introduces inspiring characters like former President Dwight D. Eisenhower (who loved reading history books as a boy in Abilene), “Home on the Range” poet Dr. Brewster Higley, and S.P. Dinsmoor, whose quirky cement sculptures reflected his political views. At Wamego’s OZ Museum (pictured), learn how a children’s novel about a Kansas farm girl swept up in a tornado became one of the most-watched movies of all time. By the time you’re finished exploring, you’ll have volumes worth of memories to share back home.

Visiting each of these sites is like listening to a good tale: It just keeps getting better as you go.

Oz Museum

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY, MUSEUM AND BOYHOOD HOME

Abilene

Eisenhower’s boyhood experiences in Abilene formed the character and skills he needed to become a worldwide war hero, Army five-star general and president of the United States. Ike and his wife, Mamie, narrate their lives through quotes, images and videos incorporated into the exhibits.

 

GEOGRAPHIC CENTER OF THE UNITED STATES

Lebanon

Want to be in the heart of it all? Take a photo by the monument for bragging rights, then step inside the U.S. Center Chapel featured in Bruce Springsteen’s inspirational commercial that was broadcast during Super Bowl LV.

 

HOME ON THE RANGE CABIN

Athol

After Dr. Brewster M. Higley homesteaded in Smith County, he felt moved to share its beauty. His poem, “My Western Home,” was later set to music and became Kansas’ state song, “Home on the Range.” Higley’s log cabin still stands here.

 

OZ MUSEUM

Wamego

Eight decades later, we’re still following the yellow brick road with Dorothy and friends. A whimsical facade invites visitors inside to see more than 2,000 artifacts, including L. Frank Baum books, photos signed by the stars and 1939 movie production artifacts.

 

PAWNEE INDIAN MUSEUM STATE HISTORIC SITE

Republic

A hoe made from bone remains where it was discovered on the excavated floor of a Pawnee family’s dome-shape earth lodge. One of 22 lodges uncovered in a village possibly dating to 1770, the site gives a captivating visual account of the Plains tribe’s daily life.

 

PONY EXPRESS MUSEUM

Marysville

Imagine a rider on horseback galloping up to this barn, the only Home Station still standing on its original site on the entire Pony Express route. A replica mochila (the leather saddle cover that held the mail) is a must-see in the attached museum.

 

S.P. DINSMOOR’S GARDEN OF EDEN

Lucas

Ready for a bit of an unconventional tale? In 1907, at age 64, S.P. Dinsmoor began constructing a limestone log cabin home, surrounding it with cement sculptures reflecting his political views. Dinsmoor sculpted his figures atop 40-foot-high cement “trees” so his garden wouldn’t be missed by visitors to this arts-centric town.

 

TRAIL CENTER

Abilene

Accounts of legends Wild Bill Hickok, Thomas “Bear River” Smith and Joseph McCoy (who promoted driving Texas longhorns up the Chisholm Trail to Abilene) are told in this new museum in Old Abilene Town. The Smoky Hill Trail and the Butterfield Overland Despatch (sic) stagecoach line also are featured.

Garden of Eden

Kansas' only Visionary Sculpture Environment and stone log cabin. Internationally known as a prime example of the Grassroots Art genre…

Old Abilene Town

Get a taste of the Old West, and enjoy can-can dancers and gunfights during the summer travel season. Old Abilene Town also hosts Chisholm…

Oz Museum

Come and Experience the World of OZ! With 2,000 artifacts on display featuring 120 years of Oz culture from 1st edition L. Frank Baum books…

Pony Express Museum

The Smith Hotel, the first home station of the Pony Express west of St. Joseph, MO, was located across from the present museum. The museum…

Home on the Range Cabin

When Dr. Brewster Higley wrote those words on the banks of Beaver Creek near Athol, Kans., in 1872, he was writing about his Kansas…

Eat & Drink

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Recap the day’s adventures over handcrafted beverages and home-style meals made from local products.

Grandma's Soda Shop Wilson

 

456 WINERIES

Wamego

Sample wines, meads and ciders from six area start-up wineries, all in one tasting room. It’s a branch of the local community college’s viticulture and enology program. Catch occasional live music performances on Saturdays.

 

AMANDA’S BAKERY AND BISTRO

Abilene

Linger over a savory breakfast sandwich or cranberry scone in this bistro inside a historic brick building. Dine on a salad or hot sandwich for lunch and leave room for a Monster Cookie for dessert.

 

BLUE SKYE BREWERY AND EATS

Salina

A wood-fired pizza oven in the center of this microbrewery and restaurant provides a cozy atmosphere for a night out. Try the Fire Engine Red, a smooth red ale, and ask about the pizza of the week. (It might be shrimp scampi.)

 

FLY BOY BREWERY AND EATS

Sylvan Grove

Take flight(s) at the aviation-themed restaurant and microbrewery. Try handcrafted beer with names like Barnstormer Brown, which soars when paired with the P51 Mustang Burger.

 

GRANDMA’S SODA SHOP AND DINER

Wilson

Turn the clock back to the 1950s and ask the soda jerk for an old-fashioned Brown Cow or Green River. The diner also is known for tasty kolaches, reflecting the community’s Czech heritage.

 

OROZCO’S PORTALES CAFE

Kanopolis

Looking for something different for breakfast? Stop here before 9 a.m. for authentic Mexican food, such as chorizo and eggs or huevos rancheros. In business for almost 35 years, the cafe serves lunch and dinner too.

 

Blue Skye Brewery & Eats

Handcrafted beer, wine, full bar, wood-fire pizza & more. Local Firemen, Josh Foley and John Goertzen, are the brew masters. Hours…

Grandma's Soda Shop

Old fashioned working soda fountain with many more offerings. Homemade Pizza, Bierocks, Kolaches and much more. Grandma's Soda Shop is found…

Orozco's Portales

Serving the best in the West-Authentic Mexican food, Orozco's Portales, has been satisfying area tastes for the past 20 years. The days…

456 Wineries

Highland Vineyards and Winery is the owning and managing partner of a business incubator called 456 Wineries in Wamego, KS. 456 Wineries has…

Amanda's Bakery & Bistro

Amanda's Bakery and Bistro is located in the heart of Historic Abilene, Kansas. Stop by for one of our specialty espresso drinks and a fresh…

Sometimes all you need is to get away from it all. These storied destinations bring about rejuvenation through unique experiences and comforts.

ABILENE’S VICTORIAN INN BED AND BREAKFAST

Abilene

Sleep in a room or suite in this historic home built in 1887. Lounge on the front porch swing or in front of the fireplace before enjoying a delectable gourmet breakfast prepared by the chef and served on beautiful dishes.

 

C&W RANCH BED AND BREAKFAST

Smolan

Hear birds singing, watch cattle grazing, and smell the fresh country air at this working ranch near Salina. A home-cooked breakfast completes your sensory experience. Traveling with horses? They’re also welcome (pending available space).

 

MIDLAND RAILROAD HOTEL

Wilson

Once upon a time, train passengers stayed at this premier hotel. Today, unique drinks and distinctive food are served in The Sample Room Tavern. Restored to its 1920s glory, the hotel offers luxury accommodations with all the amenities.

bling house, renovated into four lovely guest rooms. The property also features two sunny-bright pine cabins for rent.

Heritage Inn & Suites

The Heritage Inn & Suites is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel that offers business and leisure travelers the classic amenities they prefer…

You could easily write a big book about all there is to see in the Little Apple. Feel gusts of wind as the prairie comes to life inside the immersive-experience theatre at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. Interactive family-friendly exhibits focus on the bluestem grass ecosystem. See the real thing at the Konza Prairie Biological Station, a preserve of native tallgrass prairie with hiking trails and stunningly serene overlooks.

Combine fun and nature to learn more about the area’s history, geology, flora and fauna while ziplining at Wildwood Adventure Park, which also offers a 2-mile trail run with obstacles, including a rope climb and an 8-foot wall. For more wildlife, visit the Sunset Zoo. The new Expedition Asia exhibit winds through the animals’ native forest habitat and offers numerous vantage points of tigers, amur leopards and sloth bears.

Tantalize your taste buds at Taco Lucha, a funky, intimate space serving Mexican street food with modern twists like the peanut butter taco special on Tuesdays. You’ll find the restaurant in Aggieville, the oldest shopping district in Kansas. Also in Aggieville, the Bluemont Hotel provides a rooftop patio with a view of the city. Sip the night away at the hotel’s Bluemont Lounge, serving cocktails, craft beers and wines.

Taco Lucha

Flint Hills Discovery Center

Open since April 2012, the Flint Hills Discovery Center is a 35,000 square foot facility that immerses visitors within the wonder and beauty…

Konza Prairie Biological Station

8,600 acres of quiet, rolling hills marked with flint and limestone dominate the landscapes around Manhattan KS. Kansas State University…

Wildwood Adventure Park

Hike! Explore! Zip! 7 zips and free-fall finish, all in beautiful Flint Hills. Two tandem ziplines; race or enjoy the ride with partner…

Sunset Zoo

Manhattan’s wildest destination is more than just a park. Sunset Zoo is brimming with creative educational offerings and is the perfect…

Taco Lucha

My name is Taco Lucha. I started out wanting to be a fun, little outdoor taco stand and grew into what is now a full sit down, cocktail…

Aggieville Historic District

More than 100 shops and restaurants with exciting nightlife and beautifully landscaped Triangle Park, perfect for your enjoyment and…

Bluemont Hotel

The Bluemont Hotel offers 112 luxurious guestrooms and over 7,000 square feet of event space, centrally located in the heart of Manhattan…

A cultural destination brimming with sculptures and stage shows, Salina also offers splashes of fun for kids of all ages. It’s easy to indulge your cultural interests in Salina’s downtown, where public works of art on the SculptureTour change every spring, and concerts delight audiences at The Stiefel Theatre, with its newly rebuilt 1930s-era tower. Ad Astra Books and Coffee House hosts live music, author readings and poetry nights. Go wild choosing from 100-plus flavors of malts and shakes at Bogey’s, cooling off at Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park, or visiting Rolling Hills Zoo, the home of more than 100 species of wildlife and a museum featuring diorama exhibits of the world’s animals and habitats.

SculptureTour Salina

Bogey's

Hundreds of malt and shake varieties. Burgers, sandwiches, curly fries, appetizers, and MORE!

SculptureTour Salina

Downtown Salina is the proud home of SculptureTour Salina--an outdoor exhibit of sculptures that changes each spring. Artists from across…

Ad Astra Books & Coffee House

Ad Astra Books and Coffee House aims to be more than just a beautiful, comfortable, interesting place to hang out, study, and browse and buy…

Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park

Dive into fun at Salina’s Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park – the area's newest summer destination for real surf and great rides. Enjoy water…

Rolling Hills Zoo

Rolling Hills Zoo is a 65 acre zoological park nestled among the Smoky Hills of Saline County just outside of Salina, and inhabits 120…

Uncover more incredible sights, tastes and sounds across the state in the 2022 Official Kansas Travel Guide.