It was only fitting we start our 2023 season of “To The Stars” with Good Day Kansas at an attraction that literally takes you above and beyond your wildest space dreams. Rated in the top 10% of attractions worldwide by Trip Advisor, the Cosmosphere International Science Center & Space Museum delivers a world-class museum experience for space enthusiasts of all ages.
The museum features the largest combined collection of U.S. and former Soviet space artifacts, including flown aircraft from all 3 early manned spaceflight programs, the Mercury Liberty Bell 7, the Gemini X, and the Apollo 13 Odyssey. The awe-inspiring educational experience that Cosmosphere offers begins the moment you walk into the front doors.
The lobby (first floor) houses the Justice Planetarium, Carey Digital Dome, Dr. Goddard’s Lab, Food Court, and Cargo Bay Gift Store. The Justice Planetarium is a state-of-the-art digital duo projector experience. Each presentation includes the main Planetarium show and a view of the night sky. The Carey Digital Dome Theatre boats 2 levels for a vivid 4k digital projection movie experience. Dr. Goddard’s Lab takes you back in time to the 1930’s lab of Dr. Goddard, the father of modern rocketry. This interactive show is packed with explosive surprises through live demonstrations.
As you make your way to the Rotunda, you are greeted by a beautiful stained-glass window proudly baring a Cosmosphere style tribute to our state motto and episode namesake, To The Stars. The Museum Level (second floor) takes you through the main exhibits and galleries called The Hall of Space Museum, featuring the main exhibits; German, The Cold War, Mollett Early Spaceflight, Apollo, and Investigate Space: Astronaut Experience. You’ll get to see space artifact marvels like Sputnik I, Apollo 13 Command Module, and a replica of the Lunar Module and Lunar Roving Vehicle. The CosmoKids experience is also on the second floor with an interactive STEM play area and activities.
The All-Access Mission Pass includes unlimited access on the day of your visit to the Hall of Space Museum and CosmoKids, one Carey Digital Dome Theater documentary, one show in the Justice Planetarium, one show in Dr. Goddard's Lab and one ride on the Navigator Flight Simulator. You can also purchase al-a-carte tickets for each experience. For more information and ticket prices go to cosmo.org.
To experience Hutchinson in all its glory, be sure to book a 2-3 day stay. Be sure to check out Strataca, the only open salt mine for visitors in the U.S. You’ll descend 650 feet below the earth’s surface for an unforgettable, salty experience. The Dillion Nature Center is a free attraction that has 100 acres of urban sanctuary to explore. There are 3 miles of trails around the property and a super neat children’s playscape enclosed in nature. Be sure to make your way into the visitor’s center for their nature exhibits and interactive learning. Another great outdoor activity is exploring Sand Hills State Park. Get some hiking by exploring the 1,123-acre park, which includes sand dunes, grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands.
There are great foodie options while you’re in town. Salt City Brewery delivers the perfect laid-back vibes needed after a day of travel. I enjoyed a delicious stout and wings during my last visit there. They have teamed up with the Cosmosphere and have an IPA on tap paying tribute to the space museum.
Roy’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q was featured in our “To The Stories” short-film series, “The Smoke Show: A Story of Kansas BBQ”. If you’re in the mood for a famous Kansas steak, you must stop by the Airport Steak House and Bar. To plan your trip and to see more attractions in Hutchinson, go to https://www.travelks.com/places-to-visit/cities/hutchinson/.
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