The Garage - Salina, Kansas

I was able to check out Salina’s newest attraction, The Garage, during their ribbon-cutting ceremony. This museum is AWESOME! I am telling you this from a non-car enthusiast’s background (when I say non, I’m talking I was once sent to the car parts store looking for muffler bearings after a guy friend was helping me fix my car and wanted to give his buddies at NAPA a good laugh.) Here is my guide to the museum from a novice automobile perspective, but also as an avid museum aficionado. 

First off, the museum is huge. It’s a place you can easily spend a few hours exploring. If you have kiddos in tow, I recommend heading to the left first (unless you want to make a pit stop at the self-serve beer and wine taps in the lobby.) You will pass through the gift shop on your way to the exhibits. Once you enter, beware… Squeals of excitement will commence when kiddos (both young AND young at heart) see the huge electric Hot Wheel exhibit. This interactive exhibit allows you to put the cars on the track and send them flyin’. Parents, you can relax in the nearby lounge library.

You can also find the Kustom Kemps Museum and Hall of Fame nearby. I loved the Mötley Crüe Hearse, but my favorite was the Elvis mural by the classic cars. You’ll also find the official selfie station in this area. Just look out for a cozy car bench and museum backdrop near the racing simulator game.

From the lobby if you head right, you will be greeted by a beautiful 1938 Lincoln Brunn Town Car Cabriolet that was once owned by Richard Ringling, son of Alf T. Ringling from, you guessed it, Ringling Brothers Circus. This part of the museum houses the Crossroads Car Experience exhibit that showcases classic cars. Throughout this area are several interactive and educational opportunities like the digital gas pumps, the virtual reality car spray painting and welding simulators, and a vintage wood race car ramp. I really enjoyed seeing the old roadsters in front of the scenic Kansas paintings. You can just envision yourself riding in one with the windows down on a perfect, sunny Sunday afternoon. Lastly in this area is the temporary exhibit section, which currently features the From Horses to Horsepower automobiles.

The Garage is part of Salina’s downtown improvement and redevelopment initiatives. Salina has embraced the attributes that make a city desirable not only to visitors but to the people and businesses that make it a community. Enhancements to the downtown include a new streetscape, residential lofts, a five-story hotel, a multi-sport tournament-grade fieldhouse, a family entertainment center, Riverwalk development, and a variety of new restaurants and boutique shops.

If you’re looking to make a weekend trip out of it, which you should totally do, here are my suggested stops to make it full of adventure!

Things to Do in Salina, Kansas 

  • Rolling Hills Zoo- They are adding a new exhibit to their already wild lineup, Pride of the Prairie. The new exhibit will be opening this Spring, 2022.
  • Smoky Hill River Festival- Not only can Salina revitalize like a boss, but they can also throw one heck of a party. This year’s festival takes place June 9-12, 2022, and features over 30 food vendors, 130 artists, and 75 performers. It is one of the largest events that take place in Kansas each year with 3 full days of events and happenings.
  • Stiefel Theatre- This beautifully renovated historic Fox Theatre presents a tremendous variety of performances year-round, from live theatre to film, music and comedy concerts, dance performances. The community revealed the final restoration of the yearlong remodel of the Stiefel with the illumination of lights that rise 80 feet from the ground along the masonry tiers and metal spire of the Stiefel in early 2021.
  • Salina Sculpture Tour- Early May means the unveiling of new sculptures chosen for public display for the year.  Between 15 and 25 sculptures are selected and carefully situated in historic downtown Salina. Sculptures then remain installed for one year. The program is marketed to provide both viewing enjoyment to the community and visitors, as well as a sales opportunity for participating artists. This self-guided walking tour encourages local citizens and visitors, young and old, to vote for their favorite sculpture in the People's Choice Award program. The voting ballots can be found in silver boxes on the sculpture pedestals located near most mid-block crosswalk structures. You can also find them at many of the downtown restaurants and boutiques. The sculpture with the most votes is purchased by the City of Salina at the purchase price, up to $15,000 and remains in Salina for the public to enjoy!
  • The Cozy Inn- This foodie love story began in 1922 when Bob Kinkel started frying up his onion-laden, coin-sized burgers for 5 cents a pop. Flash forward 100 years and guests are still raving over the little burgers with an iconic bite. Cozy’s Inn is nationally recognized as one of the last remaining 6-stool diners in America. Featured in food articles and publications, Cozy’s is a national treasure.

Needing more inspiration and Salina trip ideas? Head over to https://www.travelks.com/places-to-visit/cities/salina/.

Cozy Inn

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SculptureTour Salina

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The Garage

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