Did you know Kansas is home to some cool and wacky attractions minutes away from your own home? Take your family on a trip that only the state of Kansas can offer:
The Strataca Underground Salt Museum
65 stories below the city of Hutchinson is home to Hollywood history. Relics from the big and small screen are stored in a temperature-controlled area of the retired salt mine now known as Stratica. You and your family can explore the salt mine on one of their many guided tours on the salt safari shuttle. A tour guide will take you and your family through miles of winding corridors to discover natural formations only a select few have seen, until now.
The Wichita Troll
First appearing in 2007, a 7-foot-tall, green, glowing Troll sits guarding the Arkansas river. The 200- pound Troll lives in his underground "industrial prison" near the Arkansas river, a perfect spot for a picnic lunch or a photo-opportunity with a backdrop of the skyline of downtown Wichita.
Ted Ensley Gardens
The 37.5-acre garden area on the west side of scenic Lake Shawnee features a panoramic view of the lake and spectacular plantings in a beautiful and tranquil setting with meandering paths and seating areas. The garden has been dubbed "world class" by visitors.
Keeper of the Plains
The Keeper rises 74 feet above the conjunction of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers acting as a gateway to the Mid-American All-Indian Museum. Make sure to visit at night when the Keeper lights up the sky.
Santa Fe Lake, Augusta, KS
Santa Fe Lake is easily found off Highway 54, just 10 minutes outside of Wichita. Grab a picnic table and bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks. There are seven miles of hiking trails to explore, two sandy beach areas to swim, catch and release fishing, along with many other fun summer activities to enjoy. If you hold a season permit, you can bring your own boat (as long as it falls within their requirements), or rent Stand Up Paddleboards, Jet skis, or Kayaks! If you want to make a weekend out of it, get a camping permit! A daily permit fee runs at $8 or call for seasonal and camping rates.
Sedgwick County Zoo
Walk through the wild side at the Sedgwick County Zoo. Including 3,000 individual animals of nearly 400 species, it will make you feel like you have visited all 7 continents within an afternoon! The exhibits try to immerse guests into the animals' world with unique views of the animals' daily life and natural behaviors.
Enjoy the beautiful 17.6 acres of botanical gardens blooming in the spring or glowing in the winter. Botanica was opened in 1987 with the purpose of improving people's daily lives with horticulture, education and artistic experiences. Botanica is home to nearly 50,000 tulip bulbs and 120,000 daffodil's blooms along with their beautiful streams, fountains and waterfalls designed to give viewers a glimpse of what South Central Kansas's soil has to offer. In the winter, the gardens are illuminated with lights at "Illuminations at Botanica." This program takes families along a mile-long journey illuminated by 2 million lights.
Old Cowtown Museum
Take a trip back in time to 1870's Wichita at the Old Cowtown interactive museum. Cowtown's 10,000-piece collection details Wichita's transformation from frontier town to a manufacturing hub. Wichita's early daily life is recreated through daily activities, educational programs and special events. If you are lucky, you might catch a couple gun fights or reenactments.
Wichita Art Museum
The art deco museum designed by New York architect Clarence Stein has a storied history with the city of Wichita. The museum houses alternating exhibits so you will never get tired of the collections. The Art Museum holds 10,000 objects of great American artists.
Visit this out of this world museum in Hutchinson, Kansas. Since the building's humble beginnings in 1962, the Cosmosphere has been one of the first public planetariums in the United States. Since then, the Cosmosphere has been named one of the first Smithsonian affiliates in the country. This "out of this world" museum is currently the largest combined collection of US and Russian aircraft artifacts along with one of the first IMAX Drome Theaters.
Why even leave the Wichita area, it is full of hidden treasures! Check out Airbnb for a unique stay such as a Modern-Luxury farm stay at Prairie Hill Vineyard , a Vintage 1971 Camper just blocks from Old Town, or a super chic downtown loft if you are aiming for a city stay. For eateries, check out Prost, authentic German restaurant located in the Revolustia Shipping Container mall. Prost has a "Bier Garden", and authentic cuisine. If you are feeling fancy, check out Chester's Chophouse or George's French Bistro. They have a deep ambiance and divulgent meals that will make you feel like you are on vacation! For activities, plan a night at Starlite Drive-In, or learn to play pickle ball at Chicken-N-Pickle. For a real thrill, take a ride in a vintage 1943 Stearman PT-17 Biplane at Benton Airport, and grab a beer and burger at their Stearman Bar & Grill after.