If you’re new to Kansas or have never gotten around to exploring, these locations are the best monuments and natural areas to learn about our state. Every one of them means something to us, so it’s imperative that you eventually see all of them! Your bucket list is sure to feel a lot longer after you add all of these wonderful places around the state. You’ve got a long trip ahead of you, but take your time at each one.
1. Monument Rocks in Oakley
One of the first things on my travel bucket list is Monument Rocks, and it's never crossed off because I keep going back! These almost 70 ft. tall rock formations are made of Niobrara Chalk, which was left behind after the great inland sea finally dried up. Today, these rocks hold all sorts of little fossils, and are slowly getting smaller as the wind and rain erodes them away.
2. Keeper of the Plains in Wichita
This spectacular show happens every night at the Keeper in Wichita, where you can read about local native tribes that used to make south central Kansas their home. Bonus points if you can find the hidden troll under the walkway!
3. Konza Prairie/The Flint Hills near Manhattan
The Flint Hills are a must-see for every Kansan, but the Konza Prairie is one of the most beautiful sections of it. These rolling hills are covered in grasses that sway in the wind, and make a noise that every Kansan knows when they hear it. It's a noise that sounds like home.
4. Baker Wetlands near Lawrence
You might not know, but Kansas has a few wetlands areas as well. near Lawrence, these soggy areas are so rich in wildlife, and attract migrating shorebirds twice a year. Thousands upon thousands of them, all in one magical place.
5. Arikaree Breaks
This interesting area of Kansas is hidden in the far northwest corner of Kansas, where your breath is taken away as you take in all these breaks in the ground. Eroded by wind and water, these beautiful formations offer a break in the normally flat landscape of western Kansas.
6. Boot Hill in Dodge City
Boot Hill is an experience you'll find suits Kansas perfectly. Dodge City's history as the center of plenty of Wild West tales is the perfect way to celebrate how things used to be. Who knows, maybe you'll see something you've never seen before.
7. Gypsum Hills in Medicine Lodge
These bright red hills aren't your average hills. They end in flat topped mesas, and they're the perfect place to go horseback riding. They aren't surrounded by flowing grasses, but have their own little ecosystem and if you're lucky, you might find a stone arrowhead.
8. World's Largest Ball of Sisal Twine in Cawker City
Another thing to note on your travels, is that Kansas loves its oddities. This huge ball of twine has been growing over the years, and we'll keep adding to it for plenty of years to come. I wonder when it will end, and how large it will be before we stop adding any more.
9. Bowl Plaza in Lucas
This large, toilet-shaped building happens to be a public toilet located right here in Lucas, Kansas. Lucas is full of odd and colorful art, so it fits right in with the local decor.
10. Wichita's Botanica Gardens
The beautiful Botanica gardens are absoutely stunning, whether you visit in the daytime or during one of their nighttime events. In the winter, the whole garden is alight with all sorts of shapes and colors, and you can take a horse-and-carriage ride through the garden. What a treat!
11. Strataca in Hutchinson
Strataca is the cooler name for the Kansas Underground Salt museum, where you travel deep below the surface of Kansas to see the mine where Kansas' salt supply comes from. Part of the mine (away from the museum area) is still used for mining to this day.
12. The Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson
Turn your eyes to the sky and dream of traveling beyond it at the Kansas Cosmosphere. There's all sorts of exhibits and shows where you can see real adventures in space and the equipment that got them there.
13. Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison
The legendary Amelia Earhart lived at this classic home in Atchison, and it's been preserved the best it can be. All of her legacy and dreams started in this one Kansas home.
14. Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina
Though you'll probably see a few zoos in Kansas eventually, this one is my first pick for sure. Not only does it have a great assortment of animals, but it also educated on habitats and ecosystems at the same time.
15. Oz Museum in Wamego
If you've ever been curious about the land of Oz and what about Kansas made it the perfect setting, It really explores the books, movie, and even theater productions. As a new Kansan, you'll either learn to love or hate the movie for sure.
16. Rock City in Minneapolis
Rock City sounds like a concert venue, but in fact it's a group of giant stone spheres that were left behind after a large rock washed away over time. A huge area of this field is littered with them, and they're the perfect pit stop on any road trip.
17. The World's Largest Easel in Goodland
Though it seems like it's not that large, it's actually 80 feet tall, and holds a giant reproduction of one of Van Gogh's sunflower paintings. We know it's not the biggest painting in the world, but what better subject than our state flower?
18. Mount Sunflower in Wallace County
Speaking of sunflowers, you'll love hiking to the top of Mount Sunflower, which isn't a mountain, nor is it very high at all. It's a funny nickname given to the highest point in Kansas, near the Colorado border. Stop by on a road trip, and sign the visitors book before going on to your next adventure.
19. The Dala Horse Herd in Lindsborg
As adventures go, the entire town of Lindsborg is a haven for Swedish folk and their descendants. All around town, a herd of Dala horses stands tall and proud, hand painted with all sorts of patterns and themes. They're the brightest part of the town, if you don't count the residents.
What items would you include on a bucket list through Kansas? Feel free to share your favorite locations or attractions in the comments below. After all these, the only thing you have left to do is to visit our amazing restaurants.
Here are a few to start with!