Kansas is full of historic sites & fun things for families to do – almost all of these can be done in a day or weekend trip from Wichita! Whether you’re natives or just passing through on a road trip, you won’t want to miss these 20 things you can ONLY see in the Sunflower State.
Kansas Bucket List: 20 Things to Do with Kids (in alphabetical order)
Amelia Earhart Birth Place & Hangar Museum
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum
223 N. Terrace
Atchison KS 66002
Amelia Earhart’s birthplace and childhood home, located at 223 N. Terrace, was built in 1861. The wood-frame, Gothic Revival cottage is perched high on the west bank of the scenic Missouri River.
Amelia was born in the home on July 24, 1897. Despite living in many different cities, Amelia considered Atchison her hometown, having spent more of her life in the Otis home than anywhere else. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace represents the most tangible remaining link with the famous female aviator.
Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum
16701 286th Rd
Atchison, KS 66002
The Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum honors Earhart’s aviation legacy and inspires all generations in the pursuit of flight.
The centerpiece is Muriel — the world’s last remaining Lockheed Electra 10-E — an aircraft identical to the plane Earhart flew on her final flight. Muriel is named after Amelia’s younger sister, Grace Muriel Earhart Morrissey.
Fourteen, interactive, immersive STEM exhibits take visitors through Earhart’s adventurous life — from growing up in Atchison, Kansas, to the height of her worldwide fame — as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
6509 NW 60th St.
West Mineral, KS 66782
Big Brutus, a Bucyrus Erie model 1850B, stands as a symbol of the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas. Once the largest electric shovel in the world, this towering giant is now a museum that pays tribute to the hardworking miners and the rich coal mining history in the region.
315 S Sycamore St.
Completed in 1888, The Big Well is the world’s largest hand dug well!
Castles in Kansas
Kansas is home to several castles! Here are a few to choose from:
- Coronado Heights Castle: Just north of Lindsborg, this castle was constructed in the 1930s and is surrounded by great hiking paths.
- Nichols Hall at K-State: Over 100 years old, this castle-like structure is located on the Kansas State University Campus in Manhatttan.
- Campbell Castle in Wichita: Formerly a bed & breakfast, the castle is now a private residence and is currently for sale.
- Wandering Vine at the Castle in Shawnee: Make reservations for dinner!
1100 N. Plum St.
Hutchinson, KS 67501
In 1998 the Cosmosphere was named one of the first affiliates of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Hall of Space begins with the story of the WWII German rocket design that evolved to power the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. As you proceed through the galleries, you will see the story of the space race between the United States and the U.S.S.R. unfold. You’ll learn about technological and cultural differences between the two superpowers through their intense competition to be the first to reach the Moon.
Included in your ticket price is CosmosKids, an interactive STEM learning experience. Don’t forget to download the Sunflower Summer app for free admission this summer!
200 SE 4th Street
Abilene, KS 67410
The Eisenhower Presidential Library is home to a world-class research facility that caters to scholars and history enthusiasts from around the world. Located in President Eisenhower’s hometown of Abilene, Kansas, the vast holdings of the Library consist of approximately:
- 26 million pages of historical records and papers
- 335,000 photographs
- 768,000 feet of original motion picture film
- 70,000 artifacts
President Eisenhower Boyhood Home: Opened for public tours in 1947, this typical 19th century home was occupied by the Eisenhower family from 1898 until Mrs. Eisenhower’s death in 1946. Tours are scheduled every half hour and are limited to 10 people per tour. Tickets must be purchased in person.
519 E 20th St N
This impressive mural is located in north Wichita on the side of a grain elevator. It’s not only the largest mural in the world painted by a single artist, but also holds a Guinness World Record!
315 South 3rd Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
This 35,000 square foot facility immerses visitors within the wonder and beauty of the Flint Hills. Guests of all ages will enjoy exploring over 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and exciting temporary exhibits, as well as an one-of-a-kind theater experience and prairie-inspired outdoor plazas.
Grinter Farms Sunflower Field
24154 Stillwell Road
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
This incredible sunflower field just outside Lawrence, KS is iconic Kansas at its best! Admission is free, and the field typically blooms in late August & early September. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
Not passing through the Lawrence area? Check out this article on the 7 best sunflower fields in Kansas!
From tours to the cupola to John Steuart Curry’s incredible paintings, the Kansas State Capitol Building should be on every Kansas resident’s bucket list. There is free 2 hour parking. Tours are free but reservations are encouraged, especially between January and May. Plan your visit here.
2507 County Road 3000
Independence, Kansas 67301
Laura Ingalls Wilder was only 3 when her family lived in Kansas, but this house (and the memories of her family members) were the inspiration for Little House on the Prairie.
The small Little House on the Prairie cabin at this location is a recreation based on the description found in the book. The foundation of a small house believed to have been the home of the Ingalls family was found at this location in 1977.
Two original buildings from the same time period have moved next to the reconstructed Little House on the Prairie. The interiors of all three buildings can be toured. There is no direct connection between any of these buildings and Laura Ingalls Wilder, but fans of the books & series will love visiting.
Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park is located in Logan County in western Kansas, an equal distance from the cities of Oakley to the north and Scott City to the south. The park is open sunup to sundown daily, all year round, including holidays, with two permanent hiking trails that take you to multiple scenic overlooks at your own pace.
Monument Rocks is located on private property but the land owners have graciously allowed day-use of the area. Carving into the chalk, or climbing, and flying drones is strictly prohibited. Make sure to take a trash bag and practice the leave no trace rule “pack-out what you pack-in”!
Known as “Little Sweden USA”, Lindsborg is a quaint town with art galleries, boutiques, and eateries. Recommended often when asked about day trips from Wichita! If you’re headed this way, don’t forget to check Coronado Heights & Mushroom Rock off your list!
650 N. Seneca
Wichita, KS 67203
This 44-foot sculpture rests on a 30-foot pedestal on the Arkansas River in Wichita. It’s free to visit any time of day, but we highly suggest going at night so you can see the Ring of Fire. While you’re there, try to find the Wichita Troll, too!
14730 K68 Highway
Louisburg, Kansas 66053
The Louisberg Cider Mill Country Store is open year-round & their 80-acre family farm – an agrotourism site – is open 7 weeks out of the year from mid-September through the end of October. It’s a perfect fall family destination!
About 20 miles SW of Salina, Kansas off Highway 140 is Kansas’ smallest state park – Mushroom Rock State Park.
This 5 acre park is about 2 miles south of the highway on dirt roads that can be very bad after a rain. The park is surrounded by farms and you can usually hear cattle lowing nearby.
1865 W Museum Blvd
Wichita, KS 67203
This living history museum boasts houses, a church, a one-room schoolhouse, and an entire main street to tour and see what life was really like in the 1800s.
Step onto Old Cowtown Museum’s dirt roads and enter a world just off the Chisholm Trail that is frozen in an 1865-1880 loop. Connect with history through artifacts in Cowtown’s permanent collection, including textiles, furnishings, furniture, tools and art.
511 Lincoln Street
Wamego, KS 66547
Follow the yellow brick road to Wamego, KS to the Oz Museum! Visitors begin in the sepia-toned Auntie Em’s Gift Shop & then pass through the screen door into the technicolor land of Oz. Enjoy over 100 years of history & see over 2,000 artifacts such production notes from the 1939 movie Wizard of Oz and props from the Broadway musical Wicked!
If you go in October, plan to attend OZtoberfest!
Plaza 1907 – The Oldest Operating Cinema in the World
209 S. Main Street
Plaza 17 Cinema holds the Guiness World Record for being the “oldest purpose built cinema in the world”, built in 1907. Not only can you visit the museum, but the theater is still fully operational! Buy tickets for current shows here.
3650 East Avenue G
Hutchinson, KS 67501
Strataca is the only opportunity of its kind in North America! Adventure 650 feet underground and take a step back in time to experience the world of a salt mine worker. Take a ride on the Salt Mine Express or explore the cavernous mine on the Dark Ride.