It is the unique goal of many travel adventurers to visit all 50 states in America. To boost this objective, each week we shall explore one state. Alphabetically, the 16th to visit is none other than Kansas, abbreviated KS. Regardless of the order in which you visit them, Kansas, the Sunflower State, is worthy of your time.
Visit state # 16 – Kansas
|State Motto||Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through hardship)|
|State Flower||Wild sunflower|
|State Bird||Western meadowlark|
|State Gemstone||Jelenite (A form of amber)|
|Famous Foods||Barbecue ribs, chili and cinnamon rolls, barbecue hot wings, chicken fried steak, the Z-man, pie, fried chicken, pot roast and more.|
Kansas, a midwestern U.S. State, is landlocked and bordered by Nebraska to its north, Missouri to its east, Oklahoma to its south, and Colorado to its west. The state possesses a strong Native American history. Kansas became the 34th state in 1861 and its name is derived from Kansa, from the Siouan-language phrase which means “people of the wind.” Folks unfamiliar with the topography often mistakenly characterize the state as a flat plain, though in reality, it is quite varied. Kansas is a hard-working agricultural state, with historic roots as a top producer of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. Wichita is the largest city within Kansas and is often referred to as the Air Capital of the World for its longtime status as a major center of aircraft production. Popular industries include tourism, financial services, and government as other major sectors of employment.
Kansas is notable in literature and was the home of Dorothy Gale, the main character in L. Frank Baum’s 1899 novel turned movie The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, from 1935, also took place in Kansas. Today, this highly visitable state is filled with fun things to do. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is the only unit of the national park system dedicated to the rich natural, cultural history of this type of ecosystem. The preserve today has nearly 11,000 acres rich in flora and fauna to be explored, plus historic buildings.
The Cosmosphere, located in Hutchinson, KS is a Smithsonian affiliated must-see museum for those who enjoy space artifacts. In fact, the museum features more than 10,000 artifacts, including the Liberty Bell 7, the Apollo 13 command module Odyssey, a moon rock, and a German V-2 rocket. There are interactive exhibits for the kids and exciting shows for all ages in the Justice Planetarium. Also located in the town of Hutchinson is the Strataca, an active salt mine filled with unique experiences and decades of history that take you 650 below the small Kansas town. It takes 90 seconds to descend, features 150 miles of tunnels, and 2 hours to tour.
In downtown Wichita, the Botanica, showcasing a huge variety of themed gardens on 17-acres and over 3,600 species of plants, should not be missed. The Botanica is nestled in the heart of the Riverside neighborhood and features a children’s garden, a Chinese garden of friendship, a carousel Garden, bird and butterfly gardens, fountains, koi pond pavilions, a garden terrace, wildflower and perennial gardens, woodland walks, sensory and rose gardens, greenhouse area and aquatic garden, and much more.
The Botanica is close to other popular locations such as the 44-foot-tall steel sculpture called Keeper of the Plains, Old Town shopping and entertainment district, the historic Delano area rich in art and attractions, and the Museums on the River to include Exploration Place, Mid-America All-Indian Museum, Old Cowtown Museum, and the Wichita Art Museum featuring historic and contemporary glassworks.
As you can tell from the above samplings of things to do, the state is a premier destination of history, science, culture, and the arts. Kansas is an exciting state brimming with great activities, restaurants, hotels, hospitality, sports, architecture and more. A trip to Kansas is not complete without a visit to the State Capitol in Topeka and the free dome tour. Construction of the gorgeous French Renaissance building began in 1866 and took 37 years to complete. Though the building features beautiful murals and sculptures, the most memorable part is a climb up to the dome to gain a bird’s eye view of Topeka from high atop the delightful capitol building.
Up next: Kentucky