As our digital road trip hit Kansas, it was hard to narrow down where to go. Not only does the state have so many fabulous destinations, but the weather is predicted to be in the high fifties this weekend! For some of us, that is still too cold to be hitting the great outdoors. For others, it’s positively balmy. So, we decided to split the difference and share four spots — two indoor and two open-air.
Many of us hear “Kansas” and instantly remember Dorothy’s icon line, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” But, you can visit Oz any time you like at the Oz Museum — and it will be in full color! It can even be quite surprising to some visitors how bright the spot is. The lobby of the museum is sepia, but after buying your ticket at a replica of the farmhouse’s window, you step through a door into vibrant Munchkinland! The town of Wamego has embraced the museum and, if you are hungry, you can head to Toto’s Tacoz for a bite to eat. The town hosts OZtoberFest every year. Oz Museum operations manager Kimberly Shepherd said, “Visitors from other countries are really shocked. They say, ‘Wow, Kansas is so green.’ And I say, ‘Yes, we’re not brown.’” The museum holds the largest collection of Oz memorabilia in the world, featuring artifacts from both the movies about Oz and the fourteen-volume book series that inspired the films as well as boardgame and weird promotional tie-ins like an unopened jar of Oz Peanut Butter! Go see the collection with your own eyes.
1950’s All Electric House
We love the 1950’s All Electric House, in part because some of it brings back great childhood memories! We didn’t grow up in this house of the future, with all its mod cons, but certain objects and the color scheme are so familiar it almost seems silly to see them in a museum! While it presents a perfect house that very few of us lived in — with electric blinds and walls that moved to reveal TVs, it does have the same models of furniture we sat on growing up! A younger person in the office pointed out that her grandmother owned the same clock shown hanging on the wall! Originally the house was a model home, to sell people on buying into the area. It saw 62,000 people in the time it was on display before being sold to a family. As a model house, it’s unsurprising just how modern it was as it aimed to sell “the dream many Americans were seeking in moving to the suburbs.” A few years ago, the whole house was moved by truck to a new location at the Johnson County Museum. Come see the house for yourself!
Large chalk formations in Gove County, Kansas, rich in fossils, are called Monument Rocks or Chalk Pyramids. They were the first landmark chosen by the “Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark.” The spot was designated in 1986. The formations are as tall as 70 feet and feature arches and shapes. They were formed approximately 80 million years ago. The land is private, but the farmer who owns the patch doesn’t mind visitors during daylight hours. Be on the lookout for cow pats left behind by the farmer’s herd! The formations are what’s left of the Cretaceous Period’s Western Interior Seaway that split Western and Eastern North America. The owner asks that people not take fossils, climb the rocks, honk at the cattle or camp at the site. Get directions to the spot here.
Geary Lake Falls
It’s the perfect time of year to visit Geary Lake Falls. Formed by the outlet from Geary State Fishing Lake, the fall only flows in the spring and after heavy rain. Everyone thinks of flat plains stretching on for miles when thinking of Kansas but there is a great deal of variation when you take the time to step off the path. These falls are considered to be one of the most beautiful falls in Kansas. Enjoy walking around the lake and seeing the dam before going down a (steep) hill to see the 35 foot falls. For those of us who are not surefooted, the falls can be seen from above as well! The trail around the lake and waterfall is gravel and .24 miles long. The lake is a perfect spot for fishing and a picnic — with firepits no less. People on TripAdvisor love boating at the lake and fishing from the deeper waters. Reviewers enthuse about the beauty of the spot. Get more information here.
There is one more spot we would be remiss not to mention. To top off your visit to the state, you can visit the world’s largest ball of twine. Where will you be headed this weekend?