Fun Things to Do in Kansas

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Think Kansas is nothing but miles and miles of farmland? Think again! From children’s museums to zoos, this state has plenty to offer the mom looking for a winning activity for her kids.

Free Fun

If you live or travel near Atchison, take an afternoon to visit the International Forest of Friendship (www.ifof.org). Here you will find trees transplanted from all of the 50 states, many of which focus on the history of aviation and space flight. For instance, the Moon Tree is grown from a seed Stuart Roosa took with him to the moon on Apollo 14. Other historic trees include one from Mont Vernon and one with ties to Amelia Earhart. The city of Emporia offers a small zoo, the David Traylor Zoo (http://www.emporia-kansas.gov/), which is always open free of charge. The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park (http://www.opkansas.org/) is a miniature zoo and children’s farm that is open free of charge during the week, but some attractions do cost money.

Educational Fun

Kansas is packed with science and children’s museum. The Museum of World Treasures (http://www.worldtreasures.org/) in Wichita houses all types of artifacts, including dinosaurs, mummies, and World War I and II artifacts in a three-flour layout complete with hands on experiences for the little ones. In Shawnee, children 7 and younger can play at Wonderscope (http://www.wonderscope.org/), a hands-on children’s museum with changing exhibits that include a doctor’s office, water play, legos, and more. The Wonder Workshop in Manhattan (http://www.kansas.net/) is part children’s museum, part seasonal events that get kids involved with nature, science, and history through exhibits and activities throughout the year.

Environmental Fun

If your kids love zoos, you will likely be able to find at least a small one near you, as the state has numerous small, privately owned zoos, many of which are free. For instance, The Wright Park Zoo (http://www.dodgecity.org/) in Dodge City takes just 20 minutes to see, while the Safari Park Zoo (http://www.safaripark.org/) in Caney takes an hour. The Tanganyika Wildlife Park (http://www.twpark.com/) in Goddard offers interaction between guests and many of the park’s animals, which include giraffes, tigers, leopards, and zebras as well as a variety of primates, snakes, and birds. The Sedwick County Zoo (http://www.scz.org/) in Wichita is one of the larger options.

Seasonal Fun

Kansas is a rural state, and many communities or farms offer fall fun in the form of hayrides, pumpkin patches, and apple picking. If you live near the Carousel Skate Center, consider visiting during the Christmas season for its light show and music events, or drive through the free Lights on the Lake display on 29th street.

Just for Mom Fun

When you need time alone, grab your credit cards and hit the Great Mall of the Great Plains (http://www.greatmallgreatplains.com/) in Olathe or Eastgate Plaza in Wichita. If your idea or relaxation involves a good facial or massage, consider a day away at Platinum Salon Spa & Boutique (http://www.platinumsalon.com/) in Wichita.

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