Kansas is centrally located in the US that serves as a gateway to traveling West. While many people pass through it on their road trips, it's a place you might want to consider stopping by. There are tons of Kansas attractions that you don't want to miss and will surely impress you.
Kansas isn't what you might expect. However, there are many amazing things to do in Kansas that make it a fantastic place to visit for all ages.
It is full of outdoor destinations, museums, and, not to mention, the 8 Wonders of Kansas. You're sure to have plenty of excitement when visiting the "Sunflower State."
We've put together some of the top tourist attractions in Kansas that are a must-visit. So when you visit Kansas, fill up your itinerary with some of these attractions and activities to take advantage of everything that Kansas has to offer.
Get ready to experience the best of Kansas!
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Did you know that Kansas played a significant role in space exploration? Learn all about it at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Located in Hutchinson, it's one of the best things to do in Kansas for all ages.
The Kansas Cosmosphere is an interactive museum experience designed for fun and education. You'll get to see actual artifacts and objects collected from space.
The exhibition halls showcase space suits, objects from the moon, and a restored Liberty Bell, a part of the Mercury 7 space mission.
Experience what it feels like to lift off in a space shuttle in the shuttle simulator. There is also a dome-shaped theater where you can see space-themed documentaries. Check the screening schedule when you arrive so that you can catch a show during your visit!
Accommodation: Where to stay in Hutchinson
Address: 1100 N Plum St, Hutchinson, KS 67501
Also Read: Top 10 Space and Aviation Museums in the USA
Wichita is home to one of the most popular attractions in Kansas - Sedgwick County Zoo. It's an award-winning zoo and ranks as one of the best in the nation. So it's no wonder why over 500,000 people come to visit the animals every year.
Sedgwick County Zoo (SCZ) has animals from around the world. It designated exhibitions based on continents. You can see more than 3,000 animals from 400 species in a recreated environment.
A few of the top animals are lions, elephants, tigers, bears, African dogs, and bison. Be sure to check out the Tiger Trek, Gorilla Forest, and Penguin Cove special exhibits.
Kids can even have a great time at the zoo by visiting the petting zoo. It's a place where you can easily spend an entire day. Luckily there's a food court in case you get hungry.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Wichita
Address: 5555 W Zoo Blvd, Wichita, KS 67212
Stop and smell the sunflowers! Botanica at the Wichita Gardens is one of the best Kansas attractions for all things botany.
Originally opened in 1987, this location was the charming site of four gardens. Started and maintained by the Wichita Area Garden Council and the City of Wichita, it brought a double meaning to the phrase ‘flourishing’.
From there, it only gained traction and grew several times its size. As a result, Botanica is now 17.6 acres of prime Kansas land and acts as one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the state.
The Wichita Gardens are an absolute Eden of Kansas. They’re beautifully maintained and feature a number of diverse exhibits that capture the attention of all.
There is the Chinese Garden of Friendship, the Shakespeare Garden, the Woodland Bird Garden, and even the Downing Children’s Garden.
As an interactive open space, this is the perfect location to bring the whole family. You’ll learn a little about botany and each other as you peruse all the best Kansas wildlife has to offer.
Botanica is open year-round. However, some months have extended hours due to the seasons. Throughout the year, the garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is based on age ranges and goes as follows: Adults (13+) are $9, military and seniors(62+) are $8, and Youth tickets are $6, with anyone under 3 free. For larger group ticket purchases be sure to follow the website and take advantage of some of the discounts offered.
Address: 701 Amidon St, Wichita, KS 67203
Boot Hill Museum is one of the best Kansas destinations to relive the Old West in Dodge City during the 19th Century.
Many famous figures from the era made a name for themselves in Dodge City, and the Boot Hill Museum is dedicated to highlighting the best of the Old West.
Boot Hill Museum is established on the former Boot Hill Cemetery, where famous cowboys were buried. Their legacies are well-preserved in the museum's exhibitions and the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
It holds a collection of tens of thousands of artifacts – many of them are on display. Browse the galleries to see over 200 guns from the Old West, wagons, old photos, and other historical documents.
The museum tells a complete story about the Old West. It's designed like the old town where you can get drinks at the saloon or see live reenactments of gunfights in the streets.
End your tour with an entertaining show while having dinner of slow-roasted Kansas grass-fed beef with potatoes, sweet cream and butter corn.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Dodge City
Address: 500 W Wyatt Earp Blvd, Dodge City, KS 67801
Visit Topeka, the capital and top vacation spot in Kansas, to see the stately Kansas State Capitol building. State capitol buildings are always a must-visit for tourists, and the building in Kansas will truly impress you both the inside and outside.
The Kansas State Capitol was completed in 1903 in a stunning French Renaissance architecture style. Walk the manicured grounds to admire the exterior. It's the 2nd tallest capitol building designed with a traditional dome.
Go inside and take one of the free guided tours. You'll get to learn everything about the building and its history. Tours allow you to see inside government offices, meeting chambers, the library, and more. It's full of beautiful murals and statues.
One of the best parts is climbing to the top of the dome for a view of Topeka.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Topeka
Address: 300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612
Dwight D. Eisenhower is one of the most celebrated presidents and military generals in the US. Visitors can explore the late president's legacy at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum. It's one of the most visited Kansas tourist attractions.
The dedicated site is located in Abilene, Kansas, where "Ike" grew up. The attraction is an entire campus honoring the life and career of Ike.
Visitors can see buildings including a museum, childhood home, a library, church, and visitor center. There are also monuments located on the grounds.
The museum is organized to tell the life story of Ike. The main exhibits highlight his military career and presidential career.
Temporary exhibitions depict some of his most impactful legislation while in office. You can even visit his burial site within the campus.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Abilene
Address: 200 S E 4th St, Abilene, KS 67410
Fort Larned was a critical site for early pioneers in the 1800s venturing into the new frontier. The historical fort is one of the best-preserved to learn about life in the fort, how it helped those traveling on the Santa Fe Trail, and more when you visit Kansas.
Fort Larned National Historic Site operated as an army post in the 1800s. It was strategically built on the Santa Fe Trail to aid with tensions against Native Americans.
It protected pioneers traveling to the west on the trail, Pony Express mail, and workers building the railroad tracks that would eventually replace the trail.
Visitors can explore the full-restored site. There is a visitor center and exhibitions about life on the fort. Stick around to see the live firing demonstrations.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Larned
Address: 1767 KS-156, Larned, KS 67550
Have you heard of the 8 Wonders of Kansas? It's a list that features the most impressive landmarks in the state. You can check off one of the wonders by visiting the Monument Rocks.
The unique rock formations are made of chalk shaped by erosion more than 80 million years ago.
Monument Rocks also referred to as the Chalk Pyramids, are found in the western region of Kansas. They were designated as the state's first landmark and remain one of the famous Kansas tourist attractions.
There are hiking trails that wind around the various chalk formations. It's a surreal feeling standing next to them and seeing the tower as high as 70-ft above the ground.
The natural arches make them very popular for photos. It's also a well-known dark sky area to see stars at night.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Oakley
Address: Monument Rocks, Gove 16, Oakley, KS 67748
Make a splash at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas! Fun in the sun takes on a whole new meaning as the entire family finds something to enjoy. The Torrent River is perfect for lazing about, and the Boogie Bahn is the best place to hang loose.
There are pools, beach chairs, and attractions all around the Schlitterbahn Waterpark to keep the fun lasting all weekend.
You can even bring your own picnic baskets to the park to enjoy your lunch right on the water. And for real thrill-seekers: be sure to check out the Eagle Zipline! The Schlitterbahn Waterparks is one of the best places in Kansas for both swimming and soaring.
Check out the Schlitterbahn Waterparks website for more information on ticketing. Hours and availability are subject to change throughout the year.
The best and busiest time of the year for this location is summer. But is well worth the comfortably sized crowds it attracts because the warming Kansas sun is an absolute necessity.
However, Schlitterbahn Waterparks packs in everything there is to love about the Derby State in one, family-friendly adventure!
Accommodation: Where to stay in Kansas City
Address: 9400 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66112
Also Read: 10 Best Theme Parks in the US
Many people think Kansas is all flat land, but the rolling hills in the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve are one of the most scenic places to visit in Kansas. It's the world's largest Tallgrass Prairie remaining.
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is established to preserve the prairie landscape that has shrunk drastically to only 4% of its original size. It still represents a large area with more than 10,000-acres.
The nature preserve is the perfect destination for fun in the outdoors. The visitor center is the best place to start, where you can learn about the preserve and find out about the various hiking trails.
It displays record-breaking grass over 8-ft tall. A couple of the popular hiking trails are the Scenic Overlook Trail and Ranch Legacy Trail.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through 40 miles of trails—and even encounter a small bison herd! This is a must-visit for anyone interested in early American history and/or scenic locations with uninterrupted horizons.
Address: 2480 Kansas 177, Strong City, KS 66869
Evel Knievel is an American icon whose legacy is preserved in the Evel Knievel Museum. The museum holds the largest collection of memorabilia from the famed daredevil and stuntman.
Explore the death-defying stunts completed by Evel Knieval on motorcycles which landed him a spot in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
The exhibitions showcase numerous bikes that have broken records, outfits worn by the daredevil, and artifacts from his show.
Visitors can learn the physics behind many of his mind-boggling stunts. Even seeing the scientific data shows that only someone as special as Evel Knievel could pull off the record-breaking stunts.
It's no surprise that you'll feel inspired to dream big (and others to become daredevils) after visiting the museum. Next door is the Historic Harley Davidson, another one of the favorite Kansas attractions to visit.
Address: 2047 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, KS 66612
Spencer Museum of Art is one of the major fine art museums in Kansas. It's located on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, where you can see the extensive collection of more than 45,000 works of art.
The museum divides into seven galleries. It displays an extensive range of artwork, including American, European, and contemporary art. The art covers all mediums – paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, jewelry, and other artifacts.
Browse the galleries to see art from the university's permanent collection. It frequently hosts exhibitions from residency artists and other visiting exhibits from around the world.
Spencer Museum of Art provides an incredible art experience filled with art history and seeing world-class art pieces during your trip to Kansas.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Lawrence
Address: 1301 Mississippi St, Lawrence, KS 66045
Also Read: 20 Best Art Museums in the USA
Discover the heritage and history of the Flint Hills at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. It's a comprehensive museum to explore details of the region while providing a bit of fun for all ages.
Flint Hills Discovery Center is held in a large, multi-level facility. Walk the galleries on each floor to learn about its history, geology, ecology, and more.
It provides in-depth information about the tallgrass prairie, the local wildlife, and fauna, etc. There are tons of information plaques around the museum to learn as much as you please.
The discovery center is one of the best attractions in Kansas for all ages. Kids will have a blast in the center, thanks to the interactive activities. It has a mini rock-climbing wall and other hands-on activities.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Manhattan
Address: 315 S 3rd St, Manhattan, KS 66502
The Keeper of the Plains is a landmark sculpture of a Native American chief located in Wichita.
It's one of the most beautiful and meaningful public art statues in Kansas. It ranks among the top things to see in Kansas.
Stop by the Veterans Memorial Park to see the statue. It's a steel sculpture towering 44-ft tall. It's a strategic location erected where the Arkansas River and Little Arkansas River meet.
The Keeper of the Plains sculpture was designed by Blackbear Bosin, a local Native American artist. It commemorates the brotherhood of Native Americans who lived in the Plains region.
A favorite time to see the statue is during the ring of fire ceremony lit around the base.
Address: 339 Veterans Pkwy, Wichita, KS 67203
Experience the high-speed action at the Kansas Speedway. Home to NASCAR race weekends and other race experiences, the speedway is one of the treasured attractions in Kansas City for race enthusiasts.
The Kansas Speedway is a tri-oval racetrack built in 2001. The entire loop track is 1.5-miles long with multiple banks that creates a thrilling course for drivers.
Visit during one of the race weekends to join upwards of 48,000 screaming fans. It has an entire atmosphere complete with tailgating outside the racetrack, activities, and, of course, a race.
As soon as you enter Kansas Speedway, you'll love the state-of-the-art facility. It has food vendors set up on race days. You can also get passes to drive around a couple of laps in your own car!
Address: 400 Speedway Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66111
Follow the yellow brick road to the Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas. The museum is dedicated to all things "Wizard of Oz," one of the country's most iconic films in pop culture.
A famous line from the Wizard of Oz is "we're not in Kansas anymore." The Oz Museum starts in the quiet town, but as soon as you enter the doors, you're transported to the enchanting land of Oz – it's one of the hidden places to visit in Kansas.
The Oz Museum has over 2,000 objects of memorabilia and collectibles. You can see life-size models of Dorothy, Toto, and friends; also, her red slippers. There are tons of stuff to see based on the original novel, the film, and its remake.
Browse the gift shop modeled after Auntie Em's house. Or sit for a moment in the in-house theater, which screens the original film.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Wamego
Address: 511 Lincoln Ave, Wamego, KS 66547
Take a walk through time in the Museum of World Treasures. The museum explores the greatest treasure of the world, starting from the prehistoric era. You never know what you'll encounter at the museum. Get ready to be impressed!
The Museum of World Treasures features exhibitions across three floors. It displays dinosaur fossils, mummies of Ancient Egypt, a recovered piece of the Berlin Wall, and other antique objects collected worldwide. It even has the signatures of every US president.
The museum is full of surprises – it's one of the top things to see in Kansas. There is an interactive activity center for kids. Check the schedule when you arrive to attend one of the events hosted at the museum.
Address: 835 E 1st St N, Wichita, KS 67202
Get a glimpse into life on a historic farm by spending time at the Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. It's one of the best things to do in Kansas when traveling with kids who will have hours of fun on the farm.
The farmstead recreates a historic farm with several structures and activities spaced across its 12-acres. It has a main farmhouse, a one-room schoolhouse, and animal facilities.
You can see over 250 farm animals – there are designated areas for feeding and petting the animals.
Tours are available to learn more about the farm lifestyle. You can ride on a pony or wagon around the farm or go for a nature walk. Pack a lunch a have a picnic with your family in the tranquil natural setting.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Overland Park
Address: 13800 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS 66221
Descend in an elevator 650-ft underground to reach the largest salt mine in Kansas. Strataca is located near Hutchinson, where you'll discover one of the largest salt deposits in the world. It's considered one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.
Strataca is one of the thrill places to go in Kansas to explore underground in an active salt mine.
The attraction starts with a film screening about the mine. You'll then go on a guided tour of the mine to see all of the wonders awaiting you underground. Don't forget your hard hat!
You will have massive natural geological formations created hundreds of millions of years ago all around you.
An expert guide leads the tours while discussing the history and pointing out interesting sights of the mine. There are train rides in the mine and also exhibits.
Address: 3650 E Ave G, Hutchinson, KS 67501
You don't tend to think about marine life when you're traveling around the landlocked central region of the US. But SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium brings all of your favorite sea creatures right to you.
You'll get to explore some of the most popular marine animals and see native sea life from the region's lakes.
SEA LIFE has unique exhibitions in its facility. There are themed sections that include an ocean tunnel and a touch pool. Walk through the tunnel for 360-degree views of fish swimming above, below, and right beside you.
You can get up-close views of sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, sea dragons, seahorses, and other fish. There are over 5,000 sea creatures.
Kids will enjoy the touch pools where you can get hands-on with starfish. How can you not check it out when you visit Kansas?
Address: 2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64108
Go on an animal adventure at the Safari Zoological Park. The zoo is one of the best places to visit in Kansas to see animals. Since it's privately owned, it gives an intimate experience with animals from around the world.
The Safari Zoological Park is a highlight of visiting Caney. It offers guided tours of the safari campus, where you'll see lions, bears, tigers, monkeys, birds, and more.
The guided tours are excellent to see the guides interacting with the animals. It's a fantastic site seeing a tiger standing on its hind legs to grab a bite to eat or a bear sticking out its tongue for a kiss.
There are some interactive experiences at the park. You'll have a chance to hold a giant snake, a baby kangaroo, and more.
Address: 1751 County Rd 1425, Caney, KS 67333
Exploration Place is an interactive science center in Wichita. Discover all things science and engineering through different hands-on exhibitions. Kids will barely know that they're learning in such a fun environment!
Exploration Place is established in a stunning building on the Arkansas River banks. The contemporary building is just as interesting as what you'll find inside of it.
The center hosts several exhibitions, including Kansas geology, aviation, and Back to the Future. Visit the planetarium to go on a Mars exploration mission or watch one of the films screening in the theater.
One of the exciting things about the center is checking out the live science show that's always full of surprises. Be sure to visit the gift shop to find interesting things you won't see anywhere else during your trip to Kansas.
Address: 300 N McLean Blvd, Wichita, KS 67203
Lucas is among the top vacation spots in Kansas with a reputation for its art community. The Garden of Eden is one of its most cherished artistic creations and a big draw for tourists to visit. The outdoor sculpture park and art gallery is an amazing sight to see in person.
The Garden of Eden was built by Samuel Dinsmoor in the early 1900s. He was a civil war veteran who built the garden onsite surrounding his private home. The beauty of the structure made it transform into one of the popular things to do in Kansas.
Visitors are welcome to walk the grounds to see biblically-inspired sculptures. The log cabin house now serves as an art gallery showcasing photos and information about the late artist.
Address: 305 E 2nd St, Lucas, KS 67648
The incredible engineering feat of the Big Well makes it one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. It's one of the must-see attractions in Kansas that you should add to your itinerary.
The Big Well is historic water well built in 1887. It operated as the main water supply in Greensburg. The thoughtful design makes it withstand the test of time and even a major tornado that destroyed lots in the area.
Did you know that the Big Well is an enormous hand-dug well in the world? The museum is established around the well that installed steps to reach the bottom.
Climb down the spiral staircase more than 100-ft and look up to see just how deep it actually is.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Greensburg
Address: 315 S Sycamore St, Greensburg, KS 67054
You can't help but to stand and admire the sight of the landmark mushroom rocks. It's one of the most unique geological formations you'll see during your trip to Kansas.
Mushroom Rock State Park is the smallest state park in Kansas, but it's well worth the detour to check it out.
It has a handful of large mushroom-shaped rocks formed by erosion millions of years ago.
You'll be impressed by the size of the rocks when you stand next to them. The tallest is much larger than an adult.
Visitors can take a hiking trail through the Smoky Hills to reach the park. The rocks are recognized as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas.
Address: Ave K, Brookville, KS 67425
Amelia Earhart is one of the most famous women in aviation history. She built a name for herself as the first female pilot to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean in 1932.
You can explore her legacy and the place where it all started at the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.
The museum is Earhart's childhood home, where she grew up in Atchison, Kansas. It's a modest home in gothic revival architecture that's now listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Atchison is one of the places to go in Kansas to learn about one of the most famous historical figures in the world.
Visitors go on a self-guided tour through the house. It has lots of memorabilia, photos, and newspaper clippings. You can read about her aviation adventures and even see scale model airplanes.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Atchison
Address: 223 N Terrace St, Atchison, KS 66002
You don't have to go to a fancy museum to see a Van Gogh painting. In fact, one of the most famous Van Gogh's isn't even an original piece.
One of the amazing sights to see in Kansas is the Giant Van Gogh Painting in Goodland, Kansas, showcasing the famed artist's work on a large scale.
Canadian artist Cameron Cross created the Giant Van Gogh Painting. It's a replica of the "Three Sunflowers in a Vase" piece created on a 24x32-ft canvas.
It's displayed in a field on an 80-ft tall easel. The painting was created as part of a Big Easel Project by the artist.
The real painting is kept in a private gallery in New York and worth millions, so the attraction is an excellent free alternative to see the masterpiece.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Goodland
Address: 1998 Cherry Ave, Goodland, KS 67735
There are tons of hidden gems of Kansas to discover if you know where to look. Wilson State Park is one of those places and considered one of the most beautiful sights to see in Kansas.
The park consists of a section of the Smoky Hills bordering the Wilson Lake Reservoir.
Wilson State Park is a popular spot for outdoor recreation. Visit when the weather is nice to enjoy time out on the lake – you'll see plenty of people fishing, water skiing, boating, and snorkeling.
The shoreline is extensive where it offers hiking and biking trails. The views of the lake are truly incredible along the route.
If you can't get enough of Wilson State Park, stay at one of the four designated campgrounds for an overnight stay.
Address: 3 State Park Road, Sylvan Grove, KS 67481
One of the weirdest things to see in Kansas is located right in Lucas. It's one of the must-visit art attractions in the city, and you're in for a real treat if you're lucky enough to visit while it's open.
The museum began as a traveling exhibition by local artist Erika Nelson. She started by driving to quirky roadside attractions around the country and recreating smaller versions of them.
The success of her museum transformed it into a permanent fixture in the Lucas community.
You can see the smallest versions of the largest rubber band ball, ketchup bottle, ball of yarn, and more. There are plenty of photos, sculptures, and scale models to keep you amazed for your entire visit.
Address: 214 S. Main St., Lucas, KS
Kansas is home to a lot of things, but you might not expect to find a castle. Discover one of the favorite tourist spots of Kansas in the middle of nowhere near Lindsborg.
The Coronado Heights Castle looks ancient, but it was built in 1936. It's located on a hilltop in Coronado Heights Park. Thanks to the location on the summit, it gives you a sweeping view of the park from the roof – it's open to the public to enter.
The site of the stone castle has a history dating back to Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who was in search of gold and ended up at the hilltop before turning around.
There are several stone picnic tables and hiking trails nearby to enjoy the scenic landscape.
Address: Smoky View, KS 67456
There's never a question of what to do in Kansas because the list is endless. Kansas is one of those places that surprises anyone who visits – especially first-timers.
It's a beautiful state with lots of fun activities for the entire family. Plan a fun family vacation, solo trip, or even a couple's getaway to explore some of the many Kansas attractions.
Kansas is a hidden gem of the US. There are plenty of exciting cities worth checking out during your visit. You can easily spend a few days each in the major cities like Wichita and Topeka. Or give yourself a quirky experience in the artsy Lucas. And there is plenty of open space where you'll find interesting roadside attractions as you travel between destinations.
There are lots of fun things to do in Kansas. We've barely scratched the surface of some of the things you can expect to find in the state. It's a year-round destination that has something for everyone.