Sites To See in Kansas

Christmas Trees Sites in Kansas Sites in Oregon Washington DC

There really are sites to see in Kansas that might not be in Oregon. Kansans are not all farmers. Southwest Kansas is a rural, farming community and that is where I used to live. Many in SW Kansas know about field crops and cattle. Even when I asked Dave what comes to mind first when I asked about his thoughts of a Kansas, he said "farmer".

But first, I'm going to take you to sites to visit that are not "farmer" related. These sites are within less than four (4) hours away from my hometown of Garden City, Kansas. Garden Ctiy sits in SW Kansas, with Oklahoma border 70 miles south, and Colorado about the same. It takes about four hours to drive to Wichita and about eight hours to get to Kansas City from Garden City - depending on who drives and the number of stops that need to be made.

Usually my husband Edward, daughter and myself did not travel much. So one year we decided to make a 2 - 3 day expedition to a few places we had never seen. Some to the North of us, some to the south, and some to the east. I will not include places to the west because that meant a trip into Colorado for the Springs and Denver which was a lovely place to visit.

Kansas map To the left is a Kansas map with a few visited sites marked. It many be difficult to read, but I gave it a try.

This LINK is a good place to look for places to visit in Kansas.

Scott City
is located about 30 miles North of Garden City. It had a great place to fish but the water level is much lower because of the drought conditons. It is still a nice place to picnic and rock climb.

There are some rock formations near Scott City also that are interesting. I do not have a picture.
Scott City - fishing

Chalk Pyramids Oakley
is another 50 miles North. The 70 feet tall sedimentary formations of Niobrara Chalk were created 80 million years agao when this area was part of a vast inland sea. In 2007, the Kansas Sampler Foundation selected Momument Rocks as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas. The site did not list the other seven wonders. One is the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.

We traveled east on Interstate 70 for about 90 miles. There is the Sternberg Museum. It is filled with dinosaur bones and reconstructed dinosaur skeletons.
Museum of Dinosaurs

ball of twine Cawker City
We traveled North and then East about 70 miles to see the worlds largest ball of twine.

I have no idea why anybody wanted to do this, but they did.

We headed South for about 30 miles and came to a small town with several interesting things to see. There is a grand sausage place here.

But we went to the Garden Of Eden.
S.P. Dinsmoor created a legacy beginning in 1891 and ending in 1907. The "log cabin" was built from 27 feet long "logs" of limestone and 113 tons of concrete. The garden tells the history of the world starting with its creation. There are 150 figures and 40 feet tall trees in the Garden of Eden. One of the figurines clearly shows that Adam and Eve not only had two sons, but also had daughters. There is a mausoleum which houses Dinsmoor and his first wife. Sheila was impressed. Me too !!!
Garden of Eden

Kauffman Museum Newton
We traveled a long distance East and South to arrive at this city. We visited the Kansas Sports Museum and The Kauffman Museum.

A section of the Kauffman Museum is on the Left.
Yes, we did sleep some time, but don't remember where.

It is only 30 minutes from Newton west to Hutchinson. There are at least three places of interesting attractions. One is a science museum that has an old Lung machine - to the right.

We also saw the Cosmosphere which is awesome. Two pictures below. It is about space travel and there is an over head ampitheater showing information. A must see.

Then there is the Underground Salt mines to see. Two pictures at bottom of this section. Note the need to wear hard hats.
Lung Machine
cosmophere 01 cosmophere 02
salt museum Salt museaum 01

We left Hutchinson and traveled about two hours south and west. That is where the largest hand dug well is located. The town of Greensburg was totally destroyed by a tornado and the Big Well was closed for a long time until reconstruction could be done. The word is that this exhibit will reopen.
Big Well 02 Big Well 01

Dodge City
Then about an hour west is another larger city. The main tourist attraction here is Boot Hill. There is the site's Main Street with several older buildings as seen below. There's a drug store, barber shop, clothing store, etc. all full of antiques from western years.

Then there is the High Noon gun fight in the street. And the dancing girls in the saloon.

Best to last is the Boot Hill Cemetery. At the bottom is an empty coffin ready for the next person the sheriff kills. The cemetery only has three big outlaws buried there. If you are lucky and do not die, the sheriff might take you to the jail.

It's all in fun and the children seem to love it.

There used to be a house of mirrors close to Boot Hill, but don't know if it still exists.
boot hill museum boot hill - dancing girls
boothill - coffin boothill - cemetery

is located southwest of Dodge City. On the drive there are Windfarms like the first picture seen below. The second picture is a windfarm in Spearville, Kansas. The windfarm in Montezuma is the largest farm in Kansas. It has 170 turbines with the generating capacity of 112 megawatts -- enough eletricity to power 33,000 homes.

Although the towers are spread over 12,000 acres, only 6 acres are directly used for tower sites. The individual turbine towers are 217 feet high, with 77 feet long blades.

This site was selected because the average wind speed is approximately 20 miles per hour. The turbines only produce power when the wind speed is between 10 and 56 miles per hour.
Montezuman wind farm
spearville wind farm

is located south and east of Montezuma. It is a bit out of the way, but worth the trip. There you will find the Dalton Gang Hideout. It is the REAL THING. The Gang really did live here. When the law was coming and the Gang needed to get away, they would go into their tunnel (picture below on right) and escape. When visitors come to the exhibit, and go into the tunnel, andthe guide has the tourists wait and then they turn out all the lights. It is totally without any light, being so dark you cannot see anything. This is another fun site for children to visit.
Dalton Gang 01 dalton gang tunnel

is just a hop-skip-and jump from Meade. There is the Mid-America Air Museum (photo to the right).

There is also the Wizard of Oz museum. There are statues of the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Straw Man. There is Dorothy's House and the Yellow Brick Road. There is also a Munchkins Land. There is also a real barn that was damaged by a real tornado as pictured below.

Also notice Dorothy's red shoes. There are young teenage guides wearing these red shoes and the blue check dress showing tourists around during the summer time.
Air Museum

dorothy house dorothy shoes tornado

is about an hour northwest of Liberal. There is a Historic Adobe Museum. I have never been to this museum and no little about it.

And, it is past time to return home to Garden City. It is an hour drive home.
Ulysses adobe

Garden City
was my birth place and home for over 53 years. I often went to the Lee Richardson Zoo to look at the animals or to join others for a family picnic. Below are four thumbnails I took at the Zoo on only a small sampling of exhibits. Then there are three other animals below the thumbprints. It really was a nice Zoo.

Check out the Lions - and Tigers -- and Bears. Please don't miss my bear picture.
gc - deer gc - elephant gc - leopards gc - zebra
Deer Elephant Leopards Zebra

GC - lions GC - tigers


Is just 15 minutes from Garden City. It is almost like a suburb and I don't even think of it as a town of its own. Holcomb, Kansas is noteworthy for the seating of the Clutter Murders and the book In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I was very young when the Clutter were killed. The city still has memories such as, their cemetery plot is within a few feet of my sister's grave. Nancy Clutter's boyfriend (Bobby Rupp) was my car mechanic. I used to go to church with Mr. Platt who was one of the two local persons allowed to be in the movie. And, I knew well the KIUL radio announcer - Tony Jewel. He was given an invitation to attend RIchard Hickcock and Perry Smith's hanging. Tony still remembers the sound of the trap door and how it kept swinging after it was opened.

Two scenes taken in real time during the trial of Hickcock and Smith appear below. One is the crowd of people in the hallway outside the courtroom. The photo on the right is the jury on lunch break. Holcomb, Kansas is remembered by many.
outside court room jury on lunch break

Below are pictures taken in Garden City near the Zoo. To the left is a buffalo head. There is a large Bison reserve just outside of the city. Many buffalo were killed years ago for food and for the fur by Indians.

The other picture to the right is the city's swimming pool without water. It was the largest, free, outdoor, concrete swimming pool in the USA. Now I think they charge admission.
gc - museum swimming pool

Below are two pictures associated with cattle production. To the left is a cattle feed lot near Cimarron. There is another smaller one at the edge of Garden City. To the right is IBP - Iowa Beef Packers - where the live stock are slaughtered and processed into meat packages for retail sales. This is big business in SW Kansas.
cattle feed lot IBP

Mt Sunflower To the Left is Deloyce, a friend co-worker at the hospital. We traveled together to Mt. Sunflower and to Goodland, Kansas for a day.

Mt. Sunflower is a very small place with a very small (as you can see in the photo) display. You need to drive on private property, in a field, to see it.

It is the highest point of elevation in the state of Kansas and qualifies as a mountain. It is located along side the Colorado border.

While we traveled, we took pictures of sunflowers. It was sunflower appreciation days in Goodland, Kansas. Sunflower seed oil is used in the manufacturing of Pringles potato chips. Sunflower is the State Flower.

We were also headed to Goodland for the dedication of the Big Easel display.
sunflower field 01 sunflower field 02

Vincent van Gogh Vincent van Gogh - the artist - painted pictures of sunflowers, iris (below) and many other projects.

See also:

The Big Easel web site

About the Big Easel web page and

The Van Gogh Project web page.

The Giant reproduction of van Gogh's "3 Sunflowers In A Vase" can be seen from I-70 as you pass through Goodland, Kansas. The Big Easel Project started in 1996 when Cameron Cross contributed a work of art to Altona, Manitoba, Canada, the community where he worked as an artist and teacher. Cross selected a public domain Vincent van Gogh sunflower painting and created a 24 by 32 foot reproduction of the painting on an 80 foot steel easel.

Cross has since expanded the project to reproduce up to seven of van Gogh's portraits of sunflowers that were originally painted in 1888 and 1889. So far, there are three painting. The second was erected in Emerald, Australia in 1999, and the Goodland, Kansas painting ws completed on August 17, 2001. Although other locations have considered the Big Easel project, there have been no new giant van Gogh paintings since the construction of this painting in Goodland.

Deloyce and I were headed to Goodland for the dedication of The Big Easel. Below are four pictures I tried to take. If you look closely, you can see Deloyce standing next to the easel, waving her hand, for a comparison in size.
Big Easel 01 Big Easel 02 Big Easel 03 Big Easel 04

I germanica 01 van gogh iris 02 I germanica 02
Above is I. germanica iris pictures. In the middle is Vincent van Gogh's painting. You can click on the image to open it larger. To the Left are clumps of I. germanica and to the Right is an individual picture of the flower.

Below are four more paintings of irises by Vincent van Gogh. Then even further down are children painting on an easel and drawing with chalk on a side walk.

van gogh iris 01 van gogh iris 03 van gogh iris 04 van gogh iris 05

van gogh Girls These are the

van Gogh girls !!!
van gogh girls 02
SW Kansas is also noted for it's excellent Pheasant Hunting. One weekend in the fall is set aside for hunting the pheasant bird. As a member of the hospital health team, we always dreaded this weekend and prayed for no hunting accidents. Pheasants are great eating.
pheasant 01 pheasant 02 pheasant 03 Pheasant 04
Male Pheasant Pheasant in flight Pheasant retrieved
by the bird dog
Pheasant hunter
with his limit
SW Kansas is also noted for it's Tumbleweeds. Really? Yes, really. I went to school with a gal who has a Tumbleweed web site built just for the selling of tumbleweeds. Below are photos of Kansas tumbleweeds. The winds is furious sometimes and the weeds tumble everywhere, even obstructing a car driver's vision if blown along side of the road. The size of the tumbleweed depends upon how long the plant grew (in it's green state just like any other plant) and how big it was before the stem of the plant broke the tumbling part of the weed free.
tumbleweeds 01 tumble weeds 02 Tumblewees 03 tumble weeds 04
Tumbleweeds in
a dust storm
Tumbleweeds in
the yard
Tumbleweeds in
the alley
Tumbleweed along
road side
There are still farmers in Kansas who raise milking cows and there are Dairies in Kansas and the Midwest States. Whether the cow is housed in a Dairy or on a small farm, they still need to be milked. Many farmers now use milkers instead of milking by hand. Below are milking pics.
calf milking cow milking 01 cows milking 02 cows feeding
Calf milking Milking by hand
into a bucket
Milking with milkers
in a Dairy
Cows feeding
at the Dairy
Farmers in Kansas usually raise crops of grain used to make breads and cereals. Some farmers are still dry land farmers, while many irrigate using pivotal irrigation. Below are photos of pivot irrigation. There are many different manufacturers.
pivot irrigation 01 pivot irrigation 05 pivot irrigation 04
Pivot Irrigaton Pivot Irrigation Circles from the Air
of Pivot Irrigation
There are several crops farmers plant and harvest -- wheat, the leading crop, corn, milo, maize, and alfalfa. Corn remains from harvesting is often placed in silo pits and used for cattle feed during the winter. Sedan grass can be used for grazing. It grows very tall. Alfalfa is made into hay bales for cattle feed, and the thrash from the wheat harvesting is made into straw bales as opposed to hay bales which usually is an alfalfa. Sudan grass could also be silaged. Below are a few photos of these grains. Check out this place to find out more information about hay bales and their source.
sudan grass 01 sudan grass 02 sudan grass 03 sudan grass 04
Sudan Grass -
can be used as
an ordamental plant
Sudan Grass -
an early growing
grass - is very tall.
Kids love to play in it.
Sudan Grass -
can be harvested
and used for
Sudan Grass -
cattle can be allowed to graze in the grass before harvesting.

wheat 02 wheat 03 wheat 04 wheat 05
Wheat -
ripe for cutting.
It had been green
for a long time.
Wheat - harvesting
with two combines
and one truck
receiving grain
Wheat -
iindividual kernels that go into the combine
Wheat - when the
grain elevators are
full, the farmers
pile it on the ground

milo 02 milo 01
The above two photos are Milo. This is a lesser known crop. I love the color of a milo crop when ripe. And the heads can be made to pop like pop-corn kernels. The grain is edible, just like wheat and corn and the foliage debris can be made into silage for cattle feed.

corn 01 corn 02 corn 03 corn 04
Corn -
not fully tasseled yet
Corn -
husking to see cob with kernels
Corn -
kernels that are dry
Corn -
many different colors
Silage is made from the foliage of Corn and Sudan grass. This foliage is picked up by a machine and transferred to a truck. Then the truck hauls the foliage to the silage pit. Then the foliage is packed down very tight with a special pressing machine or by simply driving over the pile with heavy tractors. Then the foliage is allowed to "age" and then it is fed to cattle.

Some people build silage of concrete and are raised above the ground. Some people make silage dig out large amounts of dirt from a hillside in such a way that the "hole" becomes the sides of the pit. Still others just lay the foliage atop of the ground and cover it with tarp and rubber tires for protection.

When silage "ages" it will form a hard crust on the top of the foliage and when this silage is dug into, as needed for hauling this feed to the cattle, it is very moist and steaming warm to the touch.

The term Ensilage is the preservation of green fodder (foliage) in a silo or pit.
silage pit 01 silage pit 02 silage pit 03 silage pit 04
Silage -
gathering fodder and transferring it to truck
Silage -
dumping fodder
onto a pile
Silage -
packing the
fodder down
Silage -
covering with tarp
and tires
The process of making hay bales is also for the preservation of green fodder. Hay is more often made from alfalfa or another grass. Straw bales are usually made from the left behind foliage of wheat. The hay bales can be made into huge cylindrical blocks or rectangular blocks of more than one size. Rectangular blocks have the advantage of stacking easier. These hay bales are used throughout the winter months to feed the livestock. Like they say, a farmer's work is never done.
hay bales 01 hay bales 02 hay bales 04 hay bales 05
Hay bales -
cylindrical shape
Hay bales -
as seen in the field
Hay bales -
rectangular in field
Hay bales -
rectangular stacked

hayrack ride 01 hayrack ride 02
Hayrack rides are fun. Hay bales are simply put on a large wheeled trailer and pulled by a tractor or by horses. People enjoy sitting on the hay bales and going for a ride. All you need is a nice fall evening, some music and a few pumpkins to complete the picture.