Kansas is a Midwestern state that is often overlooked by tourists. However, there are many interesting things to see and do in this state that can help you experience the country in a whole new way. Kansas is known for many things that make this off-the-beaten-path travel destination worth exploring.
What is Kansas Known For?
Kansas is known for its vast prairies, rolling hills, and natural beauty. The state has one of the most miles of river than any other state in the Great Plains and is home to the world’s largest contiguous tallgrass prairie.
In addition, Kansas is famous for being the largest producer of Wheat in the United States and for its delicious Barbecue Food. Kansas also offers a wealth of cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and theater productions.
Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure or a quiet place to relax, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Kansas. Here are just a few of the things Kansas is known for and waiting for you to explore.
Food Kansas Is Famous For
Kansas City is famous for its barbecue, and there are barbecue joints all over the state serving up some of the best ribs, pulled pork, and sausage you’ve ever tasted. This cooking style has become synonymous with Kansas and is the signature food in the region.
There are even multiple Barbecue competitions and festivals throughout the state every year. If you’re a barbecue lover, you definitely need to try some Kansas City-style barbecue during your visit.
Kansas Dirt Cake
A no-bake cake made with chocolate pudding, cream cheese and whipped topping, Kansas dirt cake gets its name from its “dirt-like” appearance, which is typically from Orea crumbs. The dessert is often made in a flower pot for the visual effect. This chocolatey, creamy cake is surprisingly delicious and has become a Kansas staple.
History, Culture, And Traditions Kansas Is Known For
Kansas is appropriately nicknamed the Sunflower State. With more than 20 designated wildflower trails, you can find these lovely blooms all over the state, in both rural and urban areas.
The best time to see sunflowers in Kansas is typically late July through early August, but it really depends on the weather conditions during that growing season.
One of the most popular places to see sunflowers is at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, where you can also see bison and other wildlife.
As the top wheat-producing state in the country, Kansas is known for being the “Wheat State”. Some even call it the “Breadbasket of the World.”
It is estimated that Kansas produces over 300 million bushels of wheat, which accounts for more than 18% of the country’s production.The state even has a Kansas Wheat Innovation Center so you can see that this crop contributes significantly to the economy.
There are at least 6 types of wheat being grown in the state. Kansas is known to be producing wheat since the 1830s before they were even a state.
The Wizard of Oz
No list about Kansas would be complete without mentioning The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, one of the most classic American stories ever told. Written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900, the story takes place “somewhere over the rainbow” in the fictional Land of Oz.
While there is no real Emerald City, you can visit the Oz Museum in Wamego. Discover some of the original props used in the 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland.
You can also follow in Dorothy’s footsteps by taking a Yellow Brick Road Self-Guided Tour, which includes stops in Liberal, Kansas (the hometown of the author), and Beech Mound Farm near Concordia (used as a filming location).
Kansas was once home to many different Plains Indian tribes, including the Kansa, Osage, Pawnee, and Wichita. These Native American peoples lived on the Great Plains prior to the arrival of European settlers in the 1800s.
Today, you can learn about their cultures and histories at many museums and historical sites around the state. Some of the notable ones includes the Kansas Heritage Center, the Ward-Meade Historic Site, and the Fort Larned National Historic Site.
You can also see firsthand what life was like for the Plains Indians at the annual Washita Battlefield Powwow.
Kansas is also famous for its oil wells. The state is home to over 7,000 oil and gas fields and more than 90,000 wells. Kansas is one of the signifcant producers of oil in the United States.
While there are many oil museums and sites throughout the state that tell the story of this important time in American history, one of the most popular is the Kansas Oil Museum in El Dorado.
The museum features a replica of oil wells and derricks, as well as a collection of vintage automobiles that were once powered by Kansas crude.
Cities And Travel Destinations Kansas Is Famous For
The largest city in Kansas, Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World” because it has been home to more than 60 aircraft manufacturers and maintenance facilities. The city is also a major center for agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare.
When it comes to things to do, Wichita has something for everyone. The city is home to a variety of museums, art galleries, and historical sites.
Families will enjoy exploring the Sedgwick County Zoo and Botanica. Outdoor enthusiasts can hike and bike through one of the many parks or take a scenic drive along the Arkansas River.
Wichita is also a great place to catch a live show or concert, as the city is home to several performing arts venues.
The capital city of Kansas, Topeka is located in the northeastern part of the state on the Kansas River. Topeka is known for being a hub for government and politics. It is home to the Kansas State Capitol, the Kansas Supreme Court, and the Kansas Court of Appeals.
The city is also home to museums and historical sites, including the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, which commemorates the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case that ended segregation in public schools.
Families will enjoy exploring the Topeka Zoo and Gage Park. Nature lovers can hike and bike through one of the many parks or take a scenic drive along the Kansas River.
The Flint Hills
The Flint Hills is a region of Kansas that is known for its rugged beauty, unique landscape and rolling hills. One of the most famous elements are the prairies that covers about 6% of the state.
The area is also home to more than 500 species of native grasses, which makes it perfect for grazing cattle. In fact, the Flint Hills region is responsible for a good portion of the world’s tallgrass beef production.
Stretching between Kansas and Northern Oklahoma, the area has a number of small towns and villages, each with its own unique charm. Visitors can explore the area by car, bike, or on foot along the many scenic trails that wind through the hills.
The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway is a scenic drive that takes you through some of the most beautiful countryside in the state.
Within the region, The Flint Hills Discovery Center is a state-of-the-art museum that tells the story of the region in Kansas. The center offers a variety of interactive exhibits, films, and educational programs that educate visitors about the natural history, culture, and ecology of the Flint Hills.
Architecture And Landmarks Kansas Is Famous For
Kansas offers a range of diverse terrain and historic sites. The following are just a few amongst the many famous landmarks in Kansas.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Kansas is home to the world’s largest contiguous tallgrass prairie. This unique ecosystem once covered more than 170 million acres of North America. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a living reminder of what once was.
The preserve is the only national park in the country dedicated to the tallgrass prairie. Here, you can explore over 10,000 acres of pristine tallgrass prairie and learn about the plants and animals that call this place home.
There are over 40 miles of Prairie Nature Hiking Trails available for exploration through the preserve.
The Walnut River is one of the longest rivers in Kansas. It runs for over 100 miles from its headwaters in Butler County to its confluence with the Arkansas River in Cowley County. The river is a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. There are also several scenic hiking and biking trails that follow the river.
Overland Park 9/11 Memorial
The Overland Park 9/11 Memorial is a tribute to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The memorial, located in suburban Kansas City, features a steel beam from one of the World Trade Center towers. The beam is inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives on 9/11.
The memorial also features a granite wall with the handprints of first responders from the Kansas City area. The wall is inscribed with the words “We will never forget.”
The Overland Park 9/11 Memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The Cosmosphere is a world-renowned museum in Hutchinson that houses the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Russia. It is one of the most interesting landmarks in Kansas.
The museum also has an extensive collection of American space artifacts, including the original Apollo 13 command module. In addition to the museum, the Cosmosphere also has an IMAX theater and a planetarium.
Many More Things Kansas Is Known And Famous For
These are just a few of the many things that Kansas is known for. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or the arts, you’ll find plenty to explore in this Midwestern state.
Kansas is a great state for travelers who want to explore a variety of different attractions. The list of things that Kansas is known for is extensive, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
If you find the time, make sure to visit and explore more landmarks and traditions that Kansas is known for.