Ultimate Kansas Road Trip Guide - Part Two

It’s time for a sequel! I love a good sequel, don’t you? I hope you enjoyed my last article on how to complete an awesome Kansas road trip! Now it’s time to move on down the road and check out new activities, food and lodging! After all, as I stated in my last post, Kansas has a lot to offer and it would be shame to only experience part of it. To really soak it all in, it is necessary to plan a multi-day road trip across this great state.

First up: Wichita

What to see:

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens
701 Amidon, Wichita, KS  67203  

These aren’t you average gardens, at Botanica you will find an amazing oasis right in Wichita. Not only is there so much for grown-ups to admire and see, but kiddos will love these gardens as there is a huge tree house, kids library, children’s garden and more! I couldn't get enough of all the whimsical creatures and different features in the gardens. I would make sure to plan ample time for Botanica as it is quite a large space and has so much to look at.

Museum of World Treasures
835 E 1st St N, Wichita, KS  67202 

No road trip would be complete without a stop at a museum. Luckily in Wichita the Museum of World Treasures is no ordinary museum! By far my favorite exhibit at the Museum of World Treasures is the mummies. We have been to a lot of museums, but I have never seen so many well preserved mummies before. Kids will love the giant dinosaur bones!

Nifty Nut House
537 N St Francis St, Wichita, KS  67214 

Everyone gets a sweet tooth while on the road and Nifty Nut House is here to cure it! Nifty Nut House has Nuts, candies and gummies and more! In fact you can choose from over 3,000 items! Definitely a fun stop, just make sure you give the kiddos a budget. ;)

Keeper of the Plains
650 N Seneca St, Wichita, KS  67203 

This is one stop in Wichita you can’t miss! The Keeper of the Plains is a sculpture that stands in-between the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers Surrounding the base of the statue are multiple displays which describe the local tribes that used to inhabit this area, as well as several fire pits which sometimes light up to illuminate the statue at night. The fire pits, which are known as the Rings of Fire, run in 15-minute increments. They are generally lit once a night around 7 pm during the summer and sunset during the winter.

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
2480 B Kansas Hwy 177, Strong City, KS  66869 

At the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve you will find tons of amazing hikes as well as optimum wildlife spotting! It claims over 11,000 acres of prairie land and is a great place to enjoy everything the prairie ecosystem has to offer.

Where to eat:

If sweets Nifty Nut House isn’t quite enough to run on for the day, be sure to head to the below spots to refuel for your adventures:

The Donut Hole
1720 E Douglas, Wichita, KS 

If I had to describe Wichita in one word I would say “Vibrant” every shop, every restaurant has its own flare, some piece of uniqueness; and the Donut Whole is no exception. This isn’t your grandmas coffee shop. A coffeehouse, donut shop, art gallery and live music venue is what you will find here. Definitely a great place to chill and hang out for a bit, and of course grab one of their fresh made donuts!

Picasso’s in Historic Delano District
621 W. Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS  67213  

I can’t get enough of a good New York style pizza and Picasso’s serves up a great one! Who can resist a great slice? This is a great place for families as it has a relaxed fun feel to it. 

Bite Me BBQ
132 N. St. Francis, Wichita, KS  67202

I LOVE BBQ! So when I knew we were heading to Kansas I knew I was in for a treat! I tried the Bite Me BBQ’s pork sandwich and… Oh My! The flavors were fantastic and the meat just melted in my mouth. Definitely a must try while in Wichita. 

Where to stay:

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Wichita Downtown

Free breakfast buffet, central location, and large rooms. Need I say more? The  Inn & Suites has everything your family will need for a great stay in Wichita!

Once you have soaked in all that Wichita has to offer here are a few suggestions of things to see down the road:

Follow the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway to Council Grove 

Hays House in Council Grove
112 W Main St, Council Grove, KS  66846  

Once in Council Grove you have to eat at the Hays House. This adorable little restaurant looks like it came right out of a Little House on the Prairie novel. It first opened in 1857 and is the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi River. Everything on the menu is fantastic, but I highly recommend a piece of their delicious pie!

I also would recommend taking a stroll down some of the historic streets of Council Grove. They have so many cute shops and historical buildings to view. Council Grove is also packed full of outdoor adventure and recreation. Be sure to check out their website for more ideas on what to do after you’ve enjoyed your Hays House pie!

Last, but certainly not least:

Topeka, it's time to head to the capital!

 Now Topeka is bursting with thing to do, but I wanted to make just one suggestion that can't be missed!

Kansas State Capitol Building
300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS  66612 

I have to admit I am a little let down when I see most state capital buildings. They are usually either a little drab or really just look like an everyday office building, but I was surprised with the exact opposite when seeing the Kansas State Capital for the first time. My first thoughts were “What a masterpiece!” I was beyond impressed.

Completed in 1903 after 37 years of construction, the Kansas State Capitol is a few feet higher than our nation’s Capital in Washington, DC. Located on a 20-acre site, the grounds feature statues, memorials, and gardens.

The architecture is gorgeous and the history lessons inside this great building make it a fantastic learning experience for the whole family!

Now normally I would tell you about a great place in Topeka to stay the night and rest up for more of your road trip, but I have a little insiders tip on a place to stay just right outside of the city. If you head for Lawrence (about 31 miles outside of Topeka) you will find a hidden treasure for the whole family; Circle S Ranch.

This part ranch, part B&B has so much to offer families traveling through Kansas. In our two short days there we enjoyed horseback riding, s’mores, fishing and more. Families can connect back with nature while still enjoying all the creature comforts you would expect from a four star hotel. Each room has its own personality and the food at Circle S Ranch is divine! Our kids especially loved gathering chicken eggs and having them served up for breakfast the next day! This truly is a special place and one that our kids still talk about long after our visit.

I know that this was a lot of information to take in but I hope it will help you in creating your own adventure through Kansas! Please let me know if I missed any of your favorite spots in these cities! Also be sure to stick around for my last article detailing a great way to end your road trip through Kansas.

Be sure to check out more great trip ideas here on the Kansas State tourism page!

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A big thank you to Kansas State Tourism and partners for hosting our family in order to facilitate this review, all opinions are my own.

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