Named after Arkansas River’s sweeping bend, the city of Great Bend in Kansas was founded in 1872. With a history railroads and the cattle trade, Great Bend today has become a destination for all levels of nature enthusiasts, offering numerous opportunities for birders, photographers, paddlers, bikers, and hikers. Just outside of town is the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, one of the largest inland marshes in the country and an internationally important wetland. For history buffs, the city also has its Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village, while animal lovers can explore the Brit Spaugh Zoo. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Cheyenne Bottoms

Cheyenne Bottoms
© Colby/stock.adobe.com

Designated in 1988 as a “Wetland of International Importance,” Cheyenne Bottoms in Great Bend, Kansas is the largest marsh within the interior of the country and regarded as the western hemisphere’s most significant shorebird migration point, with around 45 percent of the shorebird population of North America stopping in the area during their spring migration. There are three different entrances into the Cheyenne Bottoms, with information kiosks providing driving tour booklets, checklists, and maps situated on each of the entry drives. A short drive from the K-156 entrance is an overlook platform that offers a good feel for the expansive landscape.

204 NE 60 Rd, Great Bend, KS 67530, Phone: 620-793-3066

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2.Heartland Farm, Great Bend, Kansas

Heartland Farm, Great Bend, Kansas
© Heartland Farm


Located in the state’s rural Rush County, the Heartland Farm can be found just a short distance outside of the Great Bend. The beautiful and idyllic setting surrounded by farm vistas offers a place for retreat, creative expression, prayer, and learning. The Heartland Farm is also a popular place for a day trip for people of all ages with its many trails, prairie labyrinth, pastures, and organic gardens.. Guests can take a basic tour of the farm, walk the labyrinth, visit with chickens and alpacas, meditate in the silo, have a picnic, stroll through the pastures and wooded trails, and more.

1049 CR 390, Pawnee Rock, KS 67567, Phone: 620-923-4585

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3.Brit Spaugh Zoo, Great Bend, KS

Brit Spaugh Zoo, Great Bend, KS
© Brit Spaugh Zoo

The Brit Spaugh Park and Zoo is made up of a small water park, horseshoe courts, baseball diamonds, a skate park, and most importantly, the Brit Spaugh Zoo, which is home to more than fifty animal species and a raptor center. Established back in 1952, the zoo has become a source of pride for the city of Great Bend with its commitment to the rescue, conservation, and preservation of animals, as well as the entertainment and education of both adults and children alike. The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo is striving to become more modern and is made up of two parts.

2123 Main St, Great Bend, KS 67530, Phone: 620-793-4226

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4.Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village

Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village
© Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village


The Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village sits at the crossroads of the historic Santa Fe Trail and the Central Flyway on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. The museum serves as an interpretive center for the historic trail and features around a dozen rescued and restored structures, which include four barns, a blacksmith shop, a post office, a depot, a Lustron all metal home from the 1950’s, a stone pioneer house, a church, and a schoolhouse. The Barton County Historical Society Museum also displays antique household items, unique farm implements, military uniforms, and several other items.

85 South Highway 281, Great Bend, KS 67530, Phone: 620-793-5125

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5.B-29 Memorial Plaza, Great Bend, KS

B-29 Memorial Plaza, Great Bend, KS
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During the early part of the 1940’s, the Great Bend Municipal Airport was built as an Army Air Force Base during World War II for the B-29 Superfortress bomber. The 58th Bomb Wing took off in 1944 from the airport’s runways. After the war, the Great Bend Airport was given to the city and was transformed to better accommodate civilian aviation. The B-29 Memorial Plaza can be found today at the airport’s entrance and is dedicated to the people involved with providing support, flying, and building the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. The memorial plaza is open daily with no cost for admission.

Great Bend, KS 67530

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6.Jack Kilby Memorial, Great Bend, KS

Jack Kilby Memorial, Great Bend, KS
© Visit Great Bend


The Jack Kilby Memorial honors engineer Jack Kilby, who in 1958, invented the microchip after he had been newly hired at Texas Instruments. Kilby was also the one who invented the pocket calculator and was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2000 for the field of physics. In 2005, he sadly died and later in April of 2012, the city of Great Bend put up a statue as a memorial to the man who grew up in Great Bend, Kansas. The bronze monument was made by Chet Cale, a local sculptor, is titled as “The Gift” and stands outside of the county courthouse.

1400 Main St, Great Bend, KS 67530

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6 Best Things to Do in Great Bend, Kansas



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