Situated in the beautiful American heartland, Kansas is full of fun things to see and do with your kids. There's no shortage of hands-on children's museums and learning centers to visit, with highlights including Exploration Place and the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, but the state also offers an excellent selection of museums that are fun for the whole family. Other exciting options include touring the salt mines at the Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum, taking a step into make-believe land at Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz, and visiting the animals at the Safari Zoological Park. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Boot Hill Museum
Located right in the heart of Dodge City, Boot Hill Museum is a fun museum that brings the Old West to life. Visitors can stroll along the Front Street boardwalk and peer through the windows to get a glimpse of days gone by, and there are also plenty of historical exhibits filled with historic artifacts that tell the story of the town's early days. During the summer, there are also historical interpreters, chuck wagon dinners, and gunfight reenactments. If you have a sweet tooth, you can pick up some fudge from the General Store or drink a cold Sarsaparilla at the saloon.
500 West Wyatt Earp Boulevard, Front St, Dodge City, KS 67801, Phone: 620-227-8188
2.Cosmosphere: International Sci-Ed Center and Space Museum
Proudly affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, the Cosmosphere: International Sci-Ed Center and Space Museum is a fascinating attraction for visitors of all ages. It boasts the world's largest collection of Russian and American spaceflight artifacts, allowing it to tell the story of the Space Race in a unique, unparalleled way, but this isn't the only thing you'll learn about here. Dr. Goddard's Lab brings rocket science to life with an explosive presentation, while the planetarium takes visitors on an exciting journey through the cosmos. Once a month, the museum also hosts a special family-friendly event with tours and hands-on demonstrations.
1100 N Plum St, Hutchinson, KS 67501, Phone: 800-397-0330
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3.Curious Minds Discovery Zone
Created to encourage children to explore their creativity through play and problem solving, the Curious Minds Discovery Zone is the best family attraction Parsons. There's a wide variety of interactive play stations for children to enjoy, including a grocery store, a doctor's office, and a fort, and there are also STEM-based educational toys like a dinosaur dig, a space station, and microscopes for kids to use. It's also an excellent place to host birthday parties and other special events, particularly for younger children. The center is open Thursday through Sunday, and special prices are offered for groups.
1810 Main St, Parsons, KS 67357, Phone: 620-778-2657
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4.Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
Set on a welcoming 12-acre property, the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead offers the opportunity to interact with friendly farm animals and learn about the frontier days. More than 250 animals live here, and visitors can take a pony ride, bottle feed baby goats, and watch cows being milked in the dairy barn. There are also historical attractions like a working blacksmith shop, an old-fashioned photography parlor, and a replica one-room schoolhouse. The farm is open between the beginning of April and the end of October, and free admission is offered from 2 p.m. until close Monday through Thursday.
13800 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS 66221, Phone: 913-897-2360
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5.Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is one of the best-known and best-loved stories about Kansas, and at Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz, visitors can step right into the magical world that has been capturing heart for decades. Costumed guides playing the role of Dorothy herself lead guests on a tour through a replica of Dorothy's house before taking them through the Tornado Simulation Room to the Land of Oz. Here, a series of dioramas introduce characters and scenes from the movie. There's also a small display of memorabilia, which includes a replica pair of Ruby Slippers.
567 E Cedar St, Liberal, KS 67901, Phone: 620-624-7624
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Sitting next to the Arkansas River in Wichita, Exploration Place is widely recognized as the best science center in Kansas. There are plenty of permanent exhibits to explore, including a Kansas in Miniature display and a shark exhibit with life-size shark models, and the Dome Theater regularly plays fascinating science films on its impressive 60-foot screen. There's also a special area in the museum for toddlers, and older children will particularly like the medieval-themed Where Kids Rule exhibit, which features over 60 hands-on activities designed to encourage kids to take an interest in math and science.
300 N McLean Blvd, Wichita, KS 67203, Phone: 316-660-0600
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7.Fick Fossil and History Museum
Housed inside the same building as the Oakley community library, the Fick Fossil and History Museum was created to showcase the wonderful fossil and art collection of the Fick family. More than 11,000 fossils and shark teeth are on display, but the highlight of the collection is a 15-foot mosasaur fossil, the oldest known fossil of its kind in the world. In addition to the fossil collection, the museum features a replica of the town's first General Store, an authentic sod house, and a variety of eclectic folk art created by one of the museum's founders.
700 W 3rd St, Oakley, KS 67748, Phone: 785-671-4839
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8.Flint Hills Wildlife Refuge
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Established in 1966, the Flint Hills Wildlife Refuge is a significant resting place for the waterfowl that migrate through Kansas in the spring and the fall. It's a spectacular place for birdwatching, but a variety of other mammals and reptiles live here as well, and there are three nature trails visitors can explore while keeping their eyes out for wildlife. Interpretive guided tours are sometimes offered for visitors of all ages, and the Visitor Center features some excellent exhibits covering topics like the conservation strategies used by the refuge and about the area's flora and fauna.
530 W Maple Ave, Hartford, KS 66854, Phone: 620-392-5553
9.Great Plains Nature Center
Found in Wichita's Chisholm Creek Park, the Great Plains Nature Center is a beautiful 240-acre property that provides another great opportunity to learn about Kansas' native plants and wildlife. Hundreds of different species of mammals, reptiles, and birds can be found in the park, and visitors are encouraged to walk along the two-miles trail that meanders through the property to see how many different animals they can spot. Another must-do activity is visiting the Koch Habitat Hall, which features a large aquarium as well as exhibits and interactive displays about the climate and history of the area.
2200, 6232 East 29th St N, Wichita, KS 67220, Phone: 316-683-5499
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10.Greyhound Hall of Fame
The little city of Abilene is known as the Greyhound Capital of the United States, and there's no better place to learn about these special dogs than the Greyhound Hall of Fame. The exhibits introduce visitors to the history of greyhounds from ancient times to the present day, and there's also a Hall of Fame dedicated to the most impressive dogs in the sport. However, the highlight for many visitors is the chance to meet two friendly greyhounds, both of which are retired racing dogs. The museum is open seven days a week, and admission is by donation.
407 S Buckeye Ave, Abilene, KS 67410, Phone: 785-263-3000
11.Heartland Park Topeka
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If any of your kids have ever dreamed of being a race car driver when they grow up, the Heartland Park Topeka is an unbeatable destination. It's one of the best multipurpose racing venues in the world, and the 650-acre property boasts a 1/4-mile drag strip, a dirt motocross track, and a 2.5-mile road course that can be configured four different ways. The National Drag Races are the best-known event held here, but other lesser known events take place throughout the year as well. If you're lucky, you might even be able to go into the pits and meet a driver or two.
7530 SW Topeka Blvd, Topeka, KS 66619, Phone: 785-861-7899
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12.High Plains Museum
Dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the City of Goodland and Sherman County, the High Plains Museum is a city owned and operated museum with a collection of more than 8,000 artifacts. Many of the objects in the museum date back to more than 100 years ago, and the biggest highlight of the collection is a replica of the first patented helicopter built in America. After you're done with the museum, take your kids on one of the museum's special scavenger hunts, which make for an exciting adventure around Goodland and the surrounding countryside.
1717 Cherry St, Goodland, KS 67735, Phone: 785-890-4595
13.Kansas Aviation Museum
Located inside the old Wichita Municipal Airport terminal, the Kansas Aviation Museum is an exciting place to learn about the history of flight. An excellent selection of historic aircraft are on display, including planes from as far back as the 1920s, and visitors can test their flying skills in one of the computer simulators. There are also special activities for kids, including films, coloring books, and kid-sized cockpits. The museum is open every day except Monday, and every Friday morning, discounted admission is offered for children under the age of 5 and one of their parents.
3350 George Washington Blvd, Wichita, KS 67210, Phone: 316-683-9242
14.Kansas Children’s Discovery Center
The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center is a non-profit museum located in the beautiful Gage Park, and it offers an excellent array of hands-on exhibits that encourage kids to learn about nature, science, and art. Some of the most popular activities include participating in exciting science experiments, building colossal towers, and creating artistic masterpieces and unique musical melodies, and there are welcoming play areas for babies and toddlers as well. The museum also hosts a variety of family-friendly events throughout the year, including yoga classes, interactive science demonstrations, and holiday-themed activities like pumpkin carving and card making.
4400 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS 66604, Phone: 785-783-8300
15.Kansas Wetlands Education Center
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Sitting on the edge of the 41,000-are Cheyenne Bottoms, the country's largest inland marsh, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center is a fantastic place to learn about the unique wetlands ecosystem and the animals that live here. Indoor exhibits provide insight into the history of the wetlands, and visitors are also welcome to explore the grounds around the center, where naturalists are available to answer questions. During the spring and the fall, lucky visitors will also be able to watch as migrating birds take to the skies by the thousands. The center's hours of operation vary according to the season, and there is no admission fee.
592 NE K 156 Hwy, Great Bend, KS 67530, USA, Phone: 877-243-9268
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16.Lake Afton Public Observatory
Hidden away in a rural area southwest of Wichita, the Lake Afton Public Observatory offers the exciting chance to explore and learn about the night sky. It's the proud home of a specialized 16-inch reflector telescope, and visitors are welcome to peer through the telescope in search of stars, planets, and even far-off galaxies. There are also some interactive astronomy exhibits and computers equipped with children's science games. The observatory is open to the public every Friday and Saturday evening, but the hours change with the seasons to account for the differences in sunset time.
25000 West 39th St S, Goddard, KS 67052, Phone: 316-559-2899
17.McPherson County Old Mill Museum
Formerly known as the Smoky Valley Roller Mill, the McPherson County Old Mill Museum is a historically significant mill that was in use between 1898 and 1955. The building has since been carefully restored, and it now houses a local history museum that places a special emphasis on the area's history between 1870 and 1910. If you come during the annual Millfest in May, you'll also get the chance to see the historic machinery in action. After exploring the museum, visitors can relax in the outdoor picnic area or head across the street to explore the historic buildings in Heritage Square.
120 East Mill Street, Lindsborg, KS 67456, Phone: 785-227-3595
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18.Museum of World Treasures
Operated by a local not-for-profit organization, the Museum of World Treasures is the perfect place to go if you want to see some unique, fascinating items collected from all over the world. Exhibits are spread over three floors, and highlights include a gallery of Egyptian mummies, a collection of Roman coins, and a display of artifacts from the Old West. There's also a children's play space called Ivan's Play House. Guided tours are held on the weekends, and children's scavengers are available every day of the week. Special "Night at the Museum" camp-ins can also be arranged for groups of 35 people or more.
835 E 1st St N, Wichita, KS 67202, Phone: 316-263-1311
19.Pawnee Indian Village Museum
For many years, the Pawnee people were the most significant power in the country's Central Plains region, and the Pawnee Indian Village Museum tells their story in a way you won't find elsewhere. Their walled village was inhabited until the early 1800s, and although it was completely abandoned, much of it has been recovered through archaeological excavation. In addition to seeing the excavated remains, visitors can also marvel at traditional artifacts like a star chart, a bison robe, and two sacred ceremonial bundles. The museum is open between mid-March and mid-October, and children under 5 receive free admission.
480 Pawnee Trail, Republic, KS 66964, Phone: 785-361-2255
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20.Prairie Museum of Arts and History
Occupying a 24-acre property on the outskirts of Colby, the Prairie Museum of Arts and History is an indoor/outdoor museum complex dedicated to preserving and sharing the heritage of the High Plains Region. The main exhibit hall displays an eclectic array of artifacts ranging from historic toys to World War I memorabilia, and there's also an educational children's play area. Outside, there's a wonderful collection of buildings that give visitors a glimpse at early life on the prairies, including a one-room schoolhouse, a replica sod house, and the 1936 Cooper Barn, which is believed to be the largest barn in the state.
1905 S Franklin Ave, Colby, KS 67701, Phone: 785-460-4590
21.Safari Zoological Park
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Originally established as a sanctuary for endangered animals, the Safari Zoological Park is a private zoo home to more than 100 species of animals, including lions, ringtail lemurs, and macaques. The basic zoo tour takes approximately two hours, but for an extra fee, visitors can extend their stay to play in the Tree House and splash around in the swimming pool. Special VIP wristbands are available for kids who want their photos taken with some of the zoo's most exotic animals. The park is generally only open to the public on Saturdays, but special arrangements can often be made for large groups during the week.
1751 County Rd 1425, Caney, KS 67333, Phone: 620-879-2885
22.Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum
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Buried 65 stories beneath the surface of the earth, the Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum is an enormous working salt mine with an on-site museum. Visitors can learn about the typical day in the life of a miner and the geology of the salt mine, but the highlight of the collection is a 250-million-year-old salt crystal that was found to contain an ancient living bacterium. If you're feeling brave, you can also venture into the mines yourself by taking the Dark Ride tram tour or hopping aboard the Salt Mine Express to explore a part of the mine that has remained untouched for decades.
3650 E Ave G, Hutchinson, KS 67501, Phone: 866-755-3450
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23.Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
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Nestled in the Flint Hills region, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve protects a significant piece of the unique tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The 11,000-acre park is criss crossed with hiking trails for visitors to enjoy, and self-guided cell phone tours are offered for visitors who want to learn as much about the area as possible. There is also a special Junior Rangers program for kids, and historic lawn games from the 1880s are available by request. The park is open year-round, but the height of the grass varies according to the season, and the tallest grass can be seen in September and October.
2480B Kansas 177, Strong City, KS 66869, USA, Phone: 620-273-8494
24.The Great Plains Transportation Museum
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Wichita has been an important transportation hub since the late 1860s, and at the Great Plains Transportation Museum, visitors can learn about the important role the railway has played in this part of the country. There are a number of significant locomotives on display, including two historic steam locomotives and a wooden caboose built in 1904, and there is also an exhibit filled with various railway-related artifacts. Once a year, the museum also hosts a special event known as the Kansas Railfest, which features live music, local vendors, children's activities, and steam train rides through Union Square.
700 E Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67202, Phone: 316-263-0944
25.Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City
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Created to foster a lifelong love of learning, the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City is a fun, hands-on museum specifically designed for kids 8 and younger. There are seemingly endless interactive learning opportunities for children to enjoy, but highlights include a build-your-own-racetrack exhibit, a farm exhibit that shows how food makes it from the farm to the grocery store, and a play vet clinic. If your kids would rather do something even more active, they can go rock climbing in the Wonder Gym or explore the outdoor garden that teaches kids about the world of plants.
5700 King St, Shawnee, KS 66203, Phone: 913-287-8888
25 Fun Things to Do in Kansas with Kids of All Ages
- Boot Hill Museum, Photo: fotoak80/stock.adobe.com
- Cosmosphere: International Sci-Ed Center and Space Museum, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Curious Minds Discovery Zone, Photo: asife/stock.adobe.com
- Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Photo: DenisProduction.com/stock.adobe.com
- Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz, Photo: aceshot/stock.adobe.com
- Exploration Place, Photo: Juan Aunión/stock.adobe.com
- Fick Fossil and History Museum, Photo: Anneke/stock.adobe.com
- Flint Hills Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Martha Marks/stock.adobe.com
- Great Plains Nature Center, Photo: saratm/stock.adobe.com
- Greyhound Hall of Fame, Photo: EhayDy/stock.adobe.com
- Heartland Park Topeka, Photo: Alexey Kuznetsov/stock.adobe.com
- High Plains Museum, Photo: Milan/stock.adobe.com
- Kansas Aviation Museum, Photo: fottoo/stock.adobe.com
- Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, Photo: Gorilla/stock.adobe.com
- Kansas Wetlands Education Center, Photo: Mary Brenner/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Afton Public Observatory, Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com
- McPherson County Old Mill Museum, Photo: leopold/stock.adobe.com
- Museum of World Treasures, Photo: Photographee.eu/stock.adobe.com
- Pawnee Indian Village Museum, Photo: hydebrink/stock.adobe.com
- Prairie Museum of Arts and History, Photo: pixarno/stock.adobe.com
- Safari Zoological Park, Photo: Sascha Burkard/stock.adobe.com
- Strataca Kansas Underground Salt Museum, Photo: Viktoriia Varvashche/stock.adobe.com
- Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Photo: David Herbig and Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- The Great Plains Transportation Museum, Photo: orcea david/stock.adobe.com
- Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: winterbilder/stock.adobe.com
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