Kansas - Cultural Destinations
Sternberg Museum of Natural History (Hays)
What began in 1902 as a conglomeration of donated trophies and curiosities has become the world-class educational, research and tourist institution known as the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The museum houses more than 3.7 million specimens in collections representing paleontology, geology, archaeology, ethnology, botany and more. Enter a replicated chalk cave to find yourself immersed in the watery environment that formed the chalk, an environment teeming with sharks, sea serpents and monstrous predatory fishes. Walk among life-sized, robotic dinosaurs and handle specimens during your visit.
World's Largest Collection of World's Smallest Version of World's Largest Things (Lucas)
This is for those who can’t decide if they like really big things or really small things best. This interactive traveling roadside museum and attraction is based in Lucas and explores and celebrates miniatures of roadside monuments billed as the World's Largest Things. This customized bus travels all over the country and contains display space for its unique collection of miniature replicas of things such as badgers, otters, bulls, balls of twine and baseball bats billed as the World's Largest.
The Great Overland Station (Topeka)
The Great Overland Station is a museum and education center with a primary emphasis on celebrating the rich railroad heritage of this state. Recently restored to its 1920s glamour, this former Union Pacific passenger station features a 34-foot ceiling with spectacular chandeliers, ornate glazed terra cotta ornamentation and 6,770 square feet of meeting space. After Union Pacific Corporation formally donated the station to Topeka Railroad Days Inc., the Great Overland Station was preserved and, in June 2004, opened its doors again as a community landmark. Today, exhibits incorporate photographs, interactive displays and costumed docents representing historical characters to showcase the influence of railroads on the American West.
The Kansas Underground Salt Museum (Hutchinson)
This museum provides a rare opportunity for visitors to enter the subterranean caverns of a working salt mine as well as discover the fascinating history of salt. In fact, Hutchinson is the only city in North America with a museum 650 feet below ground. The museum offers exhibits on the history of salt mining, the use of the salt mine for secure storage of documents and original television and big screen film and the transportation of salt.
The Garden of Eden (Lucas)
Created by Civil War-veteran Samuel Perry Dinsmoor between the years of 1907 and 1932, the Garden of Eden is internationally recognized as a monument to individualism. A collection of buildings and more than 150 religious, political and other figures in fantastical settings crafted from concrete and native post rock depict Dinsmoor’s interpretation of life and biblical stories. The Garden of Eden was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and celebrates 100 years of concrete art in 2007.