January 29 marks the 155th anniversary of the day that Kansas was officially added to the Union. Typically, Kansas schools teach about the state on this day, the state song, the state bird, and more of the like. If you're looking for more ways to learn about Kansas and it's historic roots, here are a few places to consider visiting.
Old Cowtown Museum
If you're curious about what Wichita, Sedgwick County, and life on the southern plains was like between 1865 and 1880, Old Cowtown Museum is a great place to bring the family. A nationally recognized and accredited site of living history, Cowtown offers a truly unique experience. Guests can take covered-wagon rides, view artifacts on display, take old-fashioned photos in period costumes, do crafts, visit exhibits, and so much more. Cowtown features 39 on-site buildings that guests are invited to walk in and around. Of Cowtown's buildings, 27 are the original, historic buildings from the 19th century! The museum grounds also feature a snack bar and a museum, so guests can grab a bite and a souvenir! Cowtown Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Mid-American All Indian Center
Learn about some of Kansas's earliest inhabitants at the Mid-American All Indian Center! The Indian Center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the rich cultural history of American Indians in North America. Guests can view the museum's exhibits, both indoor and outdoor. The outdoor exhibits allow guests to learn how the plains Indians lived in the 1850's. Guests are also able to visit the Keeper of the Plains Plaza and learn about the creation of the Keeper statue, as well as the intertribal American Indian experience that it promotes. The museum boasts an ever-changing theme and a 3,000-piece collection of artifacts.
Kansas Aviation Museum
Kansas is known for its significant contributions to the aviation industry, so the Kansas Aviation Museum is a great place to celebrate the Sunflower state! The museum's mission is to preserve the birth and living heritage of Kansas aviation, educate the world on the past, present and future of flight and to promote the Spirit of Flight right here in the Air Capital of the World! Guests will have all kinds of opportunities to learn about Kansas's Aviation History on a trip to the museum, which includes a visit to the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame! Learn about the outstanding contributions made by Kansans who have been selected as Kansas Aviation Honor Award recipients and more. Kids can even create a variety of types of paper planes for a hands-on learning experience. The Kansas Aviation Museum is open from 10 a.m until 5 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Wichita's own Exploration Place is home to a variety of permanent and travelling exhibits, including two that are perfect for Kansas Day. The Kansas Kids Connect exhibit allows children of age five and under to discover the world around them while examining the similarities between country and city life. At this exhibit, the kids can fix tractors, plant gardens, discover how wheat grows and more. Focused on STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning, Kansas Kids Connect also allows guests to visit a farmer's market, climb inside a giant meadowlark nest, and more!
Older guests will enjoy the Kansas in Miniature exhibit, which depicts Kansas as it was in the 1950s. The intricate display features more than 3,000 trees and plants, 1,000 people, 200 period vehicles, 125 buildings and over 51 animations. The display includes detailed models of actual structures, geologic features and industries in 1950s Kansas. Both exhibits are included with general museum admission. Free for members.
At 130 years old, Cero's Candies are a Wichita tradition that's almost as old as the State itself! Cero's Candies began in 1885 when “Candy Pete” opened a baking and candy making store in Wichita, Kansas. Though the shop has changed locations a few times, it has always called Wichita home. Now, 130 years later, Cero's is under new ownership, but is still serving some of the original candies, such as old fashioned peanut brittle, truffles and more. Cero's is also known for its chocolate miniatures. Stop by Cero's from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 to enjoy the Kansas Day Celebration. Guests will be able to meet and greet the shop's new owners and enjoy the rich history as well as the rich chocolate! Cero's is located at 3429 E Douglas Ave.
Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is a perfect place for sports fans to celebrate their Kansas pride! The Hall of Fame was founded in 1961 as a part of the Kansas Centennial celebration. It serves "to honor those that significantly contributed to the history of sports in Kansas and to educate and inspire the public regarding the value of athletics and Kansas athletic history by providing the requisite leadership and resources." An annual induction ceremony is held each year at the Wichita Boathouse. The inductees are added to the Hall of Fame, and guests can view all of the incredible accomplishments on display. The Kansas Sports is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.
Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum
The Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum will hold its Kansas Day celebration on Sunday, Jan. 31. Guests can enjoy good old Kansas style music, with performances by The Prairie Rose Rangers, The Crowsons, The Home Rangers and Special Guests. After the performances, guests are welcome to make their own Kansas Day crowns and hats, decorated with symbols of Kansas! The museum's new exhibit “The Electric Guitar – Wichita’s Instrument” will be open, so make sure to stop by and check it out! The celebration begins at 2 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m., with special family activities beginning at 3 p.m.! Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. Stop by the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum located at 204 S Main St. and check it out!
Kansas Museum of History
Photo by Kansas Museum of History Facebook page.
Topeka's Kansas Museum of History knows how to party it up for Kansas Day! Expecting approximately 1,000 students to visit, the museum's celebration provides a great opportunity for children to learn about Kansas! The festivities will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 29. With hands-on activities, performances and demonstrations, you won't want to miss it! Celebrate our state's 155th birthday by exploring foods in Kansas. Guests will be able to listen to a storyteller and even talk with Kansans who keep the crafts and skills from our past alive. The celebration will also feature fun photo opportunities, so don't forget your camera! For groups of 10 or more, advance registration is recommended. This can be done by email, fax, mail, or by phone at 785-272-8681, extension 415. click here for details.
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
The Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home allow guests to explore the life and legacy of the only 5-star General, and the only Kansan, to become President of the United States. If you're up for the drive, Abilene's Eisenhower Museum and Presidential Library is a sight to see. The the world-class research facility is home to approximately 26 million pages of historical records, 35,000 historical photographs, 768,000 feet of original motion picture film, and 70,000 artifacts. At the Eisenhower Museum and Boyhood Home, guests can also take a look at what life was like in Abilene at the time Eisenhower was growing up. This Kansas Day learn about the only Kansan to become president as you explore Ike's boyhood home, his years as military leader, and his presidency.
According to its website, The Eisenhower Presidential Library is one of only 13 Presidential Libraries that is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, which works to preserve the documents and artifacts of U.S. Presidents, and giving a glimpse of what the times in which these Presidents lived and served the nation were like.