Discover the Eight Wonders of Kansas
To outsiders, the Sunflower State may generate only flat, bland stretches of prairie land and maybe some bad weather.
Well we’re here to tell you Kansas offers some of the most unique historic, geographic, and architecturally significant sites of the interest in the world.
Ever been to an underground salt museum? Ever seen a Russian spacecraft? Ever heard of a growing herd of bison? If no, head to Kansas to change that.
Basilica of St. Fidelis
Mercury Rocket at the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center
If a nickname like the Cathedral of the Plains doesn’t get you, we don’t know what will. Found in Victoria, the St. Fidelis Church was completed in 1911 – one of the largest churches of its time and today listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
This is an architectural wonder, as the impressive a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic parish place of worship features its two iconic bell towers, and a stunning interior.
Big Well Museum & Visitors Center
Found in Greensburg near the southwestern corner of Kansas, the Big Well is known as the “World's Largest Hand Dug Well” – and of course one of the original Eight Wonders of Kansas.
This wonder (clocking in at 109 feet deep with a diameter of 32 feet), if represented by the Big Well Museum & Visitors Center – which tells the story of the now-iconic well completed back in 1888. At the museum, visitors may actual head down a spiraling staircase into the well itself, plus check out some exhibits and of course a gift shop.
Monument Rocks in Gove County
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum
If you like Ike, you’ll love this. Set in Abilene and best found by Interstate 70, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home is a wonder of Kansas due to its remembrance of the famed general and United States president.
A five-star general during World War II and eventual 34th President of the United States, Eisenhower is commemorated across five galleries – ranging from his childhood to First Lady Mamie to his golden years.
Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center
Found in Hutchinson just northwest of Wichita, the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center began as the town planetarium at the Kansas State Fairgrounds. Now the Cosmosphere is home to the Hall of Space Museum – a 13,000+ collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts – Dr. Goddard’s Lab, the Justice Planetarium, and the Carey Digital Dome Theater.
Monument Rocks & Castle Rock
Not missed in the sprawling plains of western Kansas are the Monument Rocks of Gove County and the Castle Rock Badlands.
Otherwise known as the Chalk Pyramids, Monument Rocks are uniquely shaped, 70-foot formations creating a distinct National Natural Landmark. Not far, the iconic Castle Rock looks just like it sounds, and may be one of the best photos ops in the Smoky Hills if not Kansas.
Kansas Wetlands Complex
The Kansas Wetlands Complex is actually a coupling of two wonders: the Cheyenne Bottoms and the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Spanning two counties (Barton and Stafford), the Cheyenne Bottoms account for 41,000 acres of central Kansas, while the Quivira NWR covers a meaty 22,000 acres.
Both areas are found just northwest of Great Bend, and act as a pit stop for the North American shorebirds during migration. A great way to see the Kansas Wetlands Complex yourself is to travel the Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway.
Spring Hill Ranch at Tallgrass Prarie NPres
Also in Hutchinson, Strataca – also known as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum – is one of three underground salt mines, and just happens to be open to the public.
Head 650 feet underground to the museum, featuring both natural and historic exhibits on the days of the Permian Sea and the Carey Salt Mine.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Located in Chase County, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve conserves the unique prairie land and Flint Hills of central Kansas. Operation is split between the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, while the preserve itself is home to the Tallgrass Prairie bison herd.
Visitors may stop in for exhibits and gifts at the National Park Service bookstore near Strong City, or explore the property in and surrounding Spring Hill Ranch.