Traveling in Kansas
Kansas is a Midwestern state located right in the heart of America. As a matter of fact, along the state’s northern border is a small monument marking the exact center of the country! So far my travels here have been limited to the eastern part of the state, where I visited the capital and Kansas’s largest city, and topped that off with some short hikes in the Tallgrass Prairies. There’s still much left for me to do here, and on my next visit I plan to head out west where you can find the state high point as well as some unique scenery.
Kansas’s capital of Topeka has a small population of 120,000 and was built along the banks of the Kansas river. The settlement began as a small ferry service to help those who were early on their journey out west. Since then it’s grown to be a large city when combined with Kansas City immediately across the river. Topeka is possibly best known for the site of where the civil rights movement began to end segregation in public schools.
The largest city in Kansas has a population over a third of a million. Wichita is also known as the air capital of the world, as several large aircraft manufacturers are located around the city. Wichita’s Exploration Place is an aviation museum with many interesting and fun applications, such as the chance to design your own airplane and fly other aircraft using flight simulators! Other things to do in Wichita include visiting their large 19th century old town, which boasts over 100 stores and several events including reenactments.
Several hundreds of years ago, tallgrass prairies used to make up the largest ecosystem of the North American continent. These prairies have grass that can occasionally reach nine feet (almost three meters) in height! The vast majority of the tallgrass prairies have been converted to farms because of their rich soil, with those that still exist being small patches of protected land. In the 10,000 plus acres of the tallgrass PNR in Kansas, the state has gone to great lengths to bring back this ecosystem, including even reintroducing buffalo.