Kansas State

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Historic Sites
Tourist Attractions

Historic Sites

Scott State Park
Listed by National Geographic's Traveler magazine as one of the country's 50 must-see state parks, Lake Scott State Park is a diamond in the rough. The area is literally an oasis, rich with history, natural wonder, artesian springs, deep wooded canyons, and craggy bluffs providing a startling contrast to the vast shortgrass prairie of western Kansas. Scott State Park is relatively small -- 100 acres of lake and 1,180 acres in the park and wildlife area -- but the area is unique. Nearly two centuries before Europeans settled the area, a group of Taos Indians migrated to the region fleeing Spanish rule. Attracted to the natural springs, which they would use for irrigation, the Taos built the northernmost pueblo in North America. The El Cuartelejo Ruins, as they are now called, have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. The park is more than history, however, and provides a majestic setting for all outdoor recreation. Fishing is very popular, and nature trails provide naturalists the opportunity to view native plants and animals. The park offers both modern and primitive campsites, a swimming beach, and Beach House that sells basic camping and fishing supplies. Hunting is allowed on the wildlife area. Boating is allowed for fishing only. For information call: (316)872-2061

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
On October 26, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-525, establishing Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision aimed at ending segregation in public schools. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws." The site is located at Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas. Monroe was the segregated school attended by the lead plaintiff's daughter, Linda Brown, when Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was initially filed in 1951. For information call: (785)354-4273

Fort Larned National Historic Site
Fort Larned was established in 1859 as a base of military operations against hostile Indians of the Central Plains, to protect traffic along the Santa Fe Trail and as an agency for the administration of the Central Plains Indians by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the terms of the Fort Wise Treaty of 1861. With nine restored buildings, it survives as one of the best examples of Indian Wars period forts. Most of the buildings including: barracks, commissary, officers quarters and more, are furnished to their original appearance. Fort Larned National Historic Site takes visitors back to this turbulent era in our nation's history. For information call: (316)285-6911

Fort Scott National Historic Site
The thirty-one year span of history interpreted at Fort Scott National Historic Site is perhaps the most significant era of our nation's history. Fort Scott witnessed a decade of rapid westward expansion followed by civil strife and unrest that brought about our nation's deadliest conflict. Fort Scott National Historic Site consists of 20 historic structures, a parade ground and five acres of restored tallgrass prairie. The architectural style of the buildings is French Colonial with Greek Revival elements. The exteriors of the buildings are restored to their 1840s appearance. For information call: (316)223-0310

Nicodemus National Historic Site
Nicodemus National Historic Site, Kansas. This area preserves, protects and interprets the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. The town of Nicodemus is symbolic of the pioneer spirit of African-Americans who dared to leave the only region they had been familiar with to seek personal freedom and the opportunity to develop their talents and capabilities. For information call: (316)285-6911

Tourist Attractions

Topeka Zoological Park
Get up close and personal with the new Black Bear Woods, new Pachyderm Yard, Tropical Rain Forest, Discovering Apes, Lions' Pride, and Children's Zoo. For information call: (785)272-5821

Old Cowtown Museum
Old Cowtown Museum is a unique, 17 acre open-air living history museum which recreates Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas from 1865 to 1880. For information call: (316)264-0241

Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center
The $13 million renovation includes a full-scale replica of the Space Shuttle, a Northrup T-38 jet used for NASA pilot training, and an SR 71 Blackbird spy plane - the world's fastest plane and one of only 29 in the world. The Mercury Redstone and Gemini rockets tower over the entrance, and the new German Room features authentic and rare V1 and V2 rockets from Nazi Germany. For information call: (800)397-0330

Lake Afton Public Observatory
The Lake Afton Public Observatory offers programs for the general public on weekend evenings throughout the year. School classes can reserve an Observatory program on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Thursday during the day. The programs of the Observatory extend beyond its walls through portable editions of exhibits, instructional astronomy games, video tapes, and astronomy activities for use in the classroom. For information call: (316)978-3191

Sedgwick County Zoo
The 247-acre Sedgwick County Zoo opened in 1971 and has been ranked among the best zoos in the world. Displaying over 2,000 animals of 436 species, it is the number one tourist attraction in Kansas. For information call: (316) 942-2212