Rightly or wrongly, no state has come to signify the American heartland in the way that Kansas does. This picturesque land of rolling prairies and wheat fields is where all-American Superman grew up (sorry, there is no actual Smallville) and the place the Wizard of Oz's Dorothy Gale called home. But there's more to Kansas than Aunt Em and apple pie. This is the state of Bleeding Kansas, where pro- and antislavery forces fought long and hard against each other before Kansas finally joined the Union as a free state in 1860; it was also a major battleground for civil rights when desegregation was challenged here in 1954. It's the home of the Chisholm Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the pioneers, and the Pony Express; of plains and grasslands that saw many an Indian skirmish and relocation; and of Dodge City, where many of the gunslingers of the Old West made their reputations. The state is also a major center of aviation and features several top-notch space- and aeronautics-related attractions. It may not be home, but Kansas has got a ton of interesting options for visitors.
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