Most of Kansas's major sights are set along the state's historic I-70 corridor.
In Topeka, stop in at the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 Monroe St. (tel. 785/354-4273; www.nps.gov/brvb), a National Historic Site commemorating the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that originated in the city's Monroe school and ended segregation in the United States. The site opened in 2004 in time for the decision's 50th anniversary. While you're in town, also check out the Kansas State Capitol, 300 SW 10th St. (tel. 785/296-3966; www.kshs.org), noted for its impressive dome and famous mural of abolitionist John Brown. Free tours of the building are offered on weekdays.
A former cow town on the Chisholm Trail, Wichita is now home to some of the state's best cultural attractions. The newly renovated Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. (tel. 316/268-4921; www.wichitaartmuseum.org), features an excellent collection of American art. Don't miss the stunning Dale Chihuly Persian Seafoam Installation hanging in the lobby. For a look at the Native American experience in Kansas, take in the Mid-America All-Indian Center & Museum, 650 N. Seneca (tel. 316/262-5221; www.theindiancenter.org), which allows visitors to experience Native American culture and cuisine, artwork exhibitions, and artifacts.
Architecture aficionados should head over to the Allen Lambe House Museum, 255 N. Roosevelt St. (tel. 316/687-1027), the last of the prairie houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; the interior and many of the furnishings are still intact. Kansas has always been a major player in the aviation industry, and Wichita's Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 George Washington Blvd. (tel. 316/683-9242; www.kansasaviationmuseum.org), is a must for any airplane buff. Set inside Wichita's old municipal airport building (built in 1935), the museum showcases over 40 of the aircraft built by many of the state's famous manufacturers, including Cessna, Boeing, and Learjet. For an out-of-this-world experience, head 60 miles northwest out of Wichita to Hutchinson's Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, 1100 N. Plum St. (tel. 800/397-0330 or 620/662-2305; www.cosmo.org). The Smithsonian-affiliated center has an impressive array of space- and aeronautics-related exhibits, including the only Soviet Vostok craft in the West, the Apollo 13 spacecraft ("Houston, we have a problem . . ."), and the gloves Neil Armstrong wore on the moon. There's also an IMAX theater.
The city of Abilene is home to the Eisenhower Center, 200 SE 4th St. (tel. 877/746-4453 or 785/263-6700; www.eisenhower.archives.gov), which celebrates native son Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency. The complex includes the family home where the Eisenhowers lived from 1898 to 1946; the burial site of the president, his First Lady, and their son; the Eisenhower Presidential Library; a museum; and a visitor center. Also in the area is the Dickinson County Heritage Center, 412 S. Campbell St. (tel. 785/263-2681; www.heritagecenterdk.com), which features exhibits on prairie life, the Chisholm Trail, and the area's Native Americans -- and also has a splendid 1901 C. W. Parker carousel that's a National Historic Landmark.
The tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains are rapidly disappearing, and one of the few places you can still see them in their natural glory is Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve, Hwy. 177, Strong City (tel. 620/273-8494; www.nps.gov/tapr). The only preserve of its kind encompasses the remains of a 19th-century ranch and its surrounding grassland. There are several self-guided and ranger-led hikes to choose from, and a number of living history programs are offered several times a year.
The city of Lawrence was founded by abolitionists in 1854 and eventually became an important stop on the underground railroad. Most of the city was destroyed in 1863 by Quantrill's Raiders, but today's Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas and offers a beautiful downtown historic district loaded with 19th-century architecture that's well worth a stroll. Be sure to stop in at the Spencer Art Museum, 1301 Mississippi St. (tel. 785/864-4710; www.spencerart.ku.edu), whose varied collections include works by Dale Chihuly, Claude Monet, Jean Fragonard, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Ansel Adams. It's one of the best university art museums in the country.
Historic Dodge City is renowned for its Old West roots (Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson both made their reputations here during the city's rough-and-tumble heyday during the late 19th c.). Head first to the Boot Hill Museum, Front Street (tel. 620/227-8188; www.boothill.org), a living-history reconstruction of Dodge City's notorious Front Street in 1876, with lots of authentic artifacts, the infamous Boot Hill Cemetery, exhibits on several Indian tribes, and historical reenactments.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.