7) Topeka – The award-winning exhibits at the Kansas Museum of History include a full-sized Cheyenne Tipi, a fully stocked Oregon Trail pioneer wagon, an 1880’s locomotive and a 1950’s roadside diner. Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site, located on the Oregon Trail, is today on the National Register of Historic Places, and features 1800-era replicas of a general store, one-room schoolhouse, train station and a botanical garden. The Great Overland Station is also on the National Register of Historic Places as a Union Pacific Railroad Passenger Depot completed in 1927. Today the Depot is a museum and education center with exhibits and kids’ activities that highlight Topeka’s railroad heritage. The Kansas State Capitol Building features beautiful murals, colorful glass panels, a breathtaking dome and a special gift shop with Topeka and Kansas-made gifts. Topeka has been at the forefront of the fight for freedom from the early beginnings of the Civil War to today. Visitors can follow the trailblazers of Civil Rights and the desegregation of public schools at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. Other great places to visit include the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, the Combat Air Museum, the Evel Knievel Museum, The Equality House and the Mulvane Art Museum.
Go to: VisitTopeka.com.
8) Wamego – Junction of US 24 and KS 99. East of town visitors can follow the trail at Oregon Trail Nature Park and the Louis Vieux Cemetery. North of Wemego on KS 99 visitors can see Oregon Trail Park at Scott Springs just south of Westmoreland.
9) Alcove Spring Park – West of Frankfort on KS 9, then north on US 77. Thousands of wagons forded Independence Creek at Alcove Spring, six-miles south of Marysville. Oregon and California Trail pioneers carved the name “Alcove Spring” on the surrounding rocks and trees. Today’s park features the natural spring, easy-to-follow trails, pioneer names carved into the rocks, trail markers and interpretive panels.
10) Marysville – A large statue of a pony express rider and horse is downtown. Historic Trails Park includes Pony Express Home Station 1 Barn and Museum and a reproduction of the original ferry.
11) Hanover – Hollenberg Station, a seven-acre state park and National Historic Landmark, the only Pony Express Station in Kansas remaining at its original location. Today the site includes a visitor’s center and a historic frontier home.
12) Manhattan – The Goodnow House State Historic Site features two floors with historic artifacts telling the story of a “free-stater” who founded Manhattan and Kansas State University. The First Territorial Capitol State Historic Site near present-day Fort Riley features the restored first capitol building originally built in 1855. Manhattan is the home of Kansas State University, the nation’s first land-grant university. Adjacent to the university, you’ll find Aggieville, a unique shopping district over 125-years old, offering memorable restaurants, shops and bars.
The Flint Hills Discovery Center features fun and fascinating interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. The Riley County Historical Museum showcases the area’s pioneer heritage.