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There's one way to explore the history and heritage of the Sunflower State, and that's by visiting classic Kansas cities like Wichita and Dodge City. Enjoy annual events like the Scottish Festival, the Wichita Flight Festival, and Dodge City Days, or discover memorials, museums, and even a 20,000-acre wetland.
Let’s start with Wichita – Kansas’ largest city and home to the Whichita State University. Set on the Arkansas River and surrounding by active cities like El Dorado, Arkansas City, and Newton, this festive city hosts the annual Wichita River Festival and the Tallgrass Film Festival.
Many major cities feature a beacon or icon defining their otherwise unrecognizable skyline. Wichita’s is the Keeper of the Plains – completed in 1974 and standing at 44 feet tall.
Wichita is known as the Air Capital Of The World, so be sure to see the annual Wichita Flight Festival – held in September at the James Jabara Airport. And if you missed it, visit the Kansas Aviation Museum.
Check out Kansas is its purest form at the Great Plains Nature Center. Enjoy nature walks, special events, and pick some out at the Owl's Nest Gift Shop.
Roughly 60 miles north of Wichita along I-135 is McPherson. Set just south of Salina, McPherson is a historic town set in central Oklahoma.
For a little local history, natural and otherwise, check out the McPherson Museum. Browse everything from fossils to Chinese and African artifacts, plus plenty on the town namesake, Civil War General James "Birdseye" McPherson.
A cultural community, McPherson hosts the Scottish Festival & Highland Games each September at Lakeside Park.
Check out one of a dozen parks in McPherson like Challenger Park, Tallgrass Park, and the 46-acre Lakeside Park.
Great Bend is located 60 miles west of McPherson along U.S. Route 56.
Check out Great Bend’s many museums like the Kansas Oil & Gas Museum, and the ever-so-interesting Barton County Historical Museum & Village.
A historic city, Great Bend features several memorials throughout town, including The Rifleman at the Barton County Courthouse, the B-29 Memorial Plaza, and the Jack Kilby Memorial.
Set just northeast of town, the Cheyenne Bottoms is a 20,000-acre wetlands considered to be one of the "Eight Wonders of Kansas." This Great Plains refuge is ideal for nature viewing, bird watching, and hunting.
A famous Old West town, Dodge City is known as Cowboy Capital of The World, the Wicked Little City, and the Queen of the Cowtowns – set 85 miles southwest of Great Bend on U.S. Route 56.
"Get The Heck Into Dodge" and check out Western attractions like Boot Hill Museum – featuring Front Street, the Boot Hill Cemetery, the Hanging Tree, and the Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Check out the 10-day Dodge City Days – the second largest Kansas festival – and held in late summer. Featuring over 50 events, DCD offers parades, art, food, games, and the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo.
Get on some comfortable shoes and head for Old Dodge City for the Dodge City Trail of Fame. Trek the former stomping grounds of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon.