5 Incredible Experiences in Central Kansas
There are so many cool things to experience while you are in central Kansas. It seems that everywhere you look, there is an adventure waiting with your name on it. Here are 5 amazing experiences that you can have within a short drive of Great Bend.
1. The Great Bend Zoo: We simply cannot stop singing the praises of this incredible location. Founded in 1953, this free, medium-sized zoo is one of Great Bend’s biggest attractions. The zoo features animals from all over the globe and maintains a Raptor Rehabilitation Program. You can visit the zoo for free, 362 days a year! Make sure to check out their website to find out more!
2. Kansas Wetlands Education Center and Cheyenne Bottoms: This educational center overlooks Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest inland marsh in the United States. In the education center, visitors walk through their immersive, state-of-the-art exhibits to get a better understanding of its creation, significance, and importance to the animals and plants that make their home there today. The Cheyenne Bottoms occupies 60 square miles just north of the Arkansas River and was designated a Wetland of International Importance in 1988. There are three entrances to the wetlands for visitors to be able to experience this natural beauty. Additionally, a driving tour describes 13 points of interests throughout the bottoms.
3. The Ellinwood, Kansas Tunnels: In the early in 1880s, Ellinwood experienced such a tremendous growth that some businesses chose to take their work underground. Tunnels like these are often found in areas settled by Germans and Austrians. The storefronts that occupied the tunnels ranged from bathhouses and saloons, to barber shops and even meat storage. Part of the tunnel is under the Historic Wolf Hotel, which has been renovated and reopened. Call the hotel for a tour of the not only the tunnels but building. The wild history in both the tunnels and hotel are enough to keep your imagination charged! You can tour both for just $12!
4. Rosewood Winery and Creations: Located just a few miles from Great Bend in Pawnee Rock, Rosewood is so much more than a winery! In addition to their delicious wine, they also have equine therapy, a greenhouse and garden, and a furniture gallery that operates as both a manufacturing facility and retail location. However, their ultimate goal is to celebrate the unique abilities, successes and choices of people with developmental disabilities. Since opening in 1998, their goal was to create a business that fostered independence, inclusion, and productivity through education, work, recreation, and housing for these special individuals. They have done that and more in almost 25 years of service. Every product that makes them Rosewood is even better because of the heart and soul that goes into each creation. Make time to schedule a tour at their facility when you are in central Kansas and it will be an encounter like none you have ever experienced.
5. Pawnee Rock: Located on the Santa Fe Trail and standing more than 60 feet tall, Pawnee Rock is a must see when you are in central Kansas! For the longest time, it was long a meeting place of the Comanche, Kiowa, Arapaho, and Cheyenne Indians. Numerous battles were fought at Pawnee Rock between the tribes, and as a result, many bones have been found in the soil there. Many travelers and traders on the Santa Fe trail considered Pawnee Rock the most dangerous place on the Central Plains for encounters with the Indians. Many of the Plains tribes reportedly used it as an observation point from which they could track and swoop down upon buffalo herds and wagon trains. It was also a landmark for travelers, marking the half waypoint between Missouri and Santa Fe. Today, the giant rock is popular tourist attraction. Visitors can picnic at the top of the rock, climb the rock face, and climb the spiral staircase to the top of the platform to look over miles of open fields, imagining what it must have been like to be a Native American or settler here.