Don’t let your road trip miles just pass you by! PULL OVER… to make the most of your Kansas I-70 road trip.
#IPulledOverForThisKS introduces you to must-see attractions that are just a short distance from the highway. PULL OVER to get your pic with a giant Van Gogh painting in Goodland. Show your pride at Topeka’s Equality House. Take a spin on Leavenworth’s 1913 C.W. Parker Carousel. Capture your photo at Lewis & Clark Historic Park with dramatic views of downtown Kansas City. Stop in Oakley for a photo with a 2X life-size bronze Buffalo Bill Sculpture. Visit award-winning Abilene to grab a selfie with a statue of the visionary of today’s highway system, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Explore Lawrence home of the National Championship Jayhawks.
Don’t forget to tag #IPulledOverForThisKS to share your adventure!
Goodland – The Big Easel
In the spring of 2001, the “World’s Largest Painting on an Easel” was erected at Pioneer Park. The 24 x 32-foot painting is a reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Three Sunflowers in a Vase”. The Goodland easel is the third painting erected in the Van Gogh Project. Goodland was chosen as a site due to its close connection to the sunflower agriculture.
The steel easel is 80 feet tall with a design wind load of 38 pounds per square foot. It weighs 40,000 pounds with 24 three-foot long anchor support bolts and 30 feet deep cement pilings.
The 24 ft. by 32 ft. canvas consists of 24 standard four by eight-foot plywood sheets with two layers of one-ounce matte ﬁberglass covered in a layer of industrial gel coat. It is attached to the steel frame with over 500 high-performance self-tapping (wood to steel) fastener screws.
The paint is industrial acrylic urethane enamel, which is normally used on ships, fertilizer equipment and machinery that are exposed to extreme heat, acid, or chemicals. It was chosen for its long-lasting qualities and ultraviolet protection. Approximately 10 coats or layers were used to ﬁnish the work of art. Each painting takes approximately two months to complete using 10-to-12-hour days.
Colby – The Largest Barn in Kansas
Colby, Kansas is known as the “Oasis on the Plains” by many travelers. It is also home to The Cooper Barn, the largest barn in Kansas which is located at the Prairie Museum of Art and History. The Cooper Barn, measures 66′ wide, 114′ long and 48′ high, and holds a wealth of Thomas County history. Over 100 years of agriculture history, artifacts and photos are displayed within the massive barn.
In 1992, after many months of fundraising and planning, the barn made an epic 16-mile journey from Breton, Kansas to its present location at the museum in Colby. In 2008, the Cooper Barn was voted one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Architecture. In 2015, visitors and fans voted the Prairie Museum of Art & History and the Cooper Barn as one of 70 don`t-miss Kansas Bucket List experiences.
Stop in Colby’s Visitor Center when you visit for tips and additional information.
Oakley – Buffalo Bill Bronze Sculpture
Voted one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art, Oakley’s monumental bronze sculpture of Buffalo Bill atop his favorite buffalo hunting horse, Brigham, commemorates the legendary hunt that took place in the spring of 1868 between William F. Cody and Bill Comstock where Cody earned his nickname “Buffalo Bill”. Read the story of the Legendary Hunt Buffalo Bill – Oakley, KS – The Story (buffalobilloakley.org)
Some fun facts about the sculpture:
- The project had its beginning as a sketch on a napkin at a restaurant in Garden City, Kansas.
- The bronze sculpture, by Leoti, Kansas artist Charlie Norton and his wife Pat was created using the “lost wax” method and cast in a foundry in Loveland, Colorado.
- The sculpture took three years to complete and was commemorated in May of 2004.
- Buffalo Bill on his horse and the Buffalo weigh approximately 5,000 pounds and 4,000 pounds respectively.
- The hill the sculpture sits on was built to the height it is so that photo ops would encompass the skyline rather that the traffic.
- The 2X life-size monumental bronze is one of the largest in the world.
WaKeeney – Smoky Valley Scenic Byway
The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway is a 60-mile U shaped byway with easy access just off I-70 and passes through the historic Smoky Hill River Valley. The byway offers surprising changes in the landscape as you admire rock outcroppings and chalky limestone left by the ancient seas. You will see mixed native grasses, crops, livestock, wildflowers, and short grass open prairie views. The Byway not only offers changing landscapes but is also full of pioneer history. There are several historical sites along the byway, the stone schoolhouse, and historic churches settled by early immigrants. The Smoky Valley Scenic Byway was named for its hazy, blue gray appearance at sunrise and sunset. The byway also includes Cedar Bluff State Park with hiking trails, camping, fishing and magnificent bluffs. If you like to geocache, there are over 30 to find along the byway.
Hays – The Sternberg Museum of Natural History
Fort Hays State University’s Sternberg Museum of Natural History exhibits some of the most spectacular fossils in the world, including the famous “fish-within-a-fish.” See dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, and giant sea-swimming creatures that inhabited Kansas over 80 million years ago. An extensive collection of fossils from the region tells the story of the natural history of the Great Plains. Visitors can view a collection of live animals, including giant African tortoises, snakes, amphibians, and fish. The Discovery Room and fossil dig pit offer fun for younger visitors, while the Dr. Howard Reynolds Nature Trails provide wide open spaces for all ages to explore.
Russell County Kansas – Wilson Lake
Love the outdoors, hiking, biking, boating, and fishing? Then visit Russell County and the beautiful Wilson Lake.
Wilson State Park is located in the heart of the Smoky Hills and is known by many to be the most beautiful in the state. Wilson Lake features a rugged shoreline punctuated by scenic cliffs and rocky outcrops. The park and surrounding wildlife area offer the opportunity to view and photograph deer, pheasant, waterfowl, songbirds, and furbearers.
Wilson Lake is the clearest lake in Kansas and offers excellent white bass and striped bass angling. The 24.5-mile long Switchgrass Bike Trail is popular with mountain bikers world-wide for its beautiful scenery and challenging course.
For more information, please contact our office 785-483-4000 or visit our website at www.russellcountyks.org
Salina – Rolling Hills Zoo
Get face-to-face with a majestic snow leopard, a white rhino (see photo), a curious orangutan, an ornery aardvark or many of the other 100+ species of wildlife at home at Rolling Hills Zoo. The Wildlife Museum allows you to explore animals and habitats across the African Plains, Arctic Tundra, Rainforests, North America, Middle East and Far East to encounter the majesty of the animal kingdom. NEW in June 2022 – the Pride of the Prairie Lion habitat mimics the savanna grasslands of Africa, encompasses 20,000 sq ft and features an up-close and personal 180-degree lion viewing cave. Magnificent!
Abilene – Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
Traveling Kansas I-70? Thank Ike and visit the all-new exhibits at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum.
Named “Best Kansas Attraction” by USA TODAY, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Whether you’re a WWII and history enthusiast, a fan of Ike or simply exploring Kansas, the Dwight D. Eisenhower campus will leave you in awe. And don’t forget to take a selfie with the 11-foot bronze statue of General Eisenhower!
Junction City/Geary County – Milford Lake
Come and explore the outdoors at beautiful Milford Lake! Milford Lake is the largest lake in Kansas and known as the “Fishing Capital of Kansas”. Here, you will find three resorts, numerous campgrounds, sandy beaches and 163 miles of shoreline to enjoy. With all the opportunities for hiking, fishing, bird watching, camping and more, it is sure to be a memorable trip for you and your family. Head out and Discover More in Geary County!
Manhattan – Flint Hills Discovery Center
The Flint Hills Discovery Center is located in downtown Manhattan in the Blue Earth Plaza. The center serves as a tribute to the 10,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie that we call the Flint Hills. The three-story structure is filled with opportunities to learn for all. On the lower floor learn all about the striking Flint Hills. On the second floor find their brand-new prairie playscape. Designed and built for youth, it serves to inspire and help them learn, explore and care for the Kansas Flint Hills.
Topeka – Equality House
Loud and proud is the Equality House in Topeka, KS! With pride gleaming from its rainbow walls and the MOTT house next door covered in pink, blue, and white, Topeka’s most colorful, and many say, most prominent attraction; stands out and up for equality! Showing not only the Pride of Topeka, but the Pride throughout the U.S., the houses are an attraction with meaning. Aaron Jackson, a human and environmental activist, founded the nonprofit Planting Peace in 2004. Alongside the organizations other works, Planting Peace is a LGBTQ+ rights advocacy group, and in 2012 the organization bought a house across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church. The house was used as the resource center for the Planting Peace human right initiatives and stands as a visual reminder of their commitment to equality for all. The city has since begun to build an inclusive community and will hold the state’s first Pride Kansas event fall 2022. Learn more >
Lecompton – Lecompton’s Territorial Capital Museum
This year represents the 40th Anniversary of Lecompton’s Territorial Capital Museum. Construction on this building began in 1855 as the building was intended to be the Territorial Capitol. Work was suspended in 1857 when it seemed the Capitol would be elsewhere. Finally completed in 1882, the building housed Lane University until 1902. Museum displays include American Indian artifacts, exhibits portraying frontier life in the mid-1800s, and an exhibit about President Dwight Eisenhower’s parents, who met and married while students at Lane University. Lecompton is on the banks of the Kaw River in the rolling hills between Topeka and Lawrence. From its founding as Bald Eagle in 1854, until Kansas statehood was granted in 1861, this village was the Territorial Capital.
The Territorial Capital Museum is part of the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Extraordinary events in Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area forever changed America. The heritage area focuses on three main themes: Shaping the Frontier, Kansas/Missouri Border War and the Enduring Struggle for Freedom.
Lawrence – Visit the home of the National Championship Jayhawks!
Make your way to Lawrence to celebrate the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Jayhawks! The trophy joins the rest of the trophy case at the Booth Family Hall of Athletics in historic Allen Fieldhouse. See the trophy and browse the exhibits that share the accomplishments of University of Kansas athletes and coaches, past and present. Step inside the loudest indoor college basketball stadium in America (beware of the Phog). Don’t miss the Original Rules of Basketball inside the DeBruce Center. Written by the inventor of the game and the Jayhawks first basketball coach, Dr. James Naismith. Explore on your own or take a guided tour from a Jayhawk Experience expert.
Leavenworth – C.W. Parker Carousel Museum
Leavenworth’s #1 attraction opened in 2005 and features a newly restored, fully operational 1913 C.W. Parker Carousel, originally made in Leavenworth by the C.W. Parker Carousel Amusement Company.
The Museum, operated by the Leavenworth Historical Museum Association, houses carousels that are historically registered, as well as a C.W. Parker cylinder piano, an Artizan A-X-1 band organ, and a Wurlitzer 153 Band Organ. It also has several reproduced or repaired carousel horses. Also on display is the oldest primitive carousel in the United States and a 1950s aluminum Paul Parker Carousel.
You can visit the museum Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. at 320 S Esplanade Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048. Phone (913) 682-1331
This Carousel and the story of the “Carnival King” is worth your “I pulled over for this”.
Bonner Springs – Old Mill Properties
If you’re travelling and need to get out and stretch your legs and re-fuel for a long drive ahead, make sure to check out the Old Mill Properties in Bonner Springs. Located in a former grain mill, the Old Mill Properties offers guests a variety of food and beverage options including mouthwatering BBQ, craft beer, hand-dipped ice cream, coffee, and cocktails. If you have some time to relax, their outdoor covered patio features picnic benches, cornhole games, and a patio. To find details on food options, visit https://www.oldemillproperties.com.
Shawnee – Shawnee Mission Park
Shawnee Mission Park is 1,655 acres, making it the second largest park in Johnson County, and is the most visited park in the entire state of Kansas. The Park has five different hiking trails to choose from including a paved walking trail with lake views.
In addition to hiking trails the park also has a 120-acre lake with swimming beach and marina, 11 shelters, numerous picnic areas, playgrounds, an archery range, a 44-acre dog off-leash area, an 18-hole disc golf course, mountain biking, and equestrian trails.
Kansas City – Lewis & Clark Historic Park at Kaw Point
Stretch your arm out for a fabulous selfie or stretch your legs on a hike or bike across a ten-acre wooded park situated along the shores where the Kansas and Missouri Rivers meet. On June 26, 1804, Lewis and Clark camped here for three days and were the first to formally record signs of the Kaw Nation, Osage Nation, and other tribes once living in the area. The park also includes an education pavilion, small amphitheater and limestone seating blocks carved with the names of Corps members. Take a seat and behold a dramatic view of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. More information and a park map can be found here.