(one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas)
315 S. Sycamore, Greensburg, KS 67504
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm & Sunday 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
(2 hours 13 minutes southwest of Inn)
The Big Well is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas because the construction of it was an engineering marvel in its day and it is the world's largest hand-dug well! On August 9, 1887 Jack Wheeler led his crew in an architectural adventure as the first shovel dug into what would become a 32-feet wide, 109-feet deep well with two feet thick native stone walls. Taking almost two years, the well was hand-dug, cribbed, cased and stoned with rock from the Medicine River and sand from the Cowskin Creek. Stone masons of Herculean talent constructed what many have called “a pioneer engineering marvel.” Although the well was built for city water it was also built alongside the Kingman, Pratt, & Western rail line, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe, which ran a freight line from Wichita to the Mullinville turnaround until 1893. A large amount of water was needed for the steam locomotives.
The Big Well supplied Greensburg with water until 1932 when another well was dug nearby. In 1939 the folks of Greensburg decided to slap a handmade sign along the highway and began sporting their wonder as a Kansas tourism site. Hundreds of thousands of people have visited the Big Well from every state and from all over the world since then. Obviously, the Big Well had become the economic heartbeat of Greensburg. On May 7, 2007, Greensburg was hit by a monster EF5 tornado that destroyed much of the town, including everything above ground at the Big Well. A new museum at the Big Well opened May 26, 2012. (from KansasSampler.org)
(one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas)
1110 North Plum Street, Hutchinson, KS 67501
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 am – 7:00 pm & Sunday, NOON – 7:00 pm (47 minutes north of Inn)
The Cosmosphere is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas because it has one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world! The Cosmosphere, conceived by long-time Hutchinson resident Patricia Carey, is one of America's premier space centers. Making its start as a small planetarium on the Kansas State Fairgrounds, the Cosmosphere is now an internationally acclaimed staple of the space science community. Educating patrons from around the globe, the Cosmosphere boasts the Hall of Space museum, one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world; the Carey IMAX Dome Theater, one of only 14 IMAXR dome theaters in the world; a planetarium; and astronaut training camps for all ages. Located in central Hutchinson, the Cosmosphere, a non-profit organization, is unique to Kansas. Its Hall of Space Museum is one of only three museums in the world to display flown spacecraft from all three early-manned space programs – Mercury (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini (Gemini 10) and Apollo (Apollo 13). Regarding depth and size, the Cosmosphere's space artifact collection is second only to that of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Similarly, the Cosmosphere's Hall of Space Museum harbors the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside Moscow. Proudly placed in Kansas, the Cosmosphere has also taken part in many documentaries and films. Most notably, the Cosmosphere built the spacecraft and hardware used in the movie Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks. (from Kansas Sampler.org)
Museum of World Treasures
835 East 1st Street, Wichita, KS 67202
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm & Sunday, 12 NOON – 5:00 pm (1 hour 6 minutes south of the Inn)
Experience a trek through time at the Museum of World Treasures. History comes alive as you delve into the lives of dinosaurs, Ancient Egyptians, past presidents, and so much more. From shrunken heads to an extensive World War II collection, there are incredible stories around every corner of the Museum. Bring the whole family for an adventure that will educate, entertain, and hopefully ignite a love for lifelong learning. Current Exhibits:
|FOSSIL GALLERY||SEA CREATURES OF THE PLAINS||CENOZOIC ERA|
|ROCKS & MINERALS||CIVIL WAR||WORLD WAR I|
|WORLD WAR II||VIET NAM WAR||KOREAN WAR|
|BERLIN WALL||FOUNDING OF AMERICA||HALL OF PRESIDENTS|
|OLD WEST||MESOPOTAMIA||ANCIENT EGYPT|
|ANCIENT GREECE||ANCIENT ROME||PRE-HISPANIC|
|AFRICA||ROYAL ART OF ASIA||ALL ARE NOT FREE:
EXPERIENCES OF BERLIN RESIDENTS DURING THE COLD WAR
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve & the Flint Hills, Chase County
(one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas)
2480 K-177, Strong City, KS 66869
Hours: Hours: May-October 8:30a.m.- 4:30p.m.; Winter hours 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (1 hour 20 minutes east of the Inn)
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas because it represents the last significant example of the tallgrass prairie in North America! Prairies began appearing in the mid-continent from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago and have developed into one of the most complicated and diverse ecosystems in the world, surpassed only by the rainforest of Brazil. Tallgrass prairie once covered approximately 170 million acres of North America. It was the continent's largest continuous ecosystem supporting an enormous quantity of plants and animals. Some of the grasses include Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, and Switch Grass and they can grow to heights of eight feet in the fall, depending on the moisture and other factors. Man discovered the rich soils that exist in the prairies about 150 years ago. Finding the prairie soils outstanding for crop production, they plowed the prairie everywhere they could to produce wheat, corn, and other domestic crops.
Less than 4% now remains, mostly in the Flint Hills of Kansas. This makes it one of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in the world. On November 12, 1996, legislation created the 10,894-acre Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve to protect a sample of once vast tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve also safeguarded cultural history with the restoration of cattleman Stephen F. Jones' ranch called Spring Hill Farm and Stock Ranch. Tours of his 1881 limestone Second Empire house, the three-story limestone barn, and other outbuildings add to the experience of a visit here. A wide variety of educational programs and tours are offered to help the public learn about the cultural and natural history of this area.
Cheyenne Bottoms/Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
Barton & Stafford counties
Location: Cheyenne Bottoms is 6 miles north of Great Bend or from U.S. 281 and K-4 in Hoisington go 5 miles south and 2 miles east. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge visitor center is on 70th at the south end of the refuge; or, from Stafford, go 6 miles north of the railroad crossing on N. Main to a four-way stop, then 6 miles east to the Quivira Refuge sign, and 1 mile north. www.fws.gov/refuge/Quivira/ Refuge hours: daily, from 1-1/2 hours before sunrise to 1-1/2 hours after sunset. No camping or overnight stay is permitted. Visitor Center hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Quivira is located 1 hour 30 minutes southwest of the Inn.
As a duo entry, the Kansas Wetlands Complex of Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge are one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas because of their vital and international importance as a migratory stop for North American shorebirds! Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre lowland basin and is the largest freshwater marsh in the interior of the United States. It is considered the most important shorebird migration point in the western hemisphere. Each year this area attracts 45 to 90% of the North American shorebird population during spring migration. At least 320 species of birds have been recorded. The area is a critical habitat for several threatened and endangered species such as Whooping Cranes, Peregrine Falcons, Least Terns, and Piping Plovers. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes stop here on their spring and fall migrations. Visitors can drive or walk along the dikes for some magnificent birdwatching. Less than 20 miles away, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is 22,135 acres of prairie grass, saltwater marshes, sand dunes, canals, dikes, and timber. During spring migration, Quivira is a staging area for over 500,000 birds. Big and Little Salt Marshes are ancient basins that have attracted thousands of migratory waterfowl, providing them with food, cover, and a place to rest during exhausting flights between breeding and wintering areas. One good way to see both places is to drive the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway. It curves around Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge for 76 miles. A good beginning point is K-4 and U.S. 281 near Hoisington.
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum
200 SE 4th Street, Abilene, KS 67410
All buildings at the Center are open daily from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. but are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.
Summer Hours – June & July: 8:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
55 minutes northeast of the Inn
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is one of The 8 Wonders of Kansas because it tells of the remarkable lifetime achievements of Dwight D. Eisenhower, five-star General and President of the United States! Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the greatest amphibious military operation in history, the 1944 Allied invasion of Nazi controlled Western Europe. His many military achievements are interpreted superbly in the galleries at the Eisenhower Museum. He is the only five-star General to become President of the United States. The displays interpret the highlights of his two terms (1953-1961). Significantly, his administration initiated the nation's first civil rights legislation in ninety years. He also sent Army troops when nine black students were intimidated into leaving Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. More than any other president, Eisenhower was responsible for the Interstate Highway System. He was also so highly skilled in public relations that he seized the opportunity to become the first “television president.” Five galleries at the Eisenhower Museum tell the story of Eisenhower from his childhood days in Abilene through his retirement years. One gallery represents the life and lifestyle of one of America's most beloved First Ladies, Mamie Eisenhower. Visitors can also tour the nineteenth-century wood-frame house, located on its original site, where the Eisenhower's lived from 1898 until the death of the President's mother Ida in 1946. The Place of Meditation is the final resting place of the President, his wife Mamie, and their first-born son, Doud Dwight.