Looking for a fun and educational outing the entire family can enjoy? Consider these top Kansas and Nebraska spots for your next road trip! When you choose any one of these historic locations throughout Kansas and Nebraska, you are sure to enjoy yourself, experience something new, and learn some interesting facts while you’re exploring.
Chimney Rock National Historic Site (Nebraska)
Chimney Rock, located in Bayard, is considered to be the most recognizable landmark on the famed Oregon Trail. A trip to the Abbott Visitor Center lets visitors experience some of what it was like to be one of those intrepid pioneers making the journey west in a covered wagon. You will learn so much from the museum exhibits and the video presentation. There are also hands-on exhibits, including one where you can try your hand at packing a wagon. Learn more at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/rock. Also worth checking out are campgrounds and RV parks in Nebraska.
Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center at the Union Pacific Railroad Bailey Yard (Nebraska)
The Union Pacific Railroad Bailey Yard was originally constructed in 1867 and has grown over the years into the world's largest railroad classification yard. The yard itself covers 2,850 acres in North Platte and is capable of handling 10,000 railroad cars every day. In order to fully appreciate the scope of this rail yard and its history, you can visit the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center, an eight-story observation tower with decks that offer a 360-degree view. There are also educational displays, a gift shop and special twilight tours you can schedule. Learn more at http://www.visitnorthplatte.com/attraction/union-pacific-bailey-yard and http://www.visitnorthplatte.com/attraction/golden-spike-tower.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument (Nebraska)
If you are a history buff, don’t miss out on the opportunity to go way, way back in time with a trip to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison. It is considered one of the world's most significant sites for certain types of fossils—like mammal fossils—from the Miocene Epoch (19 to 21 million years ago). Scientists first discovered the Agate Fossil Beds in the 1890s, although the area had been known to the Lakota Sioux for generations. There are hiking trails, a visitors center and a museum where you can learn all about the exciting area and the discoveries made there. Learn more at http://www.nps.gov/agfo/index.htm.
Black Jack Battlefield (Kansas)
If you or one of your family members is a fan of Civil War history, then a trip to the Black Jack Battlefield in Wellsville should be on your upcoming schedule. Some people consider the Battle of Black Jack to be the first true battle of the Civil War, which makes it an even more significant site. Although there were only a small number of combatants, it was truly a historic event due to the fact that anti-slavery abolitionists, led by John Brown, fought against pro-slavery supporters, which was the contention that formed the basis of the entire war. Learn more at http://www.blackjackbattlefield.org.
Fort Leavenworth (Kansas)
Fort Leavenworth, located in Leavenworth, is the oldest active Army post west of the Mississippi River. It was established in 1827, and since that time it has been the location of much significant history. Many people stationed there played a major role in the expansion of the American Frontier westward. Visitors can enjoy several activities, including the Frontier Army Museum, the National Cemetery and a variety of monuments and 19th century buildings. Learn more at http://www.kansastravel.org/fortleavenworth.htm.
These five historic locations throughout Nebraska and Kansas are as exciting as they are educational, so make sure to visit at least one soon.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.