One of the largest collections of African artifacts in the Midwest is at the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum. The Johnsons were the first to film and photograph Borneo, the South Seas and Africa in the 1920’s and ‘30s, and wrote the bestelling book of 1940, “I Married Adventure”. The safari museum also includes the late 1800’s sports and adventure photography collection of Elizabeth Main LeBlond.
Chanute is also home to Howard’s Toys for Big Boys, an automotive museum; the Chanute Art Gallery; the Chanute Historical Museum, featuring sports, railroad and other memorabilia; and, a life-size sculpture of the Wright Brothers plane and the connection between Chanute’s namesake, Octave Chanute, and the Wrights.
The 13 mile stretch of Route 66 through Kansas is short, but memorable: the last remaining arch Rainbow Bridge along the route, the Decades of Wheels museum features familiar Hollywood vehicles, a muffler man inspired miner, and the Cafe on the Route cafe, the home of the original tow truck that influenced the design of the Tow Mater character in the “Cars” PIXAR movies.
Cherokee County is also home to a Little League Baseball Museum and Big Brutus, the largest remaining electric shovel in the world. The areas Civil War and mining heritage is on display at Baxter Springs Heritage Museum and Galena Mining & Historical Museum, and anglers and hunters will love the countless strip pit lakes of the Mined Land Wildlife Areas.
Saddle up and explore Coffeyville, small town livin’ with big history. Come re-trace the footsteps the Dalton Gang took that fateful day back on October 5th, 1892. Get the full Dalton experience and explore the Dalton Defenders Museum, the original Old Condon Bank, Death Alley, Old City Jail, Isham’s Hardware, & Elmwood Cemetery. If you are visiting the first full weekend in October, you can enjoy the Dalton Defenders Days which includes the Dalton Raid Re-enactment.
Don’t forget to check out the Historic Brown Mansion and the Coffeyville Aviation Museum! Finish up your day with a delicious home cooked meal & stay overnight to recharge in one of our hotels or air b&b’s!
Come explore the energy of Coffey County, the proud home of the only nuclear power generating station in Kansas, towering wind turbines that can be seen for miles, and beautiful parks and rolling farmlands. Or, fish the open waters of one of our five lakes, including the 5,000 acre Coffey County Lake, which is dedicated exclusively to fishing.
Enjoy the rich history of our small town communities – Burlington, Gridley, LeRoy, New Strawn and Waverly, and be sure to stop by the Fuga Winery in Lebo.
Coffey County is easily accessible via Interstate 35 and Highway 75, located in the heart of Eastern Kansas, just 15 miles east of Emporia, 21 miles west of Ottawa, and 44 miles south of Topeka.
Columbus is home to the only Hot Air Balloon Regatta in the four state area, held in October. If you hunt and/or fish, you have lots of open fishing in our Mined Wildlife area (also known as the Strip Pits), plus lots of hunting for wild turkey and white tail deer. Guided hunts available for upland pheasant and quail. Will be host for the FITASC US Open Shoot in 2020 at Claythorne Lodge. Unique lodging.
Along an old military trail and old Jefferson Highway, Crawford County is the home of the nation’s only gorilla mascot, the Chicken Wars, Kansas Crossing Casino, and a retired Moving Wall.
Outdoor enthusiasts have recreational opportunities in a habitat unlike anywhere else in the state: old mining pits returned to nature throughout numerous Mined Land Wildlife Areas. Crawford State Park is one of the state’s oldest man-made lakes, while Bone Creek Reservoir is one of the youngest.
A women’s protest (“Amazon Army) and publications based in the area forced changes for worker rights. That pioneer, coal miner and bootlegger spirit is on display at Crawford County Historical Museum, Girard History Museum and Miners Hall Museum, and celebrated at numerous annual festivals including Little Balkans Days.
Nestled in the Neosho River Valley, surrounded by the beautiful Osage Cuesta Hills is a community incorporated in 1869. Since 1873 Erie has hosted the oldest consecutively running Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion in America. During the reunion, a Free Bean Feed provides beans prepared using a historic recipe in cast-iron kettles over wood fires like soldiers used in the Civil War, while country and western musicians from Nashville add a touch of modern spice. The 2022 reunion is July 13-16. A local artist-engineer created dinosaur sculptures created from junk metal, and those are now on display at the Erie Dinosaur Park.
Founded in 1842, Fort Scott would find themselves on the edge of the permanent Indian frontier, in the middle of the Civil War, and taking part in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Now you can explore Fort Scott National Historic Site, follow the story of Irena Sendler as she saves 2500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII at the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes, or see life through the lens of Gordon Parks at the Gordon Parks Museum.
Don’t forget “Dolly the Trolley” gives city tours every Friday and Saturday.
Rest, renew, reconnect, or relive when you visit beautiful and historic Fort Scott, KS!
Historic Route 66 curves into this charming, friendly old mining town that inspired several characters and sights of Radiator Springs in the Disney movie “Cars”.
Cars on the Route is a restaurant and retro gas station that’s home to the original L-170 truck that inspired the character Mater, the buck tooth tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy.
When planning your Route 66 trip, come through during Galena Days and the Galena Days Car Show. Celebrate with a parade, carnival, live entertainment, and more. Get your photo with Mater and his friends, and a brilliantly colored downtown mural that greets travelers.
And be sure to tour the Galena Mining & Historical Museum to learn about the oldest mining town in Kansas.
About an hour away from Lawrence, Olathe or Topeka, is Garnett, a simple life with benefits. Known for its rich racing heritage of the Lake Garnett Grand Prix and 1,000 acres of parks, including a true road course and sprint track utilized by sports car enthusiasts and kart racers alike. Enjoy three lakes for outdoor fun and waterfront camping with delicious eating options nearby.
Garnett reflects a laid back, Amish sentiment. Relax and experience town square shops, art gallery, live dinner theatre, or a round of disc golf. Bike the 52-mile Prairie Spirit Trail. Added fairs, festivals and sporting events always give reasons to be in Garnett.
At the junction of Highways US 59, US 169 and K-31, Garnett is simply a destination location.
Experience the Little House on The Prairie Museum, where author Laura Ingalls Wilder lived, then visit Independence Historical Museum & Arts Center in a historic downtown where there’s unique shopping with specialty shops blended with name-brand stores.
Plan a day at Riverside Park, riding the carousel or miniature train, taking in the animals at the free Ralph Mitchell Zoo, or enjoying the water at Riverside Beach Family Aquatic Center.
Join famous playwrights and actors, and theater buffs from across the nation at the Annual William Inge Theater Festival. Or celebrate Halloween at one of the state’s largest and longest running festivals, Neewollah (Halloween spelled backward). It’s a week-long, family-friendly way to seek thrills, chills, and delicious theatrical treats, with daily parades and live music.
Stroll around and shop the nation’s largest square or drive around and admire the picturesque Victorian architecture that gives Iola its unique charm.
Iola prides itself on being a healthy, diverse, and inviting community. That includes free rental bikes available at several locations (or bring your own) to explore nearly 70 miles of trails: the Lehigh Portland, Missouri Pacific Recreational, Prairie Spirit, and South Wind Rail.
Riverside Park overlooks the Neosho River and has accessible playgrounds, ball fields, and swimming. Let your furry companion run leash-free at Waggin Tails Dog Park. Pick yourself a quick snack at the community orchard.
Attend Farm City Days, Santa House on the Square, or the Allen County Fair and Smokin’ Hot Cars & BBQ… a KC Masterpiece sanctioned BBQ.
The Bowlus Fine Arts Center has the best leg room in Kansas and also hosts an art gallery.
Kansas Crossing Casino has 16 gaming tables, more than 625 slot machines.
here is regular live entertainment that includes nationally touring artists, comedians & sporting events, be it on the casino floor, a 400 seat show, or a 2,000 person outdoor concert.
In addition to the Hampton Inn & Suites, there is also an on site bar and a restaurant – the Two Brothers Mining Company.
Labette County is a unique mix of people and geography nestled in the Southeast corner of the great state of Kansas. The area has strong historical ties to the pre-Civil War era and the western expansion of the early American railroad.
The landscape changes as travelers visit the Ozark forests of the east on their way to the rolling prairie of the west.
The abundance of wildlife is astounding and hundreds of visitors make Labette County their home for several weeks of the year to fish, hike and hunt or simply enjoy the expansive great outdoors we have to offer.
Sedan: the Small Town – Big Heart. The Chautauqua County seat, with a population of 1,000 is nestled between the Flint Hills and the Chautuauqua Hills.
Come visit the unique shops, good restaurants, fishing, hunting, movies at the Gregg Theater and special events throughout the year.
Tour the Emmett Kelly Museum, drive the red-bud trail, play golf on grass greens, swim at the city park, camp at the park or RV parks, hike the trail between the city lakes, watch the birds or just relax and enjoy the scenery in a small rural town with no stop lights.
Southeast Kansas Living magazine is the only publication dedicated to our corner of the world. Published in spring, summer, fall and winter, with an additional tourism edition published every other year, Southeast Kansas Living has been in print for more than 15 years. In each issue, readers find stories about Southeast Kansas’ people, events, outdoors, history, businesses, culture and so much more.
Midway between Wichita and Joplin, at the foot of the scenic Flint Hills, travelers on US-400 know they are close to Fredonia when they see the 100×60 foot American flag waving proudly atop the South Mound. Since 1955, through the holidays, this flag has shown with a lighted star and cross display.
Known for their annual Homecoming Festival with amusement rides and the Wilson County Old Iron Days, Fredonia continues to add fun yearly events and attractions.
Or relax in the past at the scenic Mill Dam Park on the Fall River, just south of town. This beautiful mill and park were built in the 1870’s, and in the 1940’s, the WPA added stonework, providing benches and stone grills for visitors to enjoy the riverbank.
Visit the charming brick streets of Yates Center’s quaint Historic Town Square and Toronto’s quirky Main Street – offering unique shopping and dining experiences – as well as Neosho Falls’ spooky abandoned buildings and Piqua’s Buster Keaton Museum. Don’t miss the converging ecological zones of the Flint Hills and Chautauqua Hills at Cross Timbers State Park, offering abundant birding, boating, camping, and hiking opportunities, and the expansive 2,885 acres of public hunting and fishing grounds within Woodson Wildlife Area and Woodson State Fishing Lake. Bike, hike, camp, and boat your way through a variety of scenic landscapes and historical sites and relax and enjoy the laid-back way of life in our peaceful and inviting communities and recreational areas.