Under the auspices of the Kansas Historical Society, the Kansas Museum of History, winner of the American Association for State and Local History award, enlightens guests with a culturally rich reservoir of exhibitions showcasing the Wheat State's triumphs and tribulations. Revel in Kansas's 150th year of statehood with a peek at the motif-centered "150 Things I Love About Kansas", which pulls Kansan allegories and clichés from The Wizard of Oz to national breadbasket status out of context for examination as a whole. Ongoing exhibits highlight the Native American influence with a Cheyenne tepee, the hardship of westward movement through a covered wagon, and the wonder of 21st-century science with a cryogenically frozen Jayhawks mascot. Young children hop back in time at the fully interactive Discovery Place, primed with frontier dress-up ensembles and a locomotive ready to be commandeered.
The new two-story tree house that sits amid Kansas Children’s Discovery Center’s 4.5 acres of greenery is more than a house—children can also swoop down its slide or scale its climbing wall. The multifaceted structure reflects the center’s overall complexity. On its outdoor grounds’ network of bike trails, hiking paths, and obstacle courses, youngsters can cultivate their love of nature without going off to live with a family of wolverines; meanwhile, 10 hands-on, educational exhibits in the 15,000-square-foot indoor facility fuel youthful curiosity in everything from construction projects to an interactive lemonade stand that teaches kids the basics of balancing a budget.
Lazy T Ranch Adventures' owner Ron Wilson is, to say the least, prolific. Serving on several government agricultural committees, he has described himself as a 4-H member, radio broadcaster, Sunday-school teacher, and hay-bale stacker—and his poetry, in a wry nod to the lasso hanging from his saddle, has earned him the title of Kansas's Poet Lariat. His wife Chris is equally accomplished, currently serving as deputy secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and together they invite visitors to their cattle ranch—owned by the family for three generations—to tour attractions such as a historic 1860s stone barn and a collection of horses, cattle, goats, and chickens. The farm also hosts an annual autumn festival every October, during which guests can ride across the meadow on a haystack ride, pick pumpkins at the onsite patch, and sip on the tangy apple cider that dairy cows produce only in the fall.
• Friday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 10 at 2 p.m. • Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. • Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. • Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. • Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m.
As summer turns to fall and the barbecue grills begin their migration south, The Patch at The Farm welcomes visitors to celebrate the dawning of the harvest season across its 30 acres. Taking up 11 of those acres, the corn maze's twists and turns test visitors' problem-solving skills. Bright-orange pumpkins pepper a 4-acre patch, patiently awaiting families to bring them home, where they'll fully blossom into pies or grinning jack-o'-lanterns. Over in the petting zoo, goats, chickens, and mini-donkeys entertain wee ones with rides and their ability to speak five languages. Other attractions include a hayride to Lanesfield Museum, ziplining, pumpkin bowling, a pedal track, and bounce houses.
Each night, KC Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze undergoes a bone-chilling transformation. Its family-friendly rides and activities vanish in the gathering dusk, replaced by the five frightening attractions that make up KC Fear Farm. Ghastly clowns terrorize guests amid the Circus Asylum's dark, billowing curtains, and a Buried Alive attraction horrifies all five senses with a realistic simulation of being six feet under. The corn maze—aptly renamed the Field of Screams—elicits cries of horror from visitors who dare to wander its pitch-black corners. Available on a separate or combined ticket, the Zombie Apocalypse paintball adventure pits turret-mounted paintball guns against armies of bloodthirsty undead.