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.
The 105,000-square-foot, Smithsonian-affiliated museum, which was voted one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas in 2008, boasts the second-largest collection of space artifacts in the United States (behind only the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.). An all-day mission pass gets you access to all the museum’s treasures: the Carey IMAX Dome Theater, Justice Planetarium, Dr. Goddard’s Lab, and the Hall of Space Museum. Start by strolling through the Hall of Space, where notable space souvenirs such as the command module from Apollo 13 and the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule chronicle mankind's courtship with the cosmos. Then explore Dr. Goddard’s Lab, a replica of the 1930s laboratory where Dr. Robert Goddard pioneered modern rocketry. Explosive reenactments of the doctor's attempts to find the right rocket fuel, figure out how to circumvent gravity, and lick his elbows are performed daily to delight children and their copilots. Click here to download a basic museum itinerary.
The Highlands Golf Club's PGA-associated course sits atop sand dunes and perched along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Golfers can apply the 10 rounds individually or employ them in unifying a group of club wielders in the spirit of grass-traversing competition. Take a break from work or from gluing the head of a golf club to a pinewood-derby car to make it go faster to amble through the course's nine holes and thread drives down narrow fairways between clusters of coastal pines and thatches of native grasses. The walking-only course is playable by sportspeople of all ability levels and roadrunners willing to slow down, and the included pull cart unburdens golfers from the weight of their equipment. Although the course can be played in less than two hours, players may pause to observe the sudden appearance of local wildlife such as elk, pheasants, and eagles.
The approximately 247-acre wilderness zoo houses more than 2,500 animals from nearly 400 different species, including gorillas, penguins, bears, tigers, and elephants. Stop by the orangutan and chimp habitat, or walk down a seashell-strewn path to the penguin cove, which includes a 52-foot-long underwater viewing area for watching Humboldt penguins glide gracefully through the water in search of sealed Tootsie Rolls. Sedgwick County Zoo's continually evolving exhibits showcase cuddlesome creatures from diverse regions including Asia, Africa, and South America.
With Don Carter's 26 years spent coaching, it seems inevitable that he would produce some titleholders. In fact, a number of his former students have gone on to collect national trophies in tumbling and trampolining. Don adds the experience gained while bolstering the skills of these champions to the collective pool of the Skywalkers, which has propelled competitive teams to national gold, silver, and bronze medals in the past two years alone—a stretch of time most people spent trying to figure out the coolest way to say “2012.” Perhaps the victories result from a roster of all-ages gymnastics, trampoline, tumbling, and cheer-tumbling classes with a student-to-instructor ratio of six to one. Or maybe it’s the instructors’ passion for safe bouncing and somersaulting. Regardless, Don and his team seem to have a knack for fostering fitness, fun, and technical superiority.
A family-owned emporium of alley-based athletics, Prairie Bowl combines the well-loved pleasures pin-pugilism and hot food to provide fuel and fun for every member of your familial strike force. After filling pie-shaped stomach vacancies with delicious slices of pizza, lace up and slip-slide out onto one of 16 lanes with up to three teammates to vie against one another for the title of best turkey-trotter. Saturdays are host to cosmic bowling, illuminated by black lights and set to hypnotic beats as bowlers toss their balls into an infinite void of milk bottle impersonators. Although not included in the Groupon, Prairie Bowl also boasts an arcade room to allow guests to reconnect with comforting un-reality, while late hours on Fridays and Saturdays make the alley a safe and friendly place to spend quality time with your brood until 1 a.m.