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.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
All Star Adventures and All Star Sports's two facilities are loaded with fun-park distractions for both kids and adults. While All Star Sports focuses on athletic attractions such as wall climbing and batting cages, All Star Adventures models its facility after amusement-park thrills that include helicopter rides, a tilt a whirl, and a classic-style carousel. Both locations house a snack bar and throw open their gates seven days a week, remaining open long past the time when the sun goes to bed and the moon comes out to daydream about Buzz Aldrin.
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.
Paintballers belly crawl through tall grasses and weeds as their opponents hunker behind fence posts, sandbags, and trees. Within wooden structures teammates strategize and hatch plans of attack before flanking the other team and firing off kaleidoscopic-like rounds of eco-friendly paintballs.
Traversing 54 acres comprising six woodsball courses and two speedball fields, players at The Edge Paintball Adventures navigate varying terrain, including a stream bordered by long stalks of golden grass and overgrown, tree-bordered fields full of thistle, shrubs, and dandelions gone to seed. A staff of trained referees maintain order on themed courses such as Assassin's Alley, where snipers lay in wait or Firebase Bravo, which sports a mammoth bunker that encourages use of paint grenades.
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.
The Courtyard is a fine art gallery featuring Kansas Artists. Mediums such as wood carving, paintings, jewelry, glass, weaving, and prints are on display by many artists. It is located in a small town known for the arts. In the center of our building is the Courtyard Bakery featuring Swedish baked goods made daily.