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.
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.
At Kansas Learning Center for Health, kids don't learn about human anatomy from any regular skeleton. Instead, they learn from a more accurate model: Valeda. Shaped like the average woman, who is 5'7" and 145 pounds, Valeda has plastic bones and organs, wiring to represent her lymphatic and circulatory systems, and transparent skin. She even has a voice, which she uses to explain the benefits of a healthy lifestyle; her organs light up whenever she mentions them.
Valeda is just one of the engaging, interactive exhibits at the Kansas Learning Center for Health that helps kids understand their bodies. Others include huge model eyes, ears, and mouths, which kids can explore on visits with their families and schools, or through the center's eclectic classes. Class topics run the gamut from dealing with puberty to dental hygiene to the detrimental effects of drug use.
• 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.
Nine acres of natural habitats make up the Hutchinson Zoo, a place that nearly 160 animals—most of which are native to Kansas—call home. The zoo’s many exhibits feature local reptiles, birds, and mammals, a fossil pit where kids can dig for dinosaur bones, and the Wild Habitats Building that houses animals from afar, such as cotton-top tamarins, gila monsters, and mexican red-knee tarantulas. In the barrier-free aviary, visitors watch native Kansas birds flying untethered overhead while in the wetlands below, North American beavers gnaw old furniture back into the shape of trees. To keep the area's wildlife populations strong, the zoo's Cargill WildCare Center rehabilitates approximately 500 injured or orphaned Kansas-native animals each year.
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. Together they invite visitors to their cattle ranch—owned by the family for three generations—to tour attractions such as Sugarloaf Hill, with views of the Kansas River Valley, 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.