The nonprofit Heidrick Ag History Center harvests the rich history of agricultural machinery and transportation through an extensive collection of vintage tractors and trucks. The 130,000-square-foot space houses both the Hays Antique Truck Museum—home to such artifacts as a one-of-a-kind Breeding steam-powered truck and broccoli steamer from 1916—and the Fred C. Heidrick Antique Ag Collection, an assemblage of olden-day iron horses and golden cows collected over a period of 60 years.
Using skills acquired from his childhood days building his own planes and combines from scraps of wire and wood, Mr. Heidrick himself restored most of the equipment—some of which was formerly little more than heaps of rust—to its original condition. Palettes of green, red, and yellow pop from John Deere tractors from the 1930s to the 1950s, a Deering reaper machine from 1891, and a 120-horsepower Holt built in 1917 to tow artillery during World War I.
A ball python, bearded dragons, and three types of cockroaches have made their homes at Explorit Science Center, educating guests in an exhibit dubbed the Animal Alcove. Since 1982, the center has fostered curiosity about science and nature with hands-on exhibits like this, rather than by feeding children dry textbooks or encouraging them merely to imagine how loud the sound is when trees walk. About 55,000 people visit the center each year, enhancing their intellectual development at the miniature zoo and rotating exhibits that explore the role of science in both commonplace and whimsical natural phenomena. One popular exhibit, for example, took visitors through the local agricultural process, the interconnections between agriculture and weather, and each meal’s journey from the farm to the plate. Visitors can discover further factoids at Explorit's science lecture series, and youngsters can enroll in the center’s science-themed summer camps.