Military Officer Magazine Live and Play 2021: Kansas

Military Officer Magazine Live and Play 2021: Kansas
Monument Rocks in Gove County, Kan. (Brad McGinley Photography/Getty Images)

2021-live-and-play-bug-internal.png(This article by freelance writer Kathie Rowell originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)


A sea of grass once covered 170 million acres of North America. Today, less than 4% remains. Visitors can experience the vast grasslands that greeted early settlers at Kansas’ Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, which includes 11,000 acres to be explored. The grass reaches its maximum height in September and October, but tourists can enjoy beautiful vistas, wildflowers, wildlife, a bison herd, and historical buildings throughout the year.


Continue your outdoor adventure by hiking, biking, or horseback riding along the 117-mile Flint Hills Nature Trail, the seventh-longest rail trail in the U.S. Meanwhile, Botanica: The Wichita Gardens features wildflower, woodland, rose, aquatic, and butterfly gardens as well as a butterfly house.


Kansas also offers attractions for those who prefer technology over nature. The Mid-America Air Museum in Liberal has a collection of more than 100 air- craft and 80,000 square feet of exhibits. The Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson is home to a space artifact display second in size only to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American culture at the Mid-America All-Indian Museum in Wichita, where art, artifacts, displays, and activities encompass the history and traditions of many tribes.


Kids can be inspired at two science centers: Exploration Place in Wichita and Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan.


Lovers of regional foods won’t want to miss the barbecue and bierock. Kansas City-style barbecue, known for its tangy tomato-based sauces, is the region’s iconic food. Less well known is bierock, a baked meat pie made of yeast dough filled with seasoned ground beef and sausage, onions, and shredded cabbage.


KANSAS’ MILITARY MUST-SEE: Fort Larned National Historic Site is a complex of original sandstone buildings comprising an authentic Army post from the 1860s and 1870s and the best-preserved fort from the Indian Wars period. The Visitor Center may be closed due to COVID-19, but all non-climate controlled historical buildings are open. Don’t miss the Santa Fe Trail wagon train ruts, gouged so deeply into the soil they are still visible today.


More State Resources

Check out other states that make up Live and Play 2021. Thinking about a long-term move? Visit MOAA's Military State Report Card and Tax Guide as part of your financial decision-making process.

Live and Play 2021 State Report Card

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