There are 25 state parks and recreation areas in Kansas and many historic sites. The largest recreation area is centered on Milford Lake, located in the central part of the state. Other large state parks include Fall River, Toronto, and Elk City, all located in southeastern Kansas; Cheney, Kanopolis, and Sand Hills, all in the central part of the state; Clinton, Perry, and Tuttle Creek, all in northeastern Kansas; Prairie Dog, Cedar Bluff, and Lake Scott, which are in the northwestern part of the state; and Glen Elder, in north central Kansas.
Pawnee Rock Park, a historic site in central Kansas near Great Bend, contains a sandstone mass 24 m (80 ft) high that was one of the most famous landmarks on the Santa Fe Trail. The John Brown Museum, at Osawatomie in eastern Kansas, includes the log cabin where the famous abolitionist often stayed. The site of a former Pawnee village, now containing an archaeological museum, lies in northern Kansas near Republic. The Hollenberg Pony Express Station, in northeastern Kansas near Hanover, is claimed to be the only pony express station in the country that has been preserved in its original, unaltered condition. It houses a small pioneer museum.
Other state historic sites are the Iowa, Sac, and Fox Mission at Highland, the Shawnee Mission in Johnson County, the Kaw Indian Mission at Council Grove, Marais des Cygnes Massacre Memorial Park in Linn County, the Fort Hays Historical Park at Hays, and the Edward H. Funston House near Iola, home to two prominent Kansans.
Many of the places of interest in Kansas are closely associated with 19th-century history, including Old Front Street and the Boot Hill Museum, in Dodge City, which is a replica of the city’s notorious Front Street as it appeared in the late 1870s. There are similar front street reproductions in Abilene and Wichita. The Dalton Museum in Coffeyville preserves relics of the notorious bank robbers, the Dalton Gang. A number of museums and buildings in the state commemorate famous Kansans. In Medicine Lodge is the Kansas home of the ardent prohibitionist Carry Nation.
Near Athol is the one-room cabin home of Dr. Brewster H. Higley, a pioneer physician who wrote the words to “Home on the Range,” now the state song. The famous aviator Amelia Earhart was born in 1897 in a white frame house still standing in Atchison. Perhaps the most noted person associated with Kansas is former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who grew up in Abilene.
Adjoining his boyhood home is the Eisenhower Museum, which houses mementos of Eisenhower’s life and souvenirs of his presidency. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, opposite the museum, contains papers dating from his years in office.
Of scientific interest are the chalk beds of western Kansas, one of the richest sources of fossils in the country. In the Sternberg Memorial Museum at Fort Hays State University, in Hays in west central Kansas, is an outstanding collection of fossils taken from these deposits. Numerous fossils of reptiles have also been unearthed in northwestern Kansas near Oakley. The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, in Hutchinson, boasts a major collection of space artifacts.
Places of geological interest in Kansas include Monument Rocks, Rock City, and the grass-covered sand dunes located just south of the Arkansas River in Finney and Kearny counties. The Bartlett Arboretum, near Belle Plaine, has several thousand kinds of trees, shrubs, and flowers growing in a formal garden. In Gage Park in Topeka is the Reinisch Rose Garden. "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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