Top I-70 Roadside Stops in Kansas | Midwest Living

Top I-70 Roadside Stops in Kansas

Follow our guide to find plenty to see and do minutes from Kansas’ 424 miles of Interstate-70. You can explore a wildlife area, step into the past or stretch your legs on a prairie trail.

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  • 1
    Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure.
  • 2
    Cozy Inn, Salina.
  • 3
    Kansas State University's campus in Manhattan.
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    Statue at Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum.

VICTORIA Made from native limestone, a giant, twin-spired Catholic church, with 44-foot ceilings and 141-foot steeples, has towered above tiny Victoria since 1911. It’s no wonder it’s known as the Cathedral of the Plains. When it was built, the seating capacity of 1,100 made it the largest church west of the Mississippi River. Some 15,000 pilgrims visit each year. kansastravel.org

RUSSELL On the surrounding plains, pump jacks still draw oil from the Kansas soil. Exhibits at the Oil Patch Museum celebrate this early Kansas boom. Regional artists display their works at the Deines Cultural Center downtown. russellks.org

LUCAS Everyone will marvel at the story and creations of S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden. garden-of-eden-lucas-kansas.com The Civil War veteran built his small home using 113 tons of concrete and limestone and created 150 bizarre sculptures around it. The Grassroots Art Center displays more “outsider” art made from recycled materials such as pull tabs, chewing gum and glass bottles. grassrootsart.net

WILSON Arts and crafts created by Kansans fill the Kansas Originals store. kansasoriginals.com Stay at the plush, renovated 1899 Midland Hotel. If you can’t spend the night, enjoy a meal in the hotel’s ornate dining room. You’ll find Czech dishes on the menu, in honor of the towns designation as “Czech Capital” of Kansas. midlandrailroadhotel.com

ELLSWORTH In the early 1870s, Ellsworth became one of the state’s first cow towns. Not much has changed in the two-block downtown. Follow the Ellsworth Historical Plaza Walking Tour to 17 frontier silhouettes. Also, explore the Hodgden House Museum complex with an 1878 house, livery, schoolhouse, church and replica of a general store. ellsworthkschamber.net

LINCOLN Take a look inside the massive Lincoln County Courthouse, built in 1900 of native limestone. Stop in Village Lines, a combination visitors center, tea room and crafts shop, for a piece of pie and information. The center also can arrange a tour of nearby 128-year-old Denmark Evangelical Lutheran Community Church. lincolnkansaschamber.com

SALINA A covered tram carries families to more than 300 animals, including rhinos, anteaters, giraffes and tigers at 65-acre Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure two miles south of the interstate. The indoor museum, with hundreds of mounted animals in native settings and animatronic human robots, makes this zoo especially cool. rollinghillswildlife.com Cozy Inn, a downtown institution, serves more than 1,200 mini burgers a day, amazing for a joint with six stools. cozyburger.com

CANTON Board a tram for an upclose look at 200 buffalo and 50 elk on 2,800-acre Maxwell Wildlife Refuge. naturalkansas.org Climb the 25-foot observation tower to see Twin Mounds, where Native Americans camped.

ABILENE Youngsters will be surprised at how small and simple the future president’s house is at Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum. eisenhower.archives.gov Passengers board the Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad for a 12-mile round trip from the Rock Island Depot. asvrr.org There was life before cell phones? Get a glimpse at the Museum of Independent Telephony, part of the Heritage Center, or ride a hand-carved horse on the 1901 C.W. Parker Carousel. heritagecenterdk.com

 

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