Kansas Yesterday & Today

From Itineraries Midwest Spring Issue 2009

This sample itinerary can be customized for anytime of year!

Day One

1 – 2:00 pm
Arrive in Wichita and check into your hotel.  Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, offering a multitude of choices for play- Wichita has something for everyone. The birds fly, the buffalo roam, and now it’s your turn to find the adventure that’s right for your group!

2 – 4:00 pm
Visit the art galleries around town, with a wide variety to please all tastes. For instance, a visit to Karg Art Glass is one you won’t soon forget. This Midwest treasure features some of the most exquisite works of art. See hand-blown art glass in a picturesque cedar & stone building.  Browse through the gift gallery and find unique wonderful gifts in all mediums. Watch glassblowers do their magic.

4 – 5:30 pm
From art to the old west, arriving at the Old Cowtown Museum, celebrating life in 1865-1880 Wichita, and the Southern Plains. The museum provides an interactive experience with costumed interpreters.  Highlights include home tours, working blacksmith, carpentry, and newspaper shop, marshal’s office, saloon, and cowboy camp.

5:30 – 8:30 pm
Follow up with a delicious Bar-B-Que meal and the very best in cowboy stage shows. The Diamond W Chuckwagon Supper offers all you can eat with the world famous Diamond W Wranglers providing the western musical entertainment, performing classic Western Music of the silver-screen cowboy era.


choose the option of a performance of the Mosley Street Melodrama; smack dab in the heart of Wichita’s historic Old Town. Reviving the 40-year-old tradition of Melodrama and taking you back to the Old West where the villains abound and heroes save the day. And YOU get to be part of the action! Then sit back and enjoy “olio” — a musical comedy revue full of singing, dancing and laughs brought to you by some of the best talent Wichita has to offer. Buffet is served prior to the performance.

Day Two

8 – 9:00 am
Have breakfast at the hotel and board the coach.

9 – 10:30 am
Spend a little time at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, known as one of the most beautiful attractions in Wichita. Take a guided tour through the lovely gardens, including nearly 10 acres and 24 themed gardens.

10:30 – 12:30 pm
A hot stop in Wichita is the Kansas Aviation Museum. It chronicles Wichita’s evolution into the “Air Capital of the World.” Aviation is the area’s largest industry; with 42 percent of the general aviation aircraft worldwide manufactured here. The museum displays a growing collection of aircraft and aviation related artifacts.

Note: For those who’d prefer the option of shopping, choices available will please the sophisticate as well as the antique hunter. Featuring major retailers and eclectic shops holding hidden treasures in off-the-beaten-path locations.

12:30 – 2:00 pm
Have lunch at Wichita’s premier steak house, make reservations for your group at “Scotch and Sirloin” in their banquet room. Order a steak that was raised right here in the heart of cattle country – just imagine how delicious that will taste! There are many options for the lighter appetite as well.

2  – 2:30 pm
Board the coach for the ride north to Newton along I -135. Newton is where the trails turned to rails. Come and see how bonnets, beards and buggies have been forsaken for a more modern lifestyle.

2:30 – 3:30 pm
Start off at the Harvey County Historical Museum, an original Carnegie Library housing local and railroad history.

3:30 – 4:30 pm
Next up is the Kauffman Museum, a first class museum depicting the cultural and natural history of the Central Plains and the immigration of Mennonites in 1870’s.

4:30 – 5:30 pm
End the afternoon with a historical driving tour of Newton, viewing historic buildings and landmarks.

5:30 – 6:30 pm
Enjoy a bite at the Breadbasket, home of the best tasting soups, sandwiches and scrumptious pie!

5:30 – 6:15 pm
Board the coach and continue your travels north to the town of McPherson.

4 – 5:00 pm
Enjoy a coffee break at Neighbors Cafe, serving modest “just like mom used to make” specialties. Enjoy a seat at the counter like the old days.

5- 5:30 pm
Check into your hotel and relax a while before dinner. The evening is on your own. Take a walk, talk to the neighbors, smell the fresh air…

Day Three

8 – 9:30 am
After breakfast, a step on guide will join you for the McPherson Trolley Tour.

See the beautiful, historied downtown, enjoy the ride and hear the history and stories of the town. See the historic McPherson Opera House, the Vaniman Mansion, Brethren Church, travel by historic homes of prominent citizens of days gone by, plus McPherson College, which is home to the nationally recognized Auto Restoration Program, just to name a few highlights on the ride.

9:30 – 10:00 am
Take a little jaunt north to Lindsborg where you can enjoy coffee and pastries at the Courtyard Bakery and Café. You may arrange for a docent to greet your group.

10 – 11:30 am
This town is a “must-visit” for anyone interested in Midwest art. There is a variety of galleries to choose from, including the Courtyard Gallery in downtown. This Gallery is your exclusive source for a wide variety of fine art, specializing in Kansas’s artists. In their warm inviting atmosphere, you can easily imagine the environment of your home or office enhanced by a work of art. Or choose an original accessory item to compliment your personal appearance.

11:30 – 1:00 pm
Spend some time visiting the historic buildings, such as the restored 1898 Flour Mill and the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion before lunch.

1 – 2:00 pm
Grab some lunch at a local restaurant.

2 – 3:00 pm
Arrive in beautiful Salina, halfway between LA and New York! Check into one of many group-friendly hotels.

3 – 6:00 pm
Take some time to do some shopping and view the architecturally stunning downtown Lee District.  Then freshen up before your night on the town.

6 – 11:00 pm
Have a tasty steak dinner at one of Salina’s fine restaurants and follow it up with a performance at The Stiefel Theatre For The Performing Arts. See its luscious gold leaf decor, grand staircase and gleaming chandeliers in this restored 1931 beauty located in the heart of downtown Salina. This intimate concert venue with 1286 seats offers world-class shows you’ll never forget.

Day Four

8 – 9:00 am
Head out and enjoy your beautiful surroundings!

9 – 11:00 am
Explore a world-class zoo and the new wildlife museum at the Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure.  You won’t believe what you see! This is a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you have an hour or two days, this is a place you must see to appreciate. It is a wildlife encounter that truly has extraordinary surprises around every corner.

11- 1:30 pm
Spend the remainder of your time in Salina sampling wine selections and tour the barrel cave at the Smoky Hill Vineyards and Winery or enjoy one of their phenomenal Winemaker’s Dinners.  Roam with the buffalo at Smoky Hill Bison Company or get back to nature in one of their beautiful parks

1:30 – 2:00 pm
Head on over to Abilene, a town with a colorful history, just a short ride on I-70. Also known as one of the “biggest little cities” in the Midwest.

2 – 3:30 pm
Take a ride on the excursion train, pulled by a restored steam engine.

3:30 – 4:30 pm
Afterwards, visit the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Libraryand Museum. Home to him from 1892 when he attended elementary school through high school. It is now the burial site of President Eisenhower, his wife, Mamie, and their first-born son.

4:30 – 5 pm
Make plans to come back to Abilene to experience all the other treasures here! But for now you are off to Junction City.

5 – 6:00 pm
Arrive in Junction City, located in the heart of Kansas’ Scenic Flint Hills of Geary County. You’ll bunk here tonight in one of their many group friendly hotels.

6 – 8:00 pm
Spend some time exploring and learning at the Geary County Historical Museum, and then you’ll be treated to the “Undercover Show” – a live show featuring the undergarment fashions of the 1800’s to the early 1900’s. This show will bring about many laughs and smiles. Follow it up with a buffet dinner.

Day Five

8 – 9:00 am
Have a down-home breakfast and begin your day.

9 – 11:00 am
Junction City is full of history. Take a tour of Custer House on Fort Riley, plus a tour of the U.S. Cavalry Museum and the 1st Infantry Division Museum. See the Buffalo Soldier Memorial, and visit a one-room schoolhouse, cabin and historic church at the Spring Valley Historic Site.

11 – 12:15 pm
Grab a bite to eat and it’s time to head on over to Manhattan.

12:15 – 3:00 pm
Welcome to the “The Little Apple”, Home of Kansas State University and so much more. Enjoy an old-fashioned ice cream at Call Hall Dairy Bar. Located on campus; it has housed the KSU Dairy Processing Plant since 1964. (Check into touring the plant as well).

Afterwards enjoy a Historic Walking Tour of Aggieville. It will be like stepping back in time as a volunteer leads you back to the 50’s era with a tour of the oldest historic shopping district in Kansas. A trip back to enjoy Manhattan and its theatre and nightlife is a must.

3 – 4:00 pm
Board the coach for the last leg of your tour in Council Grove.

4:00 pm
Another treasure nestled in the scenic Flint Hills prairie in east-central Kansas; this backcountry looks much like it did a century ago. Back when Kaw Indians made this beautiful prairie their home, and wagon trains rolled through, west bound on the Santa Fe Trail. Some of those ruts remain as romantic relics of the trail years.

A tour takes you to over a dozen registered historic sites in your time spent here. History buffs enjoy the numerous area sites and information about early Council Grove residents. Among them are the Kaw Mission, Seth Hays, and Wah-shun-gah, the last Kaw Chief born on the local reservation. Enjoy dinner at the Hays House, the oldest continuously operated restaurant west of the Mississippi River, and the food is delicious!

For more information on this sample itinerary please contact your tour operator or any of the above advertisers found on pages 29-33 of Itineraries Midwest 2009.

Please see pages 28-29 for additional Kansas itineraries.

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