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Come Visit Kansas - The Sunflower State

Updated on April 6, 2015

My Home Town, Wichita, Kansas


My Home Town

Whenever people hear the state I am from, I am almost always met with surprise. "You live in Kansas? But why?" Or, "So how is Oz?" "How are Dorothy and Toto?" Once even, "Do you guys still travel by covered wagon?" I always have to take a step back and take a deep breath before I answer.

Why Do I Live Here?

Why do I live in Kansas? To me there is not a more beautiful state to be in. When the song says “amber waves of grain” I know the songwriter had been to Kansas. Anyone that has seen a Kansas wheat field right before or at harvest time has seen those amber waves. I love the color of the wheat just before it ripens – there are no words to describe that color – no crayon in the box can match it. Not even pictures give the color justice. The color is an almost green-gold - that color cannot be is just too beautiful for man or machine to recreate.The color is almost a golden-green. There is just a hint of green as it is turning to the golden amber color. The ends of the wheat stalks are tinged with that green, making the golden color sparkle and shine. Seniors in high school and couples getting married want their pictures taken in the wheat fields on those few days that the wheat is that awesome color. As I said, though, the pictures do not do that color justice. That is only one of the reasons I love my state.

Kansas State Fair

If you want to know and see the best of Kansas there are two times to visit. One is in September, during the state fair in Hutchinson. At the fair, as with any state fair in our great country, you can see a variety of the things that make Kansas what it is. There are samples of every crop that you could imagine growing, along with any animal that may be used in any capacity on a farm. Horses, rabbits, chickens, pigs and goats all share barns with different colored ribbons hanging from most enclosures. There are men and women who share their special skills – from milking, baking and vegetable growing, to horseback riding and herd dogs going through all of their “tricks.”

There are also a variety of businesses showcased at the fair. You can find tractor dealers on the same aisle as people hawking a variety of aircraft. Schools and colleges also show what they have to offer, as do many of the service industries. There are several buildings filled with baked goods, soaps, lotions, candles, make-up and cooking products. If you want the latest appliances for your kitchen or barn, you will find it at the fair.

And don’t forget the carnival rides! There is the Ferris wheel, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the train and the tram. There are rides for toddlers and teenagers and every age in between and above. On those warm days of the end of summer, you can also enjoy the water rides. For a unique experience found only at the Kansas State Fair, try the Old Mill ride – a trip through a winding river with all kinds of surprises.

Wichita River Festival

Another time to visit the state of Kansas is the first week of June. That is time for the “Party on the Prairie,” also known as the Wichita River Festival. The River Fest, as it is commonly known, started in the 1970’s. It has gone on every year since that beginning so many years ago. Just recently the celebration has moved from its original month of May to the beginning of June. This move was made in part due to the weather in Kansas during May and partly to accommodate school children.

The River Fest is just one big party that lasts nine days. It showcases many of the museums and other attractions in Wichita. For the price of a button - this year a reasonable five dollars - you can get into many of these places.

One place that you should visit is Cowtown. Cowtown is a recreation of Wichita in the 1800’s during the cattle drive days. People dressed in period clothing give tours of homes, businesses, schools and churches that made Wichita what it is today. There are also animals that were used at that time. School tours can visit the one room school house and have lessons taught from that time period. You need to be careful walking down main street – you never know when a gun fight will break out. Don’t forget to visit the saloon to wet your whistle and watch the dance hall girls perform.

Not far from Cowtown is Botanica. Botanica is an oasis in the middle of a busy city. There are many varieties of plants and flowers to admire on paths around the park. If you are lucky, you can visit the butterfly hut and have butterflies land on you as you walk through. It is a beautiful place to go if you are interested in plants and flowers. It’s also a cool place to come to get out of the heat of the day.

Not downtown, but a part of the River Fest nonetheless, is the award winning Sedgwick County Zoo. The zoo is on many hundreds of acres on the west side of town. It features lions, tigers, and bears…as well as a variety of animals from all around the world. Newer exhibits include the funny penguins and the ferocious tigers. One of my favorites parts of the zoo is the North American Exhibit that features black bears, buffalo, bald eagles and the ever popular prairie dogs. My grandson enjoys the gorillas and the lions. He is thrilled that he can see “Simba, Timon and Pumba” from the Lion King.

After visiting these attractions, you can go back downtown and enjoy the dances, food and fireworks that are always a part of the River Fest. As the name suggests, many of the activities take place in and around the river. This year there were even two zip lines to make your travel across the Arkansas river a little quicker.

Many of the activities surround Century II, a unique building that holds a convention center and theaters for community theater as well as national touring shows. This building is unique because of its shape. It has been called the "UFO" building by many for years. The building is round with a blue roof that really stands out. At night, the lights are reminiscent of pictures of Hollywood spaceships.

I Love My State

Of course, there are many more reasons to love the state of Kansas. The people are some of the nicest and kindest people you will ever meet. You see that in the aftermath of tornadoes when whole communities come together to help one another. You see it in the the way that communities decide to help one family that has been affected by illness, house fires, or other disasters. You see it in the way that communities come together to help out charities. You see it in the way individuals decide to come together to help a local cause.

Kansas is a wonderful state to live in. We have everything from very rural towns with less than a thousand people to big metro cities that have many thousands of people and everything in between. People can decide to live out in the middle of nowhere in peace and quiet or in a bustling metropolis that has everything anyone would need.

I love my state!


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    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      frogyfish - thank you for reading and appreciating the beauty of Kansas!

    • frogyfish profile image


      5 years ago from Central United States of America

      Your love and enjoyment of Kansas, as home, is evident and beautifully expressed. I've heard your question about covered wagons...and about cowboys and Indians too. I've seen your beautiful wheat waving under blue skies and the loo-ng stretch of horizon that seems endless...Thanks for sharing your story here.

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I still don't have internet but stayed at a hotel that did...I took advantage of it to post a couple of things...I love me there is no better place to live!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you are back! It's been awhile, hasn't it? Anyway, I have seen the wheat fields and when they are blowing in the wind it is a sight to remember. I love your enthusiasm for a state many would find boring....not me, I love the wide-openness of it all!

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      State fair is really great...there is lots to do...Wichita has lots to offer as well!

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      Gall...I in Kansas City right now visiting my daughter, son in law and's a wonderful place to visit but I prefer Wichita to live...thanks for commenting!

    • justateacher profile imageAUTHOR

      LaDena Campbell 

      6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      I have been to Dodge City a couple of times...and loved it! I'll need to go again and that to this hub...thanks for commenting!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Nice to hear the good things Kansas has to offer people. As you mentioned, we tend to only get the news on the tornado activity and not how wonderful the people are who live there. Would love to attend the state fair -- sounds like much fun.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 

      6 years ago from Kansas City - United States

      I laughed as I read the introduction to your hub because I have heard some of those comments about a million times. LOL I like about the Kansas City and surround areas is that you can enjoy the benefits of a city or work in the city, but live in the suburbs or even some rural areas without driving for hours. Voted up!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      what a super little travel guide if you will.. but I think you left out an important part of kansas.. home to the great Dodge city and it's fictional Matt Dillon and Gunsmoke.. 20 years on the air clearly put Kansas on the map.. yeah? LOL curious have you ever visited Front Street in Dodge City where the Fictional Marshal took place?

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I have only drove through Kansas but have a cousin that lives there. I know how you feel, up here they think we have to get to everything by snowmobile. They also think we talk like the people in the movie Fargo. Voted uP!


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