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Grain elevators of the midwest, Kansas© Gary L. BrewerGrain elevators of the midwest, Kansas
© Gary L. Brewer
With "Home on the Range" as its state song, Kansas is a popular destination for wannabe cowboys. You can test your horse riding skills on cattle drives at working ranches, admire the skills of modern-day cowboys and cowgirls at the state's numerous rodeos, or tuck into trail-style vittles at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper. You can also travel back in time at recreated Wild West settlements at the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita and the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City.

Tallgrass prairie is one of the world's most endangered ecosystems, and you can explore the only virgin stretch of it in North America at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City. Hike through this haunting landscape or take a guided bus tour. You can also hike or cycle through prairie and woodlands along the Prairie Spirit Rail Trail, a 53-kilometre (33-mile) route from Welda to Ottawa.

Huge herds of bison once thundered across the Kansas prairie. Today, you can see some of the descendants of these kings of the plains at the Sandsage Bison Range in Garden City or the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near Canton.

Downtown Kansas City with Union Station in the foreground© Sharon DayDowntown Kansas City with Union Station in the foreground
© Sharon Day
In the state capital of Topeka, don't miss a site dedicated to one of the most important court cases of the civil rights struggle: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. Opened in 2004 in what was Monroe Elementary, the segregated school Linda Brown was once forced to attend, the museum examines the background and repercussions of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision. Also in Topeka, you'll find the Kansas Museum of History, where the collection includes a full-sized Cheyenne tipi, a 1911 biplane and an interactive children's gallery called Discovery Place. History buffs may also enjoy the Eisenhower Center in Abilene, boyhood home of President Dwight Eisenhower, where you'll now find his Presidential Library.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF