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Kansas mapThe rough and tumble of Kansas history lies in stark contrast to the Kansas of Hollywood myth and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

The first white Kansas settlements were frontier outposts like Fort Leavenworth established in 1827. Later, just prior to the eruption of the U.S. Civil War, sporadic violence and mayhem reigned supreme between pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists earning the state the infamous title of Bleeding Kansas.

Quiet eventually returned to Kansas and, today, the most hubbub heard throughout the state is in peak summer tourist season -- when tourists flock to attractions ranging anywhere from historic walking tours in Dodge City to an interactive trip through time and space at the Smithsonian affiliated Cosmosphere in Hutchinson.

Other top attractions include the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka and, oddly enough, the world's largest ball of twine in Cawker City.

kansas tourist attractions
Off the beaten track attractions in Kansas include the Oz Museum in Wamego, the Carrie Nation
home in Medicine Lodge, and the world's largest ball of twine in Cawker City.

And, of course, there's no place like Kansas for an entire itinerary of other, more off-the-beaten track attractions including the Oz Museum in Wamego (featuring a recreation of Dorothy's farm house), and the Paul Boyer Gallery of Animated Carvings in Belleville.

The Carrie Nation house in Medicine Lodge also remains as tribute to the hatchet wielding prohibitionist who launched her nationwide temperance movement in 1900 when she famously chopped up three bars in nearby Kiowa, Kansas.

also see -> Kansas Lakes & Beaches | Kansas Campgrounds

DID YOU KNOW? Kansas Travel Fun Facts

Leaving the red light on for you ....

• The term "red light district" came from the Red Light Bordello in Dodge City, Kansas. The infamous house-of-ill-repute had a red glass door which, at night when the lamps were lit, produced a red glow that reflected onto the street. The name eventually came to refer to an entire brothel district.

• A forerunner to Howard Johnson's and McDonalds, the Harvey Houses were America's first restaurant chain that began in 1876 to serve railroad travelers. For a look back at its heyday visit the Harvey House Museum in Florence.

• Every September, Russell Springs (population, 28) hosts a cow-chip throwing contest and proclaims itself "The Cow Chip Capital of Kansas".

• Eccentric Civil War veteran S.P. Dinsmoor used over 100 tons of concrete to build his bizarre mausoleum in Lucas, dubbed The Garden of Eden.

More about Kansas tourist attractions around the Web:

Kansas Travel & Tourism
- Outdoor fun & recreation are the focus here with a guide to Kansas state parks, boating & camping facilities, as well as links to major tourist attractions throughout the state by city or region, online live chat & help center, calendar of events, photo gallery.

Kansas Tourist Attractions - Check out Roadside America's survey of offbeat, unusual and downright bizarre attractions throughout the state.

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