The state of Kansas is widely only thought of as a land of expansive plains and sunflower fields, without many landmarks outside some major cities like Wichita or Kansas City, where many main attractions exist. While the tranquility of the plains throughout the state is certainly a factor that is appealing to many and perhaps a bore to others, Kansas is also home to a multitude of unique sites to see which are often overlooked.
Here is a special list including giant wells, vast ecologically diverse prairies, mystical salt caverns, and pieces of history involving space exploration and former Presidents which make up the 8 Wonders of Kansas that everyone should know about.
8 The Big Well
The Big Well earns its place as one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas due to its status as a landmark project in the progress of engineering and its history as an important local water source.
Measuring at 32 feet wide and 109 feet deep, it became the world's largest hand dug well following its 11-year construction which began in 1887.
It is now the centerpiece of a museum that is well worth a visit.
The well is not the only giant awaiting visitors on the premises, as this museum is also home to a 1,000-pound pallasite (a specific type of meteorite) which was the largest recorded at the time of its discovery in 1949.
7 Cheyenne Bottoms/Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
Cheyenne Bottoms is a 41,000-acre lowland marsh (the largest in the interior US) which also serves as a critical migratory site for thousands of North American shorebirds.
329 species of birds have so far been recorded in this area including some endangered species like Whooping Cranes and Peregrine Falcons.
The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is found nearby and is directly connected to Cheyenne Bottoms via the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway.
This 22,135-acre refuge of prairies, sand dunes, and marshes hosts around 500,000 birds during spring migration.
The Cosmophere accomplished designation as a Wonder of Kansas for being home to perhaps the world's most noteworthy assemblage of Russian and US space artifacts.
The site had humble beginnings as a small planetarium on the Kansas State Fairgrounds before it grew into its globally recognized and respected form today.
This non-profit organization holds a Hall of Space Museum, the Carey IMAX Dome Theater, a planetarium, and astronaut training camps tailored for all ages.
5 Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum provides a celebratory overview of the life and accomplishments of the five-star General and former President.
Galleries on site document his life from childhood until his retirement and especially contain highlights of his notable influence on modern day America with issues like civil rights and the creation of the Interstate Highway System.
One of his former houses is also available to tour along with the burial grounds of President Eisenhower, his wife, and firstborn son.
4 Kansas Underground Salt Museum
Hutchinson, Kansas is home to one of only 16 salt mines in the US, and it is the only one in the Western Hemisphere with a museum open to the public.
This rare opportunity to descend into an otherworldly subterranean environment of fascinating rock formations and mining artifacts long left behind makes it more than worthy to make this list of Wonders.
There are also exhibitions inside which educate visitors on the area's geological history, salt mining, and how these caverns 650 feet below the earth's surface have been used to store over seven million documents.
3 Monument Rocks And Castle Rock
Monument Rocks and Castle Rock in western Kansas have become very special points of interest because these chalk beds have eroded into peculiar shapes and spires and also contain scientifically noteworthy fossils.
Monument Rocks, also known as the Chalk Pyramids, is a picturesque National Natural Landmark found on the western edge of Grove County.
Castle Rock lies on the eastern side of the county in the scenic valley of Hackberry Creek.
2 St. Fidelis Catholic Church
St. Fidelis Church in Victoria, Kansas is an enduring testament of the architectural skill of the Volga German pioneers that built it in the early 1900s.
Its twin bell towers beckon in visitors with a capacity of up to 11,000, which made it the largest church west of the Mississippi River at the time of its construction.
The church's interior was renovated in the 1990s and remains to be a celestial site to take in for casual visitors and faithful churchgoers alike.
1 Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve & the Flint Hills
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is one of the final prevailing examples of the expansive prowess of tallgrass prairie lands in North America which hold some of earth's most diverse ecosystems.
The soil in these prairies has mostly been taken over for crop production, so the approximate 4% of remaining prairies on this reserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas is considered one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet.