Kansas is a state with a number of interesting attractions dotted about the state. One of the many hidden gems is Rock City. Rock City is a park containing three clusters of large spherical boulders. These are one of the many interesting landmarks to find around the United States. The Great Plains are often considered featureless and possibly boring, but there are a number of attractions and points of interest to be found around the vast region worth visiting.
Rock City is a small attraction that one should see if passing through. It can be part of a Kansas road trip or as an attraction to check out while passing through the region. If one is looking for a place to enjoy the festivities of Halloween in Kansas, then certainly go and visit the festival of Neewollah in Independence, Kansas (Neewhollah is Halloween backward).
Rock City & The Largest Collection Of Large Concretions
Rock City overlooks the Solomon River in Ottawa County and covered a patch of prairie around 1600 feet or 500 meters long and 130 feet or 40 meters wide. They are very impressive when seen in real life.
- Number of Boulders: Around 200
- Size: Between 10 and 20 Feet
The boulders are said to be shaped like cannonballs. They range in size from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters), with the average diameter being 12 feet or 3.6 meters.
Concretions have long been mistaken for unrelated things like dinosaur eggs. They are hard, compact masses of matter (often sandstone) cemented together. They are often ovoid or spherically shaped.
It is a great family activity that doesn't take long to explore. There are connecting mown trails leading to the boulders. The kids will enjoy climbing on top of the boulders the size of houses.
What Concretions Are And Where To Find Them
Like the Moeraki Boulders of New Zealand's South Island, the boulders of Rock City are large calcite-cemented concretions. Similar concretions can be found in other parts of the country and around the world. They are found in Lincoln County and in places in Utah and Wyoming. One of the best places to see them on the West Coast is Bowling Ball Beach.
- Formation: Dakota Sandstone
The concretions of Rock City were formed deep in geological history. They were formed by the diffusion of calcium and calcite in sandstone after being deeply buried. The carbon and calcium come from marine limestone, shells, anhydrite, or a combination of them.
The boulders are mostly composed of quartz sand. The sand accumulated in a river channel many millions of years ago and is part of the Dakota Sandstone. At that time, the land was a low-lying coastal plain, and much of what is today the Great Plains were an inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway.
Over geologic time the sand was buried and then compressed and cemented into solid rock. Groundwater that tracked through the sandy rock deposited the limy cement in places of the formation. The area about the limy cement became harder rock than the softer sandstone around it.
Visiting Rock City In Minneapolis, Kansas
Rock City has a few basic facilities, including a visitor center and picnic tables. There is a small admission fee, and the proceeds go to maintaining the park. There is a small gift shop there, and the park is operated by a local non-profit corporation.
There is a money box to leave the entry fees (visitors are encouraged to be honest) when the little gift shop is closed.
- Park Size: 5 Acres
- Location: 3.5 Miles South Of Minneapolis, Just Off Highway 106
Visitors are free to climb up on the boulders and enjoy the park. The park even claims there are no other places in the world with such a huge collection of large concretions (there may be other places that would contend that claim).
- Adult: $3.00
- Children: $0.50
Pets are also permitted but on a leash.
Another similar Kansas attraction is Mushroom Rock State Park, whose sandstone concretions also belong to the Dakota formations. They are more elongated and are still supported by the eroded, soften sandstone beneath them, so they look like mushrooms.