27 Unique & Quirky Things To Do In Kansas

I’m always up for finding experiences that aren’t the typical tourist attractions. As I traveled around, looking for things to do in Kansas, I found all sorts of unique and quirky attractions and experiences!

Whether I was tracking down murals, eating fried chicken, or standing on a gigantic belt buckle – I found some great things to do in Kansas that might not be on your radar. Hopefully this list will add some extra fun to your next road trip through the sunflower state!

1. See How Marbles Are Made

There are some really unique things to do in Kansas, including a stop at the Moon Marble Company. Moon Marble offers live demonstrations during the week to show visitors how marbles are made. You can buy marbles in bulk and find custom marbles for collectors. Their store has lots of cool games, and toys for all ages! (Note: they are closed on weekends.)

600 E. Front Street, Bonner Springs, KS 66012

2. See “Mater” From The Movie Cars

In the town of Galena you’ll find the actual truck that inspired “Tow-Mater” in the popular Pixar film, Cars. Director John Lasseter and animator Joe Ranft of Pixar visited this Kan-O-Tex Service Station on old Route 66 in Galena and spotted the rusty tow truck that’s still there at the restored 1934 gas station. The movie actually gives a few nods to Galena and of course, the rest of historic Route 66.

119 N. Main Street, Galena, KS 66739

3. Count The Dala Horses in Lindsborg

Known as “America’s Little Sweden”, Lindsborg is an adorable small town in mid-Kansas with these decorated Dala horses scattered about town. All of them have been uniquely painted and some of them are hiding in plain sight! If you’re strolling through Lindsborg’s charming Main Street, take time to admire all of them. But you’ll also find them at various local attractions, parks, and businesses!

4. Tour The Original Pizza Hut

There’s not much to this tiny building – or “hut” – but it’s certainly historic! Now located on the campus of Wichita State University, the original Pizza Hut is now a tiny museum dedicated to a notable Kansas success story. The Carney brothers began their quest to build a national chain of pizza restaurants in Wichita. (The building has been moved to the campus from its original location in town.)

2090 Innovation Blvd, Wichita, KS 67208

5. Climb Inside Big Brutus!

The world’s largest surviving electric shovel is a sight to behold. Big Brutus, the machine’s nickname, is absolutely incredible to see in person. Once used for coal mining in southeast Kansas – this massive machine is so big that it literally has office space inside of it! This giant machine easily makes the list of quirky things to do in Kansas! It’s similar to being inside of a battleship, with massive gears and pulleys that make this thing function.

It weighs over 1 million pounds and is over 26 stories high. Visitors can still climb the steps and see what’s inside!

6509 NW 60th St, West Mineral, KS 66782

6. Have An ICEE Where It Was Invented!

The ICEE was invented in the town of Coffeyville, Kansas. A local Dairy Queen owner developed the idea after serving iced drinks in the 1950s and noticing how popular they were. Working with a manufacturer in Dallas, he created the machine that made the ICEE. (7-11 would purchase his machines to make their own frozen drinks – now known as Slurpees.)

While the original Dairy Queen is no longer standing, travelers can still stop into the Coffeyville Visitors Center and order up an ICEE! Enjoy the sweet treat while you check out the local museums, murals, and downtown shops.

807 S Walnut St, Coffeyville, KS 67337

7. Follow The Yellow Brick Road To Oz

Quirky Things To Do in Kansas

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this small museum in Wamego, Kansas. And while it doesn’t have any real artifacts that were featured in The Wizard of Oz – it’s still one of the cool things to do in Kansas! (Certainly worthy of the 10 mile detour from Interstate 70!) They have lots of of Oz collectibles, including the books that the movie was based off of. Best of all – the video documentaries dispelling myths and behind the scenes stories – are outstanding. (Don’t miss the “yellow brick road” across the street, and Toto statues around town.)

511 Road to Oz Highway, Wamego, KS 66547

8. Read The Original Rules of Basketball

This was pretty cool – especially if you’re a fan of basketball. Located on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence are James Naismith’s original rules of basketball. Obviously they’ve added quite a few since back then! The rules and a few exhibits are on display – for free at The DeBruce Center. (They’re on the second level of the building.) Parking is available in the garage around the corner.

1647 Naismith Dr, Lawrence, KS 66045

9. Eat A Meal Across From A Prison

I loved the slogan on this restaurant across the street from the historic Leavenworth prison so much – I had to visit! “The Little Steak House Across From The Big House” is on the sign of the Metropolitan Steak House in Leavenworth, Kansas. Even if you don’t grab a meal, be sure to catch a glimpse of the beautiful prison building across the street. Don’t linger too long though – there are plenty of signs warning you to stay off their property.

1501 Metropolitan Ave, Leavenworth, KS 66048

10. Get Up Close To Bison At Maxwell Wildlife Refuge

Just 30 minutes away from Lindsborg is the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge where 200 bison roam free. Visitors can get a unique, up close experience and see these animals like never before. It’s a beautiful, peaceful part of the region, and a guided tour will bring you right into the middle of the relaxed herd. (Which is likely to include some babies as well!) It’s an amazing experience and one of the top things to do in Kansas. Check out their website for tour information for individuals and groups!

 2565 Pueblo Rd, Canton, KS 67428

11. Ride A Super Fast Carousel in Leavenworth

The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth was one of my favorite things to do in Kansas! There are some incredible artifacts related to the C.W. Parker Carousel company. But, the star of the museum is this wonderful, century old carousel that is lighting fast! (I swear, I’ve never seen or experienced a carousel zooming around as fast as this thing does!) Thrill seekers – give it a shot, but hold on!

320 S. Esplanade Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048

12. Climb Atop The World’s Biggest Belt Buckle

Can you see me up there? Abilene has the world’s largest belt buckle and a set of stairs to climb to the top of it. It’s located next to the local fairgrounds and a fun photo op if you’re passing through town. At 19 feet 10 ½ inches wide and 13 feet 11 ¼ inches tall – it officially earned the title in 2022.

400 N. Pine Street, Abilene, KS 67410

13. Track Down All The Kansas Murals

From Wichita to Junction City and towns all over the state of Kansas, you’ll find some incredible murals! It was one of my favorite parts of exploring the state on a recent road trip. Some of the best spots to find them include Salina, Clay Center, Fort Scott, and Abilene. I put together a guide to some of my favorites in the state which you can read here.

14. Spend The Morning At A Working Dairy Farm

While there are dairy farms throughout the state of Kansas, I was drawn to the popular Hildebrand Farms Dairy in Geary County. Visitors can arrange a tour which takes you through the entire process of milking cows, bottling, and taking care of dozens of cows along the way. It’s a small enough facility that you can get up-close to the action and really understand the entire process. Plus, the family that owns it is super nice. (FYI – there’s ice cream at the end of your tour!)

5210 Rucker Road, Junction City, KS

15. Bourbon Tasting & Motorcycles

Less than 30 minutes off of 135, the tiny town of Marquette is truly a step back in time to simpler days. You can enjoy a bourbon tasting at Smoky Valley Distillery where they make small batch bourbons in an historic old building on Main Street. (They are an incredibly nice family, too!)

Across the street, pop into the Kansas Motorcycle Museum which is loaded with antique motorcycles and collectibles related to racing. A local racer founded the museum which displays his hundreds of winning trophies on the wall as an impressive homage.

105 N Washington St, Marquette, KS 67464

16. Count The Gorillas In Pittsburg

Only one college in America has a gorillas as its mascot and that college is in the town of Pittsburg, Kansas. Pittsburg State College has “Gorilla Village” where a large gorilla sculpture sits next to the football stadium. But, all over town you’ll notice gorilla murals and gorilla statues – often painted in colors to match the business where they’re located.

1705 S Joplin St, Pittsburg, KS 66762

17. Meet Manhattan’s 24-Foot Tall Wheat Farmer

A 24-foot tall statue of Johnny Kaw, the Pioneer Kansas Wheat farmer, stands in the Manhattan City Park. The statue was constructed in 1966, eleven years after the Manhattan Centennial celebration that inspired George Filinger to write the story of Johnny Kaw. The statue is easy to spot from the street and located in the middle of a park with ball fields, a pavilion, and playground.

1101 Fremont St Manhattan, KS 66502

18. View A Stunning Stained Glass Window

One of the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen is located at the Dole Center For Politics in Lawrence, Kansas. While the museum dedicated to Kansas Senator Bob Dole is actually really interesting, the American flag themed window really steals the show. It was built with materials all made in the USA and is the largest stained glass flag in the U.S.

2350 Petefish Dr, Lawrence, KS 66045

19. See The World’s Largest Easel

unique things to do in Kansas

Another one of the giant things to do in Kansas! Just when you think there’s nothing to see along that boring stretch of Interstate 70 as you’re heading to Colorado, you pass the town of Goodland. Here you’ll find the world’s largest easel and a massive replica of a Van Gough painting — appropriately with sunflowers.  It’s 80 feet tall, and atop it rests a 32×24-foot representation of one of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” paintings. It’s about a half-mile off of I-70, along Hwy 24 near the center of town.

20. Hop On A Trail of Tacos

The Taco Trail in Kansas City, Kansas is totally legit – with as many as 60 spots to choose from! You can download a free app, win free prizes, and try to sample as many places as you can during your visit. If you’re looking for things to do in Kansas that involve food – this would be a great one to add to your list!

21. Pose For A Photo With Mr. Spock

Located outside of a comic book shop in Leavenworth (how appropriate) you’ll find this giant Mr. Spock mural! Gator’s Games and Hobby is the name of the store. The artist is Jeremy M. Raymer of Pittsburgh, PA. Such a fun photo op!

720 Shawnee Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048

22. Visit The Ag Hall Of Fame & Museum

On your list of quirky things to do in Kansas, consider a stop at the Ag Hall of Fame & Museum. This museum is dedicated to the agriculture industry in both Kansas and the U.S. There’s a large museum with tractors, exhibits on farming, and an actually Hall of Fame for exceptional farmers and inventors who helped advance the industry. There’s also a replica of an “old farm town” and a train ride for kids.

630 N. 126th Street, Bonner Springs, KS 66012

23. Eat Famous Fried Chicken in Southeast Kansas

fried chicken in kansas

Apparently back in the day, fried chicken wars were legendary in southeast Kansas! When I heard that one of the favorite things to do in Kansas was eating fried chicken – I was all in! Some of those famous chicken restaurants still exist! Six of the oldest chicken restaurants in the state of Kansas are located near Pittsburg. The oldest, Chicken Annies, was opened way back in 1934. It’s located directly across the street from the Kansas Crossing Casino.

24. Watch The Sunset at Coronado Heights

sunset at coronado heights

Kansas is an under the radar destination for most travelers and many people would have no idea that sunsets in this state can be really spectacular. One of the top spots to catch the sunset is at Coronado Heights park, just a few miles outside of the town of Lindsborg. If you’re looking for memorable things to do in Kansas – add this spot to your list. It was beautiful! Be sure to check out the Coronado Castle while you’re up on top of the hill, too!

25. Stand Under A Giant Spur

At 28 feet high, the big spur stands on its ends to form an arch and weighs a ton. If you’re looking for things to do in Kansas that will make for fun Instagram photos – this is a great one! The spur was built by Larry Houston in 2002 and was certified as the World’s Largest Spur by Guinness World Records until 2017. It stands in front of Rittel’s Western Wear in Abilene.

1810 N Buckeye, Abilene, KS 67410

26. Tour Fred Harvey’s Kansas Mansion

things to do in Kansas

Fred Harvey was the man that created the first chain of restaurants in the U.S. – mostly at train stations and hotels. They were known as “Harvey Houses”. He lived up in Leavenworth in this beautiful three story, twelve room mansion where he and his wife raised their five children.

 ​624 Olive Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048

27. Find All Of The Kansas Legends At A Shopping Mall

While you’re doing some shopping in Kansas City at the Legends outdoor mall, look for all of the sculptures, signs, and murals dedicated to the legendary figures that called Kansas home. From Amelia Earhart to Dwight Eisenhower – and even the Yellow Brick Road from OZ makes an appearance.

1843 Village West Pkwy, Kansas City, KS 66111

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