Aug 22 – 26, 2016
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Sometimes we overlook the good things right in our own backyard while searching for things far away. Kansas, our neighboring, state is a good example. The Sunflower State. The Jayhawker State. The Wheat State. Midway, U.S.A. All are fitting nicknames for Kansas, a state where the history is rich and the landscape surprisingly varied. This tour covers just a small sample of all the things that Kansas has to offer. It is short but packed full of things to see. So pack your bag, and we will take you on an exciting journey down the Yellow Brick Road!
The first day of our journey to The Yellow Brick Road begins with a travel day to Wichita, Kansas. We should arrive mid-afternoon, and we will take our break at the Nut House – The Nifty Nut House that is. You are going to see nuts and candy that you haven’t seen since you were a kid. There are different sections, so don’t spend all your money when you first go in because I have it on good authority that there is chocolate just around the corner. Our overnight will be in Wichita, and dinner will be included tonight. (D)
Just a short journey north in Hutchinson, Kansas is the Strataca Salt Mines. The Kansas Underground Salt Museum is one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas. Located 650 feet beneath the earth’s surface in a salt bed formed 275 million years ago (but who’s counting?) during the Permian Period, Strataca is a truly unique destination. We will ride the Salt Mine Express, a narrated 15-minute train ride through a part of the mine that was active during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Next we will take The Dark Ride, a 30 minute tour on a tram through an area of the mine that includes lit areas explaining air flow, mine hazards and nuclear waste storage. You also get to collect a souvenir piece of salt! After this different and exciting tour, we re-board our bus for a very short ride to the Cosmosphere and Space Center which has one of the most significant collections of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world! Its Hall of Space Museum is one of only three museums in the world to display flown spacecraft from all three early-manned space programs – Mercury (Liberty Bell 7), Gemini (Gemini 10) and Apollo (Apollo 13). Our first stop will be an included Lunar Outpost lunch before beginning our guided tour through the Hall of Space Museum. The museum collection is second only to that of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and harbors the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside Moscow. After the tour, we will take our seats in the Carey IMAX Theater, one of only 14 IMAX dome theaters in the world where we will watch a documentary film. What an exciting day! We continue on to Abilene, Kansas for our overnight. (B.L)
Do you remember Ike? This morning we are going to tour the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home. The complex includes the Library, Museum and Place of Meditation—the final resting place of the 5-star General and 34th President of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower—all located in his hometown of Abilene. Also included is the Boyhood Home where he lived from 1898 until being appointed to West Point in 1911. This destination also includes the visitors’ center and gift shop. After lunch, we will depart for Yellow Brick Road Country. Our first stop will be the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, Kansas. It pays a dynamic tribute to the 10,000 square miles of tallgrass prairie and geographic Flint Hills that envelop Manhattan. Our visit starts in the massive 60 foot, 120 degree concave screen in the Immersive Experience Theater to watch the multimedia feature Tallgrass Prairie: Tides of Time. The theater brings the prairie experience to life in full-color brilliance complete with sights, sounds and innovative effects. Feel the hair on your arms stand up as you hear howls from a pack of prairie coyotes! We continue down the Yellow Brick Road as we travel to Wamego, Kansas to visit the OZ Museum and gift shop. You will start your visit at the Auntie Em’s Gift Shop then pass through the screen door and into the Technicolor world of Oz. Follow the path of the Yellow Brick Road throughout the museum and view over 100 years of Oz history. Our destination for this evening is Kansas City, Missouri for two nights lodging. (B)
No Bags Out! Don’t you love those words? We have a leisurely morning, so you may wish to get some photo ops of the Kaufman and Arrowhead Stadiums, homes of the Royals and Chiefs, located just across the street from your hotel. We depart our hotel for a visit to the Arabia Steamboat Museum. When the mighty Steamboat Arabia sank on September 5, 1856, she carried 200 tons of mystery cargo. She was lost for 132 years and recovered in 1988. The steamer was still fully loaded when it hit a tree snag and sank just 6 miles west of Kansas City. Due to erosion, the Missouri River changed course over time, and the Arabia was buried underground for over a century—along with all of its precious cargo. Lying 45-feet deep beneath a Kansas cornfield, the Arabia’s payload was protected from light and oxygen and was thus remarkably well preserved. You will have the one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience the everyday objects that made life possible for pioneers in the 1800s. We depart this most interesting attraction, and after lunch on your own, we will visit Crowne Center and the Hallmark Visitor Center. You will have plenty of time to visit Hallmark (it’s free), shop or walk across the Skywalk to Union Station. This evening, Making Memories Tours is treating you to a live Theatrical Production, Next to Normal, at the Musical Theater on the 3rd Floor of the Crown Center. (B)
We depart for home today, but before we go, we will visit the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. Included is the Presidential Library and resting place of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. Facing the awesome decisions that he had to make while in office, including whether or not to use the Atom bomb, he was the one that coined the phrase “The buck stops here.” It was the first presidential library to be created under the provisions of the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act. We have just visited two of the 13 presidential libraries – Truman and Eisenhower – administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. We will do a drive by of the 14 room Victorian House of Harry S. Truman and his childhood sweetheart, Bess, where he lived for over 50 years, until his death in 1972. Making Memories has taken a short tour and filled it with so many exciting, educational and fun things! We hope you travel down the Yellow Brick Road again soon because it is the perfect place to make wonderful memories you will never forget! (B)