Kansas parks have special salutes

Kansas is encouraging visitors to discover its line-up of national parks this year as the U.S. National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday.


Throughout the year, visitors to the Sunflower State’s five national parks - Fort Larned, Fort Scott, Nicodemus and Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Sites and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve - will discover a full slate of festivities and some national treasures.

For example, at Fort Larned National Historic Site in south-central Kansas, an authentically-preserved Army fort from the Indian Wars era, nine original buildings, historical exhibits and living-history demonstrations offer insights into life on the frontier between 1859-1878.

It will host a battery of events, ranging from its annual Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30) and Picnic in the Park Centennial Celebration (August 27) to its Candlelight Tours (October 8) and Christmas Open House (December 10).

At Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City, visitors can experience over 11,000 acres of sweeping vistas on guided bus tours through the prairie (offered daily May – October), tours of the 1880s limestone mansion, three-story limestone barn and one-room schoolhouse, and hikes on 40 miles of trails.

Or add a centennial twist to a visit for the Cowboy Holiday (July 2), Picnic in the Park (August 25) and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve’s own 20th birthday celebration (November 12).

A traveling theater production, “Lift Every Voice: The Black Experience in the Heartland,” will play at four park sites this summer. The play celebrates African American history in Kansas and the Midwest.

And several of Kansas’s parks will celebrate the National Park Service’s actual 100th birthday (August 25) with Picnic in the Park and other vintage fun.

Visit findyourpark.com and nps.gov