Due to Covid-19, many of the free or inexpensive outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled. A few have come back, though, in 2021. (Updated for New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2021.) Read more
Christmas festivals at zoos have become huge holiday attractions. In the Midwest alone, at least eighteen zoos celebrate with holiday lights, carols, animal shows, and even ice skating rinks. Brookfield Zoo, Chicago’s oldest holiday zoo event, is celebrating its 40th year in 2021. But the very first zoo holiday lights event in the nation was Indianapolis Zoo’s Christmas at the Zoo, which dates back to 1967!
Many other zoos have hopped aboard the holiday festival train over the years. Here are a few highlights of eighteen Midwest zoo holiday lights events for 2021, listed by state: Read more
From 1854 to 1929 about a quarter million orphaned or abandoned children, some as young as three years old, rode trains west from New York and other large cities to begin new lives. Put up for foster care in rural areas, some siblings never saw each other again. Today, the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, Kansas, documents this little-known part of American history and relates heart-felt personal stories of orphan train riders. Read more
When insurance salesman Max Zimmerman attended a convention in California in 1978, he went to dinner with his name tag still on. His waitress told him she had never been to Kansas. Max asked what she might expect to see in the state. She replied, “Dorothy’s house,” referring to the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. So upon his return home to Liberal, Kansas, Max and the community worked to bring Dorothy’s house to Liberal. Today, the attraction includes both Dorothy’s House and The Land of Oz. Read more
The restored B-29 Superfortress named Doc is back home in Wichita, Kansas, where it was made during World War II. The aircraft appears in 12 to 15 air shows every year and offers periodic rides. When not at an air show, visitors can tour the plane at the B-29 Doc Hangar, Education & Visitors Center in Wichita. Read more
The little house on a corner in Meade, Kansas, looked like any family home in the late 1800s. The family who lived there appeared to be the average family. John Whipple owned a local mercantile. His wife, Eva, partnered in a millinery shop before the two married and Eva gave birth to a little girl. But the wife and mother didn’t come from your average family. She was a Dalton, and three of her ten brothers belonged to the Dalton Gang. After Eva and John moved out of the little house on the corner, a 95-foot tunnel connecting the house with the barn was discovered. Historians believe Eva occasionally harbored the Dalton Gang in the house, and the Wild West outlaws used the tunnel to avoid being noticed. Today you can tour the Dalton Gang Hideout, walking from the barn, though the tunnel, and into the house. Read more