50 Reasons to Hit the Road This Summer

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DeBruce Center

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk! The 32,000-square-foot DeBruce Center on the University of Kansas campus is home to the original rules of basketball, created in 1891 by James Naismith. The new facility, which adjoins Allen Fieldhouse at 1647 Naismith Drive, also features a slightly larger than life-size statue of Naismith; the Courtside Cafe, with seating for more than 200 people; a catering space for events; the Original Rules Gift Shop; and displays celebrating Naismith and legendary basketball coach Forrest “Phog” Allen.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

More information on the DeBruce Center

Photo credit: CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

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Zoos

Tigers, koalas, antelope, oh my! The Kansas City Zoo, 6800 Zoo Drive in Kansas City, Mo., is showing off some new animals this summer: two scimitar-horned oryx calves — a type of desert antelope — recently born at the zoo; two Sumatran tigers — 4-year-old brothers Conrad and Thomas — born at the San Diego Safari Park; and a pair of koalas — 2-year-olds Coedie and Burra — from the San Diego Zoo. The zoo is a 202-acre nature sanctuary with a multitude of animals, interactive experiences and educational programs.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission: $14.50 for ages 12-54; $13.50 for seniors age 55 and older; $11.50 for ages 3-11; free for ages 2 and under

More information on the Kansas City Zoo

Bonus: Exotic animals also can be seen at the Topeka Zoo, 635 S.W. Gage Blvd., topekazoo.org; David Traylor Zoo in Emporia, zoo.emporia-kansas.gov; Rolling Hills Zoo in Salina, http://www.rollinghillswildlife.com; and Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, www.sunsetzoo.com.

Photo credit: CHRIS NEAL/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

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Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame

If you’re heading to Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., to root for the Kansas City Royals, you might arrive a little early and take a look at the new exhibits at the Royals Hall of Fame, inside Gate A on the west side of the ballpark. “Bright Stars — Big Moments: A History of the All-Star Game” includes artifacts on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum from all-star games dating back to 1933. “The Year of the Rookies: 2011 Rookie Royals” features 12 rookies who made their Major League debuts with the Royals in 2011, and “Outfields of Gold: Royals Gold Glove Contenders” focuses on five Gold Glove outfielders who played for the Royals.

Hours: Open on game days. Non-game days open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, May 27-Aug. 30, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 2-20.

Admission: Free to those with game tickets; $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for ages 4-12 and free for age 3 and younger for admission pass that allows unlimited visits per year

More information on the Royals Hall

Photo credit: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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KU Natural History Museum

Located in Dyche Hall on the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence, the KU Natural History Museum is home to four floors of exhibits and collections of more than 9 million specimens of animals, plants and fossils.

Exhibits include the Panorama, created by Lewis Lindsay Dyche for the Kansas Pavilion at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago; a live bee colony; and the horse Comanche. New exhibits include “Biodiversity: Picturing Science,” featuring works from the International Images for Science Exhibition, as well as exhibits about mammal skulls, microbes, camels and research about Tyrannosaurus rex.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $5 for adults; $3 for children

More information on KU Natural History Museum

Bonus: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History at Fort Hays State University in Hays is home to the famous “Fish-within-a-Fish — a 14-foot Xiphactinus with its final meal, a 6-foot Gillicus, preserved within its ribcage. sternberg.fhsu.edu

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Broadway bound

The drama and music of Broadway is coming to several area theaters over the next few months.

— Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.: “Maltilda the Musical,” through May 28; “The Bridges of Madison County,” June 14-19; “Bullets Over Broadway,” June 28-July 3; “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” July 13-19; “If/Then,” July 26-July 31; “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” Aug. 9-14; and “The Rat Pack is Back,” Sept. 9-11. www.kcstarlight.com/events/broadway

— Topeka Civic Theatre, 3028 S.W. 8th Ave./Helen Hocker Theater in Gage Park: “Comic Potential,” June 3-18; “The Outsiders,” June 17-26; “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” July 8-Aug. 13; and “Bye Bye Birdie,” July 22-Aug. 7. www.topekacivictheatre.com

— Theatre Lawrence, 4660 Bauer Farm Drive in Lawrence: “Guys and Dolls,” June 10-26; and “A Chorus Line,” Sept. 16-Oct. 2. www.theatrelawrence.com

Photo credit: MATTHEW MURPHY

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Concerts

Pop, country, rap, rock — just about any type of concert you crave has been booked this summer at venues within an hour or two drive. Check these out:

— Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 S.E. 8th Ave.: Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, Aug.2; Chicago, Aug. 7; and Liverpool Legends, Sept. 24. www.topekaperformingarts.org/

— Stiefel Theater, 151 S. Santa Fe in Salina: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, June 2; Gordon Lightfoot, June 18; Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, Aug. 1; Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Aug. 23; and Martina McBride, Sept. 23. www.stiefeltheatre.org

— Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd. in Kansas City, Mo.: Zac Brown Band, May 27; Journey and the Doobie Brothers, May 28; Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill , June 17; Little Wayne and 2 Chainz, June 18; Selena Gomez, July 1; Drake and Future, July 23; Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, Aug. 6; Gwen Stefani, Aug. 12; Julion Alvarez, Aug. 13; and Dixie Chicks, Aug. 30.

www.sprintcenter.com/events

— Granada Theatre, 807 Commercial in Emporia: Wynonna and Big Noise, July 24; and Billy Bob Thornton and the Boxmasters, Aug. 20. emporiagranada.com

— Providence Medical Center Amphitheater, 633 N. 130th St. in Bonner Springs: Keith Urban, June 2; Brantley Gilbert, June 12; Dave Matthews Band, June 29; Brand New and Modest Mouse, July 1; Lynryd Skynyrd, July 8; G-Easy and Logic, July 12; Rascal Flatts, July 29; Korn and Rob Zombie, Aug. 10; Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, Aug. 18; and Luke Bryan, Aug. 25. providenceamp.com

— Topeka Performing Arts Center, 214 S.E. 8th Ave.: Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, Aug.2; Chicago, Aug. 7; and Liverpool Legends, Sept. 24. www.topekaperformingarts.org/

— Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.: Barenaked Ladies, June 4; Boston, June 5; The Cure, June 8; Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton, June 10; Paul Simon, June 11; Bad Company and Joe Walsh, June 20; Bob Dylan, June 21; Widespread Panic, June 22; Steely Dan, June 23; Flight of the Conchords, July 7; Weezer and Panic at the Disco, July 20; Goo Goo Dolls, July 23; Duran Duran, July 24; Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, Aug. 5; Kool & the Gang, Aug. 6; “Weird Al” Yankovic, Aug. 7; Heart, Aug. 15; Josh Groban, Aug. 16; and Bryan Adams, Sept. 16.

www.kcstarlight.com/events/concerts

Photo credit: MATTHEW JOHN GONZALEZ PHOTOGRAPHY

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Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Ready to make a big splash? Schlitterbahn Waterpark, 9400 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kan., is home to Verruckt, the tallest water slide in the world. The park features an interconnected river system that takes visitors through more than a mile of rapids, currents and tidal waves. Kids can play on 13 mini slides, and the whole family can relax on beaches, in private cabanas or a heated pool with a swim-up refreshment bar.

Hours: Varies; check online calendar at www.schlitterbahn.com/home/kansas-city/plan/interactive-schedule.

Admission: $41.99-$44.99 for ages 12-54 and $29.99-$32.99 for ages 3-11 and 55 and older for one-day admission when purchased online; other ticket packages available.

More information on Schlitterbahn

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Kansas Museum of History

The story of Kansas soldier James Clark Hughes, who fought in World War I and World War II, will be explored in “Captured: The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes,” on display through May 28, 2017, at the Kansas Museum of History, 6425 S.W. 6th Ave. Hughes photographed battlefields and towns in Europe, recorded his daily survival as a Japanese prisoner of war and saved many belongings from the wars, which were later donated to the museum. Also, the museum’s main gallery features “The Story of Kansas” exhibit and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe locomotive.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $8 for adults; $7 for seniors and military; $6 for students with IDs; free for age 5 and younger

More information on the Kansas Museum of History

Photo credit: WWW.KANSASMEMORY.ORG

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Union Station

“Body Worlds & the Cycle of Life,” an exhibition that offers a rare three-dimensional journey into the form, function and beauty of the human body through all stages of life, is on display at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road in Kansas City, Mo. The exhibit’s more than 100 preserved human specimens, including 14 whole-body palatinates, demonstrate the complexity, resilience and vulnerability of the human body in distress, disease and optimal health.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Admission (excludes taxes and fees): $21.95 for ages 13 and older; $16.95 for ages 3-12

More information on Union Station

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Flint Hills Discovery Center

Visitors to the Flint Hills Discovery Center, 315 S. 3rd St. in Manhattan, will be able to explore how dinosaurs lived, how big they grew and what they ate. The “Amazing Dinosaurs!” exhibit will run through Sept. 11. “For the first time ever, kids can explore, discover and touch real teeth and bones from many of the most famous dinosaurs,” said exhibition curator Tom Hendershot. “They’ll find out how fast baby dinosaurs grew and touch real dinosaur eggs.”

Other special events include the Wolf Spider Night Walk on June 18; Kids’ Dinosaur Dinner Theater, featuring dinosaur-inspired food and storyteller Priscilla Howe, on June 25; and the National Day of the Cowboy on July 23.

Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $9 for adults; $7 for seniors, military, teachers and students with ID; $4 for ages 2-17; free for ages 1 and younger.

More information on the Flint Hills Discovery Center

Bonus: Experience the tallgrass prairie of the Flint Hills first-hand and hike the nature trails at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve at 2480B K-177 highway in Strong City. www.nps.gov/tapr/index.htm

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Lawrence Busker Festival

Five stages with more than 25 street performers playing for tips and applause — that’s what you’ll see at the Lawrence Busker Festival May 27-29 in downtown Lawrence. The lineup includes jugglers, contortionists, clowns, musicians, yo-yo artists, acrobatic and aerial acts, extreme pogo stunts, fire dancers and more.

Hours: 5 to 11 p.m. May 27; noon to 11 p.m. May 28; 1 to 5 p.m. May 29

More information on the Lawrence Busker Festival

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Glory Days Festival

The Glory Days Festival, Car and Motorcycle Show promises family entertainment May 27-28 on the courthouse lawn in downtown Holton. Highlights are a concert by Gary Bell and Friends at 5:30 p.m. May 27 and an alumni parade at 11 a.m., car and motorcycle show, garden tractor pull, food and crafts on May 28.

More information on the Glory Days Festival

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Art Tougeau

If it has wheels, decorate it and join Art Tougeau, a parade of decorated cars, bicycles, skateboards and other wheeled art, at noon May 28 in downtown Lawrence. Check in and line up in front of the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, at 10 a.m. After the parade, enjoy the awards ceremony and post-parade block party at the arts center.

A pre-parade painting block party will be from 5 to 9 p.m. May 27 in the 900 block of New Hampshire. Bring and decorate your cars, bikes and other wheels and dance to live music.

More information on Art Tougeau

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Flint Hills Rodeo

The oldest consecutive rodeo in Kansas, the Flint Hills Rodeo attracts nearly 6,000 people each night to its arena in Strong City. This year’s rodeo, at 8 p.m. June 2- 4, will have plenty to offer participants and spectators, said Buck Bailey, president of the Flint Hills Rodeo Association. In addition to adults roping, bull riding and barrel racing, youngsters also can participate in Buckaroo/Buckarette activities, a calf scramble and mutton busting each night.

Admission: $12 for reserved, $9 for adults and free to ages 12 and younger for June 2; $13 reserved, $10 for adults and $8 for ages 12 and younger for June 3; $15 for reserved, $11 for adults and $9 for ages 12 and younger for June 4

More information on the Flint Hills Rodeo

Bonus: Another rollicking rodeo to check out is the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo Aug. 3-6 at the fairgrounds in Abilene. www.wildbillhickokrodeo.com

Photo credit: Lewis Photography

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Big Blue River Days

Head to Marysville over the weekend of June 3-5 for Big Blue River Days. The festival kicks off with the classic car-centric Friday Night Cruisin and Poker Run on June 3. Other highlights include the Auto Fest Car Show, Big Blue BBQ Championship, an antique tractor show, children’s activities, food vendors and the Rib Run.

More information on Big Blue River Days

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World Food and Wine Festival

The World Food and Wine Festival, from 1 to 9 p.m. June 3-5 and 10-12 at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., promises to serve the best regional and international wines and culinary delights prepared by Kevin Williams, the park's executive chef. Participants, who must be 21 years or older and have a valid age ID, will hear stories of how the wines are created and why they are unique. Samples will include dry and sweet wines, reds and whites and sparkling.

Admission: $59.99 plus tax, includes park admission and event, must be purchased in advance online; $25 plus tax, event only.

More information on the World Food and Wine Festival

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Mulvane Art Fair

More than 90 artists, live blues music, food trucks and a beer garden are among the attractions at the Mulvane Art Fair June 4-5 on the Washburn University campus.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 4; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 5

Admission: $10; free for ages 11 and younger

More information on the Mulvane Art Fair

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National Biplane Fly-In

Get an up-close look at antique, experimental and modern biplanes at the National Biplane Fly-In from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 4 at Freeman Field, 18th and Jackson in Junction City. Other highlights include biplane rides, aircraft operations on the grass runway, food and aviation-themed vendors, horse-drawn wagon rides, children’s activities, a full-motion flight simulator and a pancake feed from 7 to 10 a.m.

Admission: $5 per carload

More information on the National Biplane Fly-In

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Dirty Kanza 200

Watch nearly 1,900 bicyclists cross the finish line of the Dirty Kanza 200, a gravel-grinding ride on June 4 that begins and ends in Emporia and includes a 200-mile route through the Flint Hills. Some cyclists will pedal 100-mile and 50-mile routes. Dirty Kanza will start at 6 a.m. at 807 Commercial St. in downtown Emporia. A festive finish-line party with entertainment, food and merchandise vendors will begin at 4 p.m.

More information on the Dirty Kanza 200

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Germanfest

One word: krautstrudel. Volunteers have been making thousands of the meat-and-sauerkraut-filled pastries to sell at Germanfest, a benefit for Sacred Heart-St. Joseph parish. The festival will be from 5 to 11 p.m. June 4 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 5 at Sacred Heart Church, 312 N.E. Freeman.

Highlights on June 4 include the Fifth Annual Brat Trot at 8 a.m., mini-train, live entertainment and outdoor Mass at 4 p.m. Activities on June 5 include a carnival, bingo, musical entertainment and live auction at 2 p.m. Both days will feature a basket booth, silent auction, country store, snack bar, beer garden, drawings and more.

More information on Germanfest

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Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home

Hop in the car and head to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home, 200 S.E. 4th St. in Abilene, to learn about Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general who became U.S. president. Highlights include the “World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles and Heroes” exhibit on display through December, and the Symphony at Sunset Annual D-Day Commemoration Concert on June 4, featuring the 1st Infantry Division Band at 7 p.m. and the Salina Symphony at 8:30 p.m.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily; summer hours in June and July are 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Admission: $12 for adults; $9 for seniors, retired/disabled military and students with ID; $3 for ages 6-15; free for active military with ID and ages 5 and younger

More information on Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home

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Cosmosphere

The Cosmosphere, 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson, has a collection that includes U.S. space artifacts second only to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, as well as the largest collection of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. The attraction encompasses the Carey Digital Dome Theater, which offers documentary showings daily and recently-released feature films on weekends; a newly renovated planetarium; and Dr. Goddard’s Lab, where visitors experience live science demonstrations daily.

Upcoming special events include Launch Into Summer, a free event from 1 to 3 p.m. June 5, and the Gemini-10 50th anniversary event on July 30.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $26 for adults, $23 for seniors and military, $17 for ages 4-12 and free for age 3 and younger for all-access pass for museum, theater shows and simulator ride; separate tickets also available.

For more information on the Cosmosphere

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Smoky Hill River Festival

It’s hard to find a more tantalizing menu of the arts in one place at one time than at the Smoky Hill River Festival June 9-12 in Oakdale Park in Salina. Highlights include four stages of live entertainment, the colorful Artyopolis children’s area, juried art shows, outdoor art installations, food vendors, crafts show, art demonstrations, fitness runs/walks and puppeteers.

Hours: 6 to 10 p.m. June 9; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 10-11; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 12

Admission (button good for entire festival): $15 at the gate; $10 in advance; free for ages 11 and younger

More information on the Smoky Hill River Festival

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Capital City Family & Food Truck Festival

Nearly three dozen food trucks will be selling delicious delicacies — from Hawaiian to barbecue to cupcakes to coffee — at the Capital City Family & Food Truck Festival from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 11 at Gage Park, 635 S.W. Gage Blvd. Other festival highlights include: garden tours, mini-train and carousel rides, bounce houses, mobile laser tag and live music from Blazing Mojo, the A.J. Young Band and Beacon Blues.

Horseshoe pitchers will share their talents, and Helping Hands Humane Society will be at the Bark Park. The Topeka Zoo and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center, both in Gage Park, will offer family activities throughout the day. Topeka Metro will provide shuttle service to the park from Hayden High School and Hummer Sports Complex.

More information on the Food Truck Festival

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Crown Center Antique Festival

If you’re into antiques, then you won’t want to miss the 16th annual Crown Center Antique Festival June 11-12 in Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd. in Kansas City, Mo. More than 40 vendors at nearly 100 booths will showcase pottery, china, toys, linens, collectibles, furniture, jewelry, books and much more.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 11; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 12

More information on Crown Center Antique Festival

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Washunga Days

The culture of Council Grove - both past and present - is celebrated during Washunga Days June 17-19 at the Neosho Riverwalk Park. The three day festival features live entertainment including a performance by Logan Mize, the Kaw Intertribal Powwow, vintage market, car show, kids activities, food vendors, carnival and more.

Admission Buttons: $10 at the gate for ages 6 and up. Buttons are half price for $5 until June 16th for ages 6 and up. Ages 5 and under require no button for admission.

More information on Washunga Days

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Meatloaf Festival

Meatloaf makers will face off to take home the trophy at the World Championship Meatloaf Cook-off June 18 in downtown Paxico. The cook-off is part of the activities planned for the Eighth Annual Meatloaf festival from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Other highlights include a parade, flea market, live music, historical displays, carriage rides, festival food, vintage farm tractors, children’s activities and a pie bake-off. Antique shops will be open.

More information on the Meatloaf Festival

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Kansas KidsFest and Family Expo

Described as “a celebration for the imagination,” the Kansas KidsFest and Family Expo will feature more than 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, creation stations, live performances and inflatable rides from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 18 inside the Exhibition Hall at the Kansas Expocentre, S.W. 17th Street and S. Topeka Boulevard. The event also features educational workshops and information about nonprofits and businesses.

Admission: $7 online; $10 at the door; free for ages 2 and younger

More information on Kansas KidsFest and Family Expo

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Free State Festival

Public Enemy, with hip-hop artists Chuck D and Flavor Flav, will perform a free outdoor concert as part of the Free State Festival June 20-25 in downtown Lawrence. The five-day festival focuses on film, music, art and ideas, with a lineup that features Jad Abumrad, co-founder of the Peabody Award-winning public radio program/podcast Radiolab, award-winning comedian Maria Bamford, film screenings, musical performances and art talks.

Admission: Varies by event

More information on the Free State Festival

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Kicker Country Stampede

More than a dozen country music stars have been corralled for this year’s Kicker Country Stampede June 23-25 at Tuttle Creek State Park, north of Manhattan. Headliners are Sam Hunt and Dierks Bentley on June 23; Chris Janson and Tim McGraw on June 24; and Chase Rice and Jake Owen on June 25.

Hours: Concerts start at 2 p.m.

Admission: $89 for one-day general admission; $150 for three-day general admission; $20 for one-day child general admission; $40 for three-day child general admission. Prices may go up nearer to event.

More information on Country Stampede

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Tap That Topeka: A Capital Brew Festival

Topeka’s largest brew festival — Tap That Topeka — will offer more than 140 American craft beer options from more than 40 breweries on June 25 in the 800 block of S.W. Jackson. Food, music, vendors and educational opportunities also available.

A limited number of tickets are available; and attendees must be 21 years of age. Gates open at 3:30 p.m., with VIP ticket holders entering the brewers’ tents at 4 p.m., followed by general ticket holders at 5 p.m. Sampling continues until 8 p.m. Food trucks will be available from 3:30 to 8 p.m.

Admission: $65, VIP tickets; $35 for general admission; $10, designated driver tickets with a free nonalcoholic drink for those 18 years and older.

More information on Tap That Topeka

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Casinos

If you like to roll the dice, turn a card or take a chance at the slots, you might want to take a drive on US-75 highway north of Topeka. Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta offers more than 1,100 slot machines and a multitude of table games. The Sac & Fox Casino in Powhattan has more than 700 slot machines and variety of table games.

Prairie Band Casino and Resort also provides live entertainment in its Great Lakes Ballroom. Upcoming shows include classic rock group America on June 25, pop group The Monkees on July 1, country singer John Michael Montgomery on July 14, former Motley Crue singer Vince Neil on July 30 and mentalist/magician Oz Pearlman on Aug. 28.

www.prairieband.com/gaming/; www.sacandfoxcasino.com\

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Maker Faire Kansas City

Invention, creativity and resourcefulness are celebrated at Maker Faire Kansas City, a family-friendly showcase of things people create themselves — from new technology and electronic gizmos to urban farming and homemade foods and clothes — June 25-26 at Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road in Kansas City, Mo. Also featured are educational presentations, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 26

Admission: $14 for adults, $11 for youths and $50 for four-person family pack for one-day pass; $22 for adults, $17 for youths and $70 for four-person family pack for weekend pass

More information on Maker Faire Kansas City

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Rotary Freedom Festival

The events leading up to Kansas’ statehood will be celebrated at the Rotary Freedom Festival, which is making its debut from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 2 in downtown Topeka. Highlights will include a re-enactment of the federal Army’s dispersal of the Free State Legislature in 1856 and tours of Constitution Hall and other historic sites.

The festival will precede a concert by the band Kansas. Food trucks and an urban slide are among other activities.

More information on Rotary Freedom Festival

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Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival

The Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival, sponsored by the Topeka Blues Society, is from noon to 11 p.m. July 4 at Reynolds Lodge at Lake Shawnee, 3027 S.E. Beach Terrace. Music starts at noon and continues until dark, followed by fireworks that reflect over the lake. Featured bands are the Cate Brothers, Divas on Fire, Honey Island Swamp Band, Ghost Town Blues Band, Tas Cru Band, KALO and the Pina Brothers.

A food tent will be available. Attendees can bring shade tents, coolers/food, blankets and chairs.

More information on Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival

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Sundown Salute

The largest free Independence Day celebration in Kansas kicks off June 30 in Junction City and ends with a parade at 10 a.m. and nighttime fireworks on July 4 at Heritage Park, 6th and Washington streets. Other highlights of the five-day festival include a concert featuring Bret Michaels, former lead singer of Poison, at 9 p.m. July 3, veterans ceremony, food vendors, crafters, carnival, extreme sport demonstrators and car show.

More information on Sundown Salute

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Go Fourth! Festival

Lawrence’s July 4 festival starts at 3 p.m. with a classic car cruise, inflatable rides, live music, food trucks, carnival games and locally-made beer, followed by a big-bang fireworks display that night. Everything takes place in Burcham Park, 408 Indiana St., with free shuttles from downtown Lawrence to the festival grounds.

More information on Go Fourth!

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Celebrate Freedom

Celebrate Freedom on July 4 in Wamego starts with a full day of fun activities and then culminates with the No. 1-rated fireworks show in Kansas. The massive, choreographed fireworks display starts at 10 p.m. at the Wamego Recreation Complex.

Other highlights include the Independence Day Parade at 6 p.m. in downtown Wamego; Kaw Valley Antique Engine, Truck and Tractor Club Show; Walter P. Chrysler Car Show; Hot Wheels races; ice cream and cake social; pork sandwich and homemade pie dinner; carnival; and live entertainment.

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Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Ever wonder how the rich in the Roman Empire lived? “Luxury: Treasures of the Roman Empire,” on display July 9 through Oct. 2 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. in Kansas City, Mo., will give a glimpse into the lifestyles of the ancient Roman elite, who used luxury items to show off their wealth and thank the gods. View a glittering array of silver, gold and gemstones and learn about Roman mythology and legend.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Admission: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $6 for students with IDs; and free to ages 11 and younger

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Bonus: Extensive art collections also can be seen at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, www.spencerart.ku.edu, and Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University in Manhattan, beach. k-state.edu.

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Topeka Railroad Festival

All aboard for the Topeka Railroad Festival from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 9 at the Great Overland Station, 701 N. Kansas. The festival offers a variety of entertainment and activities for all ages: railroad memorabilia, model train layouts, railroad-related displays, trackless train rides, arts and crafts, a children’s tent, historic re-enactors, food vendors, street entertainment and more.

Admission: $7 in advance; $10 at the door

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Photo credit: 2004 FILE PHOTO/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

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Fiesta Mexicana

The music, food, dance and culture of Mexico will be celebrated at Fiesta Mexicana July 12-16 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 201 N.E. Chandler. Musical headliners are Las Fenix, an all-girls Latin pop band, and Roger Ortega Jr., an R&B and soul music artist. Other highlights include an art show, carnival, jalapeno-eating contest and children’s activities. The Fiesta parade will be at 10:30 a.m. July 9 along Kansas Avenue in downtown Topeka.

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Photo credit: 2011 FILE PHOTO/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

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Amelia Earhart Festival/LakeFest

Atchison is serving up two festivals on the same weekend in July: The 20th Annual Amelia Earhart Festival on July 15-16 celebrates the life of the Kansas-born aviatrix, while LakeFest on July 15 features country musicians on an outdoor stage at Warnock Lake.

Highlights of the Amelia Earhart Festival are a fly-in from 8 a.m. to noon July 16 at the Amelia Earhart Airport, 16701 286th Road; aerobatic performances at 7:55 p.m. and fireworks after dark, both on July 16 and seen from downtown Atchison; and helicopter rides for $40 a person from 4 to 9 p.m. July 15 at Warnock Lake and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 16 in downtown Atchison.

Featured performers at LakeFest are Tyler Farr, Frankie Ballard and RaeLynn. Gates open at 4 p.m., with the show starting at 7 p.m. LakeFest admission is $35.

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Cyclovia

Bicycling and fitness fans will get a workout when Cyclovia Topeka makes its debut July 29-30 in downtown Topeka. The festival celebrates cycling, wellness and activity. Highlights include a glow ride and Shawnee County’s largest workout on July 29. Events on July 30 include cycling events, food trucks, bike safety experiences, children’s obstacle course, health fair and showing of “The Rider & The Wolf” at the Jayhawk Theatre.

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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

With more than 10,000 square feet, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum preserves the history of African-American baseball. A self-guided tour lets visitors view multimedia displays; hundreds of photographs and artifacts from the late 1800s through the 1960s; and 12 life-sized bronze sculptures of Negro League players. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E. 18th St. in Kansas City, Mo., is part of the 18th and Vine complex with the American Jazz Museum. Pictured is Negro Leagues legend Buck O'Neil

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $10 for adults; $9 for seniors; $6 for ages 5-12; free for ages 4 and younger

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Photo credit: 2006 FILE PHOTO/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Kansas Belle Dinner Train

If the sound of a train whistle and riding the rails excites you, you might want to sign up for the 22-mile round trip from Baldwin City to Ottawa on the Kansas Belle Dinner Train. The dinner train offers a three- or five-course dinner with optional live entertainment in a climate-controlled railroad car. Rides are available on weekends by reservation only at office@kansasbelle.com or (785) 594-8505. Prices vary.

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Bonus: The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad in Abilene offers rides on a variety of passenger trains on a limited schedule. www.asvrr.org

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Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Travel back in time to the days of jousting knights, feasts and roving musicians from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 through Oct. 16, at the 16-acre Kansas Renaissance Festival, 633 N. 130th St. in Bonner Springs.

The festival features armored jousting matches, more than 100 artisan booths, 20 stages of entertainment, food and themed weekends ranging from Highland games to a wedding to witches and wizards.

Admission: $21.95 for adults; $10.50 for seniors and students with valid ID; $12.95 for ages 5-12; free for ages 4 and younger

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Orchestra on the Oregon Trail

Voices, violins and piccolos will blend Sept. 4 during the Orchestra on the Oregon Trail concert on a meadow at Alcove Spring, a historic park between Marysville and Blue Rapids. The Topeka Symphony Orchestra will be joined by a 75-member choir from Hesston College for five songs, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” and “Hymn of the Fallen” from “Saving Private Ryan.” The rest of the concert will feature musical arrangements from popular movies, ranging from “South Pacific” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and patriotic tunes.

Gates to the park open at 1 p.m.; the concert starts at 7 p.m. Afternoon activities include nature walks, wagon rides, cowboy poetry and live music. After the concert, attendees can dance, take ghost tours or star gaze.

Admission: $60 for adults; $15 for ages 12 and younger

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Photo credit: TOM PARKER

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Huff 'n Puff

Dozens of hot-air balloons will take to the sky as part of the Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally, one of the oldest annual balloon events in the nation. The rally will be Sept. 9-11 at Tinman Circle at Lake Shawnee, southeast of Topeka. Evening flights and balloon glows are planned between 5 and 9 p.m. Sept. 9 and 10, with balloon launches at 7 a.m. Sept. 10 and 11.

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Haskell Indian Art Market

About 130 American Indian artisans will sell original handmade items at the Haskell Indian Art Market Sept. 10-11 at the powwow grounds at Haskell Indian Nations University, 155 Indian Avenue in Lawrence. Jewelry, pottery, paintings, drawings/prints, basket and rug weavings, sculptures, beadwork and carvings will be available. Entertainment is scheduled at noon and 2 and 4 p.m. each day. Food vendors will be onsite.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 10; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11

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Kansas Chocolate Festival

If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss the debut of the Kansas Chocolate Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 in downtown Topeka. The festival will feature chocolate cooking demonstrations, food trucks serving entrees made from Mars chocolate candy and other chocolate-themed activities.

Earlier that day, the Kansas Chocolate Festival Winged Foot Run will kick off at 8 a.m. at the Combat Air Museum, 7016 S.E. Forbes Ave. Chocolate milk, chocolate mini cupcakes and Mars chocolate candy will be provided to runners after the race.

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Photo credit: 2015 PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

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Description

Everyone needs to get away now and then – to relax or maybe spend some quality time with family or explore a world different than their own for a while. So, we’ve made a list – 50 places to visit or things to do, all within a day’s drive.

 

Check them out and then “hit the road” to make the most of your downtime this summer.

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