Located in the heart of the United States, Kansas is named for the Kanza or Kaw Indians, who also referred to themselves as the “South Wind People”. Most Americans think of Kansas as rolling wheat fields, flat land, sunflowers and maybe even scenes from The Wizard of Oz. But the real Kansas offers much more, both historically and geographically: Native Americans were resettled here in the 19th century, supporters and opponents of slavery fought bloody battles in Kansas. Huge herds of cattle were brought to Kansas City by train. Traces of this checkered history can still be found today.
The prairie may appear monotonous at first glance, but the “sea of grass” is actually diverse and fascinating. River valleys and mountains, waterfalls and wetlands make the vegetation varied. There are three major geographical regions in Kansas: the Wooded Hills, the hilly forest region in the east with the valleys of the Missouri and the Kansas River, the Tallgrass Prairie in the center and the High Plains in the west.
At the beginning of the 19th century the explorer Zebulon Pike (1779-1813) called it the “Great American Desert”. Kansas, which was officially founded in 1861, developed into “America’s breadbasket”. A diverse agriculture, ranging from animal husbandry to the cultivation of grain and other crops, has shaped the state since then, whose largest city, Wichita, is also important in aircraft construction.
Location and size
According to travelationary, the state of Kansas is located in the heart of the USA, in what is known as the heartland, and covers an area of around 213,000 km². It is therefore about two and a half times the size of Austria or three times the size of Bavaria.
Almost 2.9 million people live in Kansas, in the capital Topeka only 128,000. The largest city is Wichita with over 382,000 inhabitants.
time There are two time zones in Kansas: Central Standard Time /CST – the time difference is 7 hours (minus) compared to CET – and Mountain Standard Time /MST (8 hours) in the western parts of Kansas. Daylight Saving Time ( DST) applies from the 2nd Sunday in March to the 2nd Sunday in November.
Arriving by Air
Kansas is accessible via two major airports. Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is located 20 miles northwest of Kansas City. Wichita Mid Continent Airport (ICT) is located 5 miles southwest of Wichita. None of these airports are served directly from Austria or Germany. At least one transfer is required.
“Big Sky Country” – endless horizons and constant wind are typical of the prairie state of Kansas. A wide sky, many stars in the firmament – Kansas is ideal for stargazing! – and you will hardly be able to experience such impressive weather phenomena as here anywhere else.
The ideal travel time is April and May, when everything is in bloom and the days are particularly long, but September and October are also ideal for a visit. If you want to enjoy the varied summer events – such as the highlights “Flames in the Flint Hills”, “Symphony in the Flint Hills” or “Dodge City Days” – you should travel between June and August.
The average annual temperature is 18°C. In winter (January) it can get as cold as minus 8°C, in summer (July) it can get hotter than 30°C. Depending on the region, summers are warm or even hot, but there are numerous reservoirs that serve not only as water reservoirs, but also for refreshment, as popular leisure and recreation areas. Winters are generally milder in the southern regions, but snow can last longer in the north.
|Average temperatures in Kansas City, Kansas in °C|
VUSA tips for driving through Kansas
The multi-part metropolitan region of Kansas City , the western part of which is located in the state of Kansas, is considered the “Gateway to the West”. “KC” is the starting point of the Santa Fe Trail , a major trade route established in the 19th century that connected the Midwest and Southwest. You can still find traces of them everywhere: at the Mahaffie Stagecoach stop near Kansas City, in the town of Council Grove , in historic Fort Larned or in legendary Dodge City, made famous by the TV series “Smoking Guns” and the Western “Dodge City”. The Boothill Museum & Front Street and, once a year, the Dodge City Days, a street festival with rodeo and parade, are reminiscent of old Wild West times in this “Queen of the Cow Towns”.
Extensive natural areas such as the Flint Hills , one of the few natural tall grass prairies (long grass prairies) in North America in the east of the state, or the freshwater and saltwater Kansas Wetlands in the center contribute to variety and diversity.
Wichita , the largest city in Kansas, on the other hand, shows two faces: In Old Cowtown, a reconstructed western town worth seeing, the past is held up, while the aircraft industry makes the city the modern “Air Capital of the World”.
Places worth seeing in Kansas include the university town of Lawrence with bustling Massachusetts Street, the towns of Lindsborg , which is characterized by artist colonies and was founded by Swedish emigrants, and Lucas , a center for creative autodidacts and recycling art. Abilene was once the end point of the cattle drives from Texas and at the same time home of the German-born President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In Hutchinson , it is worth visiting the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center ( cosmo.org ), a space museum cooperating with the renowned Smithonian Institution, and the Kansas Underground Salt Museum ( underkansas.org ). It lets visitors dive 400 meters deep under the place where there is a considerable salt layer that provides road salt and whose tunnels are even used as film archives by Hollywood. Topeka , the Kansas capital, is dominated by the must-see Kansas State Capitol, while Atchison is famous as the home of pilot Amelia Earhart.
Ranch vacation Being a temporary
cowboy or cowgirl is no longer an unattainable dream. On guest and working ranches , the guest can become active himself and experience everyday ranch life up close. Examples from the long list of offers are the Flying W Ranch in Kansas’ Flint Hills ( www.flinthillsflyingw.com ) or the Moore Ranch ( www.moorelonghornranch.com ) south of Dodge City. Both also offer participation in cattle drives.
Information on all types of accommodation is available at: www.TravelKS.com (“Lodging”).