Discover the ultimate road trip destinations in Kansas! As I traveled along Kansas Highway 36 with my girlfriend, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of solo male travelers. It struck me that there is a lack of articles catering specifically to this demographic. That’s why I’ve put together this list of six exciting Kansas attractions for men, though anyone can technically enjoy them.
Let’s dive into these must-visit spots that are sure to create unforgettable memories!
Table of Contents
1. Herr’s Memory Lane
Explore a labor of love in Washington, Kansas, at Herr’s Memory Lane collection. Explore three buildings filled with over 100 beautifully restored trucks, cars, and tractors. Lawrence and Cara Herrs, the owners, have created an impressive showcase of their passion.
The collection started when Lawrence, a mechanical genius with an amazing memory, spotted his father’s tractor at an auction and decided to bring it home. Prepare to be amazed by this fascinating display of automotive history.
Discover a diverse assortment of tools at this location, including a well-preserved 1930s garage equipped with tools and a workbench. You’ll also be amazed by the extensive collection of vintage tractors in one place, unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Herr’s display showcases several valuable cars, such as the 1929 Briggs, 1917 GMC gas truck, 1918 IHC model KL fire truck, and 1918 Buick race car. Most of the cars date back to the years between 1912 and 1950, offering a glimpse into the rich automotive history of that era.
Don’t miss the charming 1950s diner, exuding a nostalgic vibe with its array of Coca-Cola memorabilia (created especially for Cara). And if you’re bringing the little ones along, they’ll surely enjoy the collection of antique pedal cars, adding a touch of whimsy to your visit.
Due to the pandemic, Herr’s Memory Lane is open by appointment only (call 785.541.0650), but the couple lives on the premises and happy to show off their bounty.
2. Last Indian Raid Museum
Welcome to Oberlin, the home of the Last Indian Raid Museum! Despite its controversial name, this museum is a true gem, housing a wide range of historical and educational treasures. With 15 different properties, it’s almost like its own little town.
As a travel writer, I’ve visited museums all over the country, but if I had to choose one to partner with the prestigious Smithsonian, it would definitely be the Last Indian Raid Museum. Not only does it have exhibits and artifacts from the last Indian raid in Kansas, which is a heart-breaking story in itself, but it also offers so much more.
You can step back in time and explore a one-roomed schoolhouse, a vintage barbershop, and even historic weaponry. And if you’re interested in local history, the museum has a collection of high school memorabilia spanning over 50 years.
Trust me, you could easily spend the entire day here, admiring the extraordinary exhibits.
And let’s not forget to give a special thanks to Charlene, who is the ultimate tour guide. She’ll make sure your visit is unforgettable. So come on down to the Last Indian Raid Museum in Oberlin, and prepare to be amazed.
3. The St. Francis Motorcycle Museum
Discover the hidden gem of Kansas – the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum. With visitors from all 50 states and around the world, this museum is a must-see. I’ve been twice and I can’t get enough! The exhibits are always changing, so there’s always something new to see.
Immerse yourself in a stunning collection of motorbikes from 45 manufacturers, including big names like Harley Davidson and Indian. You’ll be amazed by the vault items and the pristine condition of the bikes dating back to the early 1900s. It’s a shame that Harley Davidson hasn’t partnered with them yet!
Explore over 150 motorcycles, Honda Mini-bikes, and 1920s motorcycles resembling E-bikes. And don’t miss the valuable BSA M20 used in World War II. The history is truly fascinating. The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, except for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Admission is a suggested donation of $7.
And here’s a fun fact – the St. Francis Motorcycle Museum is home to one of the only two known 1902 Orient motorcycles, one of the earliest ever made.
Special thanks to Eddy Schultz for his in-depth knowledge and explanations of the motorcycles.
4. Van’s Trains
Discover a hidden gem in Fairview County, KS (Brown County) along US Highway 36. Prepare to be amazed by a private collection of model trains that is truly worth a visit.
Step into a world crafted by Van and his children, where every room is filled with intricate train setups. You’ll marvel at the attention to detail as you gaze upon tracks adorned with 6-8 trains each. But the wonders don’t stop there.
Adorning the walls are brand-name model trains, proudly showcased on shelves. Be captivated by favorites like Coca-Cola, chocolate candy brands, and beloved Disney pieces. And don’t forget to admire the stunning Christmas village and powerful locomotives.
Van’s passion for railroad model trains knows no bounds. And he’s not shy about sharing it. As you explore the collection, you may even notice a train car sitting in the yard and various railroad accessories. But it’s not just about the trains. Van’s warm and friendly personality makes every visitor feel like an old friend. He’s eager to share his love for model trains with anyone who stops by.
Did you know that for the past 40 years, Van has welcomed countless school groups on field trips and hosted memorable private parties? His collection has been a source of joy and inspiration for so many.
** It is with a heavy heart that I report Elvon VanDalsem, the owner of Van’s Trains, passed at the age of 83
5. Seneca Fire Department Museum
Discover the hidden gem I stumbled upon during the Big Kansas Road Trip – Downtown Seneca’s Fire Department Museum. As someone with firefighter connections, I can’t believe I missed this delightful museum before. It’s filled with a stunning collection of local fire department photos, uniforms, and even a prized 1922 Stutz fire truck.
The vintage equipment, including fire hoses and gear, takes you back in time.
Our tour guide, Mike Haug, a retired fire chief, made our visit truly exceptional. His enthusiasm and expertise brought the museum to life. And, I couldn’t resist the chance to dress up in firefighter gear for some amazing photo opportunities. Trust me, those jackets, gloves, and helmets are no joke – they’re heavy!
This experience deepened my appreciation for the brave individuals who put their lives on the line to save others.
6. Midget Racing Museum
Discover the hidden treasure of Belleville, Kansas – the High Banks Hall of Fame National Midget Auto Racing Museum! If you’ve never heard of midget auto racing, prepare to be amazed. This museum is a mecca for racing enthusiasts, with everything from NASCAR memorabilia and trophy collections to collectible cars and Sprint car merchandise.
Explore the world of Indy and Sprint cars, browse through hundreds of captivating photos, and witness the greatness of Hall of Fame inductees.
But that’s not all – alongside the museum is a historic half-mile dirt track that has been captivating audiences since 1910. Imagine the thrill of witnessing the Belleville 305 Nationals, a high-stakes race held right here every late summer.
Before you leave, don’t forget to make a small donation to support this incredible museum. Special thanks to Don McChesney for his warm welcome and hospitality.
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