If haven’t considered taking a trip to Kansas, it might be a good time to start. Despite the rumors that this state is flat, boring, and has nothing cool to see, my family found some really fun and interesting things to do while traveling through. One of the places we really enjoyed, and that I highly recommend exploring, is Dodge City. This historic town is an excellent mix of the Old West and modern. Here are some of the things to do and places to see on your next family trip to Dodge City, Kansas.
Historic Trolley Tour
Start your family trip to Dodge City, Kansas, by taking the historic trolley tour. It begins at the visitors center, which is full of great information about Dodge City and other cool places to explore in Kansas. Take your seat on the red and green trolley. Once it pulls out of the parking lot, a recording will start. It explains each stop along the way, and relates the history of the city. It also tells you about some of the most famous and important people who lived here, and it passes by some of the oldest buildings still standing today.
You’ll see several statues of historic figures, such as “Doc Holliday” and Wyatt Earp. The tour takes you along some of the 14 miles of hand-laid brick streets from the early 1900s. The kids especially enjoyed the story behind Butter & Eggs Road. This road is where the townspeople would go to pick up their, wait for it, yep, their butter and eggs. When the road’s name was officially changed, the people of Dodge City weren’t happy. So, they decided to keep the original name. And to this day, both the official road name sign and the Butter & Egg Road sign can still be seen.
Other interesting locations on the tour include the feed lots, the cemetery, and Fort Dodge. The fort was officially closed in 1882, but the citizens of Dodge City later raised enough money to buy the fort. Since 1890, it has been the Kansas State Soldiers’ Home, a place for veterans and their dependents to live. This is a great tour and the perfect place to start your exploration of Dodge City. However, if you don’t want to pay for the trolley tour, a free walking tour is another fun way to explore the city.
Wright Park and Wright Park Zoo
Head over to Wright Park and check out the free zoo. That’s right, the zoo is 100% free to explore, and although it’s small, it makes for a fun day out with kids. An enclosure that houses several species can be seen from inside and outside. Meaning, you’ll have a chance to see the animals when they’re resting or being active. We had fun watching the lemurs play and were also able to spot the miniature ponies. In the center of the zoo is a large pond that’s home to ducks, geese, and turtles.
As you walk around, you get to see bison, an emu, a tiger, a bear, wolves, and so much more. One of our favorite animals here is the white peacock, something we’ve never seen. We always love checking animals off of our to-see list. The added bonus is of course, the playground. After checking out all the animals, the kids can play while you sit in the shade on one of the park benches. Bring a picnic to enjoy when everyone gets hungry.
Long Branch Lagoon
Also located at Wright Park, the Long Branch Lagoon waterpark is another fun place to visit on your family trip to Dodge City, Kansas. It has four themed pools that offer excitement for those of all ages. The Cowboy Creek Lazy River takes you past the entrance for the water slides, making it a great spot to catch your breath before heading up the stairs again.
One of the slides is called Doc’s Plunge. This one features a steep plunge that then takes you up an almost vertical wall for a moment of near weightlessness. You’re then dropped down into the pool. The other slide is called The Gunslinger, and it takes you through 300 feet of tube and around three full loops for a thrilling experience.
Either of these slides can be ridden alone or with a friend. This is perfect for families. Especially ours because our youngest wasn’t quite ready to go on his own. However, after a few times down with mom and dad, he took on the slides with his siblings.
If you have toddlers or younger kids, they’ll love Fort Splash. Here, they’ll get sprayed by water cannons, splash in the shallow pool, and explore the climbing structure with endless water play opportunities. Wrangler Rapids is the wave pool, and there’s even a pool with diving boards and more slides. Important to note is that there’s no drinking fountain available for use here, and they do charge for concessions or if you want to bring a cooler in with you.
Boot Hill Museum Is a Must-Visit on Your Family Trip to Dodge City, Kansas
No family trip to Dodge City, Kansas, would be complete without a visit to the Boot Hill Museum. This Wild West-themed museum has an extensive collection of relics and memorabilia that document the town’s history. It’s located at the site of the original Boot Hill Cemetery. In addition to the exhibits, you’ll also see live shows by top-notch performers. They’re entertaining and fun for the entire family.
After the show, everyone can enjoy a nice cold bottle of sarsaparilla at the saloon. Walk up the hill to see the original cemetery, and then explore more exhibits that relate how the Native Americans used the land and thrived in the area. Check out the interesting exhibit on “Gunsmoke,” a popular TV show filmed in the area in the 1950s.
Don’t forget to check out the gift shop. Pick up a great gift or souvenir to help you remember your visit. We like to get refrigerator magnets for the places we go. Get your family old-time photo taken, it’s always a fun experience. Plus, photographs are perfect souvenirs.
Home of Stone
The Home of Stone is the oldest building in Dodge City still sitting in its original location. Built in the early 1880s, only two families have owned this home. In 1965, the city bought it and it’s now open to the public for tours during the summer months. As you tour the home, you’ll see items that the members of the two families owned and furniture that’s original to the house. It’s always fun, educational, and interesting to explore old homes and see how people lived long ago. The curator’s are full of information about the time period and the two homeowners and are very friendly about answering questions.
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A visit to the Home of Stone made a nice last stop for our stay in #dodgecity 😎. This is the oldest house in Dodge city still in its original location. It was built in 1881 and amazingly only lived in by two families. There were some very cool original artifacts inside the home including the headboard in the third picture. We always love touring these small museums full of so much history. What’s your favorite small town museum? #statebystateadventure #gettheheckintododge #homeofstone #noplacelikekansas #kansas #historichome #smallmuseumsrock #historiclandmark #familyeverywhere #explorekansas #takeatrip #familyexplorers
This is just the surface of the amazing things Kansas offers visitors. If this list doesn’t fill your itinerary, there are tons of other things to do in the Dodge City area. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your family trip to Dodge City, Kansas, today!