TOPEKA, Kansas, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- July Fourth is just around the corner, signaling that summer is in full swing! With fairs, festivals and concerts, a Combine Demolition Derby, and incredible outdoor adventures, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism invites travelers to discover that there is still plenty of summer left in Kansas!
In Abilene, a youngster meanders to one of Eisenhower Park's 1930s limestone picnic tables, where Dad sits in the shade of the century-old trees, tapping his toes to the live music coming from the nearby band shell. After smelling the roses in the formal flower garden, Mom suggests a brisk stroll on the park's walking trail before the rodeo begins.
Abilene is home to two favorite Kansas events; the Central Kansas Free Fair, Aug. 2-7, and the Wild Bill Hickok PRCA Rodeo, Aug. 1-4. At these traditional Kansas celebrations, visitors can photograph the World's Largest Spur, cheer at one of the top five large outdoor rodeos in the nation, watch a chainsaw artist carve a tree stump into a work of art, climb inside a tractor cab, test their strength in an arm wrestling tournament, and courageously board the carnival rides. A highlight of the annual event is the Combine Demolition Derby; featuring hulking farm combines ramming into each other to the delight of the crowd!
Fort Scott heats up in the summer with cool concerts, festivals, and fairs! For fun and games, the Bourbon County Fair delivers from July 14th through the 21st. During the day, admire this year's 4-H feats, take a class on using flowers and herbs in the kitchen, or catch the canines at the dog show. At night, stomp your boots with the Redhead Express, who will play at the Danny and Willa Ellis Fine Arts Center.
On August 5, Grammy winners The Blackwood Brothers Quartet will bring their sweet Southern gospel sound to the First United Methodist Church. Rock n' roll returns to Fort Scott on August 25 when the historic Liberty Theatre kicks off its season with Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band. And every Friday, Concerts in the Park draw residents and visitors downtown to tap their toes and while away another summer night in the Fort.
On September 8, all eyes will be on the sky above the Fort Scott Municipal Airport as high-flying demonstrations entertain the crowds at Airport Day. On-the-ground activities and yummy refreshments will round out the day.
Long summer days provide the ideal occasion to drive or bike the amazing Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway, near Great Bend. The largest inland marshes in North America, Cheyenne Bottoms & Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, anchor this 77-mile byway and provide bird watching opportunities that will expand any birder's list or start it off with a bang!
The byway welcomes summer bikers of all kinds. For bicyclists, this road straddles the legendary TransAmerica Bike Trail and the American Discovery Trail. Riders will also find off-road bike trails and paved riverside and county road routes. For motorcyclists, there are scenic back roads that lead to the delicious Sunday buffet at tiny Hudson's Wheatland Cafe. Communities along the Byway welcome summer visitors with quirky outdoor events (like the Hudson Ham & Jam in August), soup suppers, picnics at the winery, ice cream socials, fireworks displays, and band concerts on town squares.
In Manhattan, great family day trips start at the brand new Flint Hills Discovery Center; with interaction for all ages, neck-craning architecture, and an immersive video experience, everyone will ask to come back. Highlighted by cooling shade and water features, the Blue Earth Plaza, outside of the Flint Hills Discovery Center, beckons guests to relax and enjoy downtown.
Sunset Zoo celebrates summer with the opening of the Nature Exploration Center and a new gibbon exhibit. Visitors are invited to "grow wild" with the zoo and find out why flamingoes are pink, or where in the world a Peccary is from!
Arts in the Park, Manhattan's free summer concert series, continues in City Park each Friday night through early August. Additionally, three public pools, Splash Park and a variety of warm-weather venues are hopping with activity. Find the lazy river; take the boat to Tuttle Creek State Park to camp or fish; hike the Konza Prairie and enjoy the Little Apple® this summer!
For more information on these, or any event happening in Kansas this summer, visit www.TravelKS.com.
SOURCE Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism