Kansas Road Trip Vibes
When we host FAM Trips we hear a lot about how Kansas is a road-trip style state. That is why we focus on one of the six travel regions and immerse our self in the region focusing on their history, culture, food, and attractions. For 2022 the FAM’s we hosted were in Northwest, North Central, and Southeast Kansas. In 2023 we are doing Southwest, South Central, and Northeast Kansas. We will announce the details and application info for 2023 trips towards the end of the year. Stay tuned, my friends!
*The above mural is The Beachner Grain Elevator Mural in Wichita, the largest mural in the world painted by a single artist.
Be sure to use #ToTheStarsKS when posting about Kansas on your social channels.
Big Brutus | West Mineral
World’s Largest Electric Coal Shovel
Big Brutus put the oooohs and aaahs in the backyard of the Heartland. Miles before you reach this retired giant — you can see it on the horizon south of West Mineral, Kansas.
Standing beside it makes one aware of how fragile he or she is. The statistics give the hard cold picture — Bucyrus Erie model 1850B second largest electric shovel in the world 16 stories tall (160 feet) weight 11 million pounds boom 150 feet long dipper capacity 90 cu. yds (by heaping, 150 tons — enough to fill three railroad cars.) maximum speed .22 MPH cost $6.5 million (in 1962) There is more to Big Brutus than cold steel and long shadows falling across the Mined Land Wildlife Area.
Big Brutus is not just a symbol of the past, but an eternal tribute to the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas and to miners all across this nation who toiled to support their families. On July 13, 1985, Big Brutus was dedicated as “a Museum and Memorial Dedicated to the Rich Coal Mining History in Southeast Kansas.”
Removed from the stomach of a cow that was processed in a nearby packing house, this mammoth trichobezoar was nearly 40 inches in circumference and was said to have weighed 55 pounds wet when first removed. Though smaller and drier now, it’s still a very impressive sight.
Visitors are free to lightly touch the ball (it feels like a velvet basketball) but signage politely reminds them not to pick it up. Hairball aside, the museum has several walk-through areas and numerous exhibits where visitors can trace the roots and historical events of the area, from the lives of the first native people, to the cowboy era, all the way up to present day. Volunteers will happily answer any questions you might have as you explore the facility.
The grounds also include a research library, an original one-room school house, and a museum store with enough items to satisfy any traveler’s needs, including t-shirts featuring the giant hairball.
Czech Egg | Wilson
World’s Largest Czech Egg
Art lovers can’t miss this unique roadside attraction! The World’s Largest Czech Egg is a tribute to the area’s Czech heritage. This is a huge example of the Czech tradition called Kraslice. These beautiful, intricate patterns are instantly recognizable, and seeing such a large example really helps you admire the beauty of the smaller versions you can find around town. This 20-foot-tall egg is a must-see!
Ball of Twine | Cawker City
World’s Largest Ball of Twine
Cawker City’s world famous Ball of Twine was initially created in the hands of local farmer, Frank Stoeber, in 1953. Frank had not been well and decided that rolling his abundance of excess twine, saved from years of feeding his cows bales of hay into a ball, would be good exercise and a way to occupy his time. Thus, began the Ball of Twine. Throughout the remainder of his life, he continued to add to the ball until it became too large to fit inside his barn, after which he moved the still growing ball to town to be viewed in awe, by everyone.
Today, visitors come from far and wide to have a part in making the Ball of Twine bigger. Year-round, twine (pre-measured and weighed) is provided to those that stop by and inquire about having a hand in adding to the Ball. Those that do have the right to claim fame for having added to the monstrosity.
Lucas Travel Plate | Lucas
World’s Largest Travel Plate
That’s right, in addition to being the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas, the tiny town of Lucas with 400 people now boasts its very own World’s Largest Thing! Honoring the multiple Outsider Art environments that have flourished in Lucas since the early 1900s, the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plates depict those environments alongside a visual history of the town. The dish itself is 14’ in diameter, formed from a large fiberglass satellite dish with another, smaller dish mounted inside as the center medallion.
Lucas is also home to The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Largest Small Versions of the World’s Largest Things.
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