On Memorial Day weekend we had a good old fashioned family reunion to attend. Actually it was the first one ever. To add to the fact that it's a family reunion and they are known to be a drag, it was also going to be held in Ellis, Kansas. Ellis Kansas what? Ellis is located in NW part of the state and is about 3 hours from Wichita and 15 minutes outside of Hays. Still not sure where? Well, it's not all that important.
To spice up this road trip we decided to keep an eye out for any kind of roadside attraction. No matter the lame factor, we were going to do it. The one thing we were able to find, before our GPS decided to crap out, was Cornado Heights located in Lindsborg, Ks. It was a short drive into the country side and then up a 300 foot hill with 360 degree panoramic views. On top the hill was a park that included a castle. Inside where 2 stone tables and fireplace. A small staircase led to the rooftop. Musicians of all kinds love to come here and play inside the castle. Who knows why, maybe it's the acoustics? Outside the castle doorway was a large fireplace with round seating. And flanking the edges of the park were stone picnic areas jetting out from the walls and overlooking gorgeous views of endless flowing fields. Perfect for an afternoon picnic.
Cornado Heights really didn't have any historical meaning to it except that it was named after Francisco Vasquez de Cornado, who visited central Kansas in 1541 in search for gold. Yep, I believe this castle was made for pure fun. Actually, I think it was the best part of our whole 2 day road trip and family reunion.
Looking for some other roadside Kansas attractions with a quirky twist? Here are a few:
- Try the Hutchinson Underground Salt Museum. I think you'd be surprised at how many odd movie memorabilia is stored there. For example, George Clooney's Batman outfit or the sunglasses from Men In Black.
- The world's largest ball of twine located in Cawker City, Ks. If anything, this 12 foot ball is required for some good laughs on a boring road trip. Story is a farmer didn't know what to do with the extra twine found in his barn so day after day, he just kept rolling it up. Enough said.
- The Garden of Eden in Lucas, Ks. We saw the sign for this place heading West but missed it heading home. But from my research, it seems to be a house with ivy-covered concrete figures of Adam and Eve and children all around. This creepster house will for sure give you some nightmares. Great for the children!
- The Worlds Largest Easel & Sunflower Painting in Goodland, Ks. As an artist myself, this is at the top of my list of odd things to find on the side of the road in Kansas. The sunflower is the state flower and Goodland is the center of the sunflower industry - fitting I suppose. So be sure to take an "I've been here photo" and look dwarfed next to this piece of art.
If anything, these roadside attractions are good for a laugh or even to just realize how many strange bored people actually do live in this world.