Beyond the Yellow Brick Road: Exploring Liberal, Kansas

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I can fly at MAAM © Courtesy of Visit Liberal

There’s no place like Liberal, Kansas! In this charming southwestern town, you’ll find an abundance of rich local history—notably, Liberal is the home of Dorothy Gale.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Dorothy’s official hometown of Liberal, where you can let your imagination soar to become a part of the “Wizard of Oz” story, take flight at Mid-America Air Museum, become a long-ago adventurer with Coronado’s expedition, create an art piece at Baker Arts Center and spent the night gazing at the stars.

Being that Liberal is this fictional heroine’s hometown, it should come as no surprise that you might spot a Dorothy or two around Liberal. Each of these uniquely painted statues of Liberal’s most famous fictional resident has a different theme, which makes for a fun scavenger hunt as you explore the town!

Skip with your Dorothy tour guide as you visit her home, a farmhouse built in 1907, carefully restored and furnished to replicate the house shown in the movie, reproducing the warmth of the farm where Dorothy realized, “There’s no place like home.” Then fly into the Land of Oz, 5,000 square feet of good and bad witches, Munchkins, talking trees, winged monkeys, and of course, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Toto, too.

Try your hand at being the pilot at Mid-America Air Museum, one of the largest general aviation museums in both Kansas and the nation. Aircraft, flight simulators, hands-on exhibits, and educational videos make this a place to spend hours learning about all aspects of flight. A plane like Dwight Eisenhower’s smallest Air Force One, a Beech Starship, LTV A-70 Corsair II, and a 1937 Rearwin Sportster 7000 are just a few of the over 100 aircraft you will see.

Baker Arts Center is an excellent place for families to spend time with the arts. Building with Lego, creating lite-brite designs, painting, pottery, and more are encouraged as you explore the space. The gift shop offers visitors a chance to take home artwork by local and area artists.

History buffs will also get a chance to tour the Coronado Museum, where the history of Seward County comes alive with displays dating back to Coronado’s travels.

Clear skies, low light pollution, dry, crisp air, and a little bit of magic are requirements for excellent stargazing, and Arkalon Park offers that and more. Arkalon offers RV and tent camping, fishing, hiking, birding and wildlife viewing, and beautiful night skies. The park, 13 miles northeast of town, also offers multiple gravel cycling options.

Come visit anytime, but if you come on Fat or Shrove Tuesday, you are in for a treat—Liberal takes their dedication to pancakes seriously. There’s no better time to watch the International Pancake Race, a friendly competition with Olney, England, bringing the USA and the United Kingdom together in a symbol of peace and unity.

A tradition since 1950, the women of Liberal and Olney square off in a fun, fast-paced race to the finish line carrying skillets complete with pancakes inside. The day includes a pancake breakfast, races, Shriving Service, and a parade. If you aren’t here on the day, you can request a tour of the International Pancake Day Hall of Fame, where memorabilia of the event is on display.

Summer visitors will find added activities at the Adventure Bay Family Water Park, with four big slides and multiple smaller ones, a dump bucket, lily pads, basketball hoops, and a pirate ship.

Other things to do around town include a Dorothy statue scavenger hunt, train memorabilia near two restored historic train depots, the Statue of Liberty statue, the largest book front at Memorial Library, and murals scattered around town.

To plan your trip, go to visitliberal.com or call 1-800-LIBERAL.

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Dorothy’s official hometown of Liberal, KS. Here you will find wide open spaces, spectacular sunsets, history, culture and a wide variety of activities and attractions. With over 800 motel rooms, more than 35 restaurants and all the services travelers need, Liberal offers a wonderful setting for a family reunion, conference or weekend getaway with family or friends.

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