Spring Break Excursion Starts In Wichita
(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Every Spring Break, hundreds of families from the Wichita area travel to the Arkansas Ozarks and the nationally recognized destination of Eureka Springs. As much fun as there is to experience once the family arrives, the journey to this Victorian village can provide a whole host of lifetime memories with exceptional points of interest (POI) along the way.
So with the kids and the family dog (yes, many Eureka Springs’ properties are pet friendly) securely and safely buckled in, here are a few POI to check out as the family heads east. Let the excursion begin.
POI #1: Chanute-Wright Brothers Memorial, Chanute KS (approx. 109 miles from Wichita)… This memorial is so much more than mobile sculpture that moves with the wind; it replicates the Wright brothers’ flying machine and commemorates the important relationship between the town’s namesake and the birth of flight. French-born Octave Chanute never was a resident of Chanute, Kansas; however, one of the four railroads he built through Kansas made the town possible. This memorial, like the town, is an homage to this engineer and the brothers he mentored. kansastravel.org/chanutewrightbrothers.htm
POI #2: Fort Scott National Historic Site, Fort Scott KS (approx. 50 miles from POI #1)…More than 26,000 visitors come to this National Historic Site each year. The 20 historic structures, eleven of which are original, represent a military fort of the 1840s and focuses on the role of the U.S. Army on the frontier. This site interprets this critical era with interpretive exhibits, period furnishings, and living history programs that include soldiers drilling on horseback and artillery demonstrations. nps.gov/fosc/index.htm
POI #3: Big Brutus, Mineral KS(approx. 52 miles from POI #2)… The second largest electric shovel in the world, Big Brutus stands 160 feet high, and is visible for miles around. From 1962 to 1974, it was a powerful aid to the Kansas mining industry. Today, the public is invited to climb inside it, look around, and even sit in the operator’s seat. A visitors’ center next to it provides more background information. bigbrutus.org/
POI #4: Kan-O-Tex Service Station, Galena KS (approx. 31 miles from POI #3)… This restored gas station recalls the heyday of Route 66 when it was a major thoroughfare. It’s the home of the 1951 International tow truck that was the inspiration for ‘Tow Mater’ in the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars” plus a collection of memorabilia relating to Route 66 and the “Cars” film. kansastravel.org/4womenontheroute.htm
POI #5: Bluff Dwellers Cavern, Noel MO (approx. 58 miles from POI #4)… This bluff has significant archaeological significance having served as shelter for the native Bluff Dwellers some 12,000 years ago. The non-strenuous tour features a musical rock formation. bluffdwellerscavern.com
POI #6: Pea Ridge National Military Park, Garfield AR (approx. 30 miles from POI #5)… The Battle of Pea Ridge was the largest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi. The National Park Service describes the park as “the most intact Civil War battlefield in the United States”, which includes the legendary Elkhorn Tavern. nps.gov/peri/learn/index.htm
POI #7: Beaver Bridge, Beaver AR (approx. 26 miles from POI #6)… This historic wooden suspension bridge, built in 1949 and known as the “Little Golden Gate of Arkansas”, is a hidden delight. A single-lane, wooden construction bridge that is 554 feet long and only 11 feet wide that spans the White River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. exploresouthernhistory.com/beaverbridge
POI #8: City of Eureka Springs AR (approx. 7 miles from POI #7)… This quaint village grew to prominence in the late 19th century because of the healing powers of the water -back then- from the 65 springs near the downtown area. Now this resort community, which is entirely listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers days and nights worth of family fun, activities and attractions including Beaver Lake; Kings and White Rivers; state’s longest and highest zip line; Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge; plus America’s Most Haunted Hotel, The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. eurekaspringsonline.com.
The only question that rings out is “When do we leave?” (Remember, the kids and dog are waiting.)