On September 6, 1864, Ottawa was founded along the south side of the Marais des Cygnes River and was voted to become a City of the Second Class under the guidelines established by the State of Kansas.
Ottawa, the county’s seat of Franklin County in eastern Kansas, is a pleasant town with a dynamic Main Street, numerous exciting events, and enthralling architecture from the early twentieth century. From Oz Museum and the iconic “Mounties” to fantastic galleries, festivals, and shopping, Ottawa has it all.
In this blog post, we have compiled a list of 20 thrilling things to do In Ottawa, KS. You will admire that there is something for everyone and every interest and many things to do in this town.
Whatever the season, Ottawa has the best places to visit for those looking for a fun-filled city holiday or short stay.
What is Ottawa, KS known for?
Ottawa, KS is renowned for its broad grasslands, rolling hills, and natural beauty. The state is home to the enormous contiguous tallgrass prairie in the world and contains one of the most river miles of any form in the Great Plains.
Travelers from all over the world visit Ottawa, the First Class City of Kansas, to explore its historical monuments and landmarks, take in its arts and culture, and experience its sights and sounds.
In addition, Ottawa, KS is recognized for being the largest wheat producer in the United States and for its superb Barbecue Cuisine.
20 Thrilling Things To Do In Ottawa, KS
Ottawa, Kansas offers many fun activities tourists can engage in – whether you enjoy history, music, or just wandering about and people-watching. Enough said, let’s now explore the 20 exciting things you can do in Ottawa, KS:
1. Visit the Path of the Prairie Spirit
In Prairie Spirit, they have the perfect location if you’ve been looking for a long trail for a bike excursion. When you are, Prairie Spirit Trail is always ready.
There is always time for a fantastic mountain bike ride, and rural Kansas is the perfect serene setting for getting some much-needed fresh air.
Go cycling on the Greenbelt if the weather is decent and you have a bike! It is absolutely stunning, especially at night. At your disposal are forests, hills, farms, dilapidated bridges over streams, wooden fences, and more.
Nothing is more beautiful than counting the bridges you ride through or watching the sun sink over long blades of grass.
The walk has many varied natural elements, including plenty of wildlife to observe and wildflowers at the correct time of year.
In rural places, the trail has a paved hard-packed limestone screening surface. It is fantastic for wildlife viewing, hiking, running, and mountain biking which are some of the things to do in Ottawa Kansas.
2. Kansas’s Coronado Heights Castle Lindsborg
A monument designating the location where a conqueror gave up looking for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold.
When you do visit, you will find some stories that are told during his search for the legendary “Seven Cities of Gold,” also known as the “Seven Cities of Cibola,” Coronado was thought to have traveled through what is now the wilderness of Kansas in the 1540s.
For a decade, tales of these old Native American sources of wealth—stories that may have their origins in myth—led intrepid travelers around the new world on fruitless expeditions.
Was there ever truly a “City of Gold,” or were these stories from the frontier simply wild myths, as scholars have long debated?
Today’s location in Kansas is thought to be where Coronado finished his misguided journey and dejectedly headed back to Mexico.
3. Giant Van Gogh Painting
A massive picture that measures 24 by 32 feet is Ottawa, Kansas’ top attraction. The enormous reproduction of “Three Sunflowers in a Vase” is perched atop an even 80-foot-tall steel easel.
It is 45 000 pounds heavy. Even though it is eight blocks away and is very enormous, the Giant van Gogh Artwork can be seen from Interstate 70.
The enormous still-life replica rapidly catches the attention of vehicles and tourists but rarely receives much more than that.
The area behind the easel has free parking. And nighttime viewing is made feasible thanks to a spotlight in front of the easel.
4. Oakley, Kansas’s Monument Rocks
These stark formations are one of Kansas’ Eight Wonders and the first recognized National Natural Monument. They resemble Stonehenge in the natural world.
The so-called Monument Rocks are massive chalk formations that rise from the flat plains close to Oakley, Kansas. They are over 50 feet tall and appear to have been arranged by human hands.
Fossils and other remains from the prehistoric era are abundant in the local rocks. Who wouldn’t like a place this fun near Ottawa to explore?
The rock formations are so well-known that they were chosen as America’s first national natural landmark and one of Kansas’ eight wonders.
5. Old Depot Museum
This museum is a true treasure! I would never have imagined such a high-quality museum in such a little town. The exhibitions were carefully planned. Old Depot museum offers lots of things to do in Ottawa, KS, with kids.
This Santa Fe railway depot from 1888 interprets local and railroad history through thematic, sometimes interactive, rooms.
An antique soda fountain, a one-room school where kids can play, an industry room, a Victorian parlor, and an old farmhouse kitchen are all located upstairs.
6. Hop on (and hop off) a bus for sightseeing
Want to explore the city while still seeing all the top things to do in Ottawa? Then reserve a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour.
A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is an ideal way to view the highlights of Ottawa KS. Multilingual interpreters will provide good information about the county’s historic sites, museums, and architecturally significant buildings.
If something catches your attention, you can get off the bus and investigate further before boarding the next one.
Don’t miss Ottawa City Hall, known for its blend of modern and nineteenth-century architecture. Take a journey on the Amphibus for a more unusual adventure.
7. Street Massachusetts
While there are many things to do in Ottawa, KS, the surrounding countryside also has many tourist attractions. You could do so many fun things with your kids in Ottawa.
In Lawrence, Kansas, Massachusetts Street serves as the primary thoroughfare. A portion of it is included on the National Register of Historic Sites, making it a popular tourist destination.
Many of these essential structures are identified with bronze plaques that describe their importance. History-related exhibits are on display at the Watkins Museum.
A public park and a Japanese Friendship Garden are green spots close by. Due to the abundance of businesses selling distinctive goods, the street is also a shoppers’ paradise.
8.The Eden Garden
Self-built home and sculpture park in Lucas, Kansas, where the artist can still be seen within a glass coffin.
Samuel Dinsmoor, a civil war soldier, constructed the Garden of Eden, one of the “EIGHT WONDERS of Kansas Art,” which consists of a house and a sculpture park.
Dinsmoor, who was also an activist, frequently attended gatherings of the logical, materialist “free thinkers.”
So he demonstrated this freedom of thought when he built his concrete home, barn, pyramid, and spring, which he filled with water by forcibly tapping into the town’s water main. Every traveler interested in history should visit here..
9. Museum of Oz
THE Oz museum, which is appropriately situated in a little Kansas town, means that you don’t have to wait for a tornado to transport you to the fantastical realm of Oz.
A room that looks like Dorothy’s black-and-white farmhouse can be seen, and it leads to a room with plenty of light where you can walk a short distance down the yellow brick road.
The OzToberfest, an annual street festival, is the ideal time to visit. This museum offers great exploration ideas with do with kids in Ottawa, KS.
It features a variety of enjoyable activities for both adults and kids, such as a costume contest, and a yellow brick road bike ride, as well as food and drink, music, and much more from the fantastical Wizard of Oz universe.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
10. World Treasures Museum
The Museum of Global Treasures in Wichita, Kansas, contains a sizable collection of historical artifacts on exhibit.
They include Egyptian mummies, a fragment of the Berlin Wall, and the world’s most diverse collection of artifacts from world history.
Moreover, be aware that the museum has a banquet room available for birthdays, marriages, and meetings and is housed in the Farm & Art Market Building in Old Town.
Its tranquil pathways and magnificent trees are perfect for people-watching, and it frequently hosts significant events, so there’s always something exciting going on from time to time for you to adore.
These fun activities sums up why Ottawa is a great to explore and offers variety of things to do here in Ottawa, KS.
11. The Great Well, Kansas’ Greensburg
The most significant hand-dug well in the United States is capped with a cutting-edge museum.
Boasted as the world’s largest significant hand-dug well and known as “The Great Well,” Greensburg locals have long been proud of their well, which was just designated one of Kansas’ eight natural wonders.
The well commemorated its millionth visitor in 1956. For adventure and tourism, the new museum in Ottawa lets guests descend a spiral staircase into the Big Well.
In the summer, you may get lost (temporarily!) in the paintings of the well before unwinding with an old-fashioned campfire and barbecue kept for tourists to dine on.
12. Visit the Great Children’s Museum
This well-liked attraction, housed at the Great Museum of History, takes guests on an interactive journey of the globe, stopping at locations including a cargo ship’s deck and a Parisian street corner.
Also, don’t miss the family studio, where you can experiment with international craft skills and take your work home.
Just like we found out kids love the view of old objects in museums, you should bring your kids also to enjoy the historical artifacts in Ottawa, KS.
13. Farmstead for children owned by Deanna Rose
Overland Park, Kansas, has a family-friendly farm experience and an educational facility called the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Undoubtedly, the best things to do with kids in Ottawa KS.
The 12-acre park has attractions for people of all ages and conducts a range of events all year long.
The park offers a variety of refreshment alternatives for visitors, including an ice cream shop and a restaurant serving standard amusement park fare.
Visitors can engage with farm animals, raptor gardens, and birds of prey at the farmstead. Indeed, these are the top attractions in Ottawa, Kansas.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to have some outdoor fun!
14. Visit the Underground Museum in Strataca
The underground museum in strataca is definitely one of the most entertaining and unique things to do in Ottawa, so don’t miss it.
The mine offers tours that include a tram trip, geology galleries, mining operations exhibits, and more.
Tourists can purchase even a bag of salt crystals from the mine as a souvenir. The museum hosts special occasions throughout the year, such as musical performances and dinnertime murder mysteries.
This is the perfect place near Ottawa for your ideal tour for those who enjoy a little adventure and sightseeing!
15. Zoo in Rolling Hills
A unique white camel, an Indian rhino, an orangutan, and many other creatures may be seen at the Rolling Hills Zoo, a zoo close to Salina.
A guide leads visitors through the park while explaining the exhibits and the background of the animals.
Visitors who seek a more in-depth encounter with the wildlife can participate in camp programs at the zoo. These are great activities around Ottawa, Kansas, where visitors may view the animals in lovely, realistic environments.
Your Ottawa zoo escapade will undoubtedly be a memorable opportunity to learn about different animals, regardless of your choice.
16. Tours by Kansas City’s Fun Trolley
The Kansas City Fun Trolley Tours provide a fun and distinctive way to see the city. The historic City Market, the WWI Museum, the Missouri River, and many other popular local attractions will be passed by the real trolley as it passes.
Visitors receive a thorough overview of everything Kansas City has to offer on the tour, as well as a solid grounding in the region’s history.
17. Exploration Place
In Wichita, Kansas, there is a scientific museum and learning center called The Exploration Place. The Wichita Omnisphere and Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Wichita were combined when it debuted in 2000.
Its 150-seat, 60-foot-high theater, which offers an engaging and interactive approach to science and is furnished with an incredible sound system, and stage lighting, is one of its main features.
Take your kids along with you to enjoy the memories more. One of the most fascinating views on the planet is the northern exploration place.
18. Visit the Sporting Park
A football stadium in Kansas City is called The Children’s Mercy Park, often known as Livestrong Sporting Park or Sporting Park. It now serves as the home of the Major League Soccer franchise Sporting Kansas City.
The stadium features amazing food and drink opportunities and courteous employees that will assist you every step of the way. Next to the stadium is a shopping center with dining options, and there is free parking nearby.
It functions as both an art tour and a treasure hunt. You will see another aspect of the city’s art culture on this imaginative and engaging outing!
19. Kansas City Aquarium
Thousands of aquatic animals can be seen in Kansas City’s Sea Life aquarium known to be amongst the top attractions in Ottawa, Kansas
In the City aquarium you will find blacktip reef sharks, huge Pacific octopuses, big-bellied seahorses, cow-nosed rays, green sea turtles, and many others are examples of non-table species.
Do you desire something a little more exciting? Then this fun activity to do in Ottawa KS is the perfect option to jump on with your family and friends.
It also functions as a breeding facility for several species to help battle extinction. The aquarium schedules educational presentations with experts throughout the day.
The aquarium houses both freshwater and saltwater exhibits, as well as a number of interactive displays that let guests get up and personal with the animals on display.
20. All-Electric Home from the 1950s
This retro-futuristic model home is jam-packed with weird electrical features. The mansion is well-known for its vintage-style holiday decorations, which feature an aluminum Christmas tree.
In this house of the future from the past, the kitchen has pink worktops, the bathroom has aqua tiles, and several of the walls are painted green.
Pushing a button causes a piece of wall art to swing back and reveal a TV. The curtains are electric. The refrigerator is unlocked by the foot pedal. With a switch, the coffee machine is turned on.
Though several aspects of the home, like the automatic garage door, today appear less dated, they were once the cutting edge of in-home technology when they were first installed.
Tiny Ray’s Reptile Zoo, the Wild Bird Care Center, the Museum of Oz, and the Ottawa Agricultural and Food Museum are among the top attractions in Ottawa, Kansas.
Are you looking for a place to stay while you are here? The Fairmont Château Laurier is a luxurious resort featuring an indoor pool, upscale dining options nearby, and quick access to Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal.
The majority of Kansas City’s annual events are free to attend as well. Check the Visit KC events calendar to discover your next unforgettable experience, whether you’re visiting the area on vacation or a local looking for something interesting.