With its rich Volga German heritage and history as a wild western town, a trip to Hays, Kansas with the kids provides many opportunities for fun and entertainment. It would serve as a good stopover town along Interstate 70 or even for an extended stay. Many museums highlighting the history of the town as well as outdoor amenities create opportunities for a well-rounded visit with the kids.
Fort Hays State Historic Site (kshs.org/fort_hays) provides a look into the past of this fort established to protect railroad workers and travelers in the 1800s. "Wild Bill" Hickok and "Buffalo Bill" Cody are just a few of the historical figures associated with the site. Many of the exhibits are interactive, making it interesting for the kids. The Sternberg Museum of Natural History (sternberg.fhsu.edu) features many exhibits and activities designed for kids. Kids can see what it's like to be a paleontologist as they dig around for fossils in the dig pit. They can also interact with the live animals on display such as the ornate box turtle and many snakes native to the area.
The Hays Aquatic Park (haysusa.com/html/hays_aquatic_park) provides a variety of water activities with kids in mind. It has two large water slides, a lazy river for leisure floating, a swimming pool with play structures, a pool with various diving boards, shaded lounge areas and concessions. Another swimming option with perhaps smaller crowds is the Wilson Pool (haysusa.com/html/wilson_pool). It has a recreational swimming pool along with a playground and open play area.
Blue Sky Farm Miniature Horses (blueskyhorses.com) is a farm dedicated to raising and showing miniature horses. It offers tours of the farm educating kids and adults in grooming, how the horses are shown, how they are trained and what they eat. Kids will have the opportunity to visit with the horses up-close. Fairview Farms (fairviewfarmsalpacas.com) is an alpaca farm. Alpacas are a unique animal closely related to sheep whose coat is used for fiber spinning. The farm offers tours teaching tourists all there is to know about raising and keeping alpacas.
The city of Hays (haysusa.com) provides many parks with a wide array of amenities. Aubel Bickle Park (no website; Sherman Avenue; 785-628-7375) has a multi-purpose play area with slides, climbing walls and swings, a skate park with ramps and jumps, basketball courts and volleyball courts. West Frontier Park (no website; Highway 183; 785-628-7375) provides large shade trees with creek fishing, disc golf and play areas. Hickok Park (no website; Donald Drive; 785-628-7375) has a natural area with landscaping along with playgrounds and basketball courts.