Wichita, Kan. By Tom Stanley
In the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, as Dorothy discovered herself in a wildly different place from any she had ever visited before, she famously remarked to her dog, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto."
That line has come to signify a departure from the familiar, an understatement of the utter starkness of one's present scenario compared to what's normal for that person. And I don't fail to see the irony here, for having spent the bulk of my life in the distant suburbs of Philadelphia, Kansas is as foreign to me as any country across the ocean.
Kansas is at the heart of America, dead center and as far from any oceans as possible. I grew up with the notion of people in Kansas who've never seen the ocean before, wondering what it'd be like to go through life without seeing snow, or without eating chocolate. Absolutely terrifying.
This is our impetus, our M.O., that once we've travelled through Kansas and the rest of America, we should be able to look back and wonder how awful our lives would have been if we had simply stayed at home and done nothing.
So let's get to know each other, Kansas. Wichita is the biggest city in the state, with enough to keep us occupied for far longer than we have time to stay. But here's what we hope to have time for while we're here.
-Botanica: The Wichita Gardens (at left)
-Kansas Aviation Museum
-Old Cowtown Museum
-Arkansas River Trail
-Wichita Art Museum
-Sedgwick County Zoo
-Museum of World Treasures
(From top) Photo courtesy Go Wichita CVB; photo courtesy Go Wichita CVB; photo by Johanna Commer courtesy Go Wichita CVB