Must-see attractions in The Great Plains

  • Downtown St Louis, MO with the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch at sunrise; Shutterstock ID 373948018; Your name (First / Last): Lauren Keith; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Content Asset; Full Product or Project name including edition: Guides Project Eastern USA

    Gateway Arch National Park

    St Louis

    As a symbol for St Louis, the Gateway Arch has soared above any expectations its backers could have had in 1965 when it opened. Now the centerpiece of its…

  • Cosmosphere


    Possibly the most surprising sight in Kansas, this amazing museum captures the race to the moon better than any museum on the planet. Absorbing displays…

  • North Dakota Badlands at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park

    North Dakota

    A tortured region known as the 'badlands' whose colors seem to change with the moods of nature, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is the state's natural…

  • The Bandstand in Forest Park in St. Louis.

    Forest Park

    St Louis

    New York City may have Central Park, but St Louis has the bigger (by 528 acres) Forest Park. The superb, 1371-acre spread was the setting of the 1904…

  • ROCHEPORT, MO, USA - AUGUST 1, 2015: Cyclists at Rocheport station on Katy Trail (237 mile bike trail stretching across most of the state of Missouri converted from abandoned railroad); 
Katy Trail State Park

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    Katy Trail State Park


    America's longest rail-to-trail walking and biking route starts in Machens near St Louis and St Charles and ends in Clinton, 70 miles southwest of Kansas…

  • Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge over the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska.



    The riverfront along the Missouri River celebrates the waterway's past and present. Highlights include the architecturally stunning Bob Kerrey Pedestrian…

  • Fall colors surround the former home of US President Harry Truman in Independence, Missouri.

    Truman Home


    See the simple life Harry (1884–1972) and Bess (1885–1982) lived in this basic but charming wood house. It's furnished with their original belongings and…

  • A wild longhorn cow on the prairie in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

    Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge


    The 59,020-acre Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge protects bison, elk, longhorn cattle and a frenetic prairie dog town. Wildlife is abundant; observant…

  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Kansas.

    Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve


    This 11,000-acre national preserve, 2 miles northwest of Strong City, is a perfect place to hike the prairie, with its 40 miles of scenic trails. Bison…

  • The historic Tulsa Union Depot, an art deco landmark and former railway station, now houses the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

    Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame


    Tulsa's beautiful Union Station is filled with sound again, but now it's melodious as opposed to cacophonous. During the first half of the 20th century,…

  • Bengal tiger at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

    Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium


    The world's largest indoor desert? Check. The world's largest nocturnal exhibit? Check. America's largest indoor rainforest? Check. An aquarium showing…

  • Historic Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in North Dakota.

    Fort Union Trading Post

    North Dakota

    Straddling the Montana–North Dakota border, the pearl-white Fort Union Trading Post is a reconstruction of the American Fur Company post built in 1828. It…

  • The National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.

    National WWI Museum

    Kansas City

    Enter this impressive modern museum on a glass walkway over a field of red poppies, the symbol of remembrance of WWI. Through detailed and engaging…

  • Scotts Bluff National Monument.

    Scotts Bluff National Monument


    Scotts Bluff has been a beacon to travelers for centuries. Rising 800ft above the flat plains of western Nebraska, it was an important waypoint on the…

  • The Union Pacific Railroad Museum, a train museum in Council Bluffs across from Omaha, Nebraska.

    Union Pacific Railroad Museum


    Just across the river from Omaha in the cute little downtown area of Council Bluffs, IA, this highly interactive museum tells the story of the world's…

  • Dinosaur skeletons in the visitor center of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska.

    Agate Fossil Beds National Monument


    Some 20 million years ago, this part of Nebraska was like the Serengeti in Africa today: a gathering place for a rich variety of creatures. Today the…

  • The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.

    Corn Palace

    South Dakota

    The Corn Palace is the king of roadside attractions, enticing more than half a million people to pull off I-90 each year. Close to 300,000 ears of corn…

  • From its humble beginning as a small drug store, Wall Drug has grown into an international tourist attraction for an otherwise small town in rural South Dakota.

    Wall Drug

    South Dakota

    Wall Drug is a surprisingly enjoyable tourist attraction of the old school. It really does have 5¢ coffee, free ice water, good donuts and enough…

  • The playground at the City Museum with airplane tower and hanging school bus in St. Louis.

    City Museum

    St Louis

    Possibly the wildest highlight of any visit to St Louis is this frivolous, frilly fun house in a vast old shoe factory. The Museum of Mirth, Mystery &…

  • Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Kearney, Nebraska.

    Great Platte River Road Archway Monument


    Arching unexpectedly over I-80 east of Kearney, the multimedia light-and-sound exhibits here tell colorful tales about the people who've passed this way,…

  • Falls Park along the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

    Falls Park

    South Dakota

    Stroll along the grass-lined paths to Sioux Falls' star attraction – its rambling namesake waterfall – at this picturesque park. Popular with amorous…

  • The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

    Kansas City

    Giant badminton shuttlecocks (the building represents the net) surround this encyclopedic museum, which has standout European painting, photography and…

  • The Cherokee National Museum lies on the grounds of the Cherokee Heritage Center, where the tribe's history, culture and arts are preserved and celebrated.

    Cherokee Heritage Center


    The excellent Cherokee Heritage Center features Native American–led tours through a re-creation of a pre-European-contact woodland village and 1890s…

  • Eroded rock formations at Badlands National Park.

    Badlands National Park

    South Dakota

    Pinnacled rock formations with vivid color bands, sharp-edged cliffs with tiptoeing bighorn sheep, and sprawling colonies of feverish prairie dogs are…

  • Badlands Loop Road in Badlands National Park.

    Hwy 240 Badlands Loop Rd

    South Dakota

    Badlands National Park's North Unit gets the most visitors; this stunning road is easily reached from I-90 (exits 110 and 131) and you can drive it in an…

  • Echo Bluff State Park

    Echo Bluff State Park


    With lush forests and facilities befitting a top-tier national park, Echo Bluff is a true Ozarks highlight. Opened in 2016, this state park has a soaring…

  • The grounds at Fort Larned National Historic Site.

    Fort Larned National Historic Site


    Six miles west of town, Fort Larned National Historic Site is a remarkably well-preserved 1860s fort in an evocative setting. It's well worth the trip to…

  • Gilcrease Museum

    Gilcrease Museum


    Northwest of downtown, off Hwy 64, this superb museum sits on the manicured estate of Thomas Gilcrease of the Muscogee Creek Nation, who discovered oil on…

  • The Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.

    State Capitol


    From the sparkling gold dome to the spiral staircases and stained glass in the law library, every detail at this bling-heavy capitol (1886) seems to try…

  • 1488699024
Kansas City, MO, USA November 3 Bronze sculptures stand in their positions, honoring the baseball greats of the pre-Jackie Robinson days at the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, Missouri

    Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

    Kansas City

    This comprehensive museum covers the lesser-known history of African American teams, such as the KC Monarchs and New York Black Yankees, that flourished…

  • Price Tower


    You can tour the only Frank Lloyd Wright–designed skyscraper ever built, the 221ft Price Tower (1956). Inside and out it is like Architectural Digest…

  • Arnolds Park Amusement Park


    Dating back to the 1880s, this old-fashioned lakeside amusement park is pure fun. The Legend is the seventh-oldest wooden roller coaster in the world and…

  • Taum Sauk Mountain State Park


    Many Missouri state parks cater to fun and games like fishing and tubing. Not this one. You can scale the state's highest peak, Taum Sauk Mountain (1772ft…

  • Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center


    Upstream of Grand Island, the Platte River hosts 500,000 sandhill cranes (80% of the world population) and millions more waterfowl during the spring…

  • Durham Museum


    The soaring art deco Union Station train depot is a sight to behold with its cathedral windows, geometric chandeliers, ornate ceilings and reliefs of…

  • Decopolis


    Part museum, part souvenir store, part bookstore, part candyland, this multifaceted place should be your first stop in downtown Tulsa. All things art deco…

  • Woody Guthrie Center


    Woody Guthrie gained fame for his 1930s folk ballads that told stories of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. His life and music are recalled in this…

  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum


    This museum presents eight buildings, including two homes Twain lived in and that of Laura Hawkins, the real-life inspiration for Becky Thatcher in The…