July 22, 2019

Fun Things to Do in Lawrence KS

Our trip to Lawrence Kansas has been so memorable not just because of the places we went to and the activities we experienced, but it also left a mark in our hearts because of the incredible hospitality of their people. It was a trip that my family will surely cherish. When you plan your next trip to Kansas make sure to add Lawrence to the city you will visit. See our list of amazing restaurants in Lawrence Kansas and check out below for the fun things to do in Lawrence KS.

Prairie Park Nature Center

Prairie Park Nature Center opened in 1999. It is a 100-acre nature preserve on the east side of Lawrence which incorporates wetlands, woodlands and prairie habitats and a five acre lake.

I love free fun that involves nature and education. The Prairie Park Nature Center had both live and once-living animals to learn about. They had interactive experiences for the children. I will say my husband, and I also learned some interesting facts.

We loved the walk to the pond. It was really nice to walk in the fields of flowers and then end up at a pond. The walk wasn’t difficult and I would suggest it even for young children. It was a nice way to get out and do something without the difficulty of an actual hike.

We enjoyed scurrying after butterflies and listening to birds as we followed the neatly laid out paths through the woods. The children ran after one another while my husband and I held hands and talked about do you remember when. The Prairie Park Nature Center offers several programs throughout the year that will be of interest to you.

Visit Prairie Park Nature Center at 2730 Harper St. Lawrence, KS.

Pet World Experience

What do you get when you mix a pet store with a pet rescue? Magic. You end up in a magical place for both adults and children. I believe that if we lived here, we would have taken home several new pets.

What do you get when you mix a pet store with a pet rescue? Magic. You end up in a magical place for both adults and children. I believe that if we lived here, we would have taken home several new pets.

Visit Pet World at 711 W 23rd Street Suite 26 Lawrence, KS 66046

Best Western Plus

We stayed in two double queen rooms. The hotel was in impeccable shape, and the staff was friendly and helpful. They offer a 24-hour gym, free breakfast, water, coffee, and cookies all the time. The swimming pool is open until 11 and the kids enjoyed swimming. They also had a full bar and you were given 50% drink tickets. The bar was open and had plenty of room for everyone to sit and enjoy.

The only negative was the showers were from the ceiling so that was an adjustment. I had to wear the provided shower cap so I wouldn’t mess up my hair. I did hear they have rooms with bathtubs and I assume the shower in those is the normal shower.

My husband who travels the world and stays in hotels 100+ nights a year and he said it was on par with some of the really expensive hotels he stays at in terms of amenities. They provide free water bottles in the gym. He was also impressed that they had soy milk at breakfast, ample parking, outdoor patio, grills, and a fire pit. He believes that for the money you can’t get a better deal.

Explore Downtown Lawrence

Downtown Lawrence is filled with anything and everything you could need from restaurants to axe throwing. There is a block by block guided tour so that you can learn the history of this historical town. You can find it on the unmistakablylawrence.com site and searching block by block to access that useful information.

We enjoyed a walk down “Mass.” Massachusetts street was named for the immigrants who came to establish Lawrence as a free from slavery state. Downtown is also where we accessed the Watkins Museum. It was filled with knowledge and free to the public. I do suggest you bring your quarters because the parking isn’t free downtown and they are on top of enforcement. No, I didn’t get a ticket, but I did see people with them on their cars.

The other thing to note was throughout Kansas the people are very friendly. I found that a lot of strangers not only made eye contact but took the time to exchange pleasantries.

Theatre Lawrence

The lights were set, and the family was seated in a small in an intimate theatre in Lawrence, Kansas. We weren’t sure if the talent would be enough to hold our interest. We got settled. The lights dimmed. The anticipation set in and the first song began. Haley Roberts voice drew us into Mamma Mia production from that moment on we were memorized and engaged.

I highly suggest taking in a play while in Lawrence, it is a great way to make a memory with your family. The actors and actresses were top notch and they provided a much needed break from the rigors of travel. We allowed ourselves to be transported to an Island in Greece. The show was both lively, entertaining, and interactive.

Watkins Museum of History

The Watkin’s Museum was donation-based it has been open since 1975 in is right in the heart of downtown Lawrence. The 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building in downtown has been preserved or reserved to its former glory. It is packed filled with Lawrence and American history.

The museum was part of J.B. Watkins vast real estate holdings. He was a newspaper man, lawyer, and financier. He was able to help the Lawrence community while opening branches of his business all over the world. He married his long time secretary, Elizabeth. They never had children, and he passed away eleven years into their marriage. Elizabeth wanted to make hers and J.B dream come true. Their dreams were to enrich their community. They did so by giving away their vast fortune and homes. They built dorms at the university, a hospital, and made sure the museum would be funded.

The museum itself featured pieces from the Watkin’s life as well as important parts of history that Lawrence was part of over the years. The museum has kid-friendly interactive experiences, including a smell bin. Yes, you read right they have items the kids can smell. The also had a house the kids could play in. The pieces from the collection ranged from cars to furniture. There were interactive historical experiences from iconic events in Lawrence past up until the present time. The history has shaped the present, and the love for preservation and education were forefront in the Watkin’s legacy.

The Toy Store

The toy store was a child’s dream with several floors of happiness. The first floor was a smattering of toys, baby gear, and more. Then you ventured upstairs to a lego enthusiasts mecca. The Toy Store of Lawrence is also a place where lego enthusiasts compete for prizes in a contest they sponsor.

The mixture of toys from my generation and theirs brought the joy of learning to the forefront of everyone. There were toys that could be touched and those that you had to use your imagination. There was a wall of jelly beans to purchase and instruments to sound off. There was something for everyone at prices that were reasonable. This toy store was no laughing matter but would provide hours of laughter.

Lawrence Arts Center 

We didn’t make it but it is a great suggestion, and if the weather was better it was someplace we would have checked out without a doubt. The Lawrence Arts Center offers space to showcase a variety of artistic media. The exhibits often change so it is best to look at their website to see if what they are doing tickles your fancy. The center is located downtown, so it is close to everything you need.

University of Kansas Campus

We took a drive around the University of Kansas, but we had to stop in several of the impressive academic centers. It is no wonder they are on KU campus because KU is the state’s flagship university and one of just 62 invited members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). We consistently earn high rankings for academics and recognition as a premier research university. I had no idea I just thought they were a school that dominated on the basketball court.

The campus was easy to navigate by car. We were able to see the dorms, rec center, classrooms, and the football stadium. We did jump out of the car park in one of the easily accessible metered lots. We wanted to experience the culture and we did that at the Spencer Museum of Art.

I try to take our children to an art exhibit when we travel and we were fortunate enough that the University of Kansas has its own open to the public on a donation basis Art Museum. We were pleasantly greeted and told us what to expect on each floor. The children were handed a game they were asked to find certain items in the works of art scattered throughout the exhibitions. They had a fantastic time looking around.

The collection which often rotates to keep the museum interesting features graduates of The University of Kansas. There were all different types of artistic mediums from sculpture to interactive statues where you became part of the art. The youngest art critic to the oldest art enthusiasts would be impressed. I enjoy photography and paintings so I was pleased with our time in the museum. The kids enjoyed locating all the items on their game board and the time spent was both educational and exciting.

Spencer Museum of Art

We are a sports family there is no denying it, so we were ecstatic to see where basketball began. We wanted to become part of the history by touring the DeBruce Center, Booth Family Hall of Athletics, and Allen Fieldhouse. We were ready to become Jayhawks then and there.

The Booth Family Hall of Athletic was so fun the kids got to see the size of the players arm spans, their feet, and even their hands. They got to see sports artifacts from past athletes and teams. It was an exceptional collection to view. We really enjoyed reading about some of the men that built basketball and the history of distance runners most likely because my husband ran distance for the University of Florida and our boys play basketball.

In the Allen FieldHouse the courts surrounded us in their polish wood glory. You could hear a pin drop as you stood there looking out and imagining the intensity on any given game day. I know my heart was pounding and my gaze searched for each line, each basket, and I imagined myself in a chair while the team dribbled to glory.

The experience was enriched because we had toured the DeBruce center and read the original rules of basketball. We had learned about coach Fog. We knew how it all began, and we know what the results have been. The Jayhawks are winners in their conference.

Are you curious about their chant of course you are. You can watch it right here and learn a little about the history behind KU’s cheer!

The glorious halls of KU are some you need to walk down, learn from, and aspire to visit.

St. John’s Mexican Fiesta

One of the great things about Lawrence is their community. We felt strange walking into the St. John’s Mexican Fiesta at a local church only to met with incredible hospitality.

We dined on authentic Mexican food, listened to music, and even took part in the tradition of confetti eggs. The fiesta is organized to provide funding for the school. You can tell that it was well attended by everyone in the community. It was a great way to close our journey to Lawrence and it puts a smile on my heart.

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RealAdviceGal

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