By Darian Warden
Assistant Editor, RV Daily Report
I’m a little partial to the city of Lawrence, Kan. My hometown and home of the Kansas Jayhawks, Lawrence represents the epitome of a heartland town. Whether Kansas is your final destination or just a state to pass through on the way to somewhere else, make sure you find time in your journey to make a stop in Lawrence and the surrounding areas to experience all it has to offer.
Planning a trip to Lawrence during basketball season? Don’t miss the opportunity to see the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team compete on their home turf at Allen Fieldhouse.
“Pay Heed All who Enter.” The Fieldhouse was named in honor of the late Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, the Jayhawks head coach for 39 years. Chances are good that if you catch a game in Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks will come out the winning team. Over the past 25 season, Kansas has a 353-26 record for home games.
Make sure you plan to purchase tickets early as games sell out quickly and a large portion of the arena is reserved for students.
Get your blue and red ready and prepare for a few rounds of “Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU,” as you experience what has been named one of the best places in America to experience college basketball.
For more information, or for ticket sales, visit, www.kuathletics.com.
KU Biodiversity Institute & Natural Museum of History
The KU Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum was a treat for my brother and I to visit when we were little after sitting in classes on the University of Kansas campus with our mom who was going back to school. At six and five years old, the museum exhibits featuring live animals, including insects, a famous panorama, fossils and Kansas wildlife, offered a glimpse into the wondrous world outside of the Kansas plains we knew.
Don’t miss the Bee Tree exhibit during your stop, featuring a live bee colony situated in a model tree, where visitors can view the bees coming and going from the hive through an entry tube.
Admission is free, but there is a suggested contribution of $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. Museum hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tues. –Sat., and noon – 4 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.
If you find yourself in Lawrence, make sure to visit the museum on KU’s campus, located at 1345 Jayhawk Blvd. For more information, call 785.864.4450, or visit http://naturalhistory.ku.edu/home.
According to Visit Lawrence, most guests begin on Massachusetts Street, locally referred to as “Mass Street” or sometimes shortened to just “Mass.” The heart of downtown Lawrence, the area is five blocks of shopping, dining and entertainment.
Downtown is pedestrian-friendly and features more than 100 stores, galleries, restaurants and coffeehouses, most of which are locally owned.
Referred to as “The Heart of the City,” Downtown Lawrence hosts events throughout the year such as Restaurant Week, Gears and Grooves and Print Week Print Fair. To check out the events happening during your stay, visit Downtown Lawrence Inc. at http://www.downtownlawrence.com.
Sedgwick County Zoo
Just a couple hours from Lawrence, located in Wichita is the Sedgwick County Zoo. Visitors have the opportunity to come face to face with some of the wildest animals from around the world, including endangered chimpanzees and orangutans.
Visitors can see the gorillas of The Downing Gorilla Forest, spend time with colorful birds, penguins, poison dart frogs and more than 3,000 other animals. Attractions include the giraffe feeding station, boat tours and the Outdoor Wildlife Learning (OWL) site.
A free narrated tram tour of the Zoo offers five stops and leaves every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Stroller and wheelchairs rentals are available, as well as food and beverages. Admission costs $13.95 for adults (12-61), $8.95 for children (3-11), $11.95 for senior citizens (62+) and children two and under are free.
For more information, visit https://www.scz.org/visitor_tickets-planning_your_visit.php.
Take a short drive to Topeka, Kan., the state capital and home of the Kansas Statehouse. Recently finishing up 13 years and $332 million in renovations, the Kansas State Capitol Building is a sight to behold.
The building features a 306-foot dome. Tours are available during weekdays, but make sure to bring your walking shoes. The Dome Tour is 296 steps with no elevator and offers a birds-eye-view of the city. Once at the top visitors can step outside and onto the cupola balcony. The statehouse is open to the public from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Photography is allowed inside the statehouse.
Free tours take place on weekdays and last about 40 minutes. Reservations are recommended as there are space regulations, especially between January and May. To make a reservation, call 785.296.3966, or visit www.KSHS.org/Capitol.
Clinton Lake at Clinton State Park
This 1500-acre park four miles East of Lawrence is available 12 months of the year and supports day use activities such as hiking and mountain biking, archery, sand volleyball and swimming.
Campsites offer two levels of service, primitive camping and sites with two utilities for RV services. Limited amounts of full service cabins have been added. Areas in the park are managed and maintained as wildlife habitat and natural prairie areas.
Other amenities include an extensive multi-use trail system designed for hiking and mountain biking, a specialized bicycle skills course, cross country ski trail, disc golf and an outdoor archery range. Another noteworthy compliment to the park’s amenities is the privately owned and operated marina.
The park provides 379 hard surfaced campsites located in two campgrounds available all year. Offering primitive camping, utility campsites with water and electricity, larger prime sites with 50-amp electric service and long term campsites available for up to 6 months of uninterrupted stay.
For more information or to reserve a spot, click here.
Other Places to Camp
The Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp-Resort located at 1473 Hwy 40 in Lawrence, and features an activity center, basketball court, outdoor pool, pavilion, birthday room, playground, fire truck rides, volleyball, jumping pillow and wagon rides.
The campground is open year round and offers long pull-thrus, cable sites, new luxury and premium sites, wireless Internet large open tent site, or sleep indoors with air-conditioning in a cozy lodge, cottage or rustic cabin.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit http://www.campjellystone.com/park/99-lawrence/.
The Capital City/Topeka KOA offers camping year round with all RV sites that are full service with free Cable TV and Wi-Fi Internet access. The campsite has just added a new salt-water pool and completed the first few Deluxe Patio Sites. Tent sites now have electricity and a site light.
The main building is a turn of the century Barn, which house’s a general store, rec-room, exercise room and group Facilities. Other amenities include three fishing ponds, playground, hiking trail, horse shoes, exercise room, Kamp K9 for the family dog and lots of wide open space.
The campsite offers large open tent sites, and three types of rental units. A cabin sleeps four and a bunkhouse sleeps six. Both units have a refrigerator, outside cooking area, picnic table, and cable TV. The deluxe cabin sleeps four, has all the amenities of other cabins plus, a full bath, mini kitchen, outside grill and campfire ring.
For more information, or to reserve a site, click here. http://koa.com/campgrounds/topeka/.