Liberal, in Southwest Kansas, still honors its early friendly and hospitable beginnings of making visitors feel welcome. Before Liberal was a town, it was known as the place of the “Liberal Well” where pioneer, S.S. Rogers, offered free water to travelers. Today Liberal offers more than just a cool drink of water.
Mid-America Air Museum displays more than 100 aircraft and is one of the country’s finest aviation exhibits. The museum has an incredible collection of small aircraft mostly donated by retired Air force Lieutenant Colonel Tom A. Thomas, Jr. A self-guided tour gives visitors a chance to see some very rare aircraft such as the smallest ever ‘Air Force One’ plane, used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Dorothy’s official hometown of Liberal celebrates clicking your heels three times and saying “There’s No Place Like Home” at Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz. Guides, sometimes dressed as Dorothy, escort visitors down the yellow brick road, through the house and the Land of Oz. At the end of the tour, OZ memorabilia, including the original model of Dorothy’s house used in the 1939 filming of the “The Wizard of Oz,” is on display.
Coronado Museum offers a collection of items dating back to 1541 when Don Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s quest to find the fabled “Seven Cities of Gold.” A Spanish horse bit is on permanent display at the museum. Exhibits used in the settlement of the Kansas Territory are on display as well as those paying tribute to the culture of the Native Americans.
The Baker Arts Center gallery features local and regional artists as well as national traveling exhibits. Guests are encouraged to browse through the extensive art library or purchase items in the sales gallery. Throughout the year the Center sponsors events, workshops, musical evenings and much more.
Visitors can join International Pancake Race festivities on Shrove or “Fat” Tuesday. Pancake Day begins with an “all you can eat” breakfast followed by races for all ages. The main event is the International Race when women from Liberal compete against women of Olney, England, racing down the street with skillet and pancake in hand. Times of the winners are compared during a live web chat and the international winner is announced. Activities continue with a Shriving Service and parade.
Ten miles northeast is the Arkalon Wildlife Area especially known for its birding. The park also offers campsites for RV’s and tents, hiking trails, playground and fishing.
Other attractions are three golf courses, Adventure Bay Family Water Park, bowling alley, miniature golf course and movie theater. Be sure to see the World’s Largest Book on the front of Memorial Library.