Living in Kansas City means that we have plenty of day trip destinations within a short drive from the metro. Lawrence, Kansas is only about 45 minutes away, but offers a dynamically different vibe. While many make this pilgrimage to witness the KU basketball team play at Allen Fieldhouse, we visited for a more historic purpose.
A visit to the Natural History Museum at Kansas University brought us face-to-face (kind of) with the creatures that first inhabited this region. Walking the hallway we came across a variety of specimens from the days when Kansas was submerged by an ancient sea. The museum also hosts exhibits on bugs, bacteria, and even a large body of taxidermied animals. It is easy to wile away a few hours as you explore the four floors of various displays. (You can read more about this museum here>)
The downtown area of Lawrence includes the vibrant Massachusetts Street. This corridor is filled with shops, restaurants, and clubs with the highest concentration between 6th and 11th Streets. Those looking to dine can test a different cuisine each meal for days, and not visit the same eatery. Pizza, tacos, burgers, sushi, and more can be found in places with names like Mexiquisto or Zen Zero. We chose to sample some bento boxes at Wa Restaurant during our visit. (Read more about the restaurant here>)
Since we had already learned about the prehistoric beginnings of the region, we felt it was appropriate to see a little about what has transpired in the last 150 years or so. At the Watkins Museum, we found lots of information about the rough start Lawrence had during the formation of statehood. Multiple raids left the town decimated, but the citizens persevered. Even one of the bloodiest massacres of the Civil War era couldn’t squash the spirit of these early residents. (Read more about this museum here>)
A Sweet Take Away
After a day filled with museum visits, and heads filled with new information, it was time to head back to our vehicle to make the journey home. Along the walk, we came upon one of the sweet shops that dot Mass Street. Shana Cake is home to gluten-free and allergy-free treats. What started as a way to assist her daughter with a medical condition, soon blossomed into a full fledge business. Other parents began to see the benefits of these special treats, and the business continues to flourish. We selected half a dozen to take home with us, and headed back to Kansas City. We know that our visit merely scratched the surface of what Lawrence holds, but we also know it’s just a short drive away.