© 2013 mikeandbrynne

The Sunflower State

 

Home of Eisenhower and Truman, tornadoes and cyclones, wheat and sunflowers, pizza hut and prairie dogs, Kansas was our agenda for the day.

Welcome to the Sunflower State:

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A few hours into the drive we stopped at Hays University which houses the Sternberg Natural History Museum.  This museum in the middle of the Prairie land holds an enormous litany of fossils, mechanical dinosaurs and ice age creatures, live reptiles, amphibians, and insects, a children’s discovery center, and a fossil dig.  We had to drag the kids out when we realized we had to get back on the road.  As I looked through the pictures tonight Daisie leaned over and stated with a longing, “I love that museum.”

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This is claimed to be the most widely photographed fossil in the world:IMG_7420

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Back in the car the weather quickly turned from bad to worse.  My phone flashed an emergency flash flood warning and we road into a horrendous storm.  After yesterdays storm I didn’t have the heart to plunge into another one, but since standing still in the middle of a flood warning in the plains didn’t sound like a good idea we carried on.  All along the road cars were pulling off to wait out the storm.  Hazard lights flashed everywhere and the line of cars crawled by at only a few miles an hour.  Honestly it was terrifying not to know what the best course of action was and how to proceed.  Slowly, we inched along through the think rain straining our eyes to see the flashing lights of the car in front of us.  We cheered as we saw sporadic cars coming from the opposite direction as they gave us hope that we could endure.  The kids who had thought it would be fun to be storm chasers quickly changed their mind.  We were thrilled when we made it through the center of the storm and emerged into what was your “everyday run of the mill rainstorm”.

 

I felt exhausted as we pulled into Kansas City.  Not willing to be deterred from our plans to see a little of the city we pulled into the Nelson-Atkins art museum just after 6p.  Within minutes of eyeing the sculpture garden the kids perked up.  They were fascinated by the giant badmiton pieces that were spread out over the ground and Rodin’s “Thinker” that sat centerstage.  Even with this welcoming entrance we were unprepared for the masterpieces that awaited us.  Having been in some of the greatest museums in the world this spring it was hard to imagine that anything in the Midwest could impress us, yet this museum did.  It truly is a diamond in the rough.  Housed in a beautiful building and set up to offer a tranquil and relaxed viewing enviroment, the masterpieces beckoned to you.  We enjoyed listening to the docent explain to us the circumstances behind the incredible red marble satyr statue that sat temporarily in their central hall.  Being one of only two red marble statues from ancient Rome in the world, that piece alone would make visiting the museum a real treat.  On display through September, she explained the costly venture of shipping the statue from Rome to Kansas City.  We were astounded that shipping and packaging costs for only the one way journey were over $50,000.  There were many other pieces that caught our eye.  After our European trip and our visit to New York this fall, I am especially fond of Cloisters and enjoyed seeing the small cloister they had set up in the museum from France.  All in all (aside from having to tell the kids not to run and losing Luke for a dreadful moment) it was a wonderful visit.

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Hadrian’s 2000 year old red marble satyr:IMG_7445

Luke trying to figure out what is inside the well preserved mummy:
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IMG_7513We completed the day with some Kansas City Barbeque and a late night dip for the kids in the hotel pool.  Somehow they weren’t as worn out from the drive as Melissa and I were.

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