From a lavender farm to a dynamite museum, Salina Kansas has less than 50,000 residents yet offers an impressive range of entertainment options. Live music and wild animals are only a few attractions available to folks who are seeking urban and natural diversions.
Sculpture Tour Salina features dozens of bronze statues that line city streets each spring. The work of artists from throughout the United States are judged for a “People’s Choice” award and cash prizes totaling over $5,000. Located inside a 1931 building, downtown, The Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts has become a favorite venue for regional and national performers since its restoration was completed in 2003. From Salina Symphony performances to country acts like Aaron Lewis or kid-friendly theatrical events such as Goodnight, Moon, The Stiefel is a beloved entertainment destination.
The multi-purpose Salina Art Center offers art exhibits as well as a hands-on activities area and contemporary and international films. Founded in 1978 by artists, educators, and community members, they envisioned a gallery and education center that would provide art experiences of ‘high quality and intellectual integrity.’ Today it is a nationally recognized institution of the arts that showcases the work of artists from throughout the region, the country and the world.
Also in the heart of Salina, Smoky Hill Museum is one of the state’s most impressive locally-owned museums. Inside the Prairie Education Lab, visitors may learn to build a log cabin or tepee, or about the components of wheat, and peruse goods in an old-fashioned mercantile. Free to the public and beautifully designed, the museum is conducting a massive fundraising campaign for anticipated renovations.
The nonprofit Salina Community Theatre lies less than half a mile east of the downtown area. Operating for more than five decades seasons, this theater re-opened in a gorgeous new building during 2011. Dedicated to offering top quality theatrical performances for regional audiences, Salina Community Theatre will offer seven plays during 2016, from Calendar Girls to The Little Mermaid and Singin’ in the Rain.
Located north of the downtown area, the Central Kansas Flywheels Yesteryear Museum is a nonprofit organization that has operated for more than 35 years. Since its creation, in 1980, the museum’s mission has been to “’Acquire, Preserve and Restore’ agricultural machinery and implements that are unique to the Great Plains region.” The museum features a miniature 1800s-1900s outdoor village and a building full of classic farm equipment.
Less than 20 minutes drive from downtown Salina, Prairie Lavender Farm offers natural respite in the countryside near Bennington. Visitors can call for a farm tour and see more than 3,000 plants. They can also purchase handmade lavender products in the bright and cheerful retail shop.
Rolling Hills Zoo lies six miles west of Salina. It includes a beautifully landscaped wildlife park with spacious enclosures for more than one hundred animal species. There’s also a wildlife museum located inside a 64,000-square-foot building, with a children’s exploration center and traveling exhibit displays. There are separate admissions for this gorgeous wildlife park and the museum.