Friday, February 11, 2022

Nov 26-27, 2021 - West Kansas Road Trip

 So happy to be over our quarantine we took a quick weekend trip out west. We have been wanting to see the state park called Little Jerusalem Bad Lands, it was four and a half hours so we decided to break up the trip and stay overnight in Hays, KS. There was a Natural History museum there that we could get into with our Exploration Place membership. We dropped Harpo off at the boarding resort Friday morning (day after Thanksgiving after I subbed a 8:30am cycle class) then headed out west. We stopped for lunch in Salina, Kansas (an hour and a half away) enjoyed some good barbecue. As you can imagine the scenery the whole drive, lol. Yup FLAT FLAT FLAT!

Hays is about 2 and a half hours from us and we first went to the museum. It was fairly small which was expected but it was a lot better than I imagined. We started with learning about Charles Sternberg himself and his fossils finding adventures.

We got to see the awesome Fish within a fish fossil: 

lots of rocks and science stuff. Kyle's favorite as he remembered his geology background. 

They had ice age stuffed animals and a kid area with some hands on activities. 

The upstairs area took you back 65 million years ago when Kansas was at the bottom of the ocean in the big diorama room. 

Made our way around and found more hands on activities and a whole discovery room we spent a good amount of time in.


Final stop in the museum was the snake area. They had live snakes and so much info about them. Kids took their turn seeing how their height matched up to various species of snakes. 


Time to leave and head to our hotel for the night, they had a pool so the kids got some swimming in. 

The next morning I think the kids took a little swim again after our hot breakfast then we got on the road further west. We took a little detour off our direct path to visit this Buffalo Bill statue in Oakley, KS (an hour and fifteen minutes from where we stayed in Hays)

The we drove another half hour straight south to find Monument rocks in the middle of no where! Literally, we had to drive down dirt roads through private property to get to these rocks, but they were super cool. 

When I uploaded all these photos for my blog they all came up in REVERSE order!!! ARG I've been trying to move them around to the correct order from how we experienced them but I'm not going to for the rest of these until we head to the next location. 

There were these crazy little nests we noticed (which we learn about at our next stop - I got a photo below about it)

We pulled up to two different areas to get out and walk around. 

Then we drove about a half hour away to the badlands state park. On our way we noticed this massive thing bopping along in the field. We stopped to watch and it was a HUGE mule deer! 

We watched it for a while then it turned to cross the street right in front of us and we got a great look at it!

As we neared the state park entrance we noticed these rock formations:

Then finally made it, since this was the purpose of our trip and at first glance already glad we went to see monument rock (worth the drive IMO, this place not quite as much) we wanted to milk it for all it was worth which meant walking every step of the hiking trail. Thankfully there was a bathroom so we all got to hit that. Then set off on the gorgeous sunny day. 


So unlike monument rock where they stuck UP from the ground, these were more like canyons IN the group, so we are up on a hill and the trails goes near the edge - it didn't take us down into the valleys. 

And here's where I stop recording them because if I do every picture it's literally going to take me a year to finish this darn blog, LOL. So these were from the end of our hike...

Mary LOVED the hike, can't you tell :-P

Approaching the look out area you see above. 

And here's the info about those other nests we saw on the rocks across the road. 

We made it back to the car and set off for the long four hour drive home that evening. Saw some more deer through the field as we left. Not as big as the mule deer, pretty far away. 

We got to enjoy the beautiful sunset behind us. 

Kids fell asleep on the way. It was a fun adventure and glad we got to learn about Kansas in a whole new way from what's in eastern Kansas. 

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