By Laci Sutton / Staff writer

Statehood- Jan. 29, 1861

First governor – Charles Robinson (1861-1863)

Current governor – Laura Kelly (up for re-election in 2022)

State Bird – Western Meadowlark

State Motto – Ad astra per aspra (to the stars through difficulties)

State Flower – Wild Sunflower

State Insect – Honeybee

State Tree – Cottonwood

State Amphibian – Barred Tiger Salamander

State Reptile – Ornate Box Turtle

State Mammal – American Buffalo

State Song – “Home on the Range”

Famous Kansans-

Dwight D Eisenhower (34th U.S. President)

Bob Dole (U.S. Senator and 1996 Republican nominee for President)

Amelia Earhart (first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic)

Kirstie Alley (actor in “Cheers” and “Veronica’s Closet”)

Walter Chrystler (founder of Chrysler)

Clint Bowyer (NASCAR driver)

Jeff Probst (host of reality show “Survivor”)

Eric Stonestreet (actor in “Modern Family”)

Martina McBride (country music singer)

Barry Sanders (Pro Football Hall of Famer)

Walter Johnson (Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher)

Population – 2,913,805 as of 2020

Capital – Topeka

Biggest City – Wichita

Unique Kansas Attractions –

World’s Largest Ball of Twine (Cawker City)

Big Brutus- World’s Largest Electric Shovel (West Mineral)

Truck Henge (Topeka)

World’s Largest Easel (Goodland)

Erie Dinosaur Park (Erie)

Liberty Bell Made of Wheat (Goessel)

World’s Largest Collection of the Smallest Versions of the Largest Things (Lucas)

World’s Largest Baseball (Muscotah)

World’s Largest Hand Dug Well, aka The Big Well (Greensburg)

Laci’s Three Favorite Places to Visit in Kansas-

  • Tanganyika Wildlife Park (Goddard) – The most incredible zoo experience I’ve ever been a part of. I got to pet an otter for the first time a year ago here and my life has been complete ever since. I’ve since had the opportunity to take my niece and make some unforgettable memories.
  • Commercial Street Diner (Emporia) – They have the absolute best breakfast I have ever had. My sister went to Emporia State and lived in Emporia for a few years. Whenever we went to visit her, Commercial Street Diner was an absolute must stop. If you ever go, I highly recommend ordering the “Janet’s Mess”.
  • Nickerson. Anyone who is from Nickerson or knows of Nickerson is probably going to think I’m crazy for this one. I was in the Nickerson school district all the way from kindergarten until I graduated high school. I can’t begin to express the pride that radiates from this town. While most of us were just itching to get away, Nickerson will always hold a special place in our lives. I made some of the best memories in that little town and continue to go back and support the community that supported me. There’s just a sense of home every time I go.

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