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Independence, KS is rich with cultural history, from literary landmarks to famous political meeting points. You’ll find an adventure for everyone in the heart of rural America!
Historical Little House on the Prairie Site
There are several different locations in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder that have been preserved across the country. The replica of the little house, which sits on a site outside of Independence, KS, served as the backdrop for the book Little House on the Prairie and is where Carrie Ingalls was born. Every summer, the town of Independence presents the Prairie Days Festival in honor of the Little House on the Prairie Museum, and the historical site will be hosting several Astra Arts Festival events. For more information, visit www.littlehouseontheprairiemuseum.com.
Independence Historical Museum & Art Center
The Independence Historical Museum & Art Center’s mission is to preserve the history and enrich the culture of the community of Independence; to promote the arts, develop activities that enhance education and provide enjoyment to the community and its visitors. For more information, visit: www.independencehistoricalmuseum.org.
The Independence Public Library
The Independence Public Library is truly a gathering place for knowledge. With so many different educational programs and children’s activities, the Public Library has fully embraced Astra’s goal for art education and awareness. They will even be donating wall space for popular graffiti artists to create inspiring art that resonates with youths. To learn more about the Independence Public Library, visit www.iplks.org.
The Memorial Hall, located at 410 N. Pennsylvania Ave., consists of a nearly 2,000 seat auditorium with the latest computerized sound, lighting and stage rigging equipment, a Civic Center suitable for large banquets and several meeting rooms. This community space hosts many local events. For more information on Memorial Hall, visit www.independenceks.gov/Memorial-Hall-49836.asp.
Kansas Celebrity Hall of Fame
The Kansas Celebrity Hall of Fame boasts Kansas celebrities to the rest of the United States and the world. Some featured celebrities include well-known television journalist, producer, narrator and news anchor Bill Kurtis, artist manager, agent and impresario Jim Halsey, TV and theater actress Vivian Vance and theatre extraordinaire William Inge. To learn more about the Kansas Celebrity Hall of Fame and its special events, visit www.KansasCelebrityHallOfFame.com.
William Inge Center for the Arts
William Inge, 1913 – 1973, was an Independence award-winning playwright with a passion for theater that began at an early age and was credited to the town. Today, the William Inge Center for the Arts nurtures, celebrates and promotes the achievements of playwrights, playwriting and the American theater, in order to educate, entertain and culturally enrich the communities of Kansas and beyond. For more information regarding William Inge or the Center for the Arts, visit www.IngeCenter.org.
The Landon House
Alfred Landon was an Independence native that ran for president in 1936 against Franklin D. Roosevelt. Landon held the record for biggest landslide loss in history until 1964. Winning only Maine and Vermont in the presidential race, he accepted the defeat with grace and humor. His legend will live on in the Alf Landon Center, his home in Independence. The center is a political research center with a museum dedicated to the regional politics of Landon’s era. To learn more about the Landon House, visit www.landoncenter.com/landon/index.php.
The Booth Hotel
The Booth Hotel opened in 1912 and was known for its grandeur and as the first steel-framed concrete building west of the Mississippi, revolutionary at the time. Former guests include Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, William Taft, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. The Hotel Booth has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983 for its cultural and architectural significance. Since then, the building has been lightly renovated and hosts many events and meetings. Visit www.facebook.com/pages/Booth-Hotel-Entertainment for more information.
Riverside Park and Zoo
Riverside Park/Robert Mitchell Zoo Independence's Riverside Park, a 124-acre showcase located at Penn Avenue and Oak Street, features playgrounds, shelter houses, a miniature golf course, carousel, a miniature train, swimming pool, fairgrounds and Shulthis Stadium. Riverside Park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to Midnight.
Located in Riverside Park, Ralph Mitchell Zoo provides a natural habitat for more than 300 species of animals including bears, monkeys and all kinds of birds. The zoo is open seven days a week, hours are 9am - 8pm in the summer. Admission is free to both the park and the zoo. Call (620) 332-2512 for more information, or visit their website at www.forpaz.com
Riverside Beach Family Aquatic Center
The outdoor Riverside Beach Family Aquatic Center is a 12,775 square foot facility, home to 3 separate pools, a lazy river, 4 water slides, featuring a bowl slide and 120 foot flume slide, various play structures, rentable shelters, full concessions, 388,979 gallons of water and lots of family fun all summer long!