The Group Travel Leader

MAY 2017

The online home of The Group Travel Leader, America's leading publication for the group travel industry. Articles on hot destinations, attractions, news and travel trends from across the country and around the world.

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GROUP TRAVEL LE ADER T H E W YA N D O T T E C O U N T Y M U S E U M Over 3,000 years ago, the area around Kansas City could be an unforgivingly wild place. The Wyandotte County Museum documents how Hopewell Native Americans lived in those days with a collection of ancient artifacts. Located in nearby Bonner Springs, the museum houses over 75,000 artifacts, including items from the first recorded humans in the area to those from the 20th century. "There are a lot of hands-on elements, photos and exhibits," said Green. "It has one of the nation's remaining Native American dugout canoes." The canoe belonged to one of the tribes that immigrated to Wyandotte County in the 19th century. Exhibits illustrate the complicated lives of those Native Americans with artifacts like the double-barrel shotguns used to protect the local tribes' burial grounds from being destroyed. Groups can view the museum's horse-drawn steam pumper fire engine, replicated 1960s bar- bershop and other artifacts. The museum offers activities, such as the Trunk Program, which features a hands-on experience with material from a specific period and culture in Kansas City's history. K AW P O I N T R I V E R F R O N T PA R K To punish two young crew members for sneak- ing whiskey from the community barrel, the Lewis and Clark Expedition held its first court-martial at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. Today, the Kaw Point Riverfront Park chronicles this event and other stories from the expedition's three-day stop there in 1804. The Kansas City, Kansas, CVB can arrange a meeting for groups with a costumed Meriwether Lewis and William Clark not only to see their traditional garb, complete with replicated muskets, but also to listen to some firsthand tales from the famed explorers. "Groups like to walk down to the river at the park," said Green. "It's very peaceful. They really enjoy the interpretive signs and learning about how Lewis and Clark came down the river here." The park retains its natural state with wooded trails, wildflowers and wildlife. Visitors can take a walk along the Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail or stroll along the wheelchair-accessible boardwalk for views of both rivers. V I T A A C I T Y — W W W.VISITK ANSASCIT YKS.COM — nearby in tribute to one of the nation's best known opponents of slavery. Visitors then continue into the Old Quindaro Museum for a more personal glimpse into the families living in Quindaro. "The Old Quindaro Museum has some old shackles that slaves actually wore," said Kerry Green, group sales and partnership manager for the Kansas City, Kansas, Convention and Visitors Bureau. "They have a lot of artifacts from the families who settled there. When you go in there, you have a feeling of 'Wow, this really happened in our world.' It makes you understand the story." S T R AW B E R R Y H I L L M U S E U M Guests can taste history with delight at the Strawberry Hill Museum's Tea Room, which features a menu full of authentic Slavic desserts. This relaxing experience concludes a tour in which groups learn about Kansas City's inf lux of Slavic immigrants and the impact they had on local culture. "Each room features a different European culture," said Green. "You can see each Slavic culture's traditional clothes, decorations, toys and other day-to-day items." Guides reveal 16 Kansas City nationalities, among them Belgium, Croatian, Slovakian, Mexican and Irish. Exhibits on these immi- grants' art, music and dance reveal the city's diverse heritage. Visitors will also discover the past of the 1887 Victorian home, one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in Kansas City. The house also served as an orphanage after an influenza epidemic in 1919 until its close in 1988. Many groups love to book tours during the Olde World Christmas event, when the Victorian home decks its halls with Christmas finery from various cultures across the globe. Others plan meals on-site or incorporate a trip to the museum's gift shop for local and Baltic- Slavic crafts such as Polish pottery. Kansas Kansas City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. 800.264.1563

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