Things to do in Leavenworth, Kansas

Explore the Wild West: Top Things to Do in Leavenworth, KS.

Located in the northeast corner of Kansas, Leavenworth is a historic city with a vibrant community and diverse cultural offerings.

The city is nestled along the Missouri River and boasts a rich history that dates back to the 1800s. Today, Leavenworth is a thriving community that blends its rich heritage with modern amenities and attractions.

Leavenworth has several historic sites and museums, including the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum and the Carroll Mansion Museum. The C.W. Parker Carousel Museum features a collection of beautifully restored vintage carousel horses and other amusement park artifacts.

Things to do in Leavenworth, Kansas

At the same time, the Carroll Mansion Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of one of Leavenworth’s most prominent families during the 1800s.

One of the city’s most notable landmarks is the historic Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, which operated as a maximum-security prison for nearly 100 years.

While public tours are not permitted, visitors can still experience the extensive prison displays at the First City Museum.

For those who love the outdoors, Leavenworth also has much to offer. The city is home to several parks and recreation areas, including the sprawling Riverfront Park, which offers stunning views of the Missouri River and a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing.

Things to do in Leavenworth, Kansas

The city also hosts several annual festivals and events, including the Leavenworth County Fair and the Christmas Candlelight Tour, which attracts visitors from all over the region.

Nestled in the heart of Leavenworth, Kansas, the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum stands as a testament to the art and craftsmanship of carousel-making. The museum is a labor of love maintained entirely by dedicated volunteers and community donations.

Stepping inside, visitors are immediately greeted by the whirring sounds of two magnificent band organs, the Artizan A-X-1 and the Wurlitzer 153, which play joyful tunes as carousel horses gallop in perpetual motion.

The museum’s centerpiece is the 1913 Parker Carry-Us-All #118, a restored masterpiece that glows with the radiance of its newly painted figures. Every inch of the carousel is adorned with intricate, hand-carved details, from the majestic horses to the playful rabbits and chariots that circle.

This carousel is a work of art, a tribute to the vision and dedication of C.W. Parker, who revolutionized the carousel industry with his innovative designs and engineering.

But the museum doesn’t just showcase the beauty of carousels – it also delves into the rich history of these beloved machines. For example, the Primitive Carousel, believed to be the oldest operating wooden carousel in the United States, provides a fascinating glimpse into the early days of carousel-making.

Visitors can marvel at the primitive, eight-piece horses and the hand-forged metal parts of the carousel’s mechanisms. Meanwhile, the 1950s Liberty Carousel, built by Parker’s son, Paul, is a testament to the continued innovation and creativity that has driven the carousel industry for over a century.

With its brightly painted aluminum horses and portable design, this carousel embodies the spirit of fun and adventure that has captivated generations of carousel-goers.

Leavenworth Landing Park

Nestled along the picturesque Missouri River, Leavenworth Landing Park is a breathtaking oasis in the heart of historic downtown Leavenworth. This one-quarter-mile linear parkway is a stunning tribute to the rich transportation history of the area, with many amenities.

From the moment you step into the park, you are greeted by the soothing sounds of the river and the gentle rustling of the trees, creating an ambiance of tranquility and peace.

The park boasts a scenic overlook that provides spectacular views of the river and the surrounding landscape, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers and photographers alike. You can take a stroll along the river walkway, watching the boats sail by and the eagles soar overhead.

The sculptures and artwork dotting the park add a touch of artistry to the landscape, while the benches and picnic tables offer plenty of space to relax and unwind. The park is also a popular spot for eagle watching, with these majestic birds often perched on the trees along the river.

For fitness enthusiasts, the park offers a walking/jogging trail that meanders through the lush greenery, providing a peaceful and invigorating workout. And if you’re a train enthusiast, Leavenworth Landing Park is the perfect place to indulge your passion.

With a bridge, you can walk under and watch the trains go over your head. It’s an unforgettable experience that will amaze you. Overall, Leavenworth Landing Park is a delightful destination that offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Angel Falls Trail

Tucked away behind St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Lansing, Kansas, lies a serene and secluded gem called Angel Falls.

This small but captivating waterfall is a must-visit attraction for tourists and locals alike. The Angel Falls Trail leading to the waterfall is a half-mile paved trail, perfect for biking and hiking enthusiasts.

As you embark on your journey, you’ll be greeted with the sounds of nature and the rustling of the leaves, leading you to a picturesque bridge that spans a small stream.

The bridge is well-constructed and wide enough to provide a comfortable passage across. Beyond the bridge, the paved trail gives way to a natural landscape, leading you to the main attraction – Angel Falls.

The sound of the cascading water is music to the ears and a sight to behold. The tranquil atmosphere surrounding the falls offers the perfect spot to pause, reflect and take in the breathtaking view.

Dip your toes in the cool waters or sit by the rocks and immerse yourself in the sounds of nature. Visiting Angel Falls Trail is a refreshing and rejuvenating experience that should not be missed.

Frontier Army Museum

The Frontier Army Museum is a fascinating attraction located in Leavenworth, Kansas, that offers visitors a glimpse into the challenges, customs, and cultures of the Frontier Army from 1804-1917.

The museum is home to an incredible collection of military artifacts and displays that showcase the history of the Frontier Army and Fort Leavenworth. From 1800s military vehicles to weapons and equipment, this museum has everything you need to learn about the Frontier Army’s past.

The museum has a mission to collect, preserve, and safeguard the material culture of the United States Army and use its holdings to support professional military education, collections-based research, and educational initiatives to inform the public about the history of the Frontier Army, the Combined Arms Center, and Fort Leavenworth.

Additionally, the museum provides soldiers and Department of the Army civilians with venues for professional development and for public and strategic communications in support of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.

The museum’s main gallery highlights the efforts of the Frontier Army in the exploration, expansion, and protection of the Trans-Mississippi West from the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804) to the chase of Pancho Villa by General John Pershing (1916).

In addition, the Fort Leavenworth gallery highlights the importance of Fort Leavenworth’s role in the exploration and expansion of the nation throughout the nineteenth century, as well as its continuing role in soldier education.

Frontier Army Museum is an excellent place to learn about the history of the Frontier Army and Fort Leavenworth, making it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the United States military history.

Buffalo Soldier Monument

The Buffalo Soldier Monument stands tall and proud in Leavenworth, Kansas, a testament to the brave and dedicated soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments of the U.S. Army. The monument, dedicated in 1992, was initiated by General Colin Powell, the first African-American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As visitors approach the monument, they are met with the impressive sight of a larger-than-life bronze figure mounted on horseback, representing the buffalo soldiers in action.

The monument is in the Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area, including the Circle of Firsts and the Walkway of Units. Visitors walking around the memorial can read informative plaques detailing the history and significance of the buffalo soldiers.

The Circle of Firsts, located nearby, commemorates the first African-American pioneers who achieved notable accomplishments in various fields, such as science, sports, and politics. The Walkway of Units is a brick walkway lined with memorials to the multiple units of African-American soldiers who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Buffalo Soldier Monument is a powerful symbol of the buffalo soldiers’ bravery and determination in adversity. Their contributions to the United States’ westward expansion were invaluable, as they protected settlers and helped build the infrastructure of new settlements.

As visitors stand before the monument, they can feel the weight of history and honor the legacy of the brave soldiers who served their country with distinction.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Mary Ann
    Mary Ann

    Several errors in Leavenworth Things to Do: Federal Prison IS NOT a museum, it’s just no longer a super max prison.
    Carroll Mansion Museum is the home of the Leavenworth County Historical Society who has collected LV history for 70 years. The museum is also a research center of early Kansas history. The Society sponsors the annual Leavenworth Vintage Homes Tour (it is NOT the Candlelight Vintage Homes Tour). Perhaps you should visit us and learn how much history there really is in Leavenworth!

    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for bringing to my attention the errors in Leavenworth Things to Do article. I appreciate your clarification that the Federal Prison in Leavenworth is not a museum but a former supermax prison that is no longer operational. Thank you for your invitation to visit the museum and learn more about the rich history of this fascinating town Leavenworth!

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