By Jacki Wood

Editor’s note: this is the third in a series of day trip ideas you can plan for your children or grandchildren.

Atchison, KS, sits along the Missouri River 30 miles southwest of St. Joseph and features over 20 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, a celebration of Amelia Earhart’s legacy and fun opportunities to explore the outdoors.

Butterfly House on the Prairie

TripButterflyButterfly House on the Prairie opened earlier this year in Cummings, KS, just down the road from Atchison.

The live butterfly exhibit includes hands-on programs and tours and features butterfly lifecycles, defense secrets, types from around the world as well as other exotic insects, birds, frogs, lizards, bees and more.

It is open from 10 am to 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for ages five to 18 and free for those under four.

Butterfly House on the Prairie is located at 4424 Highway 59, Cummings, KS.

For more information, call 913.333.1850 or visit

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum

TripAmeliaOne of Atchison’s most-visited places is the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum where thousands of visitors flock every year to learn more about the aviator.

It is open from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday, and 1 to 4 pm, Sunday.

Admission is $6 for adults and $1 for children 12 and under.

The historic site is located at 223 North Terrace Street in Atchison.

To learn more, call 913.367.4217 or visit

International Forest of Friendship

Another tribute to aviation and aerospace in Atchison is the International Forest of Friendship.

It is comprised of trees from all 50 states and 35 countries and includes Memory Lane which honors individuals who have contributed to flying and exploration.

The forest is open year round from sunrise to sunset and is located at 913 Main Street in Atchison.

For more information, call 913.367.1419 or visit

Trolley Tours

TripTrolleyA fun and relaxed way to experience the history and charm of Atchison is by taking a Trolley Tour.

Starting at the Visitors Center in the restored Santa Fe Depot, the trolleys include a 45-minute narrated tour of the Victorian homes, state and national historical sites and beautiful views of the Missouri River.

Tours are available during September and October from 1 to 3 pm on Fridays and Sundays as well as from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays.

Fares are $6 for adults, $2 for ages four to 10 and free for those under three.

The fall season also includes Haunted Atchison Tours, recommended for ages six and older.

The one-hour narrated tour on the trolley includes seeing the local sites and hearing about the mysteries of the town. Cost is $13.

To reserve tickets for the regular or haunted tours, call 800.234.1854.

Independence Creek Trail

The Independence Creek Hiking/Biking Trail begins at Riverfront Park.

The 10-mile trail connects downtown Atchison with Independence Creek and the historic area where Lewis and Clark camped in 1804. The trail head includes a recreated Kanza Indian lodge that is free to view.

To learn more, call 913.367.2427.

Atchison Rail Museum

The Atchison Rail Museum features an outdoor collection of rail cars adjacent to the Santa Fe Depot.

It is open year-round and is located at 200 South 10th Street.

For more information, call 913.367.2427.

For more information about these and other attractions and events, go to