Wizard of Oz places to visit in Kansas    http://www.offbeattravel.com/wizard-of-oz-kansas.html

We're Off to See the Wizard of Oz in Kansas

There's no question the most famous Kansas tornado appeared in Frank L. Baum's beloved 1900 classic tale, The Wizard of Oz. The film version followed in 1939 and became an annual televised event by 1956. Children of all ages still enjoy this magical story and several Kansas towns have capitalized on its popularity. Here are some places where you can experience a little piece of The Wizard of Oz in Kansas

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Wamego and the Oz Museum

See the world's largest collection of Oz memorabilia at this small museum, located about 20 minutes east of Manhattan (home to Kansas State University). An eight-foot-tall Tinman towers above visitors and the Wicked Witch's legs stick out from beneath the edge of Dorothy's house, in brightly striped socks. There's a pair of ruby slippers, hand-encrusted with 3,500 Swarovski crystal rhinestones that was created in honor of the movie's 50th anniversary; and a photo of Dorothy holding Toto with Judy Garland's signature on the mat. Movie fans can catch a few minutes of the movie - or the entire thing, in a small screening room with comfortable chairs.

In September, enjoy a twist on traditional Oktoberfest celebrations during Wamego's annual three-day OZtoberFest. Enjoy kids' activities, the Ruby Slipper Run and Yellow Brick Road Bike Ride, and even a wine and microbrewery tasting event in downtown Wamego.

The restored Columbian Theatre will also offer a stage production of the beloved story. Whether you visit during the festival or at some other time, the Oz Museum is the perfect destination for Wizard of Oz enthusiasts. For additional Oz inspiration, visit Wamego's Oz Winery and Toto's Tacoz while you're in town.

The Wizard of Oz Yellow Brick Road is in Sedan Kansas   http://www.offbeattravel.com/wizard-of-oz-kansas.html

Sedan and the Yellow Brick Road

If you've always dreamed of walk along the Yellow Brick Road, here's your chance. Located in southeast Kansas, tiny Sedan has installed more than 11,000 pale 'yellow' bricks in their downtown area, to create the nation's largest Yellow Brick Road.

Since 1988, this unusual site has drawn upwards of 45,000 visitors, annually. People from every state, 28 foreign countries and even sister city, Sedan, France, have purchased bricks. But that's not all. A "celebrity section' features individual bricks from several of the original Munchkins, as well as Tanya Tucker, Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor and famous folks.

While you're in Sedan, stay at The Red Buffalo Ranch, owned by legendary journalist and reporter, Bill Kurtis, and see the ranch's spectacular Butcher Falls. Downtown, visit The Red Buffalo Gift Shop owned by Kurtis' daughter (open Wednesday through Saturday), and his Art of the Prairie Gallery, which showcases Midwestern artists.

Liberal Kansas and Dorothy's House -- Land of Oz

Dorothy's Room in the Oz House  Kansas   http://www.offbeattravel.com/wizard-of-oz-kansas.html
Dorothy's House-Land of Oz is actually attached to the Coronado Historical Museum, but you'll feel like you've stepped inside the Wizard of Oz movie at this Liberal landmark. There's an actual house, built in 1907 and moved to this site, which volunteers restored and furnished to replicate the movie version. It's so realistic that, in 1981, then-Governor John Carlin, named this the 'official home of Dorothy Gale.' Inside the house, in Auntie Em's kitchen, cast iron and painted tin pans await the next meal, while filled and empty canning jars line pantry shelves decorated with red gingham fabric. Visit Dorothy's simple bedroom where her dolls lie atop an antique quilt, an oil lamp tops a small table, and there's a clear view of the massive, menacing tornado through an open window.

See the cornfield where she met the Scarecrow, and the brilliant green gates of Emerald City. There's also an original model of Dorothy's house that was used in filming of the 1939 movie. In addition, the Land of OZ offers plenty of animated entertainment, with witches, Munchkins, talking trees and many of the movie's signature characters.

For an added dose of movie magic, visit Liberal in October during the annual OzFest (October 12th and 13th, 2013) attended by Munchkin actors, with character look-alike contests, special events for dogs and much more.

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Lisa Waterman Gray is a freelance writer and photographer, who has crafted thousands of stories and reviews for national, regional, and local print and online publications. Widely published in Greater Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri, she specializes in travel and food topics, and also writes human interest, health, and business stories. She was previously an editor for Kansas City Homes & Gardens and The Sun. The Countryman Press/W.W. Norton released Lisa's first national book, An Explorer's Guide: Kansas, in June 2011.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: November 17, 2016

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