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Lights, camera, Kansas!

Explore the magic of movie attractions and filming locations across Kansas.

October 6, 2023

4 Min Read
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, Atchison, Kan.
HIGH FLYING: Hollywood told the story of Kansas aviation hero Amelia Earhart in the 2009 movie “Amelia.” Visit the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison to learn more about the aviator portrayed on the silver screen. Photos courtesy of Kansas Tourism

by Colby Sharples-Terry

Kansas is home to a surprising array of movie attractions that draws both cinephiles and curious travelers alike. From iconic film locations to captivating museums, Kansas offers a unique cinematic experience that showcases the state’s contribution to the silver screen.

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum

While Amelia Earhart may be known for her pioneering aviation achievements, her story was also immortalized on the silver screen. The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison is where this aviation legend was born. Visitors can explore exhibits related to Earhart’s life, including memorabilia from the movie “Amelia” (2009), starring Hilary Swank. It’s a chance to step into the world of one of history’s most iconic women and the cinematic portrayal of her life.

“The Wizard of Oz,” Liberal and Wamego

“The Wizard of Oz” is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of generations. Liberal has various Wizard of Oz-related attractions, such as Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz, a grassroots arts display that retells the classic tale with upcycled materials. Wamego is also a charming destination for fans of “The Wizard of Oz.” The town boasts an Oz Museum that features an extensive collection of memorabilia, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the magic of this timeless classic. You can also eat at Toto’s TacOz, sip the fermented product of the grape at Oz Winery, walk the Yellow Brick Road, and find the 18 Totos Around Town statues. These sights provide a unique opportunity to bathe oneself in the world of the film and discover the magic that still resonates.

“Paper Moon”

“Paper Moon,” the 1973 film, captured the essence of Depression-era Kansas with its timeless story and memorable locations. You can plan a road trip to filming locations in Codell, Gorham, Hays, LaCrosse, Liebenthal, McCracken and White Cloud. These Kansas locations served as the backdrop for the film’s heartwarming tale of a con artist and a young girl forging an unlikely bond during tough times. With its iconic scenes set against the backdrop of Kansas prairies, “Paper Moon” continues to draw travelers seeking to saturate themselves in the nostalgia and beauty of this bygone era.

Gordon Parks Museum and Center for Culture, Diversity

Fort Scott is home to the Gordon Parks Museum and Center for Culture and Diversity, celebrating the life and legacy of the renowned photographer, filmmaker and writer Gordon Parks.

Gordon Parks display panel

This cultural gem pays tribute to Parks’ contributions to American art and cinema. Visitors can explore his captivating photographs, films and personal memorabilia, gaining insight into his journey from a humble beginning in Fort Scott to becoming a trailblazing artist who challenged social norms and racial barriers. You can also visit the sites around Fort Scott that Gordon featured in his film “The Learning Tree.” There are 13 locations to visit by driving or walking “The Learning Tree” Film Scene and Sign Trail.

Boot Hill Museum

Dodge City, often associated with the Wild West, has been a popular backdrop for numerous Western films and TV series, but none as renowned as “Gunsmoke.”

three reenactors in Old West costumes

The Boot Hill Museum transports visitors to the era of gunslingers and outlaws, and shares the story of Hollywood’s fascination with this “Queen of the Cowtowns.” It’s a chance to relive the Wild West as seen on the big screen and appreciate the historical significance of this iconic location.

As travelers explore these sites, they’ll not only discover the magic of the movies but also gain a deeper appreciation for the diverse tapestry of Kansas’ history and culture.

Sharples-Terry is public relations and communications manager for Kansas Tourism.

Kansas Tourism aims to inspire travel to and throughout Kansas to maximize the positive impacts that tourism has on the state and local communities. For more trip inspiration and to order a free Kansas Travel Guide, head to travelks.com.

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