Abilene Things to Do Tips by jayhawk2000 Top 5 Page for this destination
Abilene Things to Do: 49 reviews and 132 photos
A collection of buildings in Old Abilene Town recreates what Abilene looked like during its days as a rip-roaring cowtown. The attraction itself is shut down but the grounds are wide open and you can still stroll through if you like, pretending it's a ghost town.
History buffs should also visit the Heritage Center, which is in the same complex as the Museum of Independent Telephony.
Also in the same complex is the CW Parker Carousel, a 100-year-old, hand-carved carousel open for rides!
Wrought iron bison
A collection of modernist buildings surround the house where America’s 34th president grew up. Ike was born in Texas, but the family moved to Kansas when he was quite young and he considered Abilene his hometown.
It’s a bit incongruous, seeing the modest house amid the lawns of this compound and it’s a bit disheartening to think several city blocks of similar houses were cleared away to make room for the Center. After looking around the house and visiting the graves of Ike and his wife, I recommend some time in the Center’s terrific museum.
Most anything the American President receives as a gift in all actuality belongs to the American people, which is one reason why these presidential centers are built. And let me tell you, presidents receive the niftiest things! You’ll see a range of objects, from modest folk art to national treasures.
Half the museum has been remodelled which was paid for by the Readers Digest, to give you an idea of the demographic. The interactive approach is good and it feels like you have more access to things, but I was a bit disappointed by how they glossed over some of Ike's presidency. For instance, the civil rights movement was building momentum but Ike preferred to maintain the status quo. At least this state of affairs is mentioned, but not much explanation is provided. The letter from a 17 year old girl in Baltimore complaining that foreign countries were being given more rights by Americans than Americans could benefit from in their country was a great read.
Also, there is a letter from Ethel Rosenberg appealing her death sentence. While other letters are transcribed so you can read them in full, Ethel's wasn't. It is displayed 2 feet off the ground so you have to bend over or kneel in order to read it. One page is placed over the other so you can't fully read the last page. I felt a bit cheated in not being able to examine this document more thoroughly.
Directions: In addition to the president’s prezzies, there are many personal items plus displays about Ike and the American involvement in WWII. The Eisenhower Center is located at 200 SE 4th Street. Ring 785/263
Abilene is a mecca for fine art and antiques collectors.
The American Indian Art Center on 206 South Buckeye is the only fine art gallery in Kansas dedicated to Native American arts and crafts. Ring 785/263-0090.
Just down the street is the Bow Studio & Gallery at 921 South Buckeye which specialises in sculptures, fountains and ceramic tiles. Ring 785/263-7166.
The Farmers & Drovers Gallery at 309 North Buckeye has art, sculpture and pottery by Kansas artists. Ring 785/263-0240.
Several handsome great houses are open to visitors as museums, B&Bs, or restaurants.
Seelye Mansion on 1105 North Buckeye (built 1905) is home to the Patented Medicine Museum. The Seelye family fortune was built on producing such medicinal products as Fro-Zona, Ner-Vena and Schmeckler's Powders--just kidding about the powders (fans of The Simpsons probably knew that, anyway). The house itself has much of its original furnishings and on your tour you'll see 25 rooms and the gardens. Ring 785/263-1084.
The Lebold-Vahsholtz Mansion on 106 North Vine was built in 1880. Ring 785/263-4356.
“Just think of them as little horses,” Homer Simpson said when going to the greyhound races.
It’s sad, but greyhounds have a very short racing career and often spend the rest of their lives abandoned or neglected. In addition to celebrating the achievements of the great racing dogs, the Hall of Fame supports schemes where retired dogs are given good homes. Often there will be a dog or two to greet you as you come in. They are very noble looking animals.
The Hall of Fame is at 407 South Buckeye. Ring 785/263-3000.
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