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Best 10 things to do in Bonner Springs, Kansas

Bonner Springs sits in rolling hills beside the Kansas River. It’s the next Kansas Turnpike exit west of Kansas City. Its location gives citizens and visitors a break from urban living with all the Kansas City area amenities. Bonner Springs offers intriguing attractions, recreation, shopping, and entertainment. Enjoy a laid-back, friendly community in Bonner Springs.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Avoid the turnpike by driving scenic Highway 32 west of Kansas City.

The city’s history starts with an 1812 trading post called Four Houses. Henry Tiblow operated a river ferry, and the growing town took his name. Then Philo Clark platted the city and named it Bonner Springs. Clark named it after his friend Robert Bonner, editor of the New York City Ledger, and added “springs” for the natural springs. The city was incorporated in 1898, and Clark became the first mayor. 

Enjoy Downtown Bonner Springs

Centennial Park is downtown’s centerpiece. The park’s caboose holds an unstaffed visitors center. Stroll the walkway, relax on the limestone bench, and enjoy a wheat sculpture. The city band performs 10 concerts at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays during June and July in Kelly Murphy Park. Community organizations host ice cream socials during the concerts.

Enjoy these attractions, events, dining, and lodging options in Bonner Springs. I did.

Table of contents: Ag Center and Hall of Fame | Wyandotte Museum | Zip KC | Parks | Renaissance Fest | Tiblow Days | Azura Amphitheater | Shop | Dine | Stay

The City of Bonner Springs Economic Development sponsored my visit, but all opinions are mine. If you use our affiliate links, including Amazon Associates and Stay22, to make a purchase, we might earn a small commission for our time and website costs (at no additional cost to you).  These links are always disclosed. 

National Ag Hall of Fame sign and Farmers Memorial, Bonner Springs
Sign for the Ag Hall of Fame in front of the Farmers Memorial

1. National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs

Food starts on a farm; however, even Kansans are ignorant about farming. Learn where food begins its journey to your table at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame. The Farmers Memorial beside the entrance is a white half dome with a bas-relief metal sculpture. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Ag Hall’s charter on August 31, 1960. 

Related: Abilene, Eisenhower’s hometown, is two hours west of Bonner Springs.

Inside the main building, look for President Harry Truman’s plow, plus collections of mechanical banks, quilts, and Depression glass. See how clever pioneers invented wind wagons powered by the prevailing Kansas winds, then learn about bees, nature’s farmers, and try on a beekeeper’s suit.

Failed Kansas banks and other grim 1930s realities appear in the Hard Times: Life in America During the 1930s exhibit. Farm Security Administration photographers, including Fort Scott’s Gordon Parks, documented the Dust Bowl and Great Depression era with 200,000 images from 1935-1944. The Ag Hall of Fame and Farm Broadcasters Hall of Fame are also in the building.

Related: Learn more about Gordon Parks in Fort Scott.

Hand-milking the cows at the Ag Center, Bonner Springs
The milking chair awaits the milker in the Museum of Farming. Cats awaiting milk sprays are the only missing items.

Explore the Museum of Farming and Farm Town

Tractor lovers will enjoy the Museum of Farming, a 20,000-square-foot building filled with numerous vintage farm implements.

View of Farm Town at the Ag Center, Bonner Springs
Farm Town clusters near a small lake.

Walk around Farm Town, which includes the 1917 Island Creek School House, an event barn, a chicken hatchery, a blacksmith shop, and a general store. Board the miniature Union Pacific train at the depot and ride around the lake. 

Roxie’s reliable report: Visiting Farm Town requires some walking, so wear comfortable shoes. Pick up a self-guided tour map when you enter the museum. Farm Town’s grounds are grassy with gravel pathways between buildings. The attraction offers wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The Ag Center is No. 33 in my book 100 Things to Do in Kansas Before You Die.

Watch the Lineman’s Rodeo and other events

The Ag Center holds numerous annual events, including the International Lineman’s Rodeo. More than 5,000 utility linemen from all over the world compete in various pole-climbing contests. Drive through the attraction during the holiday season for Santa’s Express holiday lights drive-through. Bring the kids to visit with Santa.

George Rushton Bakery advertisement in the Wyandotte County Museum foyer, Bonner Springs
The George Rushton Baking Company’s baker weighs ingredients in the museum’s foyer.

2. Wyandotte County Museum, Bonner Springs

Walk through centuries of Wyandotte County history at the Wyandotte County Museum in Wyandotte County Park, across the road from the Ag Hall. The museum’s 75,000-piece collection begins with the Hopewell (Mound Builder) culture and extends to the present day. Archaeologists unearthed the Hopewell artifacts at a site near 61st Street and Leavenworth Road.

Practicing archaelogy with a Hopewell bowl, Wyandotte County Museum, Bonner Springs
Try reassembling this Hopewell artifact.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Practice archaeology by sifting for artifacts through sand and attempting to reconstruct a Hopewell bowl in the Trowbridge Gallery.

The Barker Gallery explains the “immigrant Indians” story. In the 1800s, the government banished the Shawnee, Delaware, and the Wyandot peoples to Wyandotte County in 1843. Look for the Conley sisters’ double-barreled shotgun, which they used to drive trespassers away from their ancestral cemetery. To protect the cemetery, Lyda Conley became the first indigenous woman to argue before the Supreme Court. It’s now a national landmark. 

The Conleys are one of the first stories in my book (ad) Secret Kansas: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.

The museum’s exhibits include Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the Corps of Discovery. They stopped at Kansas City’s Kaw Point in June 1804. Two corps members conspired to steal whisky there, and their trial sentenced them to floggings.

Related: Fort Leavenworth‘s Lewis & Clark Center honors the first Army officers in Kansas.

Autographed B-25 tail and other World War II artifacts, Wyandotte County Museum, Bonner Springs
Read workers’ autographs on the B-25’s tail section.

Experience the county’s earliest industries in the Wyandotte County Heritage Gallery, including aviation. Look for the autographed vertical stabilizer and rudder from a B-25 bomber that North American Aviation built in Kansas City during World War II.  Over 50,000 employees built 6,608 planes, and 40 percent of them were women.

Famous people from Wyandotte County

The museum additionally features noteworthy people from Wyandotte County, including actor Ed AsnerHarold Hunter, the first Black Olympic basketball coach; and William Foster, founder of the famed Florida A&M University (FAMU) Marching 100 Band. 

The Presidential 20-year curse

However, Tenskwatawa, The Prophet, had a larger role in American history than any of these. He and his brother Tecumseh worked to unite indigenous people against Euro-american encroachment.

Unfortunately for their cause, General William Henry Harrison destroyed Tenskwatawa’s village, called Prophetstown, in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Legend says the Prophet surveyed his destroyed town and cursed Harrison. Harrison would die in office if he became President, the Prophet predicted. Furthermore, his election would create a 20-year cycle of Presidential deaths.

Harrison’s victory did help him win the Presidency in 1840. The Prophet’s alleged curse felled Presidents every 20 years until Ronald Reagan survived a 1980 assassination attempt. The Prophet died in Wyandotte County in 1837, three years before his legendary prophecy came true.

Related: Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860, was the second curse victim. Follow Lincoln’s Presidential campaign in Kansas.

Flying on a zip line at Zip KC, Bonner Springs
Flee the surly bonds of earth and fly at Zip KC. (Visit KCK)

3. Zip KC in Bonner Springs

Join the flying squirrel’s flight path at Zip KC. The five-line Tower Tour is the zipline company’s most popular option. Zipliners will fly up to 50 mph on five lines. First, climb 77 steps to the 65-foot first tower for a quarter-mile flight. Make sure to survey the panoramic view stretching from Downtown Kansas City to Lawrence. Then zoom through the trees all the way home. The final leg flies on the zero gravity line. Free fall 12 feet before rising like Tarzan on a roller coaster.

Zip KC’s flight itineraries also include the nine-line Ultimate Adventure Tour. Short hikes separate the first four lines, then the tour joins the Tower Tour lines. Survey the night sky on the Night Flight Tower Tour while decked with glow sticks.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Zip KC has strict weight limits, and won’t issue refunds for non-compliance. Check in at least 45 minutes before your tour. 

Roxie’s reliable report: Zip KC shares its grounds with KC Timber Challenge, where contestants surmount obstacles to win races. The organizers say, “Get ready to unplug and get muddy,” as you crash the course.

​4. Bonner Springs Parks

The City of Bonner Springs has eight parks. Center Park downtown holds an outdoor fitness court. Lions Park offers baseball, basketball, shelter houses, and an off-leash dog park, but Wyandotte County Park and North Park provide the most activities.

The 325-acre Wyandotte County Park has tennis, softball, soccer, an 18-hole disc golf course, a skate park, and a six-hole junior golf course. After exercise, picnic at one of seven shelters, all with water, electricity, restrooms, and playgrounds. 

Related: Wyandotte County Lake Park is one of our 11 fun things to do in Kansas City.

North Park is home to the Bonner Springs Aquatic Parksoccer fields, the technical, wooded, 18-hole Cedar Ridge Disc Golf Course, sand volleyball courts, and a picnic shelter. Fish in the two-acre North Park Lake. Anglers must carry a Kansas fishing license and obey the state’s fishing regulations.

Join Bonner Springs’ trail system at Kerry Roberts, North, Lions, and South Parks (PDF).

The Tudor gate to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Bonner Springs
Return to the English Renaissance in Bonner Springs. (Visit KCK)

5. Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Bonner Springs

Two hundred thousand people return to the Renaissance each year at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. The party spreads over seven weekends in September and October. During the festivities, Canterbury is full of people dressed in period costumes serving period food and drink. Hundreds of vendors span several districts. Each weekend has a theme, like Highland Fling, Wine, Chocolate, and Romance, and Barkbarian Brewfest. Each weekend also offers discounts to selected cities’ residents, so check the schedule. Don’t miss the jousting!

6. Tiblow Days in Bonner Springs

Experience a three-day blowout during Tiblow Days, named for the ferry owner who settled future Bonner Springs. The event Centennial Park occurs the last weekend of August each year beginning with the  Mayor’s Banquet and Carnival on Thursday evening. A carnival, live music, and vendor booths are open on Friday and Saturday. Attend a band concert and ice cream social on Friday, and the parade, Tiblow Trot, and car show on Saturday. 

7. Azura Amphitheater

Azura Amphitheater is the Kansas City metro area’s best place to attend an outdoor concert. The venue seats up to 18,000 people, including 3,100 reserved seats. For the best seats, reserve VIP Open-Air Suites.


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8. Bonner Springs Shopping

Downtown Bonner Springs is compact and walkable with unique boutiques to browse. These are some of my favorite stores.

Treasure chest full of numerous sizes and colors of marbles
This treasure chest is only one batch of the Moon Marble Company’s troves.

Moon Marble

Moon Marble Company is a shopping icon. Lucky shoppers get to watch one of the day’s marble-making demonstrations. Find traditional toys, glass art, and, yes, plenty of marbles. 

Related: Find all your marbles at Moon Marble Company.

Paints and kits at The Small Hinge
Pick your décor topic and decorate away at The Small Hinge.

The Small Hinge

I loved creating at The Small Hinge. Their kits make creating simple and relaxing. I enjoyed chatting with the staff and customers while I finished my item. The only difficulty was choosing which theme I wanted to use because the selections included a wide range of interests and activities. I highly recommend The Small Hinge as a great refuge from stress.

Mannequin head with a brooch mouth and Arab Shrine fez, candlesticks, and a painting
You’ll love Yowza Antiques’ quirky merchandising and the goods it finds.

Yowza Antiques & Sweet Shoppe

Visit Yowza for an eclectic collection of vintage clothing, costume jewelry, comics, furniture, household goods, and more. I enjoyed their clever merchandising, like using jewelry as features on mannequin heads.

Owl-R-Junk


Go shabby chic at Owl-R-Junk. The store exudes a relaxed vibe with apparel, accessories, and home décor.

It’s All About the Signs

Neon-lovers will adore It’s All About the Signs. Celebrate your favorite automotive and petroleum brands, sports teams, and bar decorations with a neon-style sign. As an alternative, promote your brand with a custom LED sign.

Jewelry and vintage furniture at DeeDee's
Order custom costume jewelry at DeeDee’s.

DeeDee’s Jewelry & Vintage Décor

DeeDee’s is a bit off the main shopping district in a repurposed house. Shopping there is well worth the slight drive from downtown. The staff turns new and vintage pieces to create original, fully customizable jewelry. The store also carries a wide variety of vintage home decor items. New items are available every day. Vintage furniture serves as merchandising props — and inventory — for the clothing, jewelry, clever décor, cosmetics, and toiletries. In consequence, this is a shop to visit repeatedly. 

Jars of canned goods at Karen's Country Kitchen
Stock your pantry at Karen’s Country Kitchen.

Karen’s Country Kitchen

Remember canning produce with your mother and grandmother? Remember how delectable those canned goods looked — and tasted? Recall the nostalgia at Karen’s Country Kitchen, home of Amish-made canned goodies and cheeses. Find local gourmet products as well.

8. Bonner Springs Dining

Dine on good food in relaxed atmospheres in Bonner Springs.

Man looking at his phone while relaxing in Third Space Coffee.
Enjoy Third Space Coffee’s cozy vibe.

Third Space Coffee

The “third space” in Third Space Coffee refers to a gathering place that supports local culture. The Bonner Springs coffee shop fully lives up to its name. Some coffee shops foster a utilitarian vibe that encourages customers to leave quickly. In contrast, Third Space is filled with comforting spaces that encourage customers to linger and savor a conversation. It’s one of my favorite coffee houses in the state.

I recommend drinking the shop’s signature drink, Bonner Brew, which is creamy and sweet with hints of your favorite flavors. Try the sausage sandwich, served with a side of gravy dipping sauce.

Kobi’s Bar and Grill

Rock Bonner at Kobi’s Bar and Grill. Wednesdays are bike nights on their patio in warmer seasons, and Thursdays are open-mic nights. Local bands perform on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays. Try the Kobi Burger, tenderloin, or surf and turf. Finish with the signature cheesecake.

Grande burrito and ice tea on a table with other customers across the aisle below a Twisters Grill & Bar sign
Follow your favorite sports teams’ games while dining at Twisters.

Twisters Grill & Bar

Hang out at Twisters for good food, cold beer, and cocktails. Start with the Totchos, like supreme nachos except using tater tots instead of chips, then eat the Grande burrito if you dare. 

Cornhole game at Olde Mill Properties
Play cornhole while you eat and drink at Olde Mill Properties

Olde Mill Properties

The rescued Tiblow Mill became Olde Mill Properties, a one-stop shop for Olde Mill Ice Cream Shop, Outfield Beer, Ten & Two Coffee Bar, and Quentin’s BBQ & Sides. Gather your meal by starting at Quentin’s. I recommend the Burnt End Mac Bowl. Then, choose your libation at Outfield Beer or Ten & Two Coffee Bar. Finish with dessert at Olde Mill Ice Cream Shop. Yum, yum!

10. Bonner Springs lodging

At the end of the day, a comfortable room at Comfort Inn with a recliner and a Goldilocks (just right) bed soothes your craving for rest. The desks enable business travelers to complete work. Once the chores are done, a calming dip in the indoor pool prepares the guests for a night’s rest. In the morning, hot breakfast prepares them for another day.

RVers should camp at Kansas City West/Lawrence KOA, which has numerous recreational amenities, including a pool and a dog park.

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