Shawnee Things to Do

  • Walking path provides view of Mill Creek Valley
    Walking path provides view of Mill Creek...
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  • Off-leash area for dogs includes their own beach
    Off-leash area for dogs includes their...
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  • View wild bald eagle, if you're very lucky
    View wild bald eagle, if you're very...
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Best Rated Things to Do in Shawnee

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    Exhibits in the Johnson County Historical Museum

    by basstbn Written Mar 8, 2003

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    Display of Indian clothing styles

    One section of this museum explores and contrasts the roles of the Methodist, Baptist, and Quaker missions in the life of Shawnee, Wyandot, and other Indian tribes.

    Photography is not allowed within the museum. This photo is scanned from the museum's (non-copyrighted) brochure

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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Old Shawnee Days

    by basstbn Written Oct 4, 2002

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    Generally held the first full weekend in June, it's Shawnee's three day celebration of the Old West. Highlights include the biggest parade in Kansas, a carnival, entertainment ranging from rock bands to blue grass to the Shawnee Town band, great food, and you never know when you're going to wind up in the middle of a gunfight between the sheriff's posse and a gang of robbers.

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    Theatre in the Park

    by basstbn Updated Jan 31, 2006

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    Theatre in the Park

    On weekend evenings during the summer, Shawnee Mission Park's outdoor theatre hosts high-quality performances of popular musicals, as well as festivals and guest performances. On Labor Day, it's the Kansas City Symphony. Bring your picnic, blankets and/or lawn chairs, but arrive early to reserve your space. Reasonably priced entertainment at $5 per adult, $3 per child. Open seating with regular attendance up to 2,500.

    Shows scheduled for the summer of 2006: "The King and I," "Cats," "Peter Pan," "Grease," and "Bye Bye Birdie." Check their website (link below) for dates.

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    • Music
    • Theater Travel

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    Veterans Memorial

    by basstbn Updated May 21, 2003

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    Veterans Memorial

    This memorial is dedicated to Shawnee military men and women who have served their country in service. This little park is adjacent to one of the city swimming pools, a library, and the Shawnee Community Center. Features a walking path.

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    Shawnee Mission Park

    by basstbn Written Mar 3, 2009
    Walking path provides view of Mill Creek Valley
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    1250 acre park administered by Johnson County Recreation Commission includes lake, prairie, and woodlands settings with numerous opportunities for picnicking, sports, and hiking.

    Also - see my Shawnee tip for sports to view activities at the Shawnee Mission Park Lake.

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    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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    Pioneer Crossing Park

    by basstbn Written Jan 27, 2007
    Entry to the park
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    This small park at the eastern entrance to Shawnee commemorates the important role played by the many trails that ran through the area (Santa Fe, Oregon, California, Mormon, Military Frontier Trails, etc.) Sculptures depict a wagon train, as well as Richard Williams, a wagon master who made his permanent home just a few blocks west of where the park now stands.

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    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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    City Hall Murals

    by basstbn Updated Feb 19, 2005

    Shawnee's City Hall building is worth a visit, even if you don't have to pay a parking fine or buy a dog license, for it contains a beautifully done mural depicting the history of the city of Shawnee. A pamphlet is available with complete guide to the people and events shown.

    The artist, Charles Goslin, is well-known for his historical paintings which grace many a public building in the area. He is also an authority on local history, which means his murals and paintings are reliable history lessons.

    Another of my tips (next) is of a statue of Shawnee Indian Chief Charles Bluejacket. Three details from these murals are included in a travelog.

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    Shawnee Old Days Festival

    by Jewelslover Written Jun 5, 2005
    Carnival Midway Old Shawnee Days

    Each year the city of Shawnee, Kansas hosts the Shawnee Old Days Festival. It's 4 days of carnival rides, concerts, games, and food. The fair has free admission but you must pay to go on rides and play games, but it's quite reasonable. Thursday nights you can purchase a wrist band for $15 for unlimited rides all night long.

    There are booths set up with crafts and goods for purchase in the actual Old Town.

    They have entertainment in their grandstand. This year they had Tequila Sunrise, a tribute to the Eagles, Liverpool, a tribute to the Beatles, Beary Hobbs & the Drifters, Charlie and the Stingrays and Eddie Money.

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    • Festivals
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    Chief Charles Bluejacket Statue and Fountain

    by basstbn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    This statue and fountain, sculpted by Shawnee historical artist, Charles Goslin, was dedicated in 2003. The scene is the great Shawnee Chief Bluejacket reading to two of his 23 children, as was his custom.

    "Bluejacket, the great Shawnee war chief, and his grandson, the Rev. Charles Bluejacket, are amply memorialized in the city of Shawnee, where the latter Bluejacket served as head chief in the 1860s.

    In Shawnee, an elementary school, a street, a senior citizens high-rise and, now, a public sculpture have been given the name "Bluejacket." And local historians have told generations of school children there the amazing tale of how the elder Bluejacket was a white man, captured by the Shawnee as a teenager wearing a blue jacket during the Revolutionary War and stripped of his Christian name - Marmaduke Van Swearingen.

    'But that's probably fiction', says Charles Goslin, the Shawnee historical artist who sculpted the new larger-than-life image of the Rev. Bluejacket reading to two children that now sits at the corner of Johnson Drive and Cody in Shawnee." (from Rob Roberts article in the Johnson County Sun, dated August 28, 2003.) Goslin pointed out that the chief needed an interpreter at meetings with government officials, an unlikely requirement for a person supposedly captured by Indians at age 17.

    The entire story of the two Bluejackets is too interesting to be abbreviated here. Too read an account of their roles in local history, click on the link below.

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    Shawnee City Hall

    by basstbn Updated Aug 10, 2003

    Shawnee's City Hall is not much of a tourist destination, to be honest. However, it is of some interest because of it is built on the site of an event of historical interest and because of the Charles Goslin murals found in the entry foyer.

    A plaque on the city hall grounds reads: "Oct 17, 1862 QUANTRILL'S RAID ON SHAWNEETOWN - A band of confederate guerillas led by William Quantrill corraled the residents of Shawneetown into the square at this site. A majority of the town's buildings and homes were looted and set on fire, nearly destroying the town. Thirteen persons were injured and two citizens murdered during this Civil War raid.

    Life is a great deal more peaceful here now. On Saturday mornings during the growing season, you will find local farmers and gardeners have set up shop selling fresh fruits and vegetables in the city hall parking lot.

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    The Oldest Building in Shawnee

    by basstbn Updated Aug 10, 2003

    If you are driving on Nieman Road in Shawnee and notice and old building with a plaque on the side, this is it. It identifies the building as having been built in 1824, making it unusually old for a bulding in the Kansas Territory. It suffered damage as a result of William Quantrill's raid on Shawneetown, but was not totally destroyed and appears to be in use today.

    I hope to learn a little more background information on this building.

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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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    Johnson County Historical Museum

    by basstbn Updated Jan 14, 2005
    Outside view of Johnson County Historical Museum

    This museum is small, and can be seen in an hour or less, but is a jewel. It has undergone extensive professional redesign in recent years and is now in a class far above most county museums.

    Displays trace the region's evolution from the days of its native Indian tribes, then home to tribes driven off of homelands in the east, to early settlement, to the clash of pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, to produce supplier for Kansas City and the rest of the nation, to bedroom community, to a collection of cities in itself.

    The focus is on the people who have made, and continue to make Johnson County what it is. It is housed in old Greenwood Elementary School.

    (Side note - It is ironic, and perhaps unfortunate that Johnson County was named after Rev. Thomas Johnson, a slave owning Methodist missionary who believed that the Indians should completely give up their way of life and become like the whites in order to survive.)

    I think this museum is a must-see for people who live in the area. Those from outside the area will gain a new appreciation and understanding of this region, as well.

    Admission free. Donations accepted. Closed on Mondays and major holidays.

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    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Wonderscope Children's Museum

    by basstbn Updated Oct 4, 2002

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    Interactive children's museum featuring television studio, weather station, hospital operating room, a tornado maker, a land fill tunnel, play space and more.

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Shawnee Things to Do

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