Kansas Day Celebration  


Each year, in January, schools across Kansas celebrate KANSAS DAY in commemoration of the birthday of our state on January 29th, 1861 when Kansas became the 34th state in the Union.

FLAG2pgJanuary 29, 2014, the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center hosted its first annual program for K-8 grade students from all over Northwest Kansas.  With assistance and support of The Nature Conservancy, Smoky Valley Ranch, and the Kansas Historical Society, Kansas Day in the Classroom, the program was a great success.  We look forward to presenting programs each year on this important day, sharing our Kansas history and traditions.

School classes are scheduled between 9 am and 3 pm.   If time and weather allows, the students can also visit the sculpture.  The program theme and content will change each year.
Contact Brook Plummer at 785-671-1000 for program information and to schedule your class.   Schedule your class by January 10th.

The 2024 Kansas Day was cancelled. Please look for the 2025 program. 

2025 Program -Kansas During the Dustbowl –  Date(s) to be determined

In partnership with Fick Fossil Museum, the Oakley Public Library, the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center will present programs supported by the  Logan County Conservation District  and the Goodland Weather Service.  Students will learn about life growing up during the Dust Bowl.    Teachers may call Brook any time to book their classes.  The 2024 Program is available on Monday and Tuesday.

At the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, the students will go on a scavenger hunt to learn about the cause and effects the dust bowl had on farmers as well as daily living. We will have a simulator room where the students will get to experience the dust bowl in action (minus the actual dust). The Goodland Weather Service will be teaching students about the weather patterns that lead up to a dust storm!  

Goodland National Weather ServiceOakley Library 


2023 Program -Western Kansas Discoveries, January 26th at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center

Western Kansas DiscoveriesWestern Kansas Discoveries -In partnership with area museums and The Nature Conservancy, Kindergarten through 8th grade classes are invited to explore discoveries from the past to modern day.   The program is being generously supported by the Friends of Cottonwood Ranch and the Logan County Community Foundation.

Room 1 – 30 minutes – presented by Stephanie Fisher / El Quartelejo Museum (Scott City) – Stephanie will lead and interactive activity that will lead the students in the discoveries found at El Quartelejo.
Room 2 – 20 minutes – presented by Ian Trevethan / Sternberg Museum (Hays)- What were the fossils found in our area?  
Room 3 – 20 minutes – presented by Deb Goodrich / Fort Wallace Museum (Wallace) – Deb and Jayne will tell the story of the discovery of Thof’s Dragon at the Fort Wallace Military Base.
Room 4 – Lobby – 15-20 minutes – presented by Justin Roemer – The Nature Conservancy/Smoky Valley Ranch – Justin will share the modern-day discoveries at the ranch with preserved samples of wildlife – skulls, skins, bones and jarred specimens to show the students.

Teachers will receive a take home a resource folder so they may continue the exploration in their classrooms.

The Fick Fossil Museum will also host a Kansas Day Program on the 26th – Contact Jodee Reed at 785-671-4839 to schedule your class.

Western Kansas Discoveries Scavenger Hunt!!  Kansas Day will kick off the scavenger hunt.  Families are invited to take part in hunting for the discoveries Dinosaurs bookat the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, Fick Fossil Museum, The Oakley Library, El Quartelejo, Fort Wallace, Scott Lake, and Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park. Families can pick up their scavenger hunt packet at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center beginning January 30th and will have until April 1st to complete.  All families that visit at least five locations will receive a fossil kit and poster, and those who visit and complete the entire list will also receive the National Geographic, 1,000 Facts About Dinosaurs book.

                                                                                  Scavenger hunt extended to May 1st!

scavenger hunt

The 2023 Kansas Day Program and Scavenger hunt are made possible with grant contributions from:

THE FRIENDS OF COTTONWOOD RANCH       Logan County Community foundation



2022 Program – Animals of the Plains – January 28th

Kansas Day 

Animals of the Plains – interactive presentation by the Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina, Kansas.  Students saw and learned about some of our Kansas plains animals.   Fun Facts the students learned:  Opossums do not carry rabies.  They eat LOTS of ticks. They are not affected by venomous snakes and will eat one if bitted.  They carry their babies in their pouch and are only pregnant for 13 days.  They will only about a year in the wild.  Pronghorns are neither antelope or deer – they are their own species.  If you think they have horns, you are right.  If you think they have antlers, you are also right.  Buffalo are technically Bison, bison, bison (Yes, three in a row – family, genus, species).  The rattles on a rattlesnake do not indicate its age, only the number of times it has shed its skin.  And, No, porcupines do not shoot their quills.

Rolling Hills Zoo Presenters      Opossum

Rolling Hills zoo             Midwest Energy            Logan County Community foundation

Grant funding provided by Midwest Energy & the Logan County Community Foundation.

Teacher Resources – Kansas Day 2022 – Kansas Zoo and Activities

2020 Program – It’s all about the weather! – January 29th 

Goodland National Weather Service

In partnership with the National Weather Service Goodland Office, and Midwest Energy (Hays), students will have a fun and interactive time here at the cultural center as they gain a better understanding of our Kansas weather.  

Midwest Energy 
Station 1- Measuring Weather – Instruments
Station 2- Weather Safety – Winter 
Station 3- Weather Safety – Severe
Station 4- Tornado Safety
50 minute program.  Call 785-671-1000 to schedule your class 
2019 Program – Kansas State Symbols – Due to the government shutdown, the Goodland Weather Station was not able to participate in Kansas Day at the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center.  Kids participated in a 20 minute program about Kansas history and our state symbols.  The Weather Center will be here in 2020!


Each classroom received the “Everything Kids’ Weather Book” by Joe Snedeker Everything Kids Weather
Grant funding for the weather program generously made possible by the Logan County Community Foundation and Midwest Energy’s Community Grant
The Fick Fossil Museum gave a presentation about the sod house pioneers and how they weathered the Kansas storms.  Students made a rain stick to take home.  The Oakley Public Library shared a Native American Cinderella story with supporting characters “Strong Wind” and “Gentle Breeze.” 


2018 Program – Footprints on the Plains – January 29th

2018 Footprints on the Plains

Lobby – Welcome – Kansas Day Statehood “Ad Astra Per Aspera” – What did Kansas look like at statehood and who was living on the plains.  Presentation tracked the footprints of the bison, Native Americans, Pioneers and Settlers – illlustrating the State motto “To the stars through difficulty”. Kansas Day 2018

Room 1 –  American Indians on the Plains – Crafts, skills and commerce for surviving on the plains.  Students will learn about Indian dress, tools and trade – Interactive presentation by Ken Weidner, Copeland, KS
Room 2 – Homesteaders – Daily life on the plains – What was it like for kids growing up on the plains?  Students will learn about family chores, responsibilities and play time.  Interactive presentation by Sherrie Smith, Hays, KS
Room 3 – Food on the Plains  – What did the settlers eat and where did it come from? Presentation by Deb Goodrich, Oakley, KS – Snack provided.

Funding for this program generously awarded by the Midwest Energy Community Fund  and the Dane Hansen Foundation Community Grant Fund for Logan County. 

Teacher Resources:  Kansas Historical Society – Education & State Symbols
Legends of Kansas – History, Tales and Destinations in the Land of Ahs 

Books:  Crafts and Skills of the Native Americans by David R. Montomery
               Homesteading – Settling American’s Heartland by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Places to visit: 
The Nature Conservancy’s Smoky Valley Ranch (shortgrass prairie) – Logan County – Western Vistas Historic Byway
The Nature Conservancy’s Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve – Flint Hills Scenic Byway
2018 – Sept 28-30 – 150 Celebration of the Medicine Lodge Peace Treaty , Medicine Lodge, KS
Nicodemus National Historic Site, Nicodemus, KS

2017 Program – Celebrating Buffalo Bill January 17, 18

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Buffalo Bill’s death by honoring him and sharing his important role in history and his time in Kansas.  Our Kansas Day program will present Buffalo Bill Experience on January 18th  for grades 3-8.  January 17th grades K-2 will participate in an interactive program about Buffalo Bill in Kansas.

The Buffalo Bill ExperienceThe BUFFALO BILL EXPERIENCE is “EDU-tainment” that’s chock full of all the wagon train driving, Army scouting, Indian fighting, and Pony Express riding adventures that made Buffalo Bill an American icon, gathering legendary friends like Wild Bill Hickok, Kit Carson, Annie Oakley, General George Armstrong Custer, and Sitting Bull along the way. Modeled after Hal Holbrook’s one-man play “Mark Twain”, Jeff colorfully portrays Buffalo Bill’s amazing “rags to riches to rags” life, blending equal parts humor, drama, and little-known historical anecdotes… (few people know that Buffalo Bill may have been responsible for America adopting the Star Spangled Banner!)    


 kids pictures of “Buffalo Bill” and thank you notes received.

2017 thank you cards

Grant funding for this program was made possible from the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation.  

January 17,  Three program times offered: 9:00 am, 10:00 am and 11:00 am
Welcome to Kansas Day – Kansas Day history/symbols – approx 15 minutes
Buffalo Bill in Kansas – The story of Buffalo Bill’s life from age 11 to 22 – approx 15 minutes
Buffalo Bill Wheel Game – Interactive game – approx 15 minutes
Activity – Students will make an arrowhead necklace – approx 15 minutes
Snack – Students will make up a trail mix snack to take with them
Classes are welcome to take group pictures at the sculpture as weather permits

January 18,  Two program times offered:  9:30 am and 1:00 pm 
9:30 – 10:15 – Buffalo Bill Experience presentation
10:15 – 10:30 – Activity – students will make an arrowhead necklace
10:30 – 10:45 – Snack – students will make up a trail mix snack to take
Classes are welcome to take group pictures at the sculpture as weather permits

Teachers take home packet (funded by Midwest Energy Community Fund Grant) includes activities and information from the presentations.

Kansas Day in The Classroom visit the Kansas Historical Society

The town of Sheridan

Sheridan 1868

2016 Program – 1860’s Kansas – The “Wild West” –   January 29
What was life like out here in western Kansas when we became a state?
Our 2016 “Wild West” theme takes kids back in time to see what it was like here in Kansas in the 1860’s when Kansas became a state.  Learn about the history of our area and the “Wild West” town of Sheridan.  Students will travel along the Smoky Hill Trail and encounter those who traveled and those who protected the travelers.  Funding for the program provided by The Dane Hansen Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation.
Each session lasts about 20 minutes
Lobby:    Welcome to the “Wild West” – Kansas 1860’s.  The Railroad and the “Wild West” town of Sheridan
Room 1:   Along the Smoky Hill Trail – Who was going west and why?
Room 2:   Forts and Soldiers – Protectors of the “Wild West”
Room 3:   The Chuck Wagon makes a stop on the trail and fixes up a snack

Teachers take home packet (funded by Midwest Energy Community Fund Grant) includes activities and information from the presentations.  Schools received a copy of Trails of the Smoky Hill by Wayne C. Lee and Howard C. Raynesford for their school library, courtesy of Logan County Farm Bureau Services.

Teacher Resources: Smoky Hill Trail Association, Butterfield Trail Museum, Fort Wallace Museum 
Kansas Collection Articles, Notes of Howard Raynesford, The Butterfield Overland Despatch or Smoky Hill Trail
Clyde W. Blackburn: Sheridan-Lawless City of the Plains PDF
“Hidden History” – The Ghost Town of Sheridan Kansas  You Tube video
Wikipedia, Kansas Forts and Posts

Mrs. Pilkington, Oakley Elementary 3 grade: “It was all perfect, and we enjoyed all we learned”.

Damian Melgoza, Gove, KS (volunteer cavalry):  “You should be proud of the organization it took to put on the event.  I’ve had seven or more kids come up to me over the past week and recognize me as Calvary!  Everyone was really impressed and had a good time”.

2015 Program – Kansas – Corn on the Plains – January 29Kansas Day 2015
Each session lasts about 20 minutes
Lobby:    Corn in Kansas History
Room 1:  Education – Ethanol Presentation by Western Plains Energy
Room 2:  Activity – Grocery Store – corn identification game
Room 3:  Food – Popcorn, Corn Chips – Learn and taste
Time permitting: Class Picture with Captain Cornelius

Teacher take home packs include additional resources and activity books for the classroom (funding provided by the Midwest Energy Community Fund).  Additional program funding and support received from Western Plains Energy, Kansas Corn Growers Association and Chris Marshall Seeds.

Teachers:  For more educational materials visit National Agriculture in The Classroom
Other resources available from our sponsors:  Western Plains Energy, LLC, Crop Production Services, National Corn Growers Association

2014 Program – January 29 – Celebrating Kansas History
Each session lasts about 20 minutes.
Lobby Welcome:  State Symbols presentation and Kansas Mural History
Room 1:  Tribute to the Bison – Education about the buffalo and how it was used by Native Americans.  Students get to see and touch parts of the buffalo.Tribute to the Buffalo
Room 2:  Craft project – Making & Decorating a Plains Indian Parfleche (par-flesh) – These small bags or cases were typically used for holding dried meats, seeds and snacks. download
Room 3: Snacks – Students decorate a sunflower cookie and learn about the uses of sunflowers by our Native American ancestors.
At the sculpture – School period time permitting, students will visit the bronze sculpture, learn about the artist and the history and have a class photo taken.

 Teachers:  For information about Kansas Day in The Classroom visit the Kansas Historical Society
 For information about The Nature Conservancy, Smoky Valley Ranch, visit Get Rural Kansas