Location: Ft. Scott, Ks. You can probably, ya know, find the city.
Website: Ft. Scott visitor's page.
Hours of Operation: Open year round. April through October--8:00am to 5:00pm. November through March--9:00am to 5:00pm
I love history and I love free. Put them together and give me some free history and I'm a pretty damn happy guy.
The Fort of Ft. Scott is located about an hour south of Kansas City. Head straight down highway 69 and you will run smack into the town. The Fort itself is actually part of the town and it's really hard to miss. It's across the street from down town.
So that's where it is, but now let's get to what it is. From their website:
- The story of Fort Scott is the story of America growing up. When the fort was established in 1842, the nation was still young and confined largely to the area east of the Mississippi River. Yet within a few years, Fort Scott's soldiers became involved in events that would lead to tremendous spurts of growth and expansion
It's a Fort. Should be pretty obvious as it's in the name and all. Actually, it's 1/2 original and restored from from 1842 and it's 1/2 recreated. Somewhere in it's long history several buildings were lost and destroyed. They have been rebuilt to match the restorations of the other buildings and this provides a very nice scene when you arrive.
The Fort is layed out in a square, as you would expect from forts, with the armory located in the middle. It's bigger than some of the other forts that I have been to and takes a little over an hour to walk around with the kids if you stop to read some of the history markers that are presented.
They do offer guided tours but as I had a 3 and 5 year old, we tend to skip these. Thankfully they also let you do self guided tours.
On these self guided tours you basically go from building to building exploring the lives of the soldiers that lived there. It's really well done, the exhibits in each house are well presented, simple and informative. I was able to get a lot out of it and still keep my kids from wrecking something historic and expensive.
There are the officers quarters, the stables, armory, bakery, quartermaster's house and the commanders house and a lot more. When arriving, the visitor's center provides you with maps so you will always know where you are going and what you are seeing.
I do want to add that the bathrooms are located throughout the property and are all very well kept. When you are traveling with kids, this is a pretty big deal.
As for lunch, I would recommend eating across the street in the downtown area. We ate at the 1950's style cafe and it was super cheap and good. Lunch for the kids and myself and we got out of there for about 15 bucks.
Take a road trip, Ft. Scott is a great place to spend a day and as it's only an hour away from KC, give it a shot.