TOPEKA, KAN. – The votes are in. More than 24,000 people from all 50 states cast votes to determine Kansas’ most important natural or manmade wonders.
The winners were announced by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in a ceremony at the capitol on Kansas Day, Jan. 29. The winners were selected from 24 finalists; eight attractions were chosen because the Kansas Sampler Foundation, organizer of the project, bases its criteria on eight rural culture elements.
The winners are (in alphabetical order): the Big Well, Greensburg; Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Barton and Stafford counties; Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum, Abilene; Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center, Hutchinson; Kansas Underground Salt Museum, Hutchinson; Monument Rocks & Castle Rock, Gove County; St. Fidelis Church (Cathedral of the Plains), Victoria; and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County.
Representatives from all 24 finalists as well as over a thousand fourth- and fifth-graders and other fans of Kansas were on hand to hear the announcement.
“It’s very exciting to announce what the public chose as our very best in terms of places totally unique to Kansas or sites that are iconic,” said Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation. “We’d love it if the fun of the contest would launch a wave of exploring Kansas!”
The 8 Wonders of Kansas is a project of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to preserve and sustain rural culture and believes that educating the public about what there is to see and do in the state helps make a difference for all Kansas communities, regardless of size.