Kansas City is known for jazz, boulevards, and fountains. There are lots of attractions within the city, including the pleasant Downtown with its Historical City Market, American Jazz Museum, countless bars with live music, casinos and barbecues. But what if you’ve already seen it all? No worries, there’s always more to do. Like most places around America, Kansas City has some unique attractions, which is why here’s a list of several examples. Some of them are located in the city, others nearby, so you can make a small trip to explore them.
Glore Psychiatric Museum
Years ago psychiatry was based rather on fantasies and assumptions than actual science, which lead to some bizarre practices. The Glore Psychiatric Museum, located in St. Joseph (about 30 miles from Kansas), is one of the weirdest museums in the United States. Before it became a museum, it used to be a medical facility formerly called State Lunatic Asylum No. 2. Now the Glore displays artifacts from the mental hospital, from staff uniforms, various devices, medical equipment to photographs and artworks created by patients. Some of the items are odd. There’s the Tranquilizer Chair where patients were kept to “calm down,” with their hands and legs restrained, sometimes for so long the chair even has a built-in portable toilet. The Bath of Surprise designed for icy baths; the Lunatic Box shaped like a coffin, were anxious or aggressive patients were held until they became calm.
Puppetry Arts Institute
Want to get a new, unusual skill? Go to the Puppetry Arts Institute for a puppet-making workshop! Okay, if that’s a bit too much, you can at least pay a visit. This charming non-profit organization, situated in Independence, runs a museum, a workshop center, and a puppet theatre. It’s a great attraction both for children and grown-ups with imagination. You can check the schedule on the Institute’s website (http://www.hazelle.org/) and see a show, or just wander around the museum and see the puppets; some of them are quirky.
Leila’s Hair Museum
It’s enough to take a look at this museum’s name to understand it’s quite unusual…. Sounds unbelievable, but yes, it’s all about hair. It’s the only such museum in the world, and it features an exhibition of wreaths and jewelry made out of human hair (sic!). There are some gems containing locks of Michael Jackson’s, Queen Victoria’s or Marilyn Monroe’s hair. Now you know why there’s the word “hair” in the name, but you might still wonder who Leila is. She’s the person behind all this enterprise. Leila Cohoon has been fascinated with hair through all her life, so finally, she opened a museum dedicated to the part of the human body she finds so unique.
The history of Sauer Castle is tragic, and that’s why it’s such a strange place right now. Anton Sauer built the property for him and his family, but soon after the construction was over, one of his children died. A few years later Anton left as well. The other children and Anton’s wife kept living in the house for a while until the woman committed suicide. One of the daughters inherited the property. Several generations of the Sauer family lived in the castle, and more of unfortunate events took place through the years. Many people in the Kansas City believed it was haunted – some still do. The house’s located at 935 Shawnee Road. It’s private property, so you can’t enter it, but you can just walk by and take a look – it’s spooky indeed.
C.W. Parker Carousel Museum
Regardless of what the name suggests, the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum doesn’t only display carousels – but they’re a major theme. The lovely Parker Carry-us-all Carousel is dating back to 1913 and bought by the museum in 1997. In 2001, the museum purchased one more delightful artifact – Liberty Carousel from 1950’s. Besides of those and other carousels, the museum also exhibits a variety of strange things: a cylinder piano, band organ or a penny press machine. There’s also a gift shop selling lots of unique gadgets. The museum’s adorable and it’ll sure make you smile once you visit it.
Do you know some other strange attractions in Kansas City or its surroundings? Let us know! And share this article with your friends, especially those who are planning to visit the city.