Atchison is just about an hour north of Kansas City which makes for a perfect day trip. The city was built on the riverfront of the Missouri River. It has many beautiful historical homes to drive by including the home of St Benedictine College, birthplace of Amelia Earhart along with the location Lewis and Clark crossed in 1804. There is so much to see and do depending on your interest of the day including shopping on the little downtown Main Street.
St. Benedict’s Abbey and St. Benedict’s Church
Our first stop in Atchison was to the St Benedict’s Abbey founded in 1857. The monks live and pray here according to the glory of god. It is located on the college campus. The current Abbey building was completed in 1931. It has a very modern feel with wood and metal pews. The alter is large with pipe organs in the front and rear of the abbey. The art and statues on the walls were amazing, it was quite an experience to see.
Right outside, there is a beautiful view overlooking the Missouri River along with a plaque showing The Return to Nazareth as written in Philippians 2:3-11. There are beautiful statues and places to sit to reflect and pray. Off to the side is also some information about the Lewis and Clark crossing.
At the entrance of the college is St Benedict Church, which was built in 1866. Seeing this type of building and church that were built back with hand tools is always so fascinating to me. This church has been added and built onto until about 1927 with the painting above the alter.
When entering the church, you can’t help but notice the double heave wooden doors, the circle window, and the castle peaks. Once inside, you go through another set of wood doors into the church. The intricate detail work on the columns is beautiful. On each side of the alter, there are different displays of statues with candles under the arches. The center has painting above the covering of the tambernacle. Another amazing thing you don’t see today is the stations of the cross in statue form with them displayed around the church. If you like checking out old buildings or churches, this church in Atchison one is unique in features.
Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum
Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas in her grandparents home that over looked the Missouri River. The home and the bed along with other furnishings still exist today. This home was started in 1861.
When you enter the home they welcome you and give you a sheet of paper and tel you how to go thru the home. There are also QR codes in each area.
They also get the kids excited and offer them a bingo board with different objects to find around the house. The bingo boards were even different which is nice and they even had clipboards and pencils ready. Kids have lots of fun finding the items and learning more about history as it dated back and Amelia childhood itself.
Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum
Our last stop on our day trip to Atichson was to the newer Amelia Earhart Hanger Musuem. This museum is located outside the downtown city limits at the little airstrip inside a small hangar building. You are first greeted by a statue of Amelia Earhart herself before going inside the building. Also love the 3D plane on the outside. Now, let’s talk about inside because I just love how interactive it is for all ages.
Inside the Hangar Museum
Walk inside and purchase your tickets. They tell you when Amelia Earhart’s speech is going to start again. Have a seat at one of the few wooden benches for you to listen to “Amelia”. After her little talk, you head through the double doors into the museum.
If you look down on the museum floor they have a flight pattern you can follow or you can walk around on your own. What you can’t miss is right in front of you is the Lockheed Electra E10. It’s the world’s last Electra E10 in the world just like the one Amelia & Fred went down in. This airplane is known as ‘Muriel’ is able to be see from all sides including an up top view.
Fly through the clouds as they say as you start with Amelia Earhart childhood flying through the ocean. You can see and read about how she built a rollercoaster in her backyard while also getting a chance to simulate your own rooftop coaster on one of their screens! There is also a rollercoaster model that demonstrates the power of angles, slopes, and inertia.
There are so many hands on and interesting opportunities inside. Some of my favorites were crawling inside a life size cockpit of Amelia plane. Watch your head getting in as it is small (just like the airplane would have been). Then, activate some of the buttons to hear some calls made over the radio. Next, in the sound tube areas you can listen to the different engines from Muriel and another engine.
Don’t forget to pick up the telephone to hear her mother and others speak about Amelia and the young girl she was. Another favorite part was being able to touch the parts of the plane and then have the screen actually show you how it moves inside the plane. There are even records from interviews you can listen to them see how hard it is to pack a plane.
Don’t forget to go upstairs and look up at the stars and down at the ocean. Learn some of the theories about what happed to Amelia and Fred that evening they lost contact with the rest of the world and even cast your vote. Even when you think you are done there is an short video about travel as you exit.
Overall, this Amelia Earhart Hanger Museum has topped all museums with interaction from many different things from videos, speech, trying your hand at riveting, hearing engines and voices. If you love history, Amelia Earhart, or airplanes it is a must see.
Overall thoughts is this was a wonderful day in Atchison where anyone can come learn more about history and Amelia Earhart. Best for kids ages 8 and up overall. So come and spend the day in Atchison!
Looking for some other day trip destinations in the KC area, check out more places to visit trips!