10 Bizarre Sights in Kansas City

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Kansas City is home to the American classics — barbecue, jazz, and speakeasies. But the City of Fountains also has a quirky side. For the adventurous traveler or offbeat Kansas Citian, there's certainly no shortage of bizarre attractions to visit in this fascinating city.

Airline History Museum

This nostalgic museum offers a glimpse back in time to the early age of air travel. Take a look at the paper dresses flight attendants wore in the late 60s — they had to carry staplers to keep them from falling apart. Or check out the exhibit that features complimentary cigarettes offered to every passenger in the air. Things sure have changed in half a century.

Giant Bookshelf at the Kansas City Library

"Check out the parking garage!" is a statement rarely spoken when recommending tourist attractions. Unless of course, the facade of said parking garage is designed to look like a 25-foot-high bookshelf. This quirky ode to literature is a perfect photo op for the traveling bookworm.

Arabia Steamboat Museum

This fascinating museum is a treasure chest of artifacts from the Arabia — the cargo carrying, sunken steamboat that archaeologists have called the "King Tut's Tomb of the Missouri River." In the 1800s the Arabia was headed up the Missouri River and, after striking a tree, sunk north of Kansas City. It wasn't until 1988 that the boat was uncovered along with an astonishingly well-preserved array of items from the frontier days. Ever wondered what 132-year-old pickles look like?

Leila's Hair Museum

You'll need to travel a few miles outside the city for this bizarre attraction, but it's definitely worth it. In Independence, Mo., Leila's Hair Museum is home to more than 600 wreaths and more than 2,000 pieces of jewelry made from — you guessed it — human hair. Recognized as one of the most unusual museums in the country, Leila's also houses the famous locks of Marilyn Monroe and Abraham Lincoln.

Boy and Frog Fountain

Dubbed the "City of Fountains," Kansas City is home to more than 200 fountains, big and small. One of the less obvious pieces is a peculiar and amusing fountain called Boy and Frog, which depicts a frog spraying a naked boy in a basin, held up by a faun riding a dolphin.

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

This quirky museum is home to one of the nation's largest collections of antique toys and miniatures. Some of the most peculiar displays include a pair of fleas dressed in clothes (which you need to view under a microscope) and tiny dueling pistols that actually fire.

The World's Largest Ball of Videotape

Adding to Kansas City's apparent appreciation for oversized attractions, the world's largest ball of videotape might be the most bizarre. An impressive 60+ pounds of tape, this record-holding attraction can be seen via a tour of KCPT Studios.

Federal Reserve Money Museum of Kansas City

Ever wanted to see what a million bucks looks like? Check out Kansas City's Money Museum, where you can stand in front of a million dollars in stacks of hundred dollar bills, and watch employees shred thousands of worn out singles. It's a bizarre experience that ironically won't cost you anything: tours are free.

Oversized Shuttlecocks

On the lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art lives the World's Largest Shuttlecocks. These four, 18-foot-tall sculptures were commissioned for the museum and designed by husband and wife team, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Made from fiberglass and aluminum, the oversized badminton pieces are a sight you can't miss when visiting Kansas City's free art museum.

United Federation of Doll's Club Museum

This offbeat museum houses an impressive collection of antique, vintage, and modern dolls on display. We're talking paper, wax, wood, china, plastic and more — who knew dolls could be made out of such a wide variety of materials? Take a trip to this unique museum and enjoy a Kansas City activity that's slightly quirkier than the usual (or much quirkier, depending on how you feel about dolls).

Written by Ashley Gabriel May 8, 2018
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