WAMEGO, Kan. -- A town that's made its name around an all-time classic movie, "The Wizard of Oz," Wamego features events and activities rooted in history and focused on family.
"Wamego is just a great place. Something a lot of folks, like me, with young families chose to raise their kids here. The proximity to Topeka and Manhattan makes it very attractive for somebody looking for a little bit of a smaller town to live in," said Daryn Soldan, the executive director of the Wamego chamber of commerce,.
Wamego is a place with plenty of adventure and history for visitors seeking it.
Stop 1: Historical Museum and Prairie Village
Our must-stop destination list includes the Historical Museum and Prairie Village. The area features structures built to resemble the 180's, a history area focused on the Underground Railroad, a look at the evolution of several Indian tribes in the region, and the famed Dutch Mill.
Stop 2: Hunt for Toto
There's plenty to see if you're merely walking through town. If you're in the mood to go on adventure, you can partake in Hunting for Toto. There's 15 uniquely designed Toto sculptures across town, and they aren't the only Oz-related business on the block.
"We’ve got Toto’s around town which are great photo opportunities. 15 of them that you’ll find all over the community, done by Kansas artists," Soldan said.
Stop 3: The Yellow Brick Road
Our next stop comes straight from the Land of Oz itself, the Yellow Brick Road. Located near the Town Square, the Yellow Brick Road leads you to a pair of Toto's, a quaint local bakery, and the premier destination in Wamego.
Stop 4: The Oz Museum
"About 35,000 people come every year just for the Oz Museum. As a result, we now have the Oz Winery, that specializes in Oz wine, and we have Toto’s Tacos, which is the Mexican version of the Oz world. I think the town has come to appreciate the added traffic through and want to give everyone that wonderful Wizard of Oz experience down to the yellow brick road, Emerald City, and all through the town," Katlyn Stubbeman, Operations Manager of the Oz Museum Gift Shop, said.
Jeanna Wilson drove with her family from South Carolina to visit the museum and said Wamego was everything she hoped it to be.
"It feels like Kansas, what it’s supposed to feel like when you go to the Wizard of Oz. The house by McDonald’s was really neat. We thought that was a nice little touch before you actually come to the museum," Wilson said.
Now why is Wamego the defacto capitol of Oz? Some say it is because of a single person's love of the film.
"The tie to the Wizard of Oz had a connection back to someone that had grown up here and is from the area. That, over time, has continued to grow. That collection is really impressive," Soldan said.
So like Dorothy's house, why not drop into Wamego?