Zip Trip: Take a detour to KU for some must-see history

Zip Trips

LAWRENCE, Kan. — If you want to make a full day of your trip to Next to Nature Farm, we have some “detours” you can make along the way all on the University of Kansas’ campus.

Allen Fieldhouse

Allen Fieldhouse is the house that Phog built. But the real genius behind Kansas basketball, and all basketball, is James Naismith. The guy who invented the game.

“When James Naismith moved here in 1898, he had just invented the game in 1891. It was seven years old when the administration here at KU heard about the game of basketball, which spread across the country,” Al Wallace, Jayhawk Experience Tour Guide, said.

“In 1898, across the country meant just west of the Mississippi. He moved here basically on a whim to leave the weather and bring the game here. He had no idea that the game would grow the way it did.”

The DeBruce Center & Booth Family Hall of Athletics

The DeBruce Center is home to the “original rules of basketball” written by Naismith himself.

Attached to the center and adjacent to the fieldhouse is the Booth Family Hall of Athletics.

An almost 20,000-square foot museum dedicated to KU athletics programs, coaches, and student-athletes past and present.

“You’ve got a number of what we call basketball bluebloods. Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas. No school has the history that Kansas does,” Wallace said. “Only one of those schools, Kentucky, has more overall wins in its history than Kansas. The man who put Kentucky on the basketball map actually played and won national championships here in Lawrence.”

Tours are available six days a week. You can make a reservation online.

Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum

Also on campus, the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.

“It really started with research collections,” Lori Schlenker, collections and facilities coordinator, said. “What people don’t know is we actually have 12 million research specimens behind the scenes.”

The museum is four floors of fascinating exhibits including a panorama, which dates back to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

“The panorama is one of the largest continuous panoramas in the world,” Schlenker said. “It represents all the biomes of North America, from the Arctic all the way to the southern tip of Mexico and the rainforest.”

New this year, see eight grotesques up close before they are placed on top of Dyche Hall.

“The original grotesques have adorned the building for 115 years. When we did an exterior renovation project a few years ago, we found that they were too weathered and damaged to return to the building,” Schlenker said.

“With some generous donations, we were able to hire local artists Laura and Karl Ramberg and they re-carved these eight grotesques which will go back up on top of the building, hopefully for another 150 years to watch over us.”

The museum is free for all ages and reservations are required.

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