Kansas Capitol reopens to public; guided tours return for first time since pandemic started

Kansas News

TOPEKA — Things are getting back to normal at the Kansas Statehouse as visitors are making their way into the historic building.

Paul Kiely is in the middle of visiting all 50 state capitols. He said he’s somewhere in the 30 in how many he has toured. On Monday, he was the first person to take a guided tour of the Kansas Capitol since March 2020.

“I’m here because it’s the next on the list,” Kiely said.

The Kansas Capitol has been closed to the public since lawmakers returned to Topeka in January.

“I planned this trip around the closure of state legislatures so there would be minimal crowds and easy parking,” Kiely said.

He said his trip to the Sunflower State was well worth it.

“This is very welcoming and very photogenic, very easy access. And the murals are stunning, and the dome is stunning. Everything is really nice. I mean, I’d recommend this place to anybody,” Kiely said.

Tour guides said people have been clamoring to get back into the Capitol for months.

“Definitely saw that during the pandemic when there were no tours allowed. People called in, or people just around the building being like, ‘Why are there no tours?'” tour guide Quan Nguyen said.

Nguyen started as a guide in February 2020, but the pandemic interrupted his new job that he was excited to get the hang of.

“Really interested in history. I’m a history minor at Washburn, and it was just a nice fit, a job that I actually cared about,” Nguyen said.

Now he’s ready for crowds to start to filling the building.

“It’s exciting for them, and it’s exciting for us to be back at work and seeing people,” Nguyen said.

The Capitol gift shop is also open for the first time in 15 months, but dome tours to the top aren’t happening yet.

You can check out hours of operation here.

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