Souvenirs, T-shirts and tourist mementos are great, but nothing memorializes a fantastic trip more than an iconic photograph.
Photos immortalize our travel experiences and help us remember amazing places long after we have visited them. They document the days that were far outside our routines and help us to inspire people around us.
The Grand Central states are full of great places for taking memorable photographs. Whether you want a group photo, a selfie or a simple snapshot, take a few minutes to stop in at some of these iconic spots next time you travel through Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Boot Hill Museum
Dodge City, Kansas
It’s best to have your camera ready when your group visits the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City. In a town known for its place in the Old West, this museum is more than just galleries and artifacts.
“The museum is a collection of buildings,” said director Lara Brehm. “We have exhibits in most of the buildings. Our Front Street has a replica of all of the businesses in historic Dodge. We tell the story of our area, which is an Old West story. It includes the era when Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday would have been here.”
As those legendary names would suggest, Dodge City saw its fair share of lawlessness during the frontier days, and the museum takes its name from Boot Hill, the cemetery where gunshot victims were said to be buried still wearing their boots. The cemetery is part of the museum grounds today and makes an ideal spot for a group photo.
Groups that visit in the summertime will find numerous other opportunities for great snapshots.
“We do a country-style chuck-wagon dinner each evening and a gunfight re-enactment in the street,” Brehm said. “The ‘Long Branch Variety Show’ is a blending of the actual history of the area and the Hollywood era of ‘Gunsmoke.’ We also have Miss Kitty and her can-can dancers, which is a great group activity.”
Brehm said after the gunfights, costumed actors take photos with visitors who watched the show.
Besides the scheduled activities, travelers love to visit historic sites on the grounds. Favorites include the Fort Dodge Jail — another great photo op — as well as the Long Branch Saloon, the schoolhouse, the blacksmith shop and the 1903 locomotive.
Christ of the Ozarks
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Few groups visit Eureka Springs without stopping for a photo in front of one of its most iconic sites: Christ of the Ozarks.
“Christ of the Ozarks is a seven-story monument statue,” said Kent Butler, director of marketing for “The Great Passion Play”; the statue is located on the same grounds where the play is produced. “It’s the largest statue of Christ that we’re aware of in the Northern Hemisphere. It overlooks the historic downtown district of Eureka Springs. Some of the most beautiful views in the Ozarks are on that mountain, and this is the 50th anniversary of the statue standing on that hill.”
The statue is 67 feet tall — if it were any taller, it would require a warning beacon for passing aircraft — and its outstretched arms measure 65 feet from fingertip to fingertip.
“There are no poured segments of concrete in the statue except for the foundation,” Butler said. “It was all sculpted as it was built. The head was sculpted in a studio, and then the beard was applied on-site as they worked on it.”
Many groups include photos with the statue as part of a visit to “The Great Passion Play,” an outdoor drama that runs May through October. The massive production, which features 150 actors and takes place on an outdoor stage some 550 feet wide, tells the story of Christ’s final days on earth.
The complex also includes a bible museum, which has numerous rare books, such as a first-edition 1611 King James Bible and a bible printed by Johann Gutenberg. In addition to this museum, guests can tour a re-creation of the Holy Land that shows sites as they might have looked when Jesus lived.