This week is National Travel and Tourism Week, a week to celebrate, support and learn more about the attractions Dodge City has to offer for its residents and guests alike.
Tourism is an important to Dodge City for several reasons. It helps create jobs and increases tax revenues in our community, and helps provide a better quality of life for Dodge City citizens. In Ford County alone, tourism injects more than $104 million into the economy each year. Tourism also creates tax dollars that help pay for essential services for the city, such as new fire trucks, police cars, roads and more.
It's easy to forget sometimes just how much Dodge City has to offer. So the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the city invite everyone to explore all Dodge City attractions this and every week.
Boot Hill Museum
Probably one of the most well known attractions in Dodge City is Boot Hill Museum. It was first opened in 1947 and sees thousands of visitors each year, from every state and from countries all over the world.
Even though the museum is open year-round — except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas — staff are preparing to extend its hours for the summer season. Beginning Memorial Day and running through Labor Day, the museum will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
As stated on their website, the mission of Boot Hill Museum is to preserve and interpret the Old West through exhibits, education and entertainment reflective of the area's rich heritage.
Summer also means gunfights and variety shows at the Long Branch Saloon, both performed daily.
Residents of Ford County may enjoy the museum at any time free of cost.
Boot Hill Casino and Resort
One of the newest attractions, but also one of the most popular is the casino. Guests can enjoy 800 slot machines and 18 table games including blackjack, roulette and poker.
The casino also offers visitors dining options with Firesides, a sit-down restaurant with daily specials, and the Cowboy Cafe, a grab-and-go cafe that offers soups, salads sandwiches and more.
United Wireless Arena and Magouirk Conference Center
Located next to Boot Hill Casino United Wireless Arena has activities all year long. In the winter, they have community ice skating, and hockey leagues. In the spring, summer and fall, there are concerts and other events.
Justin Moore recently performed, and coming in July is No Justice. Also, the Wings and Beer Fest will be here in June.
Magouirk Conference center is a great place for meetings and business events. They offer up to 400 banquet seats, and 700 lecture seats, and full banquet setup and service. For more information visit their website; unitedwirelessarena.com
Carnegie Center for the Arts
Page 2 of 3 - Every final Friday of the Month Carnegie offers an appropriately named Final Friday celebration. The event highlights a local artist or artists and showcases the talents of Southwest Kansas.
But, Carnegie offers more than just Final Friday events. This summer they will feature a Youthville special project, a Dodge City Days artist, Carnegie Art Camp and much more. They're also hosting a Cowboy Poetry Contest at the end of the month.
Stop in the museum any given day and check out the art on display.
Located on Highway 154 East, it's the site where the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado crossed the Arkansas River in search of the "cities of gold."
Coronado was the first European to explore the great plains.
The 38-foot cross was erected six miles east of Dodge City to commemorate not only Coranado's crossing, but also the first Mass on the Great Plains, which was conducted at a nearby location by a priest traveling with Coronado.
Depot Theater Company and Santa Fe Depot
The Depot Theater has plays throughout the year that residents and guests alike enjoy. The June show will be "Art," a play written by Yasmina Reza. The theater will soon announce their 2013-2014 season which begins this July. One thing that will definitely be a part of the summer though is "Dodge City Days Turn into Dodge City Nights," a cabaret show that takes place each year during Dodge City Days. Each show also includes a delicious meal served by the new chefs, Zach Swenson and Nicole Webb.
The Santa Fe Depot, connected to the theater is still a working train depot, and may be how many visitors arrive to Dodge. They are preparing for National Train Day, this Saturday where visitors can learn all about Fred Harvey and the glory days of train travel.
Dodge City Raceway Park
Al summer long races take place at the raceway park nearly every weekend. Tickets range in price from $10 to $20 and are available in advance or at the door. Fans both young and old will enjoy the action and excitement of a race.
Dodge City Round Up Rodeo
Summer means one thing for the community, the annual Dodge City Days celebration. And to many people, Dodge City Days means one thing, rodeo. From July 31 to Aug. 4 the rodeo will be in town bringing along with it, cowboys, cowgirls and everything else that makes the rodeo exciting.
The rodeo is a quintessential part of Dodge City and to make sure you don't miss out, tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting; dodgecityroundup.org.
Dodge City Trail of Fame
The Trail of Fame is a walking tour of the old Dodge City historic district. It is marked with medallions in the sidewalks and statues commemorating the many famous and infamous denizens of Dodge.
Page 3 of 3 - The tour begins at the CVB, and personalized tours with Marshal Charlie Meade are also available.
Editors note: This is part one of a two-part series on Dodge City attractions. Part two will run tomorrow.