By LESLIE EIKLEBERRY
ABILENE – When it comes to tourism, Abilene is more than “one trick pony.” Just check out the new 2021-2022 Abilene Visitors Guide!
Soon to be available in print, the guide is now available online at abilenekansas.org/request-a-visitors-guide. There you will also find a form to fill out to request a printed visitors guide and other information to help you make Abilene a travel destination.
“Abilene is not a one trick pony, we have so many unique and quality tourism attractions to offer visitors. You cannot see everything in one day,” Julie Roller Weeks, director of the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau, told Salina Post. “A trip with the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad, a show at the Great Plains Theatre, a tour of the historic Seelye Mansion, and tour of the Eisenhower Museum, and visit to Abilene’s other tourism attractions can easily fill a weekend. Add in our unique shops and dining opportunities, murals, and parks, and Abilene is the perfect Midwest weekend getaway.”
The 34-page visitors guide is bursting with information about the various attractions, as well as dining, shopping, and lodging guides, a map, and event and historical information.
According to Weeks, tourists have already begun to explore what Abilene has to offer.
“In the last month, visitors from: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Florida, California, Colorado, Arizona, and, of course, Kansas have all visited our visitors center. Right now, road trips are huge!” she said.
While the pandemic put a damper on tourist visits in 2020, Weeks said that thousands of tourists visit Abilene in a more normal year. For instance, in 2019, the Abilene attractions had the following numbers of visitors.
Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad: 7,698
Dickinson County Heritage Center: 7,898
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum: 147,256
Great Plains Theatre: 10,200
Greyhound Hall of Fame: 7,287
Old Abilene Town: 3,000
Seelye Mansion: 8,368
According to Weeks, the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum’s visitor numbers were lower in 2019 due to the museum renovation.
“Historically, their visitation would be closer to 200,000,” she added.
Weeks also noted that although the Eisenhower Museum recently reopened from its pandemic closure, it is only open for limited hours and days. Additionally, tickets must be purchased in advance.
READ: Eisenhower Museum to reopen Thursday; purchase tickets in advance
“I encourage people to visit early. There’s so much to see in the Museum, we want visitors to have plenty of time to take it all in,” she said. “For questions about what is open, please visit AbileneKansas.org/travel-updates.”