Travels 2016: Kansas trips feature indoor skydiving, great food and big cats

Cedar Cove cat sanctuary was a surprise to us. A friend recommended we visit the facility, about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City.

We fell in love with chicken all over again, Lisa flew high and we saw tigers on the prairie. All of this occurred during jaunts to Kansas.

Stroud’s in Overland Park was our first foray into its wonderful pan-fired chicken. The five-restaurant chain was founded as a barbecue joint in 1933. The restaurant opened during an interesting time in American history. Prohibition had just ended. The Great Depression was in its fourth year. The United States was eight years from being pulled into World War II.

It was World War II that turned the restaurant’s focus to fried chicken. Beef was rationed during the war. Chicken was available. The rest is history.

The food – from the famous chicken to the green beans – is outstanding. Each chicken dinner is prepared by hand, so the actual visit may take a little bit of time, but the wait is worth it. Sides are served family style, so everyone can share. Refills are complimentary.

A visit to Overland Park introduced us to Stroud’s, home of the best pan-fried chicken we’ve ever tried.

Dessert is a must. They serve you freshly baked cinnamon rolls. And they are delicious.

Stroud’s cinnamon rolls are a must.

Lisa has long wanted to try skydiving. But, she isn’t a fan of jumping out of a plane thousands of feet above the ground. iFly has the perfect solution. Indoor skydiving. What, you say? The national chain expanded to the Kansas City area with a location in Overland Park.

So, for Mother’s Day, Lisa received a coupon to check out a couple of “jumps.” Divers suit up in parachuting gear and stand inside a giant wind tunnel. The wind reaches about 100 mph and people actually fly with the help of a guide. The guide’s job is to keep the jumper parallel to the ground and ensure they stay focused.

Instructor showing off

The second jump takes the person up about 100 feet high in the wind tunnel. Then they come on down. She had a blast.

Watching a customer fly high with an iFly instructor.

Lisa loves big cats (and little ones), so the opportunity to check out Cedar Cove sanctuary in Louisburg was right up our alley. The sanctuary, about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City, is home to abandoned and surrendered big cats, such as Siberian tigers, lynx, cougars, jaguars and lions. We took a guided tour. The volunteers at the site show the animals a lot of affection. They greet them by name.

One of the tigers that call Cedar Cove home. The sanctuary takes care of big cats that are surrendered and cannot live in the wild.

While we didn’t make a lot of trips to Kansas this year, the visits we made were fun. We plan to make a few more ventures into the Sunflower State in 2017.

For more information on these and other Kansas attractions, please visit