Topeka
Topeka
  • Location: 701 North Kansas Avenue Topeka, KS 66608

Basics:

Formerly home to the Union Pacific Station, the Great Overland Station is a museum/education center that brings Topeka's railroad heritage to life through photographs, special exhibits, and costumed docents. There are many activities for children to do and things to see. There are two simulators that are hands on. One is an older style, and another is more recent which allows children to use the controls and pretend they are driving the engine. In the "Choo Choo Junction" there is a train table where children can rearrange the train cars; a coloring table with trains for tracing, and pictures for coloring and a play table with books and activities for the children to use. The "Big Red Caboose" is a great experience too. It is "child size" so they can experience the hand brakes, the tables and chairs, and more. 

Subjects covered: Kansas Railroad History, Kansas History

Grade level: Tour will accommodate any grade level

Best time to visit:  Any Time, outdoor tours are available with weather permitting

Indoors, outdoors, or both? Both

Clothing Type Recommended: Dress for the weather outside if touring outside

How to book field trip? Call the Great Overland Station and ask to speak with the Event Coordinator

Curriculum & Standards: 

Second Grade:

  • Then and Now” History – Transportation, inventions, plains Indians, daily life, KS State Capitol
  • Geography – Topeka, Kansas, Railroad maps

Fourth Grade:

  • History – Transportation Systems, Cyrus K Holiday, Midwest, Kansas

Seventh Grade:

  • To The Stars Through Difficulty (1865-1890s): Railroads, Cyrus K Holliday, Fred Harvey, Topeka

Are there curriculum materials or guides at the site? Great Overland Station provides a train booklet train booklet so children can track the types of cars they’ll see outside and throughout the museum. The booklet matches the flow of the tour. The tour also talks about Kansas history.

Key Vocabulary terms kids should know before they come: Railroad, Cyrus K Holiday, Fred Harvey, Harvey Girls

Grade specific field trip programs available? No specific programs available, tour is altered based on the age/grade level.

Budget & Logistics: 

Logistics & Budget Information

Cost: General admission applies, children are $2 and adults are $5. Two adults are free with school groups.

Are there scholarships, general grants, or transportation grants available? Funds are not available

How long will the tour take from start to finish? About 1 hour

Pre-Post classroom visits available upon request? No admission for teacher to do a quick walkthrough. Requirement: only available to the classroom teacher, no guests are permitting to tag along

Max number of students the venue can accommodate for a tour? No maximum number of students. If you have a group of 20 or more students they’ll need 2 weeks advanced notice and reservation.

Minimum number of participants needed for a tour? No minimum required.

Number of adults per student needed? You must have 1 adult per 10 children.

Can they eat lunch inside/on site and/or bring their own lunches? Yes, you can bring your own food. They don’t supply food on site. Please don’t bring dark drinks like red juices, etc. Water, Apple Juice, or Milk only.

Where should the bus park? Is this also where the kids get dropped off? Students get dropped off at the front door. The bus should park on the west side of the building. There is enough space to accommodate multiple buses.