Summer of Day Trips: Clay Center

We’ve lived in Manhattan 10 months now. And although we feel very settled, we also still very new. Here’s what we’ve learned about central/west Kansas so far: Manhattan (population 56,000) is the “big city.” We’ve also learned that these smaller towns are gems!! One of the things on our Summer Bucket List is to check out these neighboring towns. The ones within about 2 hours constitute a day trip, and that’s perfect for our family!

Our first trip was out to a town called Clay Center (I thought it was a concert venue when I first heard it mentioned. Nope. A town.). Nicola told us the three things we needed to do there. 1. Nut rolls from the local bakery 2. The city park 3. The zoo

On a wet Saturday we decided to just drive there and check it out. Honestly, we didn’t have super high expectations. I’m not even sure why.

Our expectations were COMPLETELY wrong! This little town is a gold mine of fun! (Since it was rainy, we didn’t get to play as long as we would have liked, but plan to go back and spend the day!!)

On our way there (it’s about a 45 min drive) we found tanks!

And patriotic barns!

We went off of Nicola’s list, but made a stop at an adorable antique shop downtown. They had a lot of thrifty stores that I could have spent all day in! Brian made some rooster friends.

At this store Brian asked where the famous bakery was. They told him down the road. So we got in the car…and drove 3 stores down (also known as about 5 parking spots!). So we learned that “down the road” is a relative term!


They were out of nut rolls :( (But no worries, we got normal donuts!) Also, what is Beckham doing?

Home of the Nut Rolls, but sold out so we'll be back. @niiiiiiicola they know your family. #claycenter

Next stop: Park!

No exaggeration, hands down the coolest park/playground we’ve EVER been to!

(this is where we got the idea to use Brian’s leftover plexiglass to do this to the girls’ playhouse…but that’s a later post!)

Things I loved about this park: It was broken up with fences into age ranges. So if you had smaller kid, there’s a super cool section for them. Also, it wasn’t the typical playground stuff. You can tell this was custom made and well thought out!

They had what I assume was donor names on the fence. This was our favorite!


We could have stayed for hours. Alas, we moved on to stop #3, the zoo.

Don’t bother bringing your horse by the way

So, “zoo” is a loose term for this, but well worth a trip!

This friends, is the a giant hamster wheel. For squirrels. Nicola told us about this too, but really, you have to see it in person to fully appreciate this!

Scrappy foxes!

Brian and I laughed cause every time we glanced at these signs all we saw was “KILL animals”

They had some super cute monkeys!

Talked to the parrot:

We learned from the zoo keeper that ravens are actually super smart and they talk!

There was a runaway duck (if you can call a wild duck a runaway?) that the kids insisted needed to come back in the gates.

Brian ended up catching him!

Our very favorite face Sadie makes! :)

Photobomb, SP style!

So now we’ve hit everything we set out to, and as we are driving away, I scream, “(gasp!) STOP! GO BACK!” You can imagine Brian, as the driver, didn’t love this. (I actually do this a lot. I need to control my emotions better)

But once he saw what I had seen, all was forgiven!

Who needs Disney World when you have Clay Center, KS?! We found Mater!!

Every detail on this truck was spot on!


On our way home we found a Harriet road!!

So yeah, this place is a gem!!

6 thoughts on “Summer of Day Trips: Clay Center

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