Actually, that wasn’t our intent when DJ and I were on a recent road trip to Denver from Indianapolis for Thanksgiving. Just off Interstate 70 is the Oz Museum located in Wamego, Kansas (there just so happens to be another in Liberal, Kansas in the southern part of the state). You know there is no way I was letting this slip by so the decision to stop was made.
The museum is about 10 miles north of I-70 and when you get into the main part of town, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Oz-themed storefronts on your way to the museum. One particular store we passed was the Oz Winery. Could this day get any better?
A few doors down from there sat the museum; painted in green and yellow or rather, emerald and yellow brick. When you walk through the door, you see it’s a gift shop full of Wizard of Oz memorabilia. In the center is the cashier station and to the right of that a façade of Dorothy’s home.
Before you are allowed entry, the cashier gives you a little rundown of the museum, what you can expect to find inside, and to please not touch anything. You can take as long as you want, you can even sit in the small theater there to watch the movie that plays over and over and over. “Oh joy! Rapture!”
As we enter, it really feels as though you are entering Oz just as Dorothy did when the movie transitioned from black and white to Technicolor. The first thing you see after you walk through the entrance are flowers and then Dorothy and Toto standing on the Yellow Brick Road in Munchkinland.
You can expect to see ALL the main characters in Oz which leaves room enough for selfies and photographs.
Throughout the museum are original memorabilia from the movie, first edition books, original sheet music, movie posters, original Munchkin costumes, and replicas of Dorothy’s dress and the infamous ruby slippers.
It took us about an hour to walk through, take photos, look at all of the display cases and just reminisce about the movie. As you walk through Oz, you’ll notice that it follows the movie. You meet each character as you would come upon them in the movie, even walking through the Haunted Forest, being in Oz, standing in the hot air balloon basket, and finally, walking through the door back to Kansas.
I asked how Wamego came to be the home for the Oz Museum and the cashier explained that residents had a collection of Wizard of Oz items and would get together and discuss them. It wasn’t until the collection kept growing that they decided to create the museum. We meandered about the gift shop for a little bit but not before securing Toto, a fuzzy black stuffed animal which sat on our dashboard the entire rest of the trip and sits on my bed every day.
You can find out more information on the Oz museum at:
Wamego, KS 66547
The next stop on our list was the Oz Winery. Here were novelty wines with cute names to match Oz the location and Oz characters. The wine is made and bottled right there at the winery. Along with the wine, they sell chocolates, and various Wamego and Oz souvenirs. I did a wine tasting and then from there I did a wine flight. DJ opted for the chocolates since he’s not a drinker. You can find more information on the Oz Winery at:
417 Lincoln Ave
Wamego, KS 66547
Just across the street from the Oz Museum is a yellow brick road that leads to the city park and a war memorial. We didn’t do the walk because we were on our way to the Columbia Theater just 4 doors down from the Oz Museum. The theater houses 6 restored mural panels that were originally displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair (World’s Columbian Exposition) in 1893. We went to view them and they are spectacular. According to the proprietor the Columbia Theater, there are 20 more panels in the basement that are deteriorating and they don’t know what to do with them. They don’t have the money to restore them. Which is just a shame.