North Central Kansas Famous For Spherical Rocks

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rock City is home to the the largest collection of spherical sandstone concretions. The park is designated by the U.S. Department of the Interior as one of only five National Natural Landmarks in Kansas.

"We're just real proud of it and we like to have people come and visit our Rock City," said Marilyn Perry, Rock City volunteer.

The concretions are cemented by calcium carbonate and were formed over time when minerals in water deposited around a nucleus, creating the rounded rocks. Visitors to Rock City are encouraged to climb the rocks.

"Their parents played on the rocks. Their grandparents played on the rocks. There's no way we could prohibit them climbing on the rocks 'cause it's just part of Rock City," said Joe Perry, Rock City volunteer.

About 10,000 visitors from around the world come to Rock City to visit rocks like the Giant's Easy Chair, which is also known as the King's or Queen's Chair, and other natural rocks that resemble food and animals.

About 20 miles southwest of Salina or 47 miles south of Rock City is the smallest state park in Kansas. Much like Rock City, Mushroom Rock State Park has Dakota sandstone concretions that have several concretions in the shape of mushrooms.

Some said Mushroom Rock was an American frontiersman, Kit Cason's favorite place. It wasn't until the 1960s when Ellsworth County constructed a road to access those unique geological oddities.

Rock City and Mushroom Rock State Park were together named as one of the top "Eight Wonders of Kansas Geography" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation.

Rock City is about 110 miles north of Wichita and about a two-hour drive. The gift shop is open seven days a week, from 9 to 5. Admission is $3 for adults and 50 cents for children. They accept donations when the gift shop is not open. All the money is used to upkeep the park.

Mushroom Rock State Park is free to the public.

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