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Kauffman Museum fall tours will cover St. Louis and central Kansas

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Kauffman Museum’s fall trips will include the fourth of Robert Kreider’s popular "Mennotours" as well as a four-day trip to St. Louis. "Explore St. Louis: From the Arch to Archeology" will take place Sept. 13-16 and will include museums, gardens, prehistoric Indian ruins, the Arch, a riverboat cruise and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

The visit to the Gateway Arch will include the documentary film "How the Arch Was Made" and a trip via tram to the top of the 630-foot stainless steel structure. Those unable to climb the 100 steps to board the tram, or who don’t like heights, will have the option of watching an IMAX (large screen) movie.

Within the Arch complex is the Museum of Western Expansion, which tells the story of the exploration of the west. The museum was completed in 1976 and served as a reference for graphic designer Bob Regier as he looked at cutting-edge museum design practices when planning Kauffman Museum’s permanent exhibit, "Of Land and People," in the 1980s.

The St. Louis trip will include a visit to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site across the Mississippi River in Collinsville, Ill. The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric civilization north of Mexico are preserved at the 2,200-acre Cahokia Mounds site. In addition to an introductory film and time in the visitor center, there will be a chance to walk to the top of the many ruins or around the grounds.

A visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden will include tram and walking tours and time to wander the 70 acres that are considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world. On the trip back to Newton, there will be a stop at Ravenswood Mansion near Boonville, Mo., which was built in 1880 and is still owned by the same family. The 30-room mansion contains much of its original furniture.

During a half-day historic driving tour of St. Louis, a local guide will take participants past sites such as Forest Park, Union Station, the Old Court House, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and the Anheuser-Busch plant.

Evening activities will include attending a St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates major league baseball game in the last year that historic Busch stadium will be used for home games. On the last evening in St. Louis, there will be a riverboat dinner cruise on the Mississippi River, complete with strolling Dixieland musicians on board.

A month later, on Oct. 11, Mennonite historian Robert Kreider will lead "Mennotour: Mennonite Communities of South Central Kansas" for the fourth time.

This tour will pass through the communities of Newton, Moundridge, Buhler, Hutchinson, Yoder, Halstead, Elbing, Peabody, Hillsboro and Goessel, and will include fascinating details about the historical lore and unique characteristics of the region.

"This tour will cover many out-of-the-way sites that will intrigue Mennonites and non-Mennonites alike," said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum curator for education.

Stops on the tour will include Eden Mennonite Church, rural Moundridge (rest stop and coffee break); an Amish home in rural Yoder for the noon meal; the Mennonite Settlement Museum (also known as the Adobe House Museum), Hillsboro; and Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church in rural Goessel for faspa (light evening meal).

The cost for the St. Louis trip is $485 for museum members and $505 for non-members, and includes three nights and hot breakfasts at the Hampton Inn-Gateway Arch, all other meals, all entrance fees and admission costs, travel to, from and around St. Louis on a modern motor coach and all gratuities. The cost for the one-day Mennotour is $75 for museum members and $90 for non-members and includes all meals, all admission costs, travel on a modern motor coach and all gratuities.

Fees for either tour are fully refundable 14 days before departure. After August 29 for the St. Louis trip, or Sept. 26 for "Mennotour," refunds depend on cancellation policies and waiting lists.

Reservations will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve your seat, payment must be made to Kauffman Museum, Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas 67117. Registration forms, as well as more information, are available at the museum (corner of North Main and 27th Streets in North Newton) or by calling Andi Schmidt Andres at (316) 283-1612 or e-mailing Phone or e-mail reservations will be accepted using a credit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover).

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