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The WaKeeney Destination is located in the state of Kansas. There are multiple cities in the region, such as WaKeeney, the namesake of the destination; Ellsworth; Salina; Concordia; Smith Center; and Great Bend, to name a few. Attractions found within the area, specifically near WaKeeney, include Cedar Bluff State Park, Reservoir, & Wildlife Area; Kansas Veteran’s Cemetary at WaKeeney; Shiloh Vineyard & Winery; and the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway.[1] The city of Salina additionally features numerous attractions, namely the Salina Art Center & Cinema, Rolling Hills Zoo, and Smoky Hill Museum.[2] For those looking to participate in warm-weather activities, it is suggested that they visit WaKeeney between early June to mid-September, when the average temperatures are generally warmer compared to other seasons of the year. Weather conditions in the region vary over the course of the year, with the average temperatures ranging from lows of 19 degrees in the winter to highs of 93 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.[4] The area is situated in the Great Plains, with WaKeeney particularly being in the High Plains region. Wildlife resides all throughout the destination; some of the species include pheasants, doves, white-tailed deer, turkey, gopher snakes, American robins, and prairie rattlesnakes.[5][3] A fair amount of plant life contributes to the destination's ecosystem, as sunflowers, hoary verbena, maize, and Virginia creeper can be found in the region.[5]

What WaKeeney is known for

Located primarily in the state of Kansas is the WaKeeney Destination, which is situated along part of the northern border that the state shares with Nebraska. WaKeeney, the namesake of the destination, is found “halfway between Kansas City and Denver on I-70” and is considered to be a “rural community.”[1] Originally, the town of WaKeeney was first settled by James Keeney, who was a land speculator from the Chicago area. Keeney formed Warren, Keeney, & Co. with his business partner, Albert Warren. Later, the town was eventually named after “a portmanteau of their surnames,” becoming known as WaKeeney.[6]

WaKeeney is a relatively smaller town with a former population of 1,862 residents as of the 2010 census.[6] According to the most recent census in 2020, the town reported a smaller quantity of residents as 1,799 inhabitants were recorded. The city's population is affected by an annual decline rate of -0.34%. In terms of racial composition, white individuals are the most common demographic to live in the city, making up 99.21% of the residents. Those who are of the descent of two or more races make up 0.59% of the population, while the next largest race is those of African American descent at 0.1%.[7] Another city located within the destination is Salina, “the county seat of Saline County, Kansas, United States.” This city is considerably larger than WaKeeney, as it has a reported population of 46,889 residents, according to the 2020 census.[8]

Attractions found in Salina include the Yesteryear Museum; Salina Art Center & Cinema; Theatre Salina, which is known for its "award-winning theatre"; Rolling Hills Zoo, featuring over 350 animals; Smoky Hill Museum; and Lakewood Discovery Center.[2] Attractions are available near WaKeeney as well, namely the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway; Cedar Bluff State Park, Reservoir, & Wildlife Area; Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at WaKeeney; Shiloh Vineyard & Winery; and the Christmas City of the High Plains.[1] For those who take interest in the warm-weather activities that can be engaged in at WaKeeney, previous visitors of the city have deemed early June to mid-September as "the best time of year to visit WaKeeney."[4]


The northernmost part of Kansas is where the WaKeeney Destination is located. There are various cities within the area, such as WaKeeney, the namesake of the destination; Lincoln; Russell; McPherson; Hoisington; Stockton; and Hutchinson, among others. The southeastern portion of the region extends to Wichita, a city that is found outside of the destination's boundaries. WaKeeney is recognized as being located in the Great Plains, more particularly in the High Plains region. Near the center of the town, there is a relatively small tributary of the river Big Creek.[6]

Throughout the region, there are various species of wildlife. Specific types that people are permitted to hunt include pheasants, dove, white-tailed deer, turkey, and waterfowl. The area has been referred to as a “hunter’s paradise.” Fishing is also possible at the Cedar Bluff Reservoir, with notable catches such as wiper, white bass, and catfish. [3] Other species of wildlife in the destination are the pacific gopher snake, prairie rattlesnake, American robin, western meadowlark, and common starling. Plantlife additionally lives in several areas of the region, with some of the more common types being sunflowers, hoary verbena, maize, and Virginia creeper.[5]

The “best time of year to visit WaKeeney” for warm-weather activities, according to those who have previously visited the town, is from early June to mid-September. The average temperatures for the area vary throughout the year, ranging from lows of 19 degrees during winter to highs of 93 degrees Fahrenheit in summer. During the hot season, the average temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit. In contrast, 51 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high for the cold season, which is from November to February. January experiences the lowest average daily high temperature at 42 degrees. Generally speaking, rainfall occurs throughout the majority of the year, most commonly from February to December, while snow typically occurs from December to February.[4]


WaKeeney, the namesake of the WaKeeney Destination, was first settled in 1879 when James Keeney started a business in the area with his business partner Albert Warren. Keeney first bought the land in 1877, though the colony wasn't established until after he and Warren started the Warren, Keeney, & Co. WaKeeney was named by the partners, using the portmanteau of their surnames. They later advertised the land as “The Queen City of the High Plains,” with the goal of attracting more settlers to the region. Over the next couple of years, the city grew until a crop failure resulted in settlers leaving the area in 1880. Volga Germans came to the vacated land years later and became the next people to settle the area.[6] The city has grown throughout the years and currently has a population of 1,781 people. However, this population has been declining at a rate of -0.34% annually since the 2020 census, when the population was reported to be 1,799 inhabitants.[7]

Salina, another city in the WaKeeney Destination, has also seen growth in its population over the years, with a current total of 46,889 people. Initially, the area was inhabited by natives known as the Kana Tribe. In 1858, the area was settled by people from Lawrence who formed a wagon circle when under “threat of High Plains tribal attacks from the west.” After being settled, the city gained its name from the Saline River and was eventually recognized as a city in 1870. Today, the city has become recognized as “a micropolis and regional trade center for North Central Kansas.”[8]