Kansas City isn’t necessarily a place one would associate with having strange attractions. But strange has a way of popping up in even the most unlikely of places…

Wherever you travel, you can guarantee that you will find a few surprises –  simply because people find opportunities to express themselves or highlight things that cause eyebrows to rise. Kansas City is no exception.

Discovering these attractions is a great way to do things that aren’t on the well-traveled paths of tourists and will give you something to talk about after you get home.

Here are three of the strangest attractions you should be sure to see while in Kansas City.

Kansas City Workhouse Castle

Kansas City Workhouse

Image via Flickr by pasa47

The Kansas City Workhouse Castle is a euphemistic name for what was really a rather grim Jail. Built out of limestone, the imposing structure resembles a Medieval castle more than it does a jail. But it’s not the building’s history and architecture — although interesting — that makes it a strange place to go see. It’s the fact that the ruins have turned into a canvas for graffiti artists.

The structure, although decayed, is supported and sturdy enough for a trip inside to check out what the artists have been up to. It’s easy enough to access, but the cops may ask you to leave if they catch you taking a look.

If you want to be close to the Workhouse for a visit, check out IHG’s Kansas City guide to find hotels that are in the vicinity.

The Glore Psychiatric Museum

The Glore Psychiatric Museum documents the dark ages of psychiatry, demonstrates the experiences and actions of patients, and explores the various forms of mental health treatment through exhibits.

The Glore Museum is based on the history of St. Joseph State Hospital, starting from 1874 and continuing for over 100 years. At Glore, you’ll find drawings made by patients during their stay, the “Lunatic Box” that housed patients who couldn’t control their violent impulses, and objects like pins, buttons, and hardware that were swallowed by patients and later were surgically removed.

This is not a place for the faint of heart, but it’s fascinating and informative.

Kansas City Library’s Giant Bookshelf

A lighthearted and quirky piece of public artwork, Kansas City Library’s Giant Bookshelf is actually the parking garage for the Kansas City Library. It was built in 2006, and the design was put in place as the result of community input.

Parking garages aren’t known for their beauty, which makes this particular garage stand out. And if you’re wondering about the choice of book titles, once again the public was asked for input. They voted on the titles, and the 22 winners were given their own book spine in the artwork. You’ll see titles that include “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison.

These are some of the quirkier things to see while you’re in Kansas City. Take the time during your trip to go see them in person and experience some of the more unusual attractions the city has to offer.

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