We just recently got back from a trip to Kansas City, Missouri. We’d never been there before – it’s a beautiful city, with some great surprises in store for the traveler. The first of these we’re sharing is the World War I Museum. It sits on a grassy hillside in the middle of midtown, an impressive structure topped by a beautiful tower and a pair of giant sphinxes. I’ll admit, I don’t know much about World War I. I’m sure I learned about it back in high school, but boy is there a lot to learn and see. The museum has a number of parts – the main museum, accessed from the southern side of the structure, is a museum in the round, with several films to show you what life was like at the time, and many galleries leading you through the war year by year. As you enter, you see a glass bridge over a muddy field filled with poppies – an eerie sight – especially when you find out that there are 9,000 of them, and that each one represents 1,000 soldiers who died during the war. It turns out that poppies are one of the only things that will grow on a battlefield, because they thrive on the minerals in bones and explosives. There are also big guns, military vehicles, scale models of airplanes, and tons and tons of war paraphernalia. Outside, there are two additional galleries, and the tower itself, which you can enter and climb to the top via elevator for some amazing views of Kansas City. There’s also another gallery below ground that shows the war from the German point of view. One of the things I learned (or relearned) – the US entered the war in 1917 after the British discovered a cable (message) to Mexico from Germany, encouraging Mexico to attack the US if the US entered the war, and promising to give Mexico the states if Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. It never came to pass, and in fact gave the President the impetus to bring the country into the war. But my childhood could have been quite a bit different. This is an amazing museum. You can spend a whole day here if you want, but allow at least 2-3 hours to explore.