Kansas Symbols


Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Capital, Topeka, KS

Completed in 1903, the Kansas State Capitol Building took 37 years to build at a cost of $3.2 million. Today, that figure would not even buy the marble floor. It's dome slightly surpasses the nation's Capitol at 304 feet in height. The building was placed on the National Historic Register in 1971


After more than a century, the building's dome finally looks finished. Original plans called for a sculpture to top the dome, but for various reasons, nothing was ever done. This changed in the fall of 2002 with the placement of Richard Bergen's 22 foot tall bronze sculpture, "Ad Astra" atop the building's dome. The sculpture is that of a Kaw Indian pointing his drawn bow at the north star.


Located on the 20 acre Capitol grounds are several statues, including one of Abraham Lincoln, a Pioneer Woman and Child, and even a replica of the Statue of Liberty. Also on the grounds, located Northeast of the Capitol is the Law Officer Memorial, which contains the names of Kansas policemen killed in the line of duty.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Flag

Completed in 1903, the Kansas State Capitol Building took 37 years to build at a cost of $3.2 million. Today, that figure would not even buy the marble floor. It's dome slightly surpasses the nation's Capitol at 304 feet in height. The building was placed on the National Historic Register in 1971


The Kansas flag consists of a dark blue field with the state seal in the center. A sunflower on a bar of twisted gold lies above the seal, and below the seal is the word "Kansas." The seal contains a landscape that includes a rising sun, representing the east; and a river and steamboat, representing commerce. In the foreground, a settler's cabin and a man plowing a field represent agriculture. A wagon train heads west and buffalo are seen fleeing from two Indians. Around the top of the seal is a cluster of 34 stars. The state motto appears above the stars.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Flower

Wild Native Sunflower was adopted as the state flower in 1903. The sunflower is found on the state flag and also gave Kansas its nickname of The Sunflower State. The Helianthus or Wild Native grow very well in the hot, dry Kansas summers. They grow in fields and along roads. Chickens and wild birds enjoy the seeds and bees get honey from the sunflower. Some varieties of sunflowers have large striped seeds, which are roasted for snack food or blended with other grains to make birdseed. Special oilseed varieties produce small black seeds that contain up to 50 per cent oil. Sunflower oil is the world's third most important vegetable oil. Sunflower oil is sometimes used as a replacement for diesel fuel.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Animal

The American Buffalo was designated as the state animal in 1955. The American Buffalo, or Bison, is a massive animal that weighs from 800 to 2,000 pounds and stands nearly six feet high at the shoulder. A large head, high hump on the shoulders and dark brown shaggy hair characterize the buffalo


Buffalo once roamed the American prairie by the tens of millions and provided a way of life for the plains Indians. European settlers hunted buffalo to the brink of extinction - it's estimated that between 300 - 500 animals remainedwhen the federal government passed stricter game laws in 1889.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Reptile

The Ornate Box Turtle was designated as the state reptile in 1986.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Bird

Western Meadowlark was designated as the state bird in 1937. Approximately the size of a robin, the meadowlark sports a yellow breast with a black bib over its mottled brown body. Their nests are situated on the ground, and are covered with a roof woven from grass.


Western Meadowlarks are permanent residents throughout much of their range.These birds forage on the ground or in low to semi-low vegetation. They sometimes search for food by probing with their bills. They mainly eat insects, although they will devour seeds and berries. In winter, these birds often feed in flocks.These birds have a flute-like warbled song.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Tree

The Cottonwood was adopted as the state tree in 1937. Grows 40 to 80 feet in height. It has a broad open crown of widely spreading branches. Cottonwoods grow only in wet soil and are found along lakes, riverbanks and irrigation ditches throughout the southwest. The cottonwoods are exceptionally tolerant of flooding, erosion and flood deposits filling around the trunk.Populus deltoides is one of the largest North American hardwood trees, although the wood is rather soft.


Cottonwood bark is often a favorite medium for artisans. The bark, which is usually harvested in the fall after a tree's death, is generally very soft and easy to carve.



Kansas Capital, Topeka

State Insect

The Honeybee was designated as the state insect in 1976. The honeybee is a social, honey-producing bee, recognized as the most economically valuable of all insects. This reputation commonly rests on its production of honey and beeswax.