Located in the central part of Kansas, 50 mi/80 km northwest of Wichita, the town of Hutchinson is known for its annual softball and baseball tournaments (April-October) that attract 100 teams from around the country. Hutchinson also hosts another big sporting event, the National Junior College Basketball Championships, as well as the State Fair (held every September).
One of the city's main attractions is the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. The Center includes artifacts from Soviet and U.S. space exploration. Highlights include the Apollo 13 command module, replicas of a space shuttle and an SR-71 Blackbird jet, interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium. There are astronaut-training programs available for adults and children.
Salt mining played an important role in Hutchinson's economy. At the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, visitors descend 650 ft/200 m to learn about the history of salt. The caverns are an ideal storage environment and are used by the film industry.
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