Caldwell, Kansas: Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World

If you want to see bland, everyday box turtles, go somewhere else. Look for the wall mural on Main St.

Main Street, Caldwell, KS
Just north of the Oklahoma line on US Hwy 81.
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Visitor Tips and News About Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World

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Ornate Box Turtle Capital

I see several people saying that Caldwell is not proud to be known for a turtle, but I do not think that is true. I was in Caldwell a few weeks ago and I talked to a few people. The people I talked to told me there are plans for future celebrations in April each year. Maybe some new signs on the highway soon.

[Martin, 07/17/2021]

Ornate Box Turtle Capital -- the magic returns!

Ornate Box Turtle Capital in Caldwell

There are several comments about the Ornate Box Turtle Capital that might make a person think there is a big hate for turtles in the small community of Caldwell. Those comments are not all true. A lot of folks have always admired what was accomplished by the town's school students and their teacher, Mr. Miller, many years ago. Many still talk about the sixth grad "turtle class" that spearheaded the project.

There is not a big sign outside of town honoring what happened, but anyone that will take time to stop in at one of the shops on Main Street will discover there is always someone that will tell stories and direct them to the town museum and other interesting places. The legend of the turtle in Caldwell will never die, and may even grow as time goes by. Long live the Caldwell turtle!

[Rachael, 01/31/2017]
Caldwell, Kansas Box Turtle Capital

I saw a post on Facebook to celebrate April 14 as the day the ornate box turtle became the Kansas state reptile. I always celebrate that day and I live in Caldwell, the Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World! Some posts here say the turtle is not celebrated any more. It is true that we have people in our town that hate turtles, but they hate anything they is not football or some other stupid sport. All little towns have those people. Many of us do celebrate our turtle history -- and we love it that a group of grade school students and their teacher are responsible for making the turtle the state reptile and Caldwell the turtle capital.

[Misty M. Subera, 04/24/2014]
Caldwell Box Turtle

My family loves box turtles and other animals, so we got off the turnpike at South Haven and drove to Caldwell to see what the town had to offer. We were disappointed to find not a thing at any of the stores in Caldwell. One old man said his daughter was in the turtle class that made the turtle the State Reptile and made the mayor sign the bill to name Caldwell the Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World. He said no one really wants Caldwell to be know for a turtle anymore, but there are turtles to be found in the country when it is warm outdoors. Do not waste your time going to Caldwell.

There is nothing there worth seeing and nothing to do.

[Johanath Olin, 12/23/2013]

Sounds like Caldwell didn't recognize a good thing when it had it. Perhaps some other, more appreciative, town will take on the turtle title.

Caldwell, Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World

My family drove through Caldwell during Christmas vacation, 2012. The town has a museum that we were told had the history of the turtle, but it was closed. A man at a convenience store told us that the town seldom had big celebrations like it did back in the 1980s and 1990s. He said that most of those that wanted to make Caldwell an attraction because of the turtle no longer plan such events. A woman at the same store told us (once the man had left) that some of the townspeople were afraid the turtle would become more popular than the town's Old West history, and did not want that to happen. We found that strange. We did not see any live turtles!

[John Sakan Family, 01/31/2013]

Winter is probably not the best season to look for turtles in Kansas, but the fact that your family did so may knock some sense into the town. There are lots of Old West travel destinations, but only one Ornate Box Turtle Capital of the World.

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In the region:
Old Cowtown Museum - Wild West Town, Wichita, KS - 48 mi.

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