Plan a weekend trip to Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, where you will find a selection of unique attractions, breakfast spots, romantic restaurants, parks and museums. Explore the Ulrich Museum of Art, visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House, stroll through Botanica Gardens, take a step back in time at the Old Cowtown Museum, and view beautiful art the Wichita Art Museum. Best things to do in Wichita, KS with kids include the Sedgwick County Zoo, Exploration Place, and the Museum of World Treasures. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Ulrich Museum of Art
© Ulrich Museum of Art
Located on the grounds of Wichita State University, the Ulrich Museum of Art houses both contemporary and modern art, and is one of the top Wichita attractions. With an intention to connect the region with artists and artwork that reflect the modern world, Ulrich Museum has permanent and temporary exhibits that are open to the public.
The museum provides visitors with the chance to explore 20th and 21st century art, while receiving interpretive explanations of how the work offers innovative perspectives and rethinks traditional expectations. The museum is also home to the Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection, a 76-piece set that consistently receives notable national attention.
1845 Fairmount St, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-978-3664
2.Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House, Wichita, Kansas
© Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House
Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House is one of the last additions to the famous designer’s Prairie home collection, and one of the best things to do in Wichita, Kansas. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house, and he himself considered this piece one of his personal bests. Designed to allow visitors engage with natural landscapes while feeling that they are living among nature, the home represents Wright’s perspective on prairie living.
Originally designed in 1915, the home has been restored to its 1918 condition. It now functions as a museum, and guests are able to tour the home and experience Wright’s architectural gift and design philosophy. The house is open by appointment and each tour lasts about 1.5 hours.
255 N Roosevelt St, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-687-1027
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3. Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas
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The Sedgwick County Zoo is a major Wichita attraction that has received national and international attention for its conservation efforts and breeding success among endangered and rare animals. The zoo is home to 500 species of 2,500 animals, which reside in custom and naturally authentic habitats. If you are wondering what to do in Wichita KS with kids, this is a great place to visit.
The zoo’s most notable exhibits include the Downing Gorilla Forest, which emulates a Congo village and hosts various monkeys, birds, and a gorilla exhibit. Pride of the Plains takes visitors on a winding tour through series of hogs, meerkats, and lions.
The Tiger Trek is an Asian themed display that features tigers, geese, deer, and red pandas. Finally, a series of Humboldt penguins call the zoo’s Penguin Cove home.
5555 W Zoo Blvd, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-660-9453
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4. Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Botanica Gardens
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Botanica is a collection of themed gardens covering nearly 20 acres of Wichita land. The permanent gardens include a butterfly garden containing a large, indoor butterfly house, a tropical greenhouse, an aquatic collection, a juniper garden, a rock garden, a rose garden, the Shakespeare garden, and nearly 15 others. A large children’s garden offers unique opportunities for children to become acquainted with nature and immersed in the environment.
Throughout the year, Botanica is host to a variety of seasonal and visiting events, including a summer concert series, a butterfly festival, and holiday based festivities. Botanica also provides workshops, presentations, and group based classes.
701 Amidon St, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-264-0448
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5. Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, Kansas
© Museum of World Treasures
The Museum of World Treasures is a large and diverse world history museum. The museum’s collection spans across time, showcasing a varied array of subjects, characters, and eras. The first floor of the museum features three large dinosaur specimens, including a tyrannosaurus, an authentic Egyptian mummy, ancient Roman coins, and information on each of the civilizations of the ancient world.
The second floor features world leaders, military history, and historical royalty, and displays include signatures from every American president, original War artifacts, and a replica of the President’s Resolute desk. The third floor features pop culture icons, including sports artifacts, movie memorabilia, and collections of arts and literature.
835 E 1st St N, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-263-1311
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6. What to Do in Wichita: Great Plains Nature Center
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The Great Plains Nature Center is an indoor and outdoor nature preserve that allows guests to become acquainted with the flora and fauna of the Great Plains Region.
The large complex offers guests the opportunity to roam throughout various displays, exhibits, and ecosystem preserves. Each area comes equipped with interpretive literature and educational material to provide information on the zone’s natural qualities, habitat, and regional specifications.
The center’s goal is to connect the public with the environment and to inspire lifelong learning through engagement and immersive experiences. The center also offers a variety of trails, bird watching platforms, a wildlife observatory, and Discovery programs, including classes and workshops.
6232 East 29th St N, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-683-5499
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7. Exploration Place, Wichita, Kansas
© Exploration Place
Exploration Place is a hands-on science-learning center in downtown Wichita. The building is nearly 100,000 square feet and is housed on a 20-acre campus. The building is only accessible by walkway, as a moat of water surrounds the unique structure. Inside, guests are able to experience a variety of permanent exhibits, whose intention is to facilitate learning and scientific engagement through entertaining hands-on learning. Exploration Place is one of the best things to do in Wichita, Kansas with kids.
Permanent exhibits include a seven-foot tall mouth replica to demonstrate oral health, a fossil dig, a tornado simulator, a space exhibit, a dinosaur exhibit, and a flight exhibit, which features a real plane propeller and a flight simulator.
300 N McLean Blvd, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-660-0600
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8. Wichita Art Museum
© Wichita Art Museum
Located in downtown Wichita, the Wichita Art Museum is one of the city’s oldest galleries. Established in 1915 and opened to the public in 1935, the museum houses a variety of exhibitions and collections that feature primarily American based artists in numerous mediums and categories.
The museum showcases a permanent collection alongside traveling and temporary displays. Additionally, the museum hosts a variety of programs and events throughout the year including classes, workshops, lectures, and outdoor concerts for both adults and families. A small outdoor garden features a series of sculptures and installations, and an on-site café and gift shop is available for visitor convenience.
1400 Museum Blvd, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-268-4921
9.Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum
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The Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum is a nonprofit museum dedicated to preserving the history of the city of Wichita and educating the public on the city’s heritage and unique qualities. The museum, located downtown, resides in what was once the original City Hall. The gothic style structure houses four floors of interpretive information and interactive exhibits, all of which are open to the public.
The museum has a variety of permanent exhibits that outline the city’s past, including economic developments, notable figures, and the technological changes that have taken place over time. Throughout the year, the museum also provides feature exhibits and special exhibits, including seasonal displays and special events.
204 S Main St, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-265-9314
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10.Wichita Symphony Orchestra
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One of just a few professional Symphonies in Kansas, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra has been performing for patrons since 1944. The symphony is associated with the Wichita State University’s musical department, and it is comprised of three various ensembles: the Wichita State University Chamber Players, the Wichita Symphony Chorus, and the Singing Quakers Alumni Choir.
Throughout the year, the symphony puts on a variety of performances, ranging in styles from classical tunes to pop music hits to blue jazz songs, and more.
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, 225 W Douglas Ave #207, Wichita, Kansas, Phone: 316-267-7658
11.Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS
© Old Cowtown Museum
The Old Cowtown Museum is located outside of downtown Wichita on the banks of the Arkansas River. Composed of over 50 historic and recreated buildings, the museum illustrates how the city of Wichita and the county of Segwick would have appeared between 1860 and 1880, and it is one of the largest and oldest open-air history museums in the Midwest.
Within the museum, visitors are able to take tours through the buildings, which have been repurposed to demonstrate how the people of the city would have lived in the late 19th century. Interpreters in period costume, authentic artifacts, educational programs, and hands-on activities are all components of the museum’s offering.
1865 Museum Blvd, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-219-1871
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12.Mid-America All-Indian Center
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The Mid-America All-Indian Center is a local museum dedicated to demonstrating and celebrating the history and culture of the Native American peoples through interpretive education and original tribal artifacts. The only museum solely dedicated to Native American heritage in the state of Kansas, the Mid-American All-Indian Center is host to a variety of notable artwork and collections of original pieces including beadwork, jewelry, baskets, pottery, and pipe bags, as well as the flags of over 70 different tribes from across North America.
Throughout the year, a variety of cultural demonstrations, seasonal activates, lectures, classes, and workshops take place on site.
650 N Seneca St, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-350-3340
13.Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Sedgwick Park
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Sedgwick Park is an expansive public green space located just outside of downtown Wichita. The park itself is host to four inland lakes, which provide plentiful opportunities for guests to engage in water sports such as boating, kayaking, or paddle boarding. They can also take advantage of several popular fishing spots.
The park contains a series of both paved and dirt trails for walking, biking, and running. Several athletic fields and recreational spots, including basketball, volleyball, softball, bocce ball, horseshoes, and tennis, are scattered throughout the space, and in colder weather the park is home to a sledding hill and ice skating rink. Shelters are available by reservation, and restroom facilities are plentiful.
6501 W 21st St N, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-943-0192
14.Kansas Aviation Museum, Wichita, Kansas
© Kansas Aviation Museum
Housed in a heritage Wichita Municipal Airport Terminal, the Kansas Aviation Museum boasts an authentic environment and aircraft collection, making it a premiere destination for aviation enthusiasts. With a mission to preserve Kansas’s aviation history and to educate the population about the past, present, and future of flight, the museum is comprised of educational materials, hands-on activities, and authentic aircraft for visitors to explore.
The museum offers both guided and self-guided tours, and it provides a specific, age appropriate program for kids, along with kid-centric activities and events. The Kansas Aviation Museum is one of the few museums in the country that allows visitors to enter exhibition aircraft during their annual “play in a plane day.”
3350 George Washington Blvd S, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-683-9242
15.Kansas Firefighters Museum
© Kansas Firefighters Museum
Located in the historic Engine House No.6, the Kansas Firefighters Museum offers a memorable day out for visitors of all ages. The Engine House was built in 1909 and was home to the last horse-drawn fire station in service in Wichita. The engine house has been fully restored to its original grandeur and is now filled with a wealth of fire-fighting memorabilia. Here you can admire 2 fully-restored antique fire trucks, many historic photos and all kinds of vintage fire-fighting equipment including hoses, nozzles, boots, bells and helmets. Close to the museum you can visit the Kansas Fallen Firefighters Memorial courtyard which honors all firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Kansas Firefighters Museum, 1300 S. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67211, 316 264 5990
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16.Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
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Located in downtown Wichita, the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center is an expansive community center that hosts a variety of entrainment and consumer based performances. The largest center of its kind in Wichita, the center is the performance headquarters for several local groups, including the Music Theatre of Wichita, the Music Theatre for Young People, the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the Wichita Grand Opera.
225 W Douglas Ave #207, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-267-7658
17.What to Do in Wichita: Old Town
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Covering a four-block area inside Central, Washington, Douglas, and Santa Fe streets, Old Town Wichita is a historic district comprised of authentic brick streets lined with authentic lampposts and converted warehouses.
These spaces now serve as restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, entertainment facilities, art galleries, offices, condos, and other various public attractions. The district is a focal point of the city, and it acts as a cultural gathering place for community events and activities. Old Town hosts various events and seasonal festivities throughout the year.
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18.Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum
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The family friendly Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum was founded and managed by a group of toy train enthusiasts and collectors. The museum is host to a variety of authentic collectable items related to trains, with entire layouts of these rare pieces spread throughout the gallery space. Over 50 feet of display cases exhibit a variety of train and train related items from numerous brands and lines.
While many of the pieces are only available for viewing, the museum provides several that are operable by guests with the assistance of staff and volunteers, and a small area is specifically designated for children to interact with child-friendly toy trains and wooden layouts.
130 S Laura, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-633-1179
19.Wichita Veterans Memorial Park
Honoring the brave veterans of several wars, the Wichita Veterans Memorial Park is home to a collection of memorials dedicated to individual conflicts. The park is open to everyone and visitors are welcome to take a walk along the winding pathways which lead to the various monuments. Benches are strategically placed so the visitors can sit for a while and reflect on the dreadful toll of the conflicts which are remembered. A few of the most prominent monuments include the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the WWII Submarine Veterans Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Families of the fallen soldiers are encouraged to purchase a memorial brick to line the walkways.
Wichita Veterans Memorial Park, 339 Veterans Pkwy, Wichita, KS 67203,
316 219 9777
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20.The Keeper of the Plains
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The Keeper of the Plains is a prominent Wichita landmark which was created and donated to the city by Native American Artist Blackbear Bosin in 1974.The massive 5-ton steel sculpture was mounted on a 30 foot pedestal, from where it stands guard over the city at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers meet. You can visit the Keeper of the Plains by crossing the pedestrian bridges on either side of the sculpture. Firepots around the base of the sculpture are lit at night to form the Ring of Fire, which symbolizes the Native American relationship with earth, fire and water.
The Keeper of the Plains, 339 Veteran’s Parkway, Wichita, KS 67203, 316 268 4497
21.Great Plains Transportation Museum
© Great Plains Transportation Museum
Visiting the Great Plains Transportation Museum in Wichita is like taking a step back in time to the heyday of the American railroad. The museum preserves and showcases a wealth of railroading history in the Great Plains region. Here you will find a wide variety of vintage railroad equipment on display, including the last two steam and diesel locomotives built in Sante Fe. The indoor museum is also chock-full of railroad memorabilia including photographs, documents, equipment and much more. The museum hosts its popular Rail Fest each year in October, when visitors get the chance to hop aboard one of the historic trains for a short ride.
Great Plains Transportation Museum, 700 E. Douglas Ave, Wichita, KS 67203,
316 263 0944
22.Newport Grill Wichita
© Newport Grill Wichita
Newport Grill is a unique and festive location to enjoy lunch or dinner. The menu features classic and traditional American dishes, along with a selection of seafood and high quality steaks. One of the restaurant’s primary attractions is its charming décor and expansive water views.
On the banks of a small inland lake, Newport Grill offers several layers of outdoor dining where guests can sit waterside. Inside, the restaurant offers wide views of the exterior environment, along with a compelling nautical theme and fine dining details.
Bradley Fair, 1900 N Rock Rd, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-636-9555
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23.Small Cakes Cupcakery
© Small Cakes Cupcakery
Small Cakes Cupcakery is a small Midwestern franchise shop open throughout the day that features specialty cupcakes for sale. Small Cakes in Wichita is a well-known establishment founded by Lexi Bruner. Available for pick up or eat in, Small Cakes offers a small dining area that features several cozy armchairs and home-like touches, making the shop bright and cheery.
Pink walls, vibrant rugs, and vintage décor create a trendy energy, and guests can pick up coffee, milk, and other drinks while ordering.
8338 E 21st St N, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-685-2253
24. Doo-Dah Diner, Wichita, KS
© Doo-Dah Diner
This classic Wichita diner is a local hotspot for lunch and breakfast. The menu features traditional diner fare, including breakfast items that are available throughout the shop’s early afternoon hours. With offerings that include breakfast items, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and soups, Doo-Dah boasts an entirely handmade menu.
Every item served at Doo-Dah is made from scratch using unique family recipes. The shop’s space is casual and homey and has classic diner touches like checked tablecloths and mismatched tableware. The relaxed and comfortable environment creates a warm and welcoming space for guests, and on-site newspapers and several arcade games create a family friendly environment.
206 E Kellogg St, Wichita, KS, Phone: 316-265-7011
25.River City Brewery
© River City Brewery
River City Brewery is conveniently located right in the heart of Old Town Wichita, where they have been brewing palate-pleasing beers since 1993. When you visit this popular watering hole you will find a selection of up to 16 delicious beers on tap, including a special seasonal option. As Wichita’s first dedicated brew pub, River City Brewery welcomes visitors to stop by for a tasting or to settle in and enjoy a meal to remember. The brewery interior features heavy timber beams and many items salvaged from other historic buildings, all of which enhances the traditional atmosphere. The food menu features local produce like Kansas raised beef and a wide variety of dishes which are all carefully made on site.
River City Brewery, 150 N. Mosley Rd, Wichita, KS 67202, 316 263 2739
25 Best Things to Do in Wichita, Kansas
- Ulrich Museum of Art, Photo: Ulrich Museum of Art
- Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House, Wichita, Kansas, Photo: Frank Lloyd Wright's Allen House
- Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas, Photo: Courtesy of anamejia18 - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Botanica Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of trofotodesign - Fotolia.com
- Museum of World Treasures, Wichita, Kansas, Photo: Museum of World Treasures
- What to Do in Wichita: Great Plains Nature Center, Photo: Courtesy of Lars Johansson - Fotolia.com
- Exploration Place, Wichita, Kansas, Photo: Exploration Place
- Wichita Art Museum , Photo: Wichita Art Museum
- Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- Wichita Symphony Orchestra, Photo: Courtesy of stokkete - Fotolia.com
- Old Cowtown Museum, Wichita, KS, Photo: Old Cowtown Museum
- Mid-America All-Indian Center, Photo: Courtesy of Joe Montiel - Fotolia.com
- Things to Do in Wichita, KS: Sedgwick Park, Photo: Courtesy of kichigin19 - Fotolia.com
- Kansas Aviation Museum, Wichita, Kansas, Photo: Kansas Aviation Museum
- Kansas Firefighters Museum, Photo: Kansas Firefighters Museum
- Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, Photo: Courtesy of aerogondo - Fotolia.com
- What to Do in Wichita: Old Town, Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Chee-Onn Leong - Fotolia.com
- Wichita Veterans Memorial Park, Photo: Wirestock/stock.adobe.com
- The Keeper of the Plains, Photo: Momento Photography/stock.adobe.com
- Great Plains Transportation Museum, Photo: Great Plains Transportation Museum
- Newport Grill Wichita, Photo: Newport Grill Wichita
- Small Cakes Cupcakery, Photo: Small Cakes Cupcakery
- Doo-Dah Diner, Wichita, KS, Photo: Doo-Dah Diner
- River City Brewery, Photo: River City Brewery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of ricardoreitmeyer - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center is an outdoor nature park with recreational facilities designed to educate visitors about the fauna and flora found on North America's Great Plains. Located in Chisholm Creek Park on the north side of Wichita, the Great Plains Nature Center features a variety of informative and interactive exhibits, a classroom for educational programs and workshops, the Koch Auditorium, and the Bob Gress Wildlife Observatory.
The Center also offers easy access to the 240-acre Chisholm Creek Park's system of walking trails, wetlands, and riparian habitats, as well as a range of educational programs, are offered throughout the year. The Great Plains Nature Center is surrounded by the 282-acre Chisholm Creek Park and over two miles of paved walking trails.
Managed by the Wichita Department of Park and Recreation, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Great Plains Nature Center was established to provide interpretive, environmental and recreational education opportunities for the community. The Nature Center also serves as an environmental and conservation resource for community education, with emphasis on the importance of urban habitats to both people and wildlife and people.
At the center of the Great Plains, Nature Center is the Koch Habitat Hall, which features over 3,500 square feet of exhibits and displays devoted to the Great Plains of North America, as well as exhibits on the wetlands, rivers, lakes, riparian habitats, and woodlands of the region. The Hall is decorated with murals by Kent Pendleton and John Lencicki and boasts hands-on interactive exhibits and displays that focus immersive learning. There is also a 2,200-gallon aquarium with a diverse variety of native Kansas fish species, and a special ‘Critter Corner’ in the Museum section of the Center.
The Bob Gress Wildlife Observatory can be found at the far end of the Koch Habitat Hall and features large windows with beautiful views over the surrounding wetlands, recirculating streams and myriad plants and flowers that attract local birdlife.
The Coleman Auditorium is a state-of-the-art auditorium with audio-visual equipment that seats up to 200 people and is used for meetings and seminars relating to wildlife, as well as special public presentations.
The Great Plains Nature Center offers an array of educational activities, opportunities, and events throughout the year, including the annual ‘Walk With Wildlife.’ Programs include School Field Trips, Scout Programs, Family Programs, and Summer Teacher Workshops. Children’s Programs include Naturally Crafty, Story Time, and Little Nature Lover’s, while Family Programs include Full Moon Walk and Creature Features. Other programs include Fly-Tying Workshops, Senior Wednesdays.
The Great Plains Nature Center is located at 6232 E. 29th Street North in Wichita and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The Center offers a range of educational programs and host meetings for a variety of local environmental, outdoors and wildlife groups.The Owl’s Nest Gift Shop sells a range of unique gifts, books, and other nature-related trinkets.
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6232 E. 29th Street North, Wichita, KS 67220-2200, Phone: 316-683-5499
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Attraction Spotlight: Exploration Place, The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center
Exploration Place, The Sedgwick County Science and Discovery Center in Wichita is Kansas’ premier science center and was established to inspire a deeper interest and understanding in science through creative and enjoyable experiences for visitors of all ages.
Exploration Place is housed in a building designed by internationally acclaimed Boston architect Moshe Safdie and spans over 100,000 square feet on a 20-acre property. Known as the ‘Island Building,’ due to be surrounded by water on one side and a tranquil reflecting pond on the other, Exploration Place boasts a 70-foot high traveling exhibits space with a perimeter of one mile.
Exploration Place is also home to the Boeing Dome Theater and Planetarium, which is the largest dome theater in Kansas and features a 360-degree, 60-foot high screen and the Kemper Creative Learning Studio, a 150-seat theater equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a sound system, a podium and stage lighting. The theater and studio host a variety of digital films and live performances throughout the year.
Exploration Place features a variety of science-based exhibits and displays for visitors of all ages. ‘Big Mouth’ is a seven-foot tall model of the human mouth that explores and tests visitor’s knowledge of good oral health. ‘Bridging Art and Science’ features a range of local artist’s works and explores important connection between art and science, while ‘Nano’ examines real world applications to the fields of engineering, nanoscale science, and technology.
‘Exploring Flight and Design’ has a giant ‘wind wall’ on which thousands of tiny reflective discs illustrate how air currents are generated by two wind generators mounted on a tower. The exhibit also features working flight simulators, which explain flight in easy-to-understand ways.
‘Exploring Our Only Home’ is a family-friendly exhibition that explores the local animals found in the area in the past, and includes a stream table and a replica of a fossil dig, as well as a real ancient mammoth tusk. It also has two tornado simulators to show how the weather patterns and climate affected the local wildlife.
‘Kansas in Miniature’ is a fantastic small-scale recreation of early-1950s Kansas complete with buildings, landmarks, cars, people, and more, while ‘KEVA: Build Your Mind’ focuses on design aesthetics and engineering.
Designed for the youngest visitors, ‘Tots' Spot’ is a fun-filled, immersive area packed with educational toys and costumes for the little one to enjoy. ‘Where Kids Rule’ caters for slightly older children with a three-story medieval castle and over 60 hands-on, STEM-based exhibits.
Traveling exhibits at Exploration Place have included ‘Dinosaurs Unearthed,' ‘ A T. rex Named Sue', ‘Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,' ‘CSI: The Experience’, and ‘Star Wars:® Where Science Meets Imagination.’
Exploration Place offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages from youth to adults. Adult programs include Member’s Night, Pilot Innovation, Senior Wednesday and Team Building, while Homeschool programs include Family Nights, Fields Trips, Science Classes and Science Fairs. Additional programs for homeschool children and their parents include Science on the Go, Sensory Friendly Fun, and Sensory Friendly Group Visits. Teen programs range from Science Fairs, Tinker Techs, and Tinker Tech Summer Camps, as well as Volunteer Programs, while youth organizations can enjoy Afterschool Activities, Camp-ins, Family Nights and Field Trips. Summer Library Programs and Summer Science on the Go are extra activities that visitors of all ages can partake in.
Exploration Place also features an 18-hole mini golf putting course and adventure park with an adventure play yard, a wetlands habitat, picnic groves and a Festival Plaza. Exploration Park is a fantastic family-friendly park designed for spontaneous learning and play for all ages, as well as an inviting gathering place for the community.
Park highlights include a giant sandbox in which to dig and play, community-built climbing structures built to scale, a beautiful rain garden in which to observe local Kansas Wildlife, and The Pyramid and The Hill for some energy releasing. The Explore Store is a 1,900 square-foot shopping extravaganza that boasts an array of educational toys, books, apparel, and fair trade items.
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Wichita Public Schools, 300 N McLean Blvd, Wichita, KS 67203, Phone: 316-660-0600
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Attraction Spotlight: Botanica Gardens
Botanica Gardens, located in Wichita, KS, is a botanical garden open year around. The gardens began through the combined efforts of Wichita City Garden Council and the City of Wichita in 1987. The plan was conceptualized in 1982 however as a unified vision to create a center for horticulture as the city greatly lacked one. Ground was finally broken in 1985 and opened to the public two years later. The botanical gardens began with four modest gardens and now encompass over 17 acres of land.
Botanica gardens is own by the Wichita Park System but operated by Botanica, Inc., a not for profit organization. There have been recent additions to the gardens in the last decade including the Downing Children's Garden which opened in 2011 and the brand new Events Center which became available for rentals in 2014. A beautiful carousel from Joyland Amusement Park was also donated to Botanica and placed in the Children's Garden.
Currently, there are over 30 separate gardens, a horticulture library and more than 4,000 plant species. Each garden is uniquely designed and may feature sculptures, streams, fountains and water falls. The plants that are displayed change with the season, encouraging many repeat visits. As the garden has increased in size, so have the educational opportunities at Botanica Gardens. Many of these programs are presented through special events throughout the year and are catered to people of all ages.
Botanica still operates under its original mission of generating enthusiasm about horticulture and raising awareness through education and cultural events. The garden staff is proud to support community development and showing locals how they can improve their lives through becoming immersed in nature.
There are over 30 Gardens currently on Display at Botanica Gardens. Each of the gardens is used year around and many of them change with the season. Each garden has options for seating to relax and contemplate the beauty of nature, and is also adorned with artistic elements from sculpture to architecture. Even the parking lot has 12 different flower beds to immerse visitors in nature from the moment they park their cars.
Beverly R Blue Teaching Garden is one of the popular wedding spots at Botanica. The garden is designed around two separate motifs with one half being circular and used for open air teaching classroom and weddings, and the other having a more rectangular design. This garden is currently displaying a collection of art works called "Garden Sprite, Immortality II."
Butterfly Garden is specifically designed to attract both local and migratory butterflies. There are a variety of nectar plants for butterflies to enjoy. These plants allow for the butterfly garden to be in continuous state of blooming. The best time to see butterflies is summer and fall.
Butterfly/Pansy House is open only in the summer months from June through September. This is a public butterfly habitat that is dedicated to the research and exploration of butterflies around the world. This garden is 100% controlled and home to over 50 different butterfly species. From October through May, the house transforms into a pansy paradise with explosive color from over 40 different species of pansy.
Chinese Garden of Friendship was newly opened in June of 2015 and emphasizes traditional Chinese gardening technique and design. Chinese architecture, reminiscent of the Sung-dynasty, creates an ethereal place with many contemporary elements added in. The highlight of the garden is the handmade fountain.
Cissy Wise Wildflower Meadow introduces visitors to the native meadow species of Kansas. There are native shrubs, grasses, trees and wildflowers that create the prairie style garden.
Downing Children's Garden is comprised of more than an acre of themed gardens including monster woods, an enchanted glen for fairy tale story time, a tree house and a pond. Children and their families are encouraged to play and get their hands dirty in this interactive part of Botanica.
Frances lattner Wildflower Woodland is heavily adorned with wildflowers, streams and waterfalls. Designed to be a place of tranquility and peace, there are several benches underneath many shade trees to offer rest and quiet contemplation.
Frank Smith Woodland Glade is a very happening stop on the woodland walk. This area is bustling with woodland creatures and full of rustic benches to enjoy the babbling ponds and streams.
Garden on the Rock is accented by a waterfall just west of the Terrace Garden. The flowers featured in this garden are low lying perennials and annuals that do well amongst rock. There are also many shrubs and bushes that protrude through the rocky landscape.
Gene E Spear Railroad Garden is where the train rests when not giving rides around the garden.
Green House is used for display as well as cultivating species of flowers that are new to the garden and tropical flowers that cannot survive outside year around.
More Things to Do in Wichita
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