When our kids were young and their dad had to take a business trip, sometimes we would tag along, tack on a couple of days, and experience what a new place had to offer. Once upon a time, we found ourselves in Kansas looking for fun things to do in Wichita.
Yeah, I know, Wichita isn’t exactly on its way to anywhere, but we had not been west of the Mississippi River, so we did some research and decided we would make it a family destination. We found a number of places that made our trip delightfully fun. Here are five:
This experience was a family favorite, as Old Cowtown Museum made the “100 Things to Do in America before You Die” book. This destination re-enacts life in in the mid-1800s, including the roads, the buildings, and time-relevant costumed actors. Go to the local jail and drugstore, take the kids into the “saloon,” and sip on sarsaparilla. You also can watch a “gunfight” between the locals, the icing on the cake for our kids, and see one of the bad guys get caught.
Cowtown also hosts other events as well. Some are family-friendly. We didn’t go to one of these, but you might want to see what is being offered when you visit.
Our family thoroughly enjoyed this “treasure” of a museum as well, the World Treasures Museum. We explored dinosaur bones, saw Egyptian mummies, met Conquistadors, and studied world wars. The website says this destination houses over 3,000 finds, and that was enough to keep us busy for most of a day. I must admit, I got a little weepy when I saw a piece of the Berlin wall, as this event occurred in my lifetime! After enjoying some time in the children’s activity center, we left for lunch and then returned to complete our tour.
When you need to let your little ones blow off energy by running, climbing, and basically enjoying the great outdoors, Wichita has some great parks. Sedgwick County Park has a “boundless playground” as well as picnic areas, walking and biking paths, and ponds. The O.J. Watson Park offers pedal boats, fishing ponds, pony rides, miniature train rides, and mini golf. This park is near the river as well, so it offers a beautiful backdrop for fun. Plus, a dozen or so free splash parks dot the Wichita map, including the one in Oldtown.
If you’re planning on being in the car for a while with kids, check out this article for ideas on how to keep them entertained!
I know that many cities, both big and small, contain a zoo, and even though some of the animals are the same, I have found each zoo to have its own personality. The Sedgwick County Zoo is no different. Because we went so long ago, I see now I might need to return to see the third world’s largest elephant habitat, Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley.
You’re probably wondering how a botanical garden could be interesting for kids. For one, Botanica houses an interactive children’s garden with a musical maze, monster trees and a treehouse, and chalk drawing. Two, just outside this garden lies the Carousel Pavilion, home to one of three Allan Herschell carousels in the world (this beautiful carousel was not in the Botanica when we visited).
We came here in the morning when it wasn’t crowded and had a blast. It almost felt like we had the entire place to ourselves!
There are many other things to do in Wichita and see in this western town that we realize now really can be a destination and NOT just a place to go just because you find yourself in the area. The people are friendly and the sun is warm. The city is definitely not overwhelming like larger cities can be. Truly, Wichita is a great place to visit and there are a ton of fun things to do in Wichita if you really look!