I’m taking the family to Wichita, Kansas this spring, and as usual, I have a big ol’ list of things to do, places to see, and food to eat. Here’s my Wichita bucket list, if time and money were not an issue.
Update: This post was first published in 2017, and has been updated in July 2020.
COVID-19 Update: Be sure to check local guidelines before visiting Wichita. Visit Wichita has a lot of information about which restaurants, attractions, hotels, and more are open.
See the Keeper of the Plains
There’s a giant statue along the Big and Little Arkansas rivers called Keeper of the Plains. Each night, you can watch flames spring up from fire drums around the statue, illuminating the surroundings.
It sounds pretty cool, especially for my kids. Catch it at 7 p.m. in the winter and 9 p.m. in the summer.
Dine at Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper
I still haven’t the chuckwagon dinner I’ve been dreaming about ever since planning our South Dakota road trip two years ago. Maybe Wichita is the place?
Just 20 minutes outside of town, there’s Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, a dinner show with classic cowboy tunes and a chance to ride a wagon.
Get up close to animals at Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Several friends familiar with Wichita have recommended we take the kids to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. It’s about 10 minutes from downtown.
At the park, visitors can get up-close to the 300+ residents, even feeding some like giraffes and lemurs.
Update: We did it! We went to Tanganyika and it was ah-MAZ-ing. Read all about it here.
Explore the children’s garden at Botanica Wichita
There are 26 themed gardens at Botanica Wichita. We’d definitely have to check out Downing Children’s Garden and the butterfly house, as well as the Fossil Wall.
Update: We went to Botanica Wichita and LOVED it, especially the children’s garden. Read about our experience here.
Eat all the food in Wichita
I have so many restaurants I want to try – how will I decide? Do we get breakfast at Doo Dah Diner (I heard they had some habit-forming french toast there)? Or do we get donuts at Donut Whole or Hurts Donuts for a crazy creations? I’m thinking of getting malts with lunch at the old-fashioned soda fountain in downtown Wichita, Old Mill Tasty Shop.
My foodie friends in Wichita sent me a whole list of places to go to, including burgers at The Anchor, Dempsey’s or Ty’s; pizza at Ziggy’s; Mediterranean food at N&J; Songbird Juice Co.; and Two Olives.
The Oh My! Omaha Facebook group also had some good recommendations, and I’m pretty sure The Kitchen will be on our itinerary for the spring trip.
There’s also Stearman Field Bar & Grill, a restaurant located right on a landing strip where you can watch aircraft take off and land 20 yards from you.
Marvel at Wichita Art Museum
The Wichita Art Museum has a space called The Living Room, which is an interactive gallery for art investigation and make-it/take-it art activities. My kids would totally love it.
Plus, if we visit on a Saturday, admission is free.
Play at Exploration Place
We could likely spend an entire day here, exploring flight, nanoscience, and what will likely be my castle-obsessed son’s favorite space, Where Kids Rule with its three-story castle.
Update: We visited Exploration Place! Read about the exciting things my kids and I did there.
Stroll around Old Cowtown Museum
I think my kids would love seeing the cowboys and other costumed interpreters walking around this open-air museum – they tell visitors about Wichita life in the 1860s.
Hope we time the visit right to catch a shootout on Main Street.
Have an adventure at Museum of World Treasures
This three-floor museum sounds like a hodgepodge collection dreamed up by my children. It has everything from dinosaur skeletons, a segment of the Berlin Wall, and a mummy.
Visit Old Town Wichita
Saturday mornings sound like a good time to visit, during the lively farmers market. It sounds very much like Omaha’s Old Market with its brick roads and converted warehouses, so I’ll be right at home.
Get nostalgic at Wichita Toy Train Club and Museum
In my kids’ younger days, this would be the place for us to spend our entire vacation. It still sounds like a family-friendly stop we’d enjoy. They even have a trains for kids to operate.
See the animals at Sedgwick County Zoo
I heard the animals live in authentic habitats, like Downing Gorilla Forest, which emulates a Congo village. The Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit opened in 2016 and has the world’s largest elephant pool (550,000 gallons of water)!
Want more Wichita Vacation Ideas?
Want to see more ideas for family travel to Wichita? Check out Visit Wichita and my Pinterest board:
Share your ideas: What are other not-to-miss things to do in Wichita that my family should check out? Leave a comment!
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