Kid-Friendly Wichita Restaurants To Visit

My family recently took an incredible weekend trip to Wichita, Kan. It was a lot of fun, and in between all our stops, we visited fantastic, kid-friendly Wichita restaurants. If you’re looking for a list of some of the best restaurants in Wichita, this is the list (it’s just a bonus that they’re good restaurants for families, too)!

Update: This post was first written in 2017 and was updated in October 2019.

Looking for restaurants in Wichita, Kansas? There are a lot of choices! Here are some of the best locally-owned Wichita restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner and ice cream. They're kid-friendly, too! #restaurant #guide #Wichita #Midwest #USA

Disclosure: Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita, and they helped us select some great spots to try. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Where is Wichita, Kansas?

Wichita is located in south central Kansas and sits on the Arksansas River. Population-wise, it’s comparable to Omaha, with 389,255 people (in 2018).

Two well-known, fast-food chains started in Wichita: Pizza Hut and White Castle. Now, the city has more than 1,200 restaurants. How to choose which ones to visit?!

My plan for this trip was to visit Wichita restaurants that were locally-owned. The key was that they had to be kid-friendly, not kiddie… I wanted good food.

Best breakfast in Wichita

For breakfast to give your day a turbo charge of sugar, go to The Donut Whole. We were among several families there the morning we went.

You can go as vanilla or as rainbow as you want when choosing a donut here. The popular flavor is maple bacon, which you gotta try. All donuts are made from scratch daily.

Donut Whole is one of the kid-friendly Wichita restaurants.

There’s a wide assortment to choose from, and it is a tough choice. Cookie, candy, cereal…they’re all toppings here.

They once had a Breaking Bad donut with blue rock candy on top.

Sign at The Donut Whole in Wichita, Kansas

The coffee’s pretty good here, plus free refills. If you want a more substantial breakfast, you can get a breakfast sandwich (made with donuts).

Tip: If, for whatever reason, you’re up late, the drive-thru window is open 24 hours a day.

Doo Dah Diner is a dining hot spot in Wichita, and it has mastered the laid-back vibe. Everyone nods in approval if you tell them you plan to eat there. It’s good stuff.

We went on a Sunday, which turns out is buffet-only, which may or may not be great for your family. If you go Wednesday through Saturday for breakfast, expect a wait. But at least you get to have free monkey bread in line (while it lasts…which is about ’til noon).

The counter at Doo Dah Diner in Wichita, Kansas. It is a popular place to go for breakfast in Wichita.

I tried one of the buffet staples: Pork Belly and Grits, which got the thumbs up. You’ll also always find hashbrown casserole and smoked salmon on the buffet table every Sunday.

You can also get some food made-to-order, including some benedicts and omelets.

Going during the week? Timirie, co-owner of Doo Dah Diner, said the most popular things to order are Crab Cake Benedict, Chicken Fried Steak, Smothered Breakfast Burrito, Banana Bread French Toast (gluten free) and Corned Beef Hash.

Hungry, yet?

The Sunday buffet at Doo Dah Diner in Wichita, Kansas

The exterior of the diner doesn’t really hint to the fun decor inside. Think lots of colors and a mishmash of art on the walls.

Wichita restaurants for lunch or dinner

For lunch, try The Kitchen. When we visited, the restaurant was still pretty new to the Wichita scene. The focus is on seasonal and clean food (so no nitrates in lunch meat and the burger is 100% beef).

That’s not to say it’s health food. We dug into straight up comfort food here. Try the disco fries, a New Jersey take on poutine.

The owner, Natasha, described it as New American, adding “We like to say you can be as good or naughty as you like.”

Disco Fries is like a poutine served at The Kitchen in Wichita

The menu is seasonally inspired, so I can’t quite guarantee what you’ll be able to order. I can tell you that Natasha’s crew serves up a mean panini.

For drinks, they keep some Kansas craft brews on tap. I opted for a raspberry ice tea, which was made just right (not too sweet, thankyouverymuch). It’s a great summer drink.

Moms and dads who like local beer with good food, go earlier in the day to The Anchor. They’re known for a good lineup of 50+ craft beers on tap and this amazing thing called The Haystack.

Interior of The Anchor, a bar in Wichita, Kansas

It’s a pub, no getting around it. But, they have a kid’s menu, so they won’t snub families. And not just any thrown-together kiddie menu, but a solid burger served with fries, a fruit cup, and a Rice Krispie Treat.

If you’re really hungry go to the historic Delano District for some barbecue at Delano Barbeque Co. It’s huge servings, even on the kid’s menu. And messy, because, well, barbecue.

It’s on the quirky side for its Christmas lights.

Tip: Delano Barbecue is closed on Sundays.

Sign for Delano Barbeque Co. in Wichita, Kansas

Where to get a snack or dessert in Wichita

Old Mill Tasty Shop is a kid-friendly restaurant in downtown Wichita. It's a good place to go in Wichita for ice cream.

For lunch spot or a great place for a treat, is Old Mill Tasty Shop in downtown Wichita. This is a Wichita institution, which opened in the 1930s (the current owners bought it in the 1980s).

Everyone – and I mean everyone – you ask will tell you to get the chicken salad, and I sampled it and it lives up to the hype. If you like chili, try the green chili there.

The soda fountain counter inside Old Mill Tasty Shop in Wichita, Kansas. It's a good restaurant for ice cream.

I went there and got a chocolate shake, made the old-fashioned way behind their old-fashioned soda fountain counter, and loved every drop…that my daughter hadn’t swiped from me while I wasn’t looking.

The hot fudge malt at Old Mill Tasty Shop in Wichita, Kansas

By the way, it’s right by Intrust Bank Arena, so if you have tickets to a show, it’s a great spot for before-show food. Old Mill is open for lunches during the week, and until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tip: Old Mill Tasty Shop is closed on Sundays.

A bulk foods counter inside Nifty Nut House in Wichita, Kansas

Nifty Nut House is the snack place to end all snack places. It got its start in 1937, and over time, it’s evolved into a wholesaler of nuts, dried fruit, snack mixes, gourmet chocolate, sugar-free items, and homemade fudge.

But wait, there’s more.

You can find just about any candy brand you can dream of there, too.

Chocolate-covered nuts counter at Nifty Nut House in Wichita Kansas

It’s a huge store, and one my food hero, Alton Brown, called “a national treasure.”

Tip: Nifty Nut House is also closed on Sundays.

Planning a trip to Wichita, Kansas? Here are some recommended restaurants to try - they're locally-owned and great for families! From quirky donuts to seasonally-sourced "clean" food, as well as an old-fashioned soda fountain, Wichita has a variety of restaurant options. #Wichita #Kansas #Restaurants #FamilyTravel

* * * * *

Want to start planning your own Great Wichita Weekend?

Start with My Wichita Bucket List to get some inspiration, then dive into these for more fun ideas:

The Great Wichita Weekend recap

A Kid-Favorite Destination: Bonanica Wichita

Wichita Home Base: Hampton Inn & Suites

Visiting Exploration Place With Kids

Exploring Tangyika Wildlife Park

For even more ideas for family fun in Wichita, check out my Pinterest Board.

Liked this post?

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Botanica Wichita: A Kid-Favorite Destination

Botanica Wichita has been a game changer for me. I don’t often plan stops at botanical gardens (delicate flowers + trail-blazing kids = no bueno), but this place has opened my eyes: My kids loved it there.

It helps that Botanica Wichita has an amazing children’s garden. Hands down, the best I’ve seen so far.

Botanica Wichita is a botanical garden that's fun for families! Read about all the things to explore there, including the enchanting children's garden. #Wichita #Kansas FamilyTravel

We visited Botanica Wichita on a spring weekend recently. Read about that fun weekend here. Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita.

Downing Children’s Garden

If you’re visiting Botanica Wichita with children, you simply cannot skip Downing Children’s Garden. Every turn on the path revealed something whimsical, delightful, and beautiful.

Playing around inside a monster tree sculpture at Botanica Wichita
The Monster Trees might have been my favorite part of all Botanica Wichita.

There’s a yellow brick road at the entrance leading you inside, because…Kansas.

The Yellow Brick Road leads to the children's garden at Botanica Wichita
Follow the yellow brick road into the Downing Children’s Garden inside Botanica Wichita.

This well-thought out space packs a lot into a little space. A nice touch is that there’s only one way in and out, so if your little explorer takes off, he or she won’t escape the area.

Pretend fossil wall located in the children's garden at Botanica Wichita
There’s more to discover at the Downing Children’s Garden than flowers, including digging opportunities to uncover animal habitats and pretend fossils.

Cool places to explore include a water feature, tree house and monster trees…and that’s just one little part of the children’s garden.

A tree house inside the children's garden at Botanica Wichita
The tree house is right by the Monster Woods, two things you don’t want to miss at Botanica Wichita’s children’s garden.

There’s a musical maze, ant hill, and party barn. Plus, a cute little enchanted spot with some favorite storybook characters. There are all sorts of cute touches that adults enjoy spotting as much as kids.

The Hungry Caterpillar sculpture in the children's garden at Botanica Wichita
A familiar character spotted inside the children’s garden at Botanica Wichita.

If my kids had their way, we would’ve spent at least two hours in the Downing Children’s Garden.

A big red barn and small pond found in the children's garden at Botanica Wichita
We hardly had a chance to explore the farm side of Downing Children’s Garden at Botanica Wichita.

More garden to see

There are 30 themed gardens and exhibits over 18 acres. Don’t skip the seasonal train garden, which wasn’t running while we were there. Near it is the sensory garden, with the coolest natural kaleidoscope.

Looking at plants through a kaleidoscope at Botanica Wichita
Peeking through the nature kaleidoscope at Botanica Wichita.

There’s also a butterfly house and a beautiful pond to explore. Bring some coins so your kids can feed the huge koi.

Feeding fish at the koi pond at Botanica Wichita
I thought the spot where we fed koi fish was the most picturesque and peaceful place inside Botanica Wichita.

Botanica Wichita’s newest garden is the Chinese Friendship Garden. It was enchanting to stroll through. Our guide, Janet, explained the connection between Wichita and its sister city, and how many of the items on display – from scrolls to huge foo dogs – have significant meanings.

Chinese Friendship Garden in Botanica Wichita
The lovely Chinese Friendship Garden was inspired by Wichita’s Sister City in China.

Family-friendly tip: Botanica Wichita allows you to bring food in to have a picnic on the grounds. I saw tables inside the Chinese Friendship Garden and overlooking the koi pond. Both spaces look perfect for a relaxing lunch break.

Timing a visit

Miniature train at Botanica Wichita
The miniature train wasn’t in operation during our early spring visit to Botanica Wichita. It’s runs seasonally.

You’ll see garden beauty any time of year, but Botanica Wichita has some special events that you might want to note of.

Spring – On a few afteroons in March and April, there’s an adorable event called Tulips, Fairies & Forts. Take Flight & Butterfly Festival is a special annual opening of the Butterfly House – the first 100 kids get to release a butterfly in the house. At the end of May, there’s the Family Night Hike.

Summer – Summers are hopping at the children’s garden. In June and July, you’ll find drop-in activities on the weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those are included with admission. There are also Creative Craft activities for an additional fee on Wednesday mornings. Thursdays in June from 5 to 8 p.m. is Family Game Night.

Fall – Bootanica is a Halloween-themed event to look for.

Winter – One of the biggest each year is Illumination during the holiday season. There are lights throughout the gardens, and the train garden has a Polar Express theme to it.

If you go

Botanica Wichita

Where: 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kansas

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday & Thursday until 8 p.m.); and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Cost: Children (ages 3-12), $5; adults (ages 13-61), $7; seniors (ages 62) and military, $6; and children younger than 2, FREE. Admission is $3 all day Thursdays in the summer


* * * * *

Want to start planning your own Great Wichita Weekend?

Great Wichita Weekend Graphic

Start with My Wichita Bucket List to get some inspiration, then dive into these for more fun ideas:

The Great Wichita Weekend recap

Wichita’s Good Eats

Wichita Home Base: Hampton Inn & Suites

Exploration Place

Tangyika Wildlife Park

For even more ideas for family fun in Wichita, check out my Pinterest Board.

Disclosure: Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita, and Botanica Wichita provided complimentary passes so I could tell you about it. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

The Great Wichita Weekend

It’s time to look at Wichita, Kan., in a different way. There’s so much for a family to do in 48 hours, it’s changed how I see the city.

For me, it’s always been a fuzzy memory from childhood when we were there to visit family. But after visiting the city this spring, I was surprised to discover it is a Midwestern cultural destination. Good thing to note: My visit was hosted by Visit Wichita, so I probably did way more in two days than you would with your family.

Fun things to do with kids in Wichita - A family-friendly weekend itinerary of where to go, what to do, and places to eat in Wichita, Kansas #familytravel #Kansas

I made my Wichita bucket list and got to check some, but sadly not all, off it. There’s only so much you can pack into a weekend.

Family-Friendly Attractions

In the heart of Wichita, along the river, is a collection of museums that is a good starting place for your trip. We took the kids, ages 5 and 7, to three of the attractions there: Botanica Wichita; Wichita Art Museum; and Exploration Place.

Playhouse and bridge inside the Botanica Wichita children's garden
Climb, dig and explore at the Downing Children’s Garden at Botanica Wichita.

Botanica Wichita is the botanical gardens, 18 acres of space with a lot to see. Kids will absolutely love the well-designed children’s garden.

Also stop by the koi pond to feed them and go look for the dragon in the Friendship Garden. We thought we’d only be at Botanica Wichita for an hour or so, but could’ve easily spent two hours in the children’s garden alone.

Exploration Place Wichita fossil scanner
Exploration Place in Wichita has a newly reopened space dedicated to Kansas, and it includes this cool fossil scanner for kids.

Exploration Place is Kansas’ premier science center with a cool mix of permanent exhibits and temporary ones. My daughter spent most of her time playing in the three-story castle. Other rooms had a ton of hands-on activities teaching about Kansas history and geology; weather; flight; and more. Plan on spending a few hours here.

Keeper of the Plains Wichita statue at night with flames around the base
Flames shoot up from pots around the base of The Keeper of the Plains nightly (weather permitting).

In that same area, you’ll spot the huge statue Keeper of the Plains. There’s a nightly show, where fire fills the huge caldrons at that base.

It’s an impressive and free show to catch, and it lasts about 15 minutes.

Girl standing over the Dale Chihuly glass sculpture at Wichita Art Museum in Kansas
The most memorable experience at the Wichita Art Museum was taking our shoes off and walking over a Dale Chihuly glass sculpture.

We spent the least amount of time with the kids at the Wichita Art Museum, but it had some excellent experiences for them. We went on Saturday, which means free admission for us. The first stop was the Living Room, a kids space with activities. There’s also a space downstairs for even more activities for kids; since it was Earth Day, we were building with repurposed materials.

For anyone, no matter your age, you’ll want to go upstairs in the museum and walk across the Chihuly sculpture. When else will you get to do something like that?

The playing field at Dart Warz Wichita - the business is now closed
Dart Warz in Wichita is the love child of Nerf guns and paintball.

Outside of downtown, near our hotel, was a unique experience for me: Dart Warz. Think Nerf guns meet paintball. My son liked it, my younger daughter, not so much. It’s definitely more suited for older kids, and parents who’ve maintained their cat-like reflexes (so not me). You pay by the hour to play. UPDATE: Dart Warz is permanently closed.

Head out of town for a very memorable afternoon, especially if your kids love animals. Tanganyika Wildlife Park creates amazing ways to connect with animals through encounters you might not find anywhere else. Expect to spend a full afternoon here.

Giraffe feeding experience at Tanganyika Wildlife Park near Wichita, Kansas
Feeding a giraffe is one of nine animal encounters at Tanganyika Wildlife Park near Wichita.

It’s funny. The things I liked best, like feeding exotic animals the behind-the-scenes to tour to feed and pet a rare opaki, were not my kids’ favorites. They loved feeding the guinea pigs and rabbits. No joke. I think they loved being able to linger in the space among gentle and small creatures.

Kid-Friendly Eats In Wichita

Exterior of Old Mill Tasty Shop in downtown Wichita, which is a working soda fountain
Old Mill Tasty Shop opened in 1932 in downtown Wichita, and its classic soda fountain is still used today.

I love trying local eats on vacation, especially ones that welcome kids. If you want Wichita favorites, you can’t go wrong visiting Old Mill Tasty Shop and Doo Dah Diner in the downtown area. The Old Mill is a working soda fountain, so we ordered shakes, but you may want to plan a lunch stop there to get their famous chicken salad (but expect a line out the door).

Doo Dah Diner seems to be a local favorite. Everyone responded the same way when I mentioned it: “Ooooh, good choice.” It’s a diner, for sure, but there are some quirky offerings on the menu. My friend said you’ve got to try the monkey bread there. Our other stop was for barbecue at Delanao BBQ.

The Donut Whole is a donut shop with creative flavors in Wichita, Kansas
Fun varieties of cake donuts are sold at The Donut Whole in Wichita.

I’m a sucker for a quirky donut shop, and The Donut Whole fits the bill in the best possible way. We went for breakfast and tried some relatively tame varieties, um, maple bacon donut, anyone? But the drive-thru is 24 hours a day, so if for whatever reason, you need a cake donut at 2 in the morning, they’ve got you covered.

Disco Fries served at The Kitchen in Wichita, Kansas
The Disco Fries at The Kitchen in Wichita is Jersey’s answer to poutine, but done using clean foods. Total comfort food.

The Kitchen is a new kid on the scene, featuring American comfort cooked clean – so no nitrates in that ham and cheese Panini. Get the disco fries. You’re welcome.

Interior of The Anchor in Wichita, Kansas
The Anchor is a more grown-up place to enjoy local craft beer and a burger, but there is a kid’s menu, so we stopped there for dinner.

Moms and dads who like local beer with good food, go earlier in the day to The Anchor. They feature 50+ craft beers on tap and great burgers. The Haystack is an open faced burger, and it’s the most popular entrée there for a reason. They have a kid’s menu, so they won’t snub families.

NIfty Nut House candy shop in Wichita, Kansas
Nifty Nut House was called “a national treasure” by Alton Brown. I kinda agree, it is a one-of-a-kind candy shop/whole seller.

Do not leave without getting some snacks at Nifty Nut House. Any huge snack house that gets Alton Brown’s seal of approval is a place to visit.

Where to stay

Lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites in Wichita, Kansas
The dining area for breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites near the Wichita airport. A hot breakfast is available for free every day for guests.

When we first arrived in Wichita, we were told you can get to most places in less than 10 minutes. We found that to be the case staying at the Hampton Inn & Suites at the airport. It’s a sparkly new hotel right off the interstate, and convenient if you’re flying in.

You could certainly find accommodations closer to the downtown. This one fit our needs: Pool, comfy beds, free hot breakfast, and located between our destinations in the downtown area and Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, Kan.

Getting there

Wichita is about 300 miles from Omaha. If traveling with kids, I’ve got two stops for you.

The exterior of the castle-like structure at Coronado Heights in Lindsborg, Kansas
Hiking up a hill at Coronado Heights in Lindsborg, Kan.

If you take Highway 81 and I-135, I recommend pit stops in Hebron, Neb., to see the world’s largest porch swing, and Lindsborg, Kan. Lindsborg’s the cutest small town I’ve seen in ages full of all things Swedish, but a big highlight was visiting Coronado Heights, which has a shelter that my kids swore was a medieval castle. There are short trails near it and picnic areas with great views.

* * * * *

Want to start planning your own Great Wichita Weekend? Start with My Wichita Bucket List to get some inspiration, then dive into these for more fun ideas:

A Kid-Favorite Destination: Botanica Wichita

Wichita’s Good Eats

Wichita Home Base: Hampton Inn & Suites

Visiting Exploration Place With Kids

Exploring Tangyika Wildlife Park

For even more ideas for family fun in Wichita, check out my Pinterest Board:

Disclosure: Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

Liked this post?

We travel a lot & explore our  own backyard. Stay in the know – subscribe to the FREE bi-weekly e-newsletter sharing giveaways, new posts and updates to popular posts like this one! Subscribe here.

My Wichita Bucket List

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.

Wichita, Kansas is a hidden gem in the Midwest! Here's my bucket list of things to do in Wichita, including museums and cultural attractions to visit, not-to-miss restaurants, and unforgettable animal encounters. #Wichita #Kansas #Midwest #FamilyTravel #BucketList

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.

Keeper of the Plains statute at dusk in Wichita
Photo by Merrill Thomas

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.

Family feeding a lemur at Tanganyka Wildlife Park near Wichita, Kansas
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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.

Fossil wall and little tree house in the Children's Garden at Botanica Wichita, the botanical gardens in the city
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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.

The counter at Doo Dah Diner in Wichita, Kansas
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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.

Outdoor table at Stearman Field Bar & Grill near Wichita, Kansas. It's a restaurant at an airfield.
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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.

Wichita Art Museum patrons. The art museum has a kid's space called The Living Room.
Photo courtesy Wichita Art Museum

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.

Old Cowtown actor in front of the saloon. Old Cowtown is in Wichita.
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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

Old Town Wichita at night
Photo courtesy Visit 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

A tiger at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas
Photo courtesy Visit Wichita

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)!

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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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Plan a weekend in Wichita, Kansas with this family-friendly bucket list! Learn about top attractions, popular restaurants, and fun things to do in Wichita. #Kansas #Wichita #Midwest #Vacation #FamilyTravel

Beyond The Cookie: DoubleTree In Overland Park

On a recent trip to Overland Park, Kan., hosted byOverland Park Convention and Visitors Bureau, I discovered an important thing I had to point out: There’s more to the DoubleTree by Hilton than the warm cookies at check-in.

But do you really need anything more than a warm cookie to make a stay nice?

This is what you're greeted with at a DoubleTree.
This is what you’re greeted with at a DoubleTree.

You do.

Read on to find out more about the amenities of this hotel near KC, as well as the attractions and dining options near it.

This was our first visit to Overland Park, Kan., as a family. I may have been here as a child since my mom has a sixth sense for finding malls on vacation, and this city has a rocking mall (Oak Park Mall). 

Anyway. The hotel, you guys want to know about the hotel, right?

The festive lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas.
The festive lobby of the DoubleTree Hotel in Overland Park, Kansas.

We arrived during the holiday season so it was tastefully decorated. We added our own little decoration since our kids were obsessing over the Elf on the Shelf. Lemme tell you, it was a challenge getting Tizbee into our room before the kids could ransack it looking for him.

Our elf, Tizbee, followed us on the trip.
Our elf, Tizbee, followed us on the trip.

The Double Tree Highlights

Eggs: You thought I was going to say cookies. As part of our hosted stay, we got to try the breakfast buffet at Trofi. It had the standard offerings of pastries and breads, fresh fruit, biscuits and gravy, that sort of thing.

But the standout was the eggs made-to-order. Yes, eggs. Before you think I’m strange about pointing out eggs, it must be pointed out just how rare it is to find someone who doesn’t overcook an omelet. The chef manning the station nailed it. Fab breakfast, and wonderful service.

By the way, Trofi also has a bar area and lounge that extends to a patio where you can enjoy bar drinks and snacks in warmer weather. Indoors, it has a water feature you’ll probably overlook but it will attract your kids like moths to a flame. 

Pool: As always, though, the pool was the kids’ favorite feature in the hotel. It’s a bit of a walk through the lobby to get to, but it’s a nice pool surrounded by windows. There’s also a whirlpool and sauna.

The DoubleTree pool, AKA, the best part of the hotel according to my kids. Not pictured are the little whirlpool and sauna.
The DoubleTree pool, AKA, the best part of the hotel according to my kids. Not pictured are the little whirlpool and sauna.

Customer service: Most hotels “get it.” Make guests feel welcomed and they’ll become loyal customers. So I expect it. The cookies are a good start, but what I was impressed by the genuine friendliness of the staff. It was above and beyond the typical friendliness (and not in an off-putting way).

The breakfast staff was exceptionally nice. Way more than you’d expect for early in the morning.

Connecting rooms: Beyond the cookies and eggs, this hotel has a lot to offer families. I discovered my new-favorite hotel convenience: The connecting rooms. My kids are now old enough to be trusted to sleep in a separate room – with the door to our room open.

Why didn't anyone tell me that connecting rooms is the way to go when traveling with kids old enough not to require constant monitoring at night?
Why didn’t anyone tell me that connecting rooms is the way to go when traveling with kids old enough not to require constant monitoring at night?

I could luxuriate in a king size bed while the littles each got their own double. Win win for everyone.

Another bonus for each room: 42-inch flat-screen HDTV in all of them.

What else do they have? The usual goodies you’d expect a mid-range hotel, including a fitness room, racquetball court, a hiking trail and free parking.

Did you know? The DoubleTree by Hilton has the most adorable vacation package I’ve ever heard of: An Oak Park American Girl Store Package. The package includes an overnight stay in a deluxe pink room with pink sheets, bath towels and more. The room package comes with a American Girl Doll travel bed and robe and slippers that cannot be purchased in a store or the catalog. The girls receive cookies and milk for the child and doll in the room and breakfast for four. The hotel can also provide shuttle transportation to Oak Park Mall for shopping and assistance in contacting the store to set up a personal shopper experience. W_RET_F5906_14124_001_HR_WEB

Attractions near this hotel

DoubleTree Hotel is 3 miles from Oak Park Mall, which has an American Girl store, LEGO store, and tons of other shops we don’t have in Omaha, plus a double-decker carousel.

You don't have to pay admission if you just want to see the T-Rex in the lobby of the Museum at Prairiefire.
You don’t have to pay admission if you just want to see the T-Rex in the lobby of the Museum at Prairiefire.

Families are going to want to check out the Museum at Prairiefire, which is 6 miles from the hotel, as well as the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, which is also about 6 miles from the hotel.

It’s a little more than 7 miles to the Ikea from the hotel too…which is an attraction of another kind, right?

You can get to downtown Kansas City on the I-35 in about 20 minutes without traffic (but we’re talking KC here, so plan on the 17-mile drive taking longer).


Restaurants near the hotel

The DoubleTree also happens to be near some of KC’s best barbecue, including Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue and a crowd-pleaser for my family, Joe’s KC Bar-B-Que in Leawood. There’s also Jon Russell’s Kansas City Barbecue. All three are about 4 miles from the hotel.

The hotel staff rounded up a list of local restaurants for me to share with you – given the short stay, I couldn’t try them all.

– Fritz’s Chilli

– Nick And Jake’s

– Stroud’s Overland Park (super kid-friendly)

– Unforked (super kid-friendly)

– Barley’s Brewhaus

– Blue Moose Bar & Grill

– Rock & Brews (kid-friendly)

– Bo Ling’s Chinese Restaurant (kid-friendly)

– Garozzo’s Ristorante

– Johnny Cascone’s Italian Restaurant

– Chosun Korean BBQ

– Mi Ranchito (kid-friendly)

– The Salty Iguana Mexican Restaurant (kid-friendly)

– d’Bronx Deli & Pizzeria

– Papa Kenos Pizzaria (kid-friendly)

– New York Dawg Pound (kid-friendly)

– John’s Space Age Donuts (kid-friendly)

– LaMar’s Donuts (kid-friendly)

– Oz’s Maq Donuts House (kid-friendly)

If you go

DoubleTree Overland Park

Where: 10100 College Boulevard, Overland Park, Kan.



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Inside The LEGO Store

LEGO store inside Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas

My love-hate relationship with LEGOs goes back years. My kids love them,a and they love to leave them on the floor. For me to step on. So I was a little reluctant to take them into The LEGO Store in Overland Park, Kan., because surely that meant more LEGOs for everyone.

Disclaimer: Visit Overland Park hosted my family’s visit to Overland Park, Kan. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Inside the LEGO store at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas.

So, it’s only natural that we had to stop at the LEGO Store during our recent visit to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan. Just try walking past it with young kids. You can’t.

It’s too inviting. And I swear it’s one of the first logos kids learn to spot.

The Mecca for builders out there, the LEGO Store inside Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.

It’s heaven for the builders out there, any age, any ability. And any price point. Want to build the Millennium Falcon? $300 and it’s yours. Want a mini figurine? $5 bucks and change.

The store is divided into sections, with a small area for the preschool crowd.

Building sets for the preschool crowd.

Other areas were more themed – think “Star Wars” and … I don’t know, my son wouldn’t look at any other area, so that’s the only one I really saw.

If you don’t want a whole new set, there’s a great big wall ‘o LEGOs that you can peruse to create your own mini-figures. For $4.99 (plus tax), you can gather the pieces for your very own creature in the Pick a Model experience.

Wall 'o LEGOs at the LEGO store in Kansas

It might just be me not knowing price points, but it seemed cheaper buying sets at this LEGO store than at big box stores.

FYI: The store has a digital screen where you can scan some special boxes for an interactive experience – you’ll see some of the sets come alive on screen. There are also store events you may want to join if you live in the area. Check out their website for more information.

If you go

LEGO store

Where: Oak Park Mall, 11149 W. 95th St., No. 18A, Overland Park, Kan.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (may have extended hours around the holidays)


Want to read more stories about Kansas City with a family-friendly focus? Check these out:

15+ Fun Things To Do During A KC Christmas Getaway

Magic At DreamWorks Ultimate Santa Adventure (Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kan.)

Exploring the Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park, Kan.)

Family Fun At Science City (Kansas City, Mo.)

Crown Center dining & entertainment (Kansas City, Mo.) 

Best Winter Getaway To Kansas City With Kids 

DoubleTree Hotel (Overland Park, Kan.)

Sheraton Kansas City (at Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo.)