Wichita is the biggest city in Kansas and has tons of fun things to do and see for your trip. Dorothy from Wizard of Oz wanted to go back to Kansas and after visiting you will understand why. The Arkansas River borders that large city. It gives Wichita a peaceful and serene feeling as the wide river gently flows by it. The city had an extensive history and started out in the 1860s as a trading post along the historic Chisholm Trail. The trading post only grew over time. And as cattle herders drove their cattle from Texas to the railroads, it erased the nickname of “Cowtown”. It has museums, parks, theaters and is home to the prestigious Wichita State University. Come and experience Wichita, Kansas and see why Dorothy wanted to go back so badly.
The Keeper of the Plains
If you ask any resident about the “Keeper of the Plains,” they will exactly know what you’re talking about. To visitors, however, the name and the iconic statue of the city is relatively unknown. If you’re near the city, the Keeper of the Plains is a must-see item. It is a giant, 44-foot tall statue placed on the Arkansas River of a Native American. Which are a tribute to the extensive history the Native Americans had in the state and the city itself?
Along the base of the statue, there are more displays about the local tribes of the area. Lights illuminate the steel statue at night, for an impressive display. There are walking paths, bicycling areas, a beautiful bridge and even a mini golf course in the area. The statue and walking areas, as well as the displays, are free to the public. The Keeper of the Plains is an iconic piece of the city and its incredible history and is a must-see while you are here.
The Old Cowtown Museum
The Old Cowtown Museum isn’t your average museum. It is an open-air type museum, with displays and interactive exhibits and things to do sprawling over 23 acres worth of entertainment and historical things to see and experience. It recreates a Great Plains town from the 19th century, making you feel like you’ve stepped into the past. Watch a shootout or see a show that involves actors dressed in authentic period wear. Both kids and adults love the shootouts, and the shows so don’t miss them!
The town has a general store, barber, jailhouse, homestead, cabin, print shop, Empire Hall, a church and a salon just to name a few of the buildings in the live museum. Watch out for the dancing saloon girls and see people milling around in their costumes from the past and see all the antique furniture and building facades that pay tribute to the 1800s. People love this and claim it is one of their favorite attractions to see in the big city. It is a great place for kids too, and they can have fun while learning.
Wichita Old Town Provides Dining, Shopping, and Drinks
Old Town is full of one-way streets and the opportunity to walk to everything you need. This area is full of older buildings that have been renovated and repurposed to support restaurants and shopping vendors. There are free trolleys that run up and down the area for your convenience, and there is plenty of public parking available. You can find just about anything here from food to plants, bars, and theaters. There are also opportunities for shopping, places to get fresh bread. Frequently in the warmer months in the mornings, there is live music as you walk around to see what the area has to offer. The holidays also offer special events and sometimes music in Old Town so don’t miss out. Old Town has everything you need in one place. Have a great meal, catch a movie, or shop to your heart’s desire.
Kansas Aviation Museum
Wichita is also known as the “Air Capital,” and this museum shows us why. It is large, well organized and has excellent displays. See some old airplanes and real aircraft as well as many exhibits. There is a control tower with views of the airbase, and there are simulators that are both mechanical and computer oriented to see. This is also an excellent museum with beautiful things to see and do. The Kansas Aviation Museum is also a great place to bring your kids. History buffs will be delighted, and this is a great choice of entertainment for all if you’re visiting the state.
Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center is Wichita’s way of showing off to residents and visitors. There are a museum and beautiful nature trails to see, and best of all, it is free! There is no charge for access to the park area and paved trails or the beautiful museum complete with bookstore and exhibits. This place area has lovely natural landscaping and scenery in the middle of an urban area and is a nice break from the pavement of the city. Purchase some turtle feed pellets and feed the turtles from the dock. Don’t forget your camera because there is a good chance you will see some wildlife. This place is perfect for a family outing or just to see the beauty of the state of Kansas and what it has to offer.
Sedgwick County Zoo
While visiting a zoo may not be at the top of your agenda when visiting a new place. This zoo is an exception. Some people claim that this is the best zoo they have ever been to and consider it one of the best attractions in Wichita. Besides, this zoo is always adding new exhibits and improving the ones they already have. The landscaping is perfect and beautiful, and the lions and tigers exhibit has rocks by the display window that are heated or cooled to draw the animals nearer.
It is a gigantic zoo, and there is a new tropical exhibit that is a must-see. The Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley is the new elephant enclosure. This enclosure is the third largest habitat in the country. It has more than 5 acres of outdoor space, and it also has the largest elephant pool in the country at 550,000 gallons. The zoo does also its best to simulate the environment for each animal, making them seem authentic and pleasant for the happy animals. The Sedgwick County Zoo is one of the best zoos you will ever see, so don’t miss out!
Be Like Dorothy, Head to Kansas
Dorothy was right, Kansas is a fantastic place to visit, especially Wichita! The history of “Cowtown” is neat to see and experience, particularly at the Old Cowtown Museum. The Keeper of the Plains pays tribute to the past and present local Native American Tribes that grew up on the plains and helped develop what was once a trading post into the biggest city in the state. Wichita Kansas is fun, family-friendly and a great place to see and learn about the Great Plains.