In the heart of Kansas sits Wichita. It is the 48th largest city in the United States, which is surprising since everyone felt like your neighbor. When we arrived and had some time to delve into the culture, we had conversations about living in Wichita. Why wouldn’t you want to move here?
This city features the lure of the typical big city because of the vast number of industry jobs like aviation and manufacturing. Wichita, Kansas is a mecca for opportunity we noticed the commitment to higher education it seemed like there was a school or university every 30 miles or so.
There is also an immersive culture that draws you in and lingers long after your journey. There are so many places to connect with nature from the parks, waterways, and the zoo. The food scene is as diverse and eclectic as the people. It is a fantastic representation of simple, rustic, bold, blissful, and sometimes complicated layers of flavors for a culinary experience that you would not expect in a place like Wichita Kansas. I say that with love because I always think a northern city like New York house all the talented chefs but Kansas proved me wrong and I enjoyed devouring every bite. Make sure to check out all the amazing Wichita restaurants that you should try!
If it wasn’t enough that the city is painted with a zest for life with the broadest of strokes, but everyone we met was pleasant. I wasn’t the only one who was colored in “happiness” my kids were so pleased with the extraordinary amount of family activities.
Best Things to Do in Wichita, Kansas
The Great Plains Nature Center is a cooperative project between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism, City of Wichita and Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center.
The day started with rain we weren’t going to let that ruin our plans. We decided that we would still visit the Great Plains Nature Center. It turned into a wonderful idea; there was a multitude of things to do in the center. The center is donation based and there is also free parking available. There are living and nonliving exhibits. The kids really enjoyed learning about the different animals that are native to Kansas.
We were thrilled when the rain cleared up, and we took a nice walk on the paths. We saw turtles and a wild turkey. I would have really enjoyed having this center when my kids were little because there is so much to see and do. The paths aren’t long, so it would have provided a nice way for my children to get some fresh air and exercise. They are older now, and they still enjoyed the walk. I enjoyed taking a moment with the love of my lifetime as we stopped and exhaled admiring the best parts of our life running around chasing one another and butterflies.
In Wichita, we were hosted at the Staybridge Suites. Our room featured two queen beds with the softest sheet. I folded myself into them for a pleasant sleep. We loved having the kitchenette in our room and the access to a free laundry room. It was fantastic to use the laundry on our trip because my kids wear nine outfits a day and they always have dirty clothes no matter what methodology I implement to have a clean outfit each day. The hotel features a breakfast bar that was filled with delectable goodies and during the week there are social one night. When we were there, they had a local restaurant cater dinner.
The Staybridge Suites brings you the comforts of home no matter how far away from home you are. They foster interaction with the other guests. You can catch a movie in their theater, play in their outdoor pool, or meet someone new at happy hour. The hotel we stayed at was in walking distance of some wonderful places to eat. We love our Staybridge Suite stay, from the staff to the room it was a home run.
Wichita had some what I like to call art in places. They make sure that you are reminded of the culture in your daily lives. It is who we are because of where we have come from. The Keeper of the Plains Plaza is no exception.
The Keeper of the Plains Plaza is where the Big and Little Arkansas river merge. It was a spectacular display. The American Indian Sculpture was created by the Native American Artist Blackbear Bosin. It was breathtaking, powerful, still, serene, peaceful and dominant all at the same time. It represents the struggle in all of us to not only exist but to create something while we are on Earth.
Sedgwick County Zoo not only boost the largest elephant exhibit but the amount of animals at the 7th largest zoo kept everyone engaged. The poem Lion, Tigers, Bears, oh my rumbled through my mind as my kids feet pounded in an excited jaunt from one animal to the next.
The Sedgwick Zoo does an exceptional job of getting the people as close to the animals as possible. I was happy to learn that the zoo rotates the animals in and out of their viewing areas to make sure everyone is comfortable and taken care of. I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a wolf and her twin cubs. They were so cute. We also spent a great deal of time chasing the tiger that ran from one portion of his kingdom to another while the kids followed. The kids also like the playful otter.
The zoo can be an all-day experience with a multitude of things to see and do. I can imagine if you bought a pass and you just went to one area each visit you could please even those with the shortest attention spans. I found it easy to keep my teen engaged, which never happens and my husband and I even learned a lot about animals while we were there. It is a great family activity and I would go again if I lived in Wichita I would make it part of our monthly routine.
This is an excellent suggestion for something else to do in Kansas the rain cancelled our plans and we are still really upset about that. There is always another time! We hope to get on a lake in Kansas and paddleboard around.
Botanica Wichita is an absolute jewel. They had a lego exhibit while we were there and the kids had an incredible time. The children spent their time trying to find each lego sculpture while my husband and I enjoyed holding hands and walking through the different paths.
The garden also features a children’s area and treehouse built out of their dreams. The smell, lush gardens, and horticultural library make this a must stop. I could sit all day and read in their gardens. I think my happy places is a good book in the middle of flowers.
The Nifty Nut House was established in 1937.
The Nifty Nut House is a third-generation owned business, and you can tell that they have many regulars.
They offer many varieties of nuts, candy, and gum. All nuts are roasted fresh daily in the store. They also have a huge selection of milk and dark chocolate treats, gummies, dried fruits, mints, ballgum, licorice, and many sugar free items. You walk up to the counter and you can order as little or as much of the items in the case that you want.
The Nifty Nut House was an awesome experience. It was very interesting to look at the variety of candy and very interesting flavors they offer. What was special about the Nifty Nut House was that they sold many treats that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. My favorite treat was the Krispy Kreme jelly beans. Another reason Nifty Nut House was super cool because they had bags and dispensers full of delicious taffy and jellybeans.
~ Written by my daughter
- Open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is located in the lake at the Crossgate District near I-235 & Seneca Street in Wichita.
- This unique water park experience brings a series of inflatable slides, runways, jumping pillows, trampolines, bouncers, swings, jumps, ladders and even stand-up paddleboards to a 27-acre lake.
- There is a great variety of different shapes, sizes, and functions, making the activity exciting and entertaining for everyone, ages 5 and up.
- Even if you don’t want to participate in the splash park, there is plenty of room to relax near the water and shaded areas as well.
- After spending time in Australia immersed in the water-skiing scene with his wife, Cole Kalkbrenner got familiar with the splash park concept. As everything fell into place, the Kalkbrenners moved to Wichita with an idea, and Splash Aqua Park was born.
- The park not only brings an exciting new concept to Wichita for locals and visitors alike, it will get people outside and active – it’s definitely a work out!
- One-hour jump sessions are $15, or two whole hours for $25.
Splash Aqua Park is an affordable way to have a fun and enjoyable experience. Whether it’s your first time or you’re an expert you’re bound to have fun at Splash Aqua Park.
Splash Aqua Park is a combination of trampolines, slides, swings and much more. This park is located in the middle of a 27-acre lake. Even if you don’t want to participate, there is plenty of room to relax near the water. Each station at the park comes with a different experience. For example, my siblings and I spent most of our time at the swing over water it was the biggest swing I had ever seen. This park was built by a Cole Kalbrenner. He was a professional waterskier in Australia. He came over to Wichita with an idea and Splash Aqua Park wad born. Splash Aqua Park provided the most fun I had in Wichita and I highly recommend it.
~ Written by my son
I am not sure why or when I became interested in architecture. I do know I spend a great deal of time watching design shows and looking on the internet at home that we will never own. I think it is because a home tells a story and like a good book, each is filled with complex characters.
The Allen house was no exception, and we were lucky to have been given a tour. You can arrange a tour by booking one on their website. I highly suggest you do this. You can’t experience the home’s story without the informative guide. Frank Lloyd Wright was full of rules when it came to owning one of his homes from what type of materials could be used, how the rooms had to be used, even the inclusion of a small hallway that leads you to a great room. The decor was also a part of the house that was hand-selected by Mr. Wright well until he met Mrs. Allen. She had her own ideas on how she wanted her home to function and be decorated. It appears Mr. Wright did indeed bend to her way of thinking and allowed her some freedom through compromise. I am not going to tell you what he allowed you need to take the tour. I will tell you that when you walk into the Allen house you walk back in time. You will also be amazed at how ahead of his time Mr. Wright was in his design. The home changed ownership a couple of time and after Mrs. Allen sold it, she attempted to buy it back. That is understandable from its courtyard to its tea room, study, formal entrance, and the multiple bathrooms it was and is a house to be desired.
They say, “A house is just beams, but a home is built with love.”
Plan your trip to Kansas, check out what we did during our trip