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Wichita, Kansas
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Wichita Area

Fly high in an eclectic Heartland city

With so much to explore in the Midwestern metropolis of Wichita, you’ll never have to worry about running out of things to do. You can dive deep into history, explore the great outdoors or construct a contemporary adventure through arts and culture at any time of the year. Wichita offers a wide menu of top-notch attractions while holding on to its middle America, small-town feel.

Wichita’s Early Inhabitants

Kansas’s Native American heritage is stunningly displayed in the form of Keeper of the Plains. This 44-foot-tall sculpture of an Indian chief towers over the convergence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers near the center of town. Completed in 1974, the piece was designed by artist Blackbear Bosin. The plaza that surrounds the statue features walk-up displays that tell the story of tribes that inhabited the region. Two suspended footbridges allow people to cross from the north and south river banks to the base of the Keeper.

Learn more about the history of Native people who populated modern-day Wichita at the Mid-America All-Indian Center. The center exhibits tribal artifacts and showcases educational presentations for small and large groups. The museum is the centerpiece of this destination, housing the work of Native American artists alongside detailed displays that tell the moving, sometimes heartbreaking, story of Native American life.

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Get into the Outdoors

Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the natural surroundings at Great Plains Nature Center. This city-managed park is home to multiple native species of plants and wildlife and is a richly diverse snapshot of Great Plains ecology. The Koch Habitat Hall shares the story in illustrations and exhibits of the prairie as it once looked, as well as a 2,200-gallon aquarium and a hands-on learning area. The adjacent observatory gives guests a view of the wetlands in Chisholm Creek Park, including the occasional winged visitors who come to enjoy feeders and plants.

The nature center welcomes fishing enthusiasts for a day of catch and release at Chisholm Island Pond, where bluegill, crappie, catfish and bass are stocked. If you’re eager to take home a prize, drop a line in one of seven lakes at Sedgwick County Park. Trout fishing requires a permit, but bass and channel catfish are also plentiful here.

Just a short drive west of Wichita will take you to the wilds of Africa — or at least to the exotic creatures that roam savannas in Zambia and other far-flung places. Tanganyika Wildlife Park is home to giraffes, kangaroos, big cats and more, many of which can be seen up close. Go behind the scenes with penguins, scratch the back of a pot-bellied pig or toss a few handfuls of grain to a pair of rhinos.

One of the most peaceful spots in town, Botanica, The Wichita Gardens features almost 18 acres of beautiful botanical gardens including a huge array of beautiful plants, sculptures and fountains. Highlights include the gorgeous Garden on the Rocks, which features perennials and shrubs sharing ground space with rock fountains and man-made formations.

False Fronts and Frank Lloyd Wright

Resting at the terminus of the Chisholm Trail, Wichita grew into a hub of the cattle trade in the 1860s-70s. The Old Cowtown Museum on the banks of the Arkansas River takes visitors back to the dusty frontier days when outlaws and roustabouts kept law officers busy. Nearly 30 of the museum’s historic buildings are original structures, relocated to the site from Wichita and surrounding areas. The museum features a print shop, a blacksmith’s forge, a saloon and a progressive farm.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s modern, groundbreaking and inspirational architecture is a national treasure, and Wichita plays a role in this legacy with the historic Allen House. One of the last pieces of Wright’s Prairie home collection of structures, this house welcomes visitors for tours by appointment. Architects who have visited the house have declared the living room “one of the great rooms of the 20th century” because of its brilliantly designed furniture and décor.

Stroll through nostalgic Americana in Old Town Wichita. The streets are lined by brick warehouses that date to the 1800s. These restored structures house more than 100 businesses, including galleries, restaurants, shops and theaters.

Iconic structures in Old Town include the Keen Kutter Building, constructed in 1906 and now home to a hotel, and the 1908 Hockaday Paint Company Building, which currently operates as a brewpub. While you’re in Old Town, sniff out a spot to dine on some Kansas-style barbecue, or take in dinner and a movie at the Warren Old Town Theatre & Grille.

Johansen Krause

Peer into the Past

Lovers of history and its treasures will dig a trip to the Museum of World Treasures, where exhibits showcase everything from a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to Old West memorabilia and artifacts. More thought-provoking works of historical and contemporary origins are found at the Wichita Art Museum. Gaze upon rotating exhibits displayed alongside permanent works ranging from American West artist Charles Russell to pre-Columbian art and glass pieces spanning three centuries.

Aviation has been at the heart of Kansas industry for more than a century, and Wichita is the proud home of the Kansas Aviation Museum. The storehouse of air-travel history pays tribute to early industry pioneers of airplane design and manufacturing, including Clyde Cessna, whose groundbreaking Comet model was built in Wichita. The museum is housed in an Art Deco-style former municipal airport terminal near McConnell Air Force Base.

For More Information

Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau

316-265-2800

http://www.visitwichita.com

Kansas Tourism Office

785-296-2009

www.travelks.com