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Wichita, Kansas
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South Hutchinson, Kansas
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Wichita, Kansas
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El Dorado, Kansas

Wichita Area

Even the Wizard of Oz would have to agree that Wichita, Kansas, has evolved into the perfect Emerald City. With a contemporary, pedestrian-friendly downtown, the city has a magnetic personality, drawing several institutions of higher learning to set up shop within its borders, along with innovative museums and an art scene that mixes Midwestern minimalism with a brash color palette. Along with popular tourist destinations, several top-rated campgrounds and RV parks in Wichita makes travelers feel welcome all year round.

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Visit Wichita

Wipe Out

Treat the family to a cool summer day at Splash Aqua Park, a series of inflatable slides and challenges connected together and floating in a refreshing lake. The water walk obstacle course will make kids and adults feel like contestants from the popular TV show, “Wipeout.” Or visit Rock River Rapids in nearby Derby to see a treehouse-themed water park with water slides, wading pools and spray features.

Wildlife, Sport and Space

Have a unique encounter in the wild at Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Whether it’s swimming with penguins or moving slowly with a sloth, this exotic experience will be high on any animal lover’s list of adventures. There are pygmy hippos to be fed, camels to ride and ring-tailed lemurs just waiting to be petted. The budding zoologist in the family will relish the chance to interact with animals.

Beauty on the Plains

The neighborhoods of Old Town, Delano and South Commerce Street are home to the town’s creative community. As part of the Final Friday Gallery Crawl event, visitors can tour galleries and museums, which are open free to the public. Lovers of green things should visit Botanica, an 18-acre wonderland of gardens that feature more than 4,000 species of plant life from around the world. Highlights include 50,000 tulip bulbs.

Kansas Cosmos

With a planetarium, live rocket demonstration and a digital theater on-site, it is easy to imagine a journey from the earth to the moon at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center & Space Museum in nearby Hutchinson. The museum has the largest combined collection of American and Russian space artifacts in the world. Summer camps are offered for both kids and adults. Competitions occur throughout the year, with winners earning a space at Cosmosphere Camp. Astronaut wannabees will love you to the moon and back after visiting this center.

Wichita Takes Wing

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. Exhibits show how Wichita rose to become “Air Capital of the World,” responsible for producing half of the planet’s general aviation airplanes.

Keeper of the Plains

Towering over the city, the 44-foot-tall sculpture known as Keeper of the Plains was created in 1974 by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin. It stands on a 30-foot pedestal at the confluence of the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas rivers, honoring the various tribes that made the area home. At night, the Ring of Fire at the base of the sculpture illuminates the statue in dramatic light. Visit this imposing artwork and peruse exhibits at Mid-America All-Indian Center next door.

Exploring Wichita

Located on the Arkansas River, Exploration Place exists to further students’ understanding of science through hands-on interactive activities. New traveling exhibits arriving quarterly. Past favorites like “Top Secret: License to Spy” and “The Science of Ripley’s Believe It or Not” have striven to inspire a deeper interest in science through creative and fun experiences for people of all ages. It may just awaken a new interest in science.

Old Town Square at night with neon lights

Visit Wichita

That’s a Wrap

Held in mid-October, the Tallgrass Film Festival was created by Wichita native Tim Gruver as a way to share his love of filmmaking. These days, the fest is a five-day community affair with around 200 films making their debut. Be one of the first to critique these new movies before they hit the big screen.

Wichita’s Past

The Wichita area has been inhabited since 3000 B.C. by native tribes, but it wasn’t until Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s 1541 entry into the region that a European presence touched the area. By the time Kansas became a state in 1861, the Civil War had begun, and Jesse Chisholm built a trading post in the area. He supplied cowboys and ranchers running cattle from Texas to the railroads in Kansas on what became known as the Chisholm Trail. The settlement grew, and in 1870, the town of Wichita was formally incorporated. Oil was discovered in Wichita in 1915, and with it an economic boom to the region. Learn more about this compelling past at the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum.

Mover and Shaker

Wichita also gave rise to several fast food franchises in recent years, and the city has become a hub for medical research and health care. It remains a leader in aircraft manufacturing and its continuous drive for improvement has created one of the most picturesque and contemporary downtown districts in the Midwest. Today even Dorothy and Toto wouldn’t recognize this jewel in the Sunflower State.

Wild Around Wichita

Wichita is a great launching pad for exploring surrounding parks and grassland. Head south to the rugged Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.

For More Information

Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau

800-288-9424

www.visitwichita.com

Kansas Office of Tourism & Travel

785-296-2009

www.travelks.com