From art and culture to sports and nature, Wichita has something to offer for the whole family. Children can play at playgrounds and parks in the summer or explore museums and indoor recreation in the winter. Wichita is home to many unique attractions that will keep kids of all ages entertained all year long. Whether you are in town for the weekend or call Wichita home, this list of family-friendly attractions in Wichita offers eight great ideas for fun things to do with kids in Wichita in any season.
Best Things to Do With Kids in Warm Months
Spring in Wichita is blooming with bright prairie flowers, green grass, and endless adventure for young and old alike. Your family can enjoy some fresh air in the city’s 144 parks or pedal through more than 100 miles of bike paths and lanes around Wichita all summer long. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you can cool off at a local water playground or take a dip in a Wichita city swimming pool.
In addition to these spring and summer staples, Wichita is home to many unique attractions for you and your kids to explore. Here are just four of our favorite family-friendly attractions in Wichita to visit when the weather is warm:
1. Sedgwick County Zoo
One of the most popular outdoor attractions in Wichita, the Sedgwick County Zoo houses more than 3,000 animals of almost 400 different species. Guests of all ages can encounter these creatures up close in immersive exhibits that are organized geographically. From the grasslands of Africa to the jungles of Asia to the forests and plains of North America, the Sedgwick County Zoo provides hours of fun and learning for the whole family.
The Sedgwick County Zoo features several exhibits, events, and programs specifically designed for kids. In the interactive Children’s Farm, kids can pet and feed various farm animals from around the world. The Zoo offers kid-friendly events throughout the year, such as Tot Tuesdays, Sunset Safaris, and Pajama Parties. Families can also find Zoo learning programs for every age group from preschoolers to adults.
These programs and events often feature crafts, stories, snacks, and interactive experiences with unique wildlife creatures. Whether you want to feed a giraffe or observe colorful tropical birds up close, the Sedgwick County Zoo is a perfect family-friendly attraction in Wichita.
The Sedgwick County Zoo is open year-round, and admission is always free for kids under 3 years old. For children under 12 years old, tickets cost just $11.95 for a full day of fun. If you visit the Zoo between November and February, you can get discounted tickets for all guests on Winter Wednesdays. No matter what season you visit the Zoo, you are your family are in for a wild adventure.
2. Great Plains Nature Center
Located just outside of downtown Wichita, the Great Plains Nature Center offers numerous educational activities and programs for children of all ages. In the indoor Koch Habitat Hall, kids can roam 3,500 square feet of habitat displays and aquariums to learn about wildlife in the Great Plains Region. Koch Habitat Hall even features a hands-on area with interactive learning for children.
Outside at the Great Plains Nature Center, guests can walk through 282 acres of prairies, wetlands, wildflowers, woods, and lakes in Chisholm Creek Park. Guests can spot herons, hawks, turtles, snakes, white-tailed deer, and many other native Kansas species as they wander the park’s 2.5 miles of paved trails. Chisholm Creek Park even offers designated fishing areas where your kids can cast a line, as well as picnic tables, charcoal grills, and restroom facilities.
The Great Plains Nature Center holds numerous free and low-cost public programs for children and adults throughout the year. Kids can hear stories about nature during Story Time or experience the outdoors for themselves during Adventure Time. Children can also create crafts with a natural theme every Wednesday during the Naturally Crafty program. If your child really loves nature, you can even hold their birthday party at the Great Plains Nature Center!
3. Exploration Place
Exploration Place is the premier science and discovery center in Kansas. Complete with permanent displays, traveling exhibits, special events, live science shows, and movies in the Dome Theater, Exploration Place is the perfect place for a full day’s outing with the whole family.
Kids can learn about the history of Kansas at Kansas in Miniature exhibit or discover the plants, animals, land, water, and weather of Kansas at the Explore Kansas exhibit. For an even more interactive experience, visitors can design and build their own wooden structure in the KEVA exhibit or get a behind-the-scenes look at aviation in Wichita with hands-on activities in the Design Build Fly exhibit. These are just a few of the thrilling exhibits for kids and adults at Exploration Place.
Exploration Place also hosts many kid-friendly events throughout the year, from strange science activities to creative demonstrations and lessons in popular exhibits. On the third Tuesday of every month, children ages 2 to 5 can also participate in TOT Tuesday activities, which are included in the admission fee for Exploration Place. For ongoing summertime fun, Exploration Place also hosts Discovery Camps for children entering first to fifth grade, as well as Preschool Summer Camps for younger scientists and Tinker Tech Summer Camps for older kids.
Exploration Place offers fun and excitement any time of year, but when you visit in warmer months, you can also play MiniGolf and investigate Exploration Park. Play a round of miniature golf on Exploration Place’s 18-hole course along the Arkansas River or climb on community-built structures in the park. Children can also play in a giant outdoor sandbox or on the park’s modern playground. Exploration Park is always free, and MiniGolf is included with admission to Exploration Place.
Located in the heart of Wichita, these colorful community gardens are blooming with fun and education all year long. Botanica features various unique gardens with sculptures, fountains, ponds, flowers, trees, and more. Children can observe butterflies up close in the Butterfly House and Butterfly Garden. In the Downing Children’s Garden, kids can be immersed in an interactive environment with a giant treehouse, musical maze, and much more. The Gene E. Spear Railroad Garden also features various toy trains running through the beautifully landscaped hillside.
Botanica also hosts Garden Story Time every Thursday in their Children’s Library. Kids of all ages can listen to interactive stories about nature with rhymes, music, and movement to engage the senses. During the summer, families can visit the Downing Children’s Garden for Summer Drop-In activities every weekday. Kids will create a craft to take home and participate in a fun outdoor activity. Both Garden Story Time and Summer Drop-In are included with admission to Botanica.
Best Things to Do With Kids in Cold Months
When the weather gets colder and snow blankets the ground, the fun doesn’t have to end in Wichita. Families can enjoy many exciting indoor family-friendly attractions, including museums, sports centers, entertainment centers, concert halls, movie theaters, and more. Here are four more fun things to do with kids in Wichita that will keep you warm and having fun throughout the fall and winter:
1. Wichita Art Museum
Open year-round and full of exciting activities, the Wichita Art Museum (WAM) is the perfect place to spend a rainy or snowy day with your kids. The WAM features more than 8,000 objects in its permanent collection that is centered on the heritage and art of the Great Plains. Rotating exhibitions at the WAM include renowned artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Will Barnet, and Dorothea Lange.
The Wichita Art Museum also features an interactive gallery called The Living Room where young art enthusiasts can play, learn, and create their own art. Activities and projects in The Living Room are always connected to the museum’s current exhibitions to provide an inclusive experience for the whole family. On the fourth Saturday of each month, the WAM hosts a free Family ArtVenture where families can create art projects together all afternoon. Kids ages 3 to 5 can also enjoy the WAM’s monthly Art Start program with themed lessons centered on works of art in the galleries.
The Wichita Art Museum is always free on Saturdays, and admission is free for children under 5 years old. For kids under 17 years old, admission is just $3.
2. Museum of World Treasures
If you have a history or science buff in the family, the Museum of World Treasures is sure to provide a day of endless thrills. Kids can walk among dinosaurs in the Fossil Gallery or learn about prehistoric sea creatures that once lived in oceans covering the Great Plains. Become immersed in the culture of ancient civilizations or view artifacts from major global wars. The Museum of World Treasures has three stories of fascinating exhibits for children and adults of all ages to explore.
The Museum of World Treasures also hosts fun kid-friendly events and group activities for all age levels, including lessons, crafts, stories, and other activities. Families can also sign up for scavenger hunts in the museum to learn about artifacts and hunt down treasures for the chance to win a prize.
For even more challenge, try a Museum Escape at the Museum of World Treasures. Your family can test your skills with four quizzes, puzzles, and other challenges as you attempt to escape an exhibit. Museum Escape activities are included with admission to the Museum of World Treasures, making them a great addition to an afternoon at the museum.
The Museum of World Treasures is free for children under 4 years old and just $7.95 for kids under 12 years old. Families can also save by purchasing a family day pass.
3. The Arcade
A great cold weather attraction for young gamers and kids-at-heart, The Arcade is a massive collection of retro arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s. Featuring everything from Pac-Man and Tetris to Tekken and Tron, The Arcade is sure to have that favorite arcade game you remember from childhood. Kids can also play retro games from franchises they still recognize today, like Donkey Kong, Mortal Kombat, Star Wars, and X-Men. In addition to video games, The Arcade also offers more than a dozen retro pinball machines, including Star Trek, Austin Powers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
But perhaps the best part of The Arcade is that all arcade games are on free play with no tokens required. After paying the admission fee of $8 for kids under 11 years old or $10 for adults, you can play for all afternoon from open to close. However, you will still want to bring a few quarters to try your hand at the vintage pinball machines that cost 50 cents per play. Located just around the corner from the Museum of World Treasures, The Arcade is a perfect addition to a winter day in downtown Wichita.
4. The Alley
Another family-friendly attraction for cold weather fun in Wichita is The Alley. This indoor entertainment center has bowling, go-karts, arcade games, escape rooms, a laser maze, and more. Reserve a lane for an afternoon of classic bowling or race against your family members on The Alley’s indoor go-kart course.
At Escapology, your family can solve puzzles and find clues to save the world from nuclear war or solve a murder mystery in one of The Alley’s five creative escape rooms. At Hologate, challenge your kids to a virtual reality snowball fight or fend off robots and drones to protect a futuristic base camp.
Although The Alley may have slightly higher pricing for activities than other winter attractions in Wichita, it is worth it for the hours of fun and entertainment your kids will enjoy. You can also find special deals when you choose a family value package or visit on discounted days.
Enjoy a Family-Friendly Meal at Chisholm’s
When you are done adventuring through the city, take your kids to a family-friendly restaurant in Wichita for a delicious end to the day. With a broad menu of hearty dishes and a welcoming atmosphere, Chisholm’s American Beef and Ale House is the perfect place for a meal out with the whole family. Our open seating area lets us accommodate groups of all sizes, so you can bring all of your friends and family members along. The relaxed environment with attentive service is perfect for family-friendly dining in Wichita.
Whether you stop by for lunch or enjoy a family dinner, the menu at Chisholm’s has something for everyone. You’ll find familiar Midwest comfort food with a modern twist to thrill the most sophisticated tastes. Our shareable entrees make it easy to try a taste of everything as you pass dishes around the table for a homestyle meal. The open-air kitchen at Chisholm’s even provides an element of entertainment where kids can watch our professional chefs create delicious dishes right before their eyes.
If you are looking for a kid-friendly and fun place to eat in Wichita, make a reservation at Chisholm’s today.