When I’m in need of a weekend getaway with the family, my mind usually wanders to Kansas City or Dallas, the larger cities that are closest to home. With them, there seems to be an unlimited amount of entertainment, food, and lodging to be found, however, both are a 4+ hour drive away. My kids – bless them – just don’t do well unless we are going across town. And even then, it’s a toss up.
Spring Break was coming up, we were in desperate need for a change of scenery, and we got a chance to go visit Wichita, Kansas. I was really excited because we’ve only driven through on I-35 or visited a friend’s home for a few hours. We had never ventured into Old Town or knew about the Museum of World Treasures. Not only was it a short 2 hour trip, but we had a full schedule. We weren’t just going to sit around and wonder what there was to do, we were going to experience Wichita!
Traveling to Wichita was an easy drive. A straight shot north on I-35, and even with the never-ending construction, we made it there in 2 hours. That’s a one movie trip or a single nap. We didn’t have any cranky kids on our travels.
Places to Stay
Upon arriving, we checked in at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, which is newly renovated. It has a pool, two hot tubs, a 24-hour workout facility, Starbucks and other items. It also has a really great view of the downtown area – the river, the arena and a birds-eye view of Old Town and Delano. And there are plenty of other options in the downtown Wichita area!
Places to Visit
We visited quite a few of the local hot spots that merge family fun and activities together! One of the places we enjoyed the most was Exploration Place, Kansas’ premier science center which is a hands on museum that teaches kids about aviation, life in Kansas, building, and a bonus: playing in a life-sized castle! There are currently two visiting exhibits, Discover the Ice Age and Voyage to Vietnam, with a Hall of Heroes coming in May, 2017.
Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex is a fantastic family activity. We harnessed up and after our safety lessons and equipment checks, we were able to let the kids safely climb all over the place. How many times do I always have to tell my kids to stop climbing all over? Well, here they could just go. It does require patience and a few falls that might make your heart skip a beat, but we definitely would have stayed longer if we could! This is perfect for kids, but also for parents!
Kids seem to have unlimited energy, so an optimal place to take them to get more of their wiggles out is Aviate Trampoline Park! This is a huge complex within Wichita Sports Forum with wall-to-wall trampolines, an obstacle course, dodge ball area, and foam pits to jump in. Also a great place for parents to enjoy with their kids, or sit on their many couches to observe.
Wichita also has a great Art Museum. On Saturdays, admission is always free, so it’s a great time to bring the entire family. There are lots of fantastic exhibits, but don’t miss the Dale Chihuly glass bridge and The Living Room, which is a very kid-friendly space.
However, even with those really fun museums and kid spaces, the must not miss activity in Wichita is the lighting of the Keeper of the Plains. As a family, we really enjoyed walking around the park area that is right on the river, and to watch in awe as the sun set and fires in front of the sculpture were simultaneously lit. This happens every night at 7 pm (winter) or 9 pm (summer), weather permitting.
Places to Eat
Wichita has some very delicious places to eat; we definitely did not go hungry. When we travel, we like to eat at different local spots instead of visiting places we could find in our hometown. It’s all about the local atmosphere!
The Egg Crate Cafe is a little place that is very popular! We hit the time just right where we were able to grab a table. The kids enjoyed their favorites while us parents got to have a delicious and filling breakfast. Very kid friendly.
The Donut Whole is a donut lovers dream. So many different kinds of donuts – over 40 varieties. Not to mention their options for coffee. Of course we got donuts with all the sprinkles, but if there is something you want to branch out on, odds are they have it! It’s an eclectic shop, but great place to grab a Sunday donut.
The Old Mill Tasty Shop also has a great atmosphere with it’s old time soda fountain in downtown Wichita. This has been in the community since 1932! We indulged in our lunch, but definitely saved room for a milkshake. It. Was. Delicious.
Delano BBQ is a perfect spot for dinner. The staff is so friendly! BBQ is always a splendid way to end the day, and it did not disappoint. Not to mention their fried okra and homemade ranch.
Churn and Burn can’t be missed for smooth ice cream. It is locally sourced and use all-natural ingredients. You can order ready-to-serve ice cream, or have them create a custom cup for you. Ingredients are then mixed, processed and frozen within two minutes with the use of Liquid Nitrogen.
Wichita will definitely keep you busy, if you know the right places to look! We had a lot of family fun and adventures that our kids won’t soon forget. There is just something about getting out of town, even if it is just a few hours away, that can completely recharge you and your family! Wichita can be that place for you!
If you’d like to connect with Visit Wichita to get even more ideas on what to do while visiting, please connect with them below! However, Visit Wichita has put together a sample itinerary similar to what we did for any families that want to venture up I-35 for a fun weekend!