What began as a trading post in mid-1800‘s is now nicknamed ‘The Air Capital Of the World’. Wichita, in the state of Kansas, is the largest city in the said state and is also home to several multinational Aeronautical Corporations and a USA army air base. The city boasts an incredible collection of science museums, beautiful parks, heritage sites and world-famous monuments. In recent memory, it has also become a technological hub and is a breeding place for innovation. All of this paralleled with a bustling downtown makes this city perfect for a little getaway!
10) Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
One of the purposes of traveling is to know about the culture and the history of a place. In Wichita, there is no better alternative than to visit the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum’. The museums’ location alone makes the visit worthwhile. Located in downtown Wichita, it resides in the original city hall building. The building with its inspiring architecture and a 140-ft tall clock tower is a joy to behold. Once you are in you will find four floors of artifacts depicting the city’s rich history. There is a complete interior of a Victorian-era house as well as the Mayor’s Office just like it was in the late 1800‘s. Everything on exhibit feels complete and properly preserved.
9) Kansas Aviation Museum
If you are wondering why Wichita is called “the Air Capital of the World” you should definitely visit Kansas Aviation Museum. Once an airport terminal for consumer flights, it was mostly sold off to the Federal Govt. to make space for the military’s airbase. The remaining building took the shape of an Aviation Museum. The museum holds exhibits depicting the city history as an aircraft manufacturing hub. There are air-crafts ranging from 1920‘s up-to-the 21st century that are on exhibit. There are commercial, combat, cargo and bomber air-crafts. You can even hop into a B-52‘s bomb-bay! And as a compliment, the museum’s building is pretty classy as it has been for over a half a century.
8) Old Cowtown Museum
Wichita was once called”Cowtown” because it was located on a route where cattle breeder used to hurl there cattle back in the 1800‘s. To preserve and share that history with the new generation Old Cowtown Museum transports you back in time. This is one of the oldest living museums in USA and it prides itself on also being authentic. There are over 60 buildings that look frozen in time and time seems to have stopped for the folks living there. You will see a blacksmith’s hammer striking the anvil, a horse wagon pacing down the street and a saloon serving refreshing drinks as it did back in the day. You may not want to live in the past but visiting is not a bad option.
7) Museum of World Treasures
Located in the Old Town Wichita, the Museum of World Treasures showcases relics from many different eras as well as from many different places. Having it’s three floors jam-packed with Civil War and the World War 1 and 2 artifacts in addition to the glorious remains of dinosaurs like the T-Rex. Not only that the museum also holds a considerable collection of sports and movie memorabilia. There is an entire floor dedicated to the past Presidents of the United States and film stars like Marilyn Monroe. And if that was not good enough there are also ancient Egyptian Relics and Mummies. This museum certainly does its name justice.
6) Wichita Art Museum
Wichita Art Museum is a museum dedicated to modern American art. Housed in a beautiful contemporary building, the museum holds exhibits showcasing the fine artistry of American artists. There are oil paintings, fresco, portraits and photographic art from the world-renowned photographer Irving Penn. Surrounding the building are gardens that are lined with exquisite sculptures and statues. The Museum often holds an exhibition that displays historic paintings inspired by the West. A cozy little place to learn about American artists, it is sure to please you.
5) Exploration Place
Exploration Place, Wichita’s premier science museum is located on the Arkansas River. The building is masterfully designed and is purposefully built to house the exhibitions. The museum’s exhibitions include Big Mouth which is a tall human mouth meant to teach kids about oral hygiene, Exploring Flight and Design which teaches visitors about aviation equipment and aircraft design. It also includes a flight simulator. For kids, there is a castle named “Where Kids Rule” where they are taught the importance of science and mathematics. Boeing Dome Theater displays audio/visual guides and presentations that add in to the knowledge of common people about technology.Who doesn’t want to learn while having fun?
4) Great Plains Nature Center
Great Plains Nature Center in Wichita is a place educating people about the flora and fauna of Kansas. The main draw of the center is The Koch Habitat Hall where visitors can see indoor as well as an outdoor depiction of local wildlife and plants. There is an aquarium filled with local fish, reptiles, and other aquatic animals. Outside of the building, there is a vast open area that contains over 2 miles of prairie trails that pass through grasslands, wetlands, lakes and open fields. The whole area feels primal and original. It is a great place to visit to get a sense of nature in this bustling city.
3) The Keeper of the Plains
Placed at the junction of the Arkansas and the Little Arkansas river, The Keeper of the Plains is a statue of a Native American chief. Built in 1974, it is a monumental reminder of the past of America and its people. The statue stands above a man-made platform of rocks that raises it 20-ft from river level. In evenings it is surrounded by a ring of fire as was the custom in the Old days. It can be accessed through suspension bridges from either end. Upon further inspection, you will find that the statue closely resembles the architectural style of many Wichita buildings and monuments making it native in an architectural sense.
2) Botanica, the Wichita Gardens
Botanica, the Wichita Gardens is a collection of various theme gardens. The gardens include a sensory garden, Butterfly garden, rose, and wildflower garden, woodland, aquatic garden and a greenhouse. It is a peaceful and quiet place where visitors can come to meditate amidst thousands of blooming flowers and plants. Butterfly Garden is particularly beautiful with scores of beautiful plants that nurture butterflies. If on a hot day you can’t see any butterflies, head over to the Butterfly House where you will be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies. Not only that you can also witness the beginning of life as a butterfly emerges from a chrysalid and undergo their first flight.
1) Sedgwick County Zoo
Being one of the largest zoos in USA,Sedgwick County Zoo is the most famous attraction in Wichita. There are over 3000 animals spanning 400 species. These animals are divided into the regions they came from. So you will have an organized animal extravaganza. The zoo boasts penguins, chimpanzees, orangutan, giraffes, elephants of the Zambezi river and a glorious tiger trek where you will get to meet these fierce cats up-close. Animals are provided a habitat as close to the natural one as possible so you can observe their behavior in all its originality. There is also ample room to enjoy a picnic if you want to!