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Keep the Kids Busy Without Breaking the Bank This Summer

“Mom, it’s too hot!”, “I want to go swimming!”, “He took my toy!”, “Can we go to the zoo?”

These are just a small sample of the few (or few hundred) phrases your kids have likely been repeating since the minute summer began. If the kids are getting bored and you’re going crazy, don’t panic. There are lots of ways to get out of the house for a while without breaking the bank. Take a look at these free and cheap things to do this summer!

Splash Parks

Splash Parks

With seven splash parks located in various parts of Wichita, you can never be too far from one. They’re totally free to visit, and kids will burn some energy running, playing and splashing. On a hot day, it’s a great way to be outside without boiling! If the kids want to play with friends, meeting at a splash park makes for a hassle-free playdate.

To learn more about Wichita’s splash parks and other places to cool down this summer, click below.


Free Admission Days at City Pools

City Pools

The city of Wichita is currently in the process of developing and executing an aquatics master plan that will upgrade some city pools and convert others into more splash parks and water playgrounds, so take advantage of the pools before renovation begins. Admission prices for city pools are fairly low, and each pool will offer free admission one day this summer.

Bring your kids out to make a splash for free at Aley Pool on Sunday, June 5; College Hill Pool on Monday, July 4; Minisa Pool on Sunday, July 10; Orchard Pool on Saturday, July 16; Linwood Pool on Monday, July 18; and Evergreen Pool on Saturday, July 30. 


Sedgwick County Zoo

Sedgwick County Zoo

We know, we’ve hit on this one a lot, but Twilight Tuesdays at the zoo are a Wichita summer staple, and admission is free, so it can’t be overlooked. At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and running through 8 p.m., it’s the coolest part of the day, so it’s a comfortable time to peruse the zoo! The event runs for the month of July. In order to receive free admission, Twilight Tuesday vouchers must be presented at the ticket booth.  The following Cox Solutions stores will have vouchers available for pickup:

  • 2556 N. Maize Rd., Suite 102;
  • 2240 N. Rock Rd., Suite 101
  • 725 E. Douglas Ave

Cox locations in Derby, El Dorado and Newton will also offer vouchers.


Parks and Rec: Barry's Recreation Stations

Get out and have fun at some events hosted by the Wichita Parks and Recreation department. Wichita Parks and Rec will offer a variety of events at local parks. Don’t miss Barry the Bison’s Recreation Station, which is a mobile van equipped with card and board games, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, sports balls, lawn games and more! Barry’s Recreation Station will appear from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Osage Park on June 16, at Fairmount Park on June 30, Harrison Park on July 14, and Buffalo Park on July 28.


Other Parks and Recreation Events

Other Parks and Recreation Eve

From 10 a.m. until noon in June 18, grandparents and children ages six and up can visit Naftzger Park and enjoy board games like Connect Four, chess, checkers for Grandparents and Kids Day.

At noon on June 24, you and your kids can help break a world record by attending the World’s Largest Swim Lesson! This event is for ages five and up and will take place at all of Wichita’s Public Pools.

If you and your kids are into vintage cars, visit Naftzger Park on June 25 for Cars in the Park from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. There will be music and food trucks present, too, so be ready for a good time!

Ages 6-12 are invited to show their skills at Chalk Art in the Park at Naftzger Park on July 2 from 10 a.m. until noon. Prizes will be awarded for the best drawings!

More events and information can be found on the Wichita Park and Recreation Facebook page.


Wichita Public Library

The Wichita Public Library offers a variety of activities for children during the summer, from story time to summer reading programs and more. These activities, and many others are available through Wichita’s libraries, and many activities are offered at little or no cost. These activities allow your children to continue learning and growing throughout the summer without losing the reading skills they gained during the school year.  To learn more about the activities offered through the Wichita Public Library, click here.


Wichita Art Museum

Wichita Art Museum

Enjoy free trips to the Wichita Art Museum on Saturdays! This deal is available year-round, but it’s especially great in the summertime. Enjoy a break from the heat by taking your kids to the Wichita Art museum, where you’ll be able to enjoy both the art and the air conditioning. Featuring a permanent gallery with over 7,000 pieces and including works of well-known artists like Edward Hopper and Mary Cassatt, The Wichita Art Museum’s collection is nationally renowned. The museum also features a variety of rotating exhibits, so don’t miss out! The Museum’s new Art Garden offers free admission year-round, and you can even attend a free docent-led tour on the third Saturday morning of each month!


Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

At Tanganyika Wildlife Park, guests have the opportunity to pet kangaroos, feed giraffes, ride camels and so much more! You’ll find more interactive experiences at Tanganyika than at any other zoo in Kansas, or even in the Midwest.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park offers one free child admission with the purchase of an adult admission on Wednesdays during June and July.

Park hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer, and regular admission prices are $16.99 for adults, $14.99 for seniors and $11.99 for children ages 3-11. Children ages two and under are admitted for free!


Free Kids Bowling

Free Kids Bowling

During the summer, kids can get up to two free games free at local bowling alleys participating in the national Kids Bowl Free program. All you’ve got to do is register your kids in the program, and you’ll get a weekly email with free bowling coupons!

Parents who wish to play with their children can register for a Family Pass. Priced at $28, the pass allows up to four adults two games each per day. Participating venues include the Alley, Northrock Lanes, West Acres Bowl, Seneca Bowl, Derby Bowl, El Dorado Grizzly Bowl and the Alley in Hutchinson.

Register here.


Timewarp Tuesdays at the Palace

Discount Movies at the Palace

Via Facebook.com.

The Palace Theatre offers movie tickets for just $1.50 each for every showing during regular hours on Tuesdays. This is a great way to get out of the house for a few hours and enjoy a movie, and if there's a flick you missed in traditional theatres, you've got last chance to catch them on the big screen, so come out and see them while you can!

Regular movie tickets are priced at $3.50, so even if it's not a Timewarp Tuesday, the Palace still offers a cheap alternative to other theatres.

The Palace s located at 535 S. Ridge Road Circle. 


$2 Tuesdays at the Wichita Ice Center

 $2 Tuesdays at the Wichita Ic

Hit the ice with your family on Tuesdays, as admission is priced at only $2 per person. If you need to rent skates, they are available for $3 per pair.

The Wichita Ice Center has NHL and Olympic rinks and features full viewing windows from the lobbies in both levels of the building.  The facility also offers party and meeting rooms, a concession stand and more.

The Wichita Ice Center is located at 505 W. Maple, and offers regular public skating sessions in the afternoons. For more information and a public skating schedule, click here.


$3 Thursdays at Botanica

$3 Thursdays at Botanica

Guests can take advantage of a discounted $3 admission on Thursdays at the Wichita Gardens. One admission lets you peruse the gardens at your leisure, including the Downing Children's Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, the Gene E. Spear Railroad Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Garden on the Rocks and more.

Botanica opens at 9 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays and remains open until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer months. The gardens are located at 701 Amidon Street.


Year-Round Free Activities

For more Ideas, you can also check out or list of free things to do in Wichita that are available all year long!

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