The Air Capital of the World is celebrating National Aviation Day today. The holiday was established in 1939 by Franklin D. Roosevelt, to celebrate advancements in aviation and takes place on Orville Wright's birthday.
Wichita has an aviation history dating back further than that, all the way back to the 1920's when aviation moved to Wichita with the likes of Walter Beech, Clyde Cesna, E.M."Matty" Laird , Bill Lear, J.M. Mollendick, Lloyd Stearman, and George Weaver, who built the companies that led to Wichita becoming the Air Capital of the World.
We often take for granted how far aviation has come, from the 12 second, 120 ft flight the Wright brothers took back in 1903, to the approximate 5,000 aircraft soaring above the United States at any given moment. Take today to appreciate how far aviation has come.
Visit the Kansas Aviation Museum
Learn about Wichita's aviation history in one of Kansas' oldest aviation locations.
Housed in what was once Wichita's Municipal Airport. The Kansas Aviation Museum showcases Kansas' aviation history, restored planes, and a great view of Wichita from the old control tower.
The museum is open 10am - 5pm on weekdays and Saturday and Noon - 5pm on Sunday.
Visit Exploration Place
Exploration Place is Kansas’ premier hands-on science center for all ages, located on a 20-acre site along the Arkansas River in Wichita’s downtown Museums on the River district. Their Flight and Design exhibit features interactive displays showcasing the history and dynamics of flight.
Their other hands-on exhibit areas focus on Kansas, medieval life in a three-story castle, imaginative spaces for toddlers, and a special traveling exhibition area.
Exploration place is open 10am-5pm everyday except Sunday when they open at noon.
Thank an aviation employee
A lot of work goes into making aviation what it is. Take the time if you come across someone from the aviation industry and thank them for what they do.
Wichita has its fair share of pilots, if you have a pilot's license be sure to celebrate this day properly by taking a flight. If you can, maybe even pass on the joy of flying to someone else by taking them up for an aerial view of the Air Capital.
Enjoy one the aviation themed restaurants/bars in the area
So maybe flying and museums aren't your thing. Celebrate by stopping by one of the aviation themed bars or restaurants in the area.
Here are a few:
- Stearman Field Bar and Grill
Watch planes take off and land just yards away from Stearman's patio.
- Wright Brothers Bar/Solo's Diner
Enjoy a hearty meal at Solo's Diner or drop by Wright Brothers for a refreshing drink.
- Hangar One Steakhouse
Enjoy views of the airport while you enjoy a meal.