The weather is finally warming up enough to get out and enjoy it, and with the beautiful weather come a slew of fun activities and events. There are plenty of events like concerts, shows, and performances this spring, and you can see a list of those here, but if you’re looking to enjoy the green outside and save the green in your pocket, you’re in luck. Wichita also offers a variety of free activities that are perfect for springtime.
Keeper of the Plains Plaza/Ring of Fire
Wichita’s iconic Keeper of the Plains statue is located downtown, at the intersection of the big and little Arkansas rivers. Located just in front of the Mid-American All Indian Center, guests can view tributes to local tribes and learn about Blackbear Bosin, the sculptor of the Keeper of the Plains. Sidewalks allow guests to cross the river and admire the Keeper from above the water. In the evenings, guests can see the Keeper of the Plains illuminated by the “Ring of Fire.” This is when the Keeper is lit up by fires at the base of the statue. For safety reasons, the ring of fire is turned on manually. To see a schedule for the Ring of Fire, click below.
Find the Troll!
Not far from the Keeper of the Plains Plaza, a troll hides under the sidewalk. Don’t worry, this troll won’t make you pay a toll to cross the path. The five foot tall, 200-pound troll statue is chained up under a grate in the sidewalk. Sculpted by Connie Ernatt, the troll was installed in May of 2007. You can stand on the grate and look at the troll from above, or you can take a lower sidewalk and approach the statue from behind. (The statue can only be viewed through a grate on ground level, as well.) Either way, he's a pretty cool find! He's located right behind the Westar Energy building on the sidewalk that runs next to the Arkansas River.
Wichita Art Museum
The Wichita Art Museum is home to a permanent collection of 7,000 works of art, as well as a variety of travelling exhibits. Admission to the art museum is free on Saturdays, so you can view all of the museum’s galleries totally free of charge. The museum features a nationally-renowned collection of American art, with works by Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. The largest art museum in the state of Kansas, the Wichita Art Museum will provide a Saturday full of fun, and it won’t cost a dime.
Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center offers a variety of cool and fun activities that focus on the diversity and wildlife in Kansas and the Great Plains. Guests can walk on the two-mile paved walk through Chisolm Creek Park, learn from interactive displays, and so much more, and it’s all free.
The Great Plains Nature Center is open on Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. With no admission charge, there’s no reason not to come out and enjoy nature! The Great Plains Nature Center is located off of K-96 at 29th and Woodlawn.
Sports Hall of Fame
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is located in the Wichita Boathouse. The Hall of Fame features a permanent gallery of inductees as well as a few rotating exhibits highlighting specific inductees. There is no admission charge, but there is a suggested $3 donation for adults. The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is open Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm. Not open on weekends unless there are special events.
The Wichita Sports Hall of Fame is located at 4700 E. Central, and admission is free during regular hours of operation. The Wichita Sports Hall of Fame is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., and on Saturdays from noon until 5 p.m.
Sedgwick County Park
Sedgwick County Park features four lakes for fishing and feeding ducks, over four miles of paved pathways for jogging, walking or bicycling, and much, much more! Bring the whole family out to play on the park's tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, or play a game of horseshoes or softball! Sedgwick County Park offers equipment rentals for some activities. Horseshoes, volleyball and net, and bocce ball are available for $2 per hour, and the facility also has barbecue grills which can be rented for $40. In addition, the park features many enclosed shelters and even more play areas for the kids! Sedgwick County Park is located in west Wichita between 13th and 21st, just west of the zoo.
For local skateboarders, The Wichita Skatepark is a great place to hang out, and it won't cost you a cent! The park is comprised of 12,045 square feet of pure concrete and two distinctly separate areas for skating. The first is the "Bowls Area," featuring 3 concrete bowls measuring 5.5, 8.5, and 9.5 feet. The 9.5 foot bowl is one of the deepest in the Midwest. The second skating area is the "Urban Landscape Area," which features a variety of street-style elements. like concrete ramps, massive staircases with ledges, metal handrails, big gaps, great lines and more. The park is 100% skateable, so get ready to grind!
Riverside Park highlights a variety of unique features, including a solar calendar. The structure, which is composed of large, upright stones featuring mosaic murals, tracks the movement of the sun by aligning the stones at sunrise, sunset and noon on the first day of each month.
The park is also home to an outdoor exhibit of Kansas Wildlife. Here, guests can see over 25 species that are native to Kansas. The exhibit features owls, hawks, a bobcat and more! The park also houses several memorials, play areas, a walking path, and an interactive fountain that guests are welcome to play in during the summertime.
Ulrich Museum of Art
Located on the Wichita State University campus, the Ulrich Museum of Art highlights modern and contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Guests can view more than 6,300 works in the museum. In addition to the works of art housed inside the museum, Ulrich is home to a 76-piece outdoor sculpture collection by Martin H. Bush.
The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and from1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on weekends. The museum is closed on Mondays. Admission, parking and group tours are free.
Wichita’s Oldtown Square is a great place to spend the afternoon. Guests can get a feel for Wichita’s Historic roots as they take a walk down the red brick streets and gaze into the storefront windows.
In the center of the square, guests can play in water fountains when the weather is warm, so bring the kids out to make a splash at Oldtown. The square also features shaded seating when you need a break from the sun. If you're lucky, you might even catch some live music and performances on the square!
On the Final Friday of each month, hence the name “Final Friday,” many local galleries, retail shops and restaurants stay open late and feature local artists as part of a downtown art crawl. Final Friday offers a variety of artwork on display, many of which are available for purchase. The event also offers art demonstrations straight from the artists and live music. The event is free to attend, and guests are invited to peruse the art at their leisure. The Wichita Q-Line will offer shuttle service, so guests can park once and enjoy multiple art displays.