Turn up the Heat: Wichita's Favorite Summer Dates
You've been listening to "Summer Lovin'" from Grease for months, waiting for the weather to warm up enough for some summer dates! The time has finally come, and if you're coming up short on ideas, we've got you covered.
Catch a few flix at the Starlite Drive-in
A drive-in date offers two to three movies for the price of one and takes a unique approach to the standard dinner-and-a-movie date. Instead of going to restaurant before heading to a theatre, grab some food from the concession stand and enjoy it from the car!
You'll have several hours at the drive in, so be prepared. Many people bring lawn chairs and blankets, or if you've got a truck, you can sit in the back with some blankets. Wichita is home to the Starlite Drive-in, one of under 400 drive-in theatres left in the United States. Starlite is located at the northeast corner of MacArthur and Hydraulic. Adult admission is $9.
Be a Little Artsy
The Wichita Art Museum offers free admission on Saturdays, so you can bring your date to enjoy all the museum has to offer free of charge! The Wichita Art Museum features a nationally-recognized permanent collection of over 7,000 works of art, and features the works of renowned artists such as Mary Cassatt and Edward Hopper. In addition, the museum also features a variety of rotating exhibits.
Upon entering, you'll see some incredible glass pieces by Dale Chihuly a Seattle glass artist. This date provides hours of fun at no cost, so it's definitely worth the visit. If you're an artistic couple this is a must-do date!
Take a walk at the Great Plains Nature Center
This is a great way to get out and enjoy the fresh air! The Great Plains Nature Center highlights two miles of paved trails that run though Chisholm Creek Park. There is no charge for use of the nature trails, and the Nature Center doesn't charge admission, so you can come in and enjoy the interactive displays in the Koch Habitat Hall, browse the Owl's Nest Gift Shop and more at no charge!
This option offers a two-for-one date, and it's great if you're working with limited funds.
Enjoy one of Wichita's Best Views
Known as the Air Capital for its contribution to the Aviation industry, Wichita sees a lot of air traffic. You can watch planes land and take off from Stearman Field Bar and Grill, which is located right on the Stearman Field runway. This date idea is really cool, and you won't find the same experience anywhere else. If you want an even closer look, you can dine on the large patio. Pretty cool, huh? Stearman Field Bar and grill is located just a little way off the beaten path at 14789 SW 30th Street, but at only 20 minutes outside of the Wichita metro area, it's definitely worth the trip!
Stearman's food is fresh and made in-house from local ingredients. The restaurant also serves local craft beers from Walnut River Brewing in El Dorado and wine from Grace Hill Winery. Guests can enjoy burgers, pizza, chicken and more!
Attend a Treehouse Concert
Belle Plaine's Bartlett Arboretum offers treehouse concerts through the summer and fall. This is another great opportunity to enjoy live music by some really incredibly performers. This year's lineup even features Grammy winning artists! Feel free to pack a picnic for you and your sweetheart, or you can buy food on site from local vendors.
Gates open for the events at 3 p.m. and the shows begin at 4 p.m. Tickets are priced at $10 at the gate. While you're there, don't forget to check out the arboretum grounds. They're just gorgeous! A schedule of events is available here.
When it comes to summer date ideas, going to the zoo might be a little obvious, but when you've got a zoo like the Sedgwick County Zoo, of course you'll look for reasons to go back! The Sedgwick County Zoo highlights over 3,000 animals of more than 400 species. The zoo features a farm and petting zoo, an updated tropics exhibit, and so much more. With the recent opening of the Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit with six new African elephants from Swaziland, there's no better time to visit. For a wild date, the Sedgwick County Zoo the place to go.
Adult admission is priced at $14.95.
...Or Go NUTS!
Take him or her out to the ball game with this fun summer date idea! The Wichita Wingnuts are a professional baseball team that play in downtown Wichita at Lawrence Dumont Stadium. Affordable, fun, and filled with excitement, a Wichita Wingnuts game is the place to go if you're looking to impress a sports fan this summer, this is a perfect way to do it!
The Wingnuts play from May through September, and tickets prices range from $6-$13. Tickets can be purchased here.
Add some Tunes to your Tuesday
Botanica's Tuesdays on the Terrace is a great place to take your date! If you're looking to enjoy some live music, dance, and grab a few drinks, Tuesdays at the terrace is a perfect place to do all three.
You can also pack a picnic to bring along, or enjoy food provided by the Friends of Botanica on every third Tuesday!
The event takes place every Tuesday night from June to September from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park allows visitors to get up close and personal with animals, creating an overall experience that's interactive and unique. You might get to pet an African serval, play with a binturong, pet a kangaroo and more! At Tanganyika, you'll experience wildlife like never before. This is a great date for animal lovers!
Tanganyika is located just outside of Wichita in Goddard at 1000 S. Hawkins lane. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $16.99 for adults and $14.99 for seniors.
Take it to the Next Level
If you're a couple that's in to gaming, then a dinner date at Headshots Bar and Grill is the way to go. While you enjoy your meal, you can also enjoy lots of games on a variety of different consoles. Equipped with Xbox360, Wii, XboxOne, PS4, and WiiU, Headshots has all the gaming bases covered. If you're competitive, the location also hosts gaming tournaments regularly, so be sure to sign up for one. Headshots also features a variety of new and old board game to pay!
Headshots Bar and grill is located at 6140 E 21st street.
Skip the Restaurant
Sure, dinner at a fancy restaurant is nice, but it can be so boring! Instead, grab a bite at a local food truck! Wichita is home to an impressive fleet of food trucks that can be found in various locations across town. Hungry for pizza? Barbecue? Mexican food? A sandwich? There are food trucks for all of these things and more in Wichita!
During lunch hours, there is always at least one truck in the Urban Pop-Up Park on Douglas downtown. The Pop-Up Park has hanging lights that are on in the evenings, making for a romantic setting in the middle of downtown! The trucks also participate in Food Trucks at the Fountain at the WaterWalk. This event will be held on June 26, July 31, August 28, and September 25 from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
When it comes to exploring, there's only one place to do it. Wichita's Exploration Place allows guests to explore science through a variety of interactive exhibits. This summer, the museum features the traveling exhibit Dinosaurs in Motion, which highlights massive dinosaur sculptures! Exploration Place also offers exhibits on important parts of Kansas life, like aviation and agriculture. It's also got a mini gold course, which is a great date idea in and of itself!
Exploration place is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $9.50 for adults and $8 for seniors. It's free for members!
Have some Fun in the Sun
Rock River Rapids is an ideal place to go for a summer date. With a lazy river, four giant slides, a rock wall, play areas, and a zero depth pool, there are a lot of different things to do. If you're brave enough, you can plunge down the red speed slide, or you and your partner can grab a double tube and twist and turn down the blue slide if that's more your speed. This is a fun idea that allows you to enjoy the hot weather while you're on your hot date!
Rock River Rapids is located at 1900 E. James in Derby. Admission is $9 for adults and $8 for seniors.
Ice skating is usually a popular date in the wintertime, as people are reminded of Christmas and ice and the cold in general, but many people forget about this fun date idea during the summer months. It's perfect because during the summer, the ice rink is a great way to cool off indoors while still having fun and staying active. The Wichita Ice Center holds public skating sessions regularly, and a schedule can be found here.
The Ice Center even offers $2 admission on Tuesdays, so this date won't break the bank! Regular admission is $7 and skate rental is $3. The Ice Center is located at 505 W. Maple.
Go for a Drive
This date is totally free. Wichita has a variety of scenic places to drive through, like College Hill, Old Town, Riverside and more. This is a great way to discover the city! If you want to make it really interesting, bring along a quarter, and flip a coin at every intersection you encounter. If it lands on heads you turn right, and if it lands on tails you turn left. You never know where you'll end up, and you might stumble across a place you've never been! You can also drive out into the country at night and stargaze. You don't have to go too far outside of the city to clearly see the beautiful Kansas night sky!
Photo by Ben Blankley
The Wichita Shakespeare Company embraces tie-dye and bell-bottoms for a 1960's take on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" this summer, performing at several local parks throughout the month of June. Bring your date out to enjoy a new twist on an old classic. One of Shakespeare's most fun and relatable, according to the production's director Zoe Burke, this show is filled with over-the-top silliness that's sure to have you laughing!
This date idea is unique, free and fun. If that's not enough, there's a dog on costume. Who can say no to that? The production is rated PG, and shows start at 7 p.m. and runs approximately an hour and forty-five minutes. For more information, or for a schedule of performances, click below.
All That Jazz
If you're into Jazz music, you're in luck. Bradley Fair hosts outdoor Jazz concerts on the Newport Grill Patio every Thursday night during the summer. This event is totally free and open to the public, so jam to the Jazz music as the sun sets. Each Thursday of the month features a different theme. For example, you can listen to talented faculty, staff and students from Wichita State University on the first Thursday of each month, as it is WSU Night. Performers for WSU nights are hand-picked by the professors of the Wichita State University Jazz Department. The Jazz series also boasts performances by artists like the world-renowned jazz guitarist, Jerry Hahn and many more. Each Show runs from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.