Wichita's Outdoor Activities
Cold, then warm for a few days, then cold again. Make up your mind, Wichita! Now that it seems to be staying warm, it's time to get outside, get some fresh air, and have fun! Here are some of Wichita's outdoor activities that are perfect for spring weather!
Central Riverside Park
Equipped with a unique solar calendar and a Kansas Wildlife Exhibit featuring up to 25 species that are native to the state, Central Riverside Park is a great place to spend a spring day!
With large playgrounds and an interactive fountain in the Celebration Plaza, kids and families will have plenty to do. The park also features historical buildings and statues, as well as a walking path that serves as a timeline of Wichita history, making it a great place for a fun and educational experience. Central Riverside Park also offers on-site restrooms.
Springtime and gardens go hand-in-hand. Wichita's Botanica offers a total of 26 gardens, each with a different theme!
Spanning nine acres covered in thousands of plant species, Botanica highlights a Chinese garden, a train garden, a children's garden, a Shakespeare garden and much more. Over 30 bronze statues and fountains add to Botanica's breathtaking scenery. Botanica offers a variety of springtime events each year, including the largest Tulip display in the state of Kansas in April.
Keeper of the Plains Plaza
The iconic Keeper of the Plains stands 44 feet tall. Overlooking Wichita from the confluence of the big and little Arkansas Rivers since 1974, the Keeper, created by sculptor Blackbear Bosin, stands on a rock promontory above the Plaza. Though the Keeper is easy to see from a distance, you've got to see it up close to truly appreciate its size and beauty. The surrounding Plaza features inscriptions, replicas and even an audio presentation that detail the life of the Plains Indians.
The Keeper is also known for its “Ring of Fire”. The Ring of Fire occurs when the Keeper is illuminated by fire around its base. This takes place every evening (Weather permitting). During daylight savings time, (spring and summer) the fire burns at 9-9:15 p.m. and during standard time (fall and winter) it burns from 7-7:15 p.m.
Sedgwick County Park
Northwest Wichita's Sedgwick County Park features several outdoor activities for visitors fo enjoy. From large scenic lakes for fishing to miles of paved trails for walking, jogging and biking, there's something for everyone. The park also features a Sunrise boundless playground and a Memories Park designed to serve as a backdrop for fun family photos.
The park also highlights volleyball courts, horseshoe pits basketball courts, and a bocce court. There are restrooms and water fountains located in various places across the park and a park office sells fishing licenses, tackle, bait and snacks. Barbecue grills and shelters are available for rent.
Great Plains Nature Center
A visit to the Great Plains Nature Center is a perfect way to experience the outdoors. Scenic, paved trails that wind through the trees and ponds at Chisholm Creek Park let visitors get active and connect with nature all at once.
At the nature center, you'll find native prairie grasses and wildlife like deer, turtles, frogs and more. The Great Plains Nature Center is free and open to the public daily. While you visit, check out the interactive displays inside!
Wichita Bike Paths and Rail Trails
According to the City of Wichita’s website, the City maintains more than 60 miles of bike-friendly paths. Of course, you're also welcome to walk or jog on city paths, too! On the east side, between Wichita and Andover, you can access the Rails-to-Trails path.
A rail trail runs east and west between 21st & 13th streets in northeast Wichita, and the Redbud Trail is between Wichita and Augusta. Another Rail Trail, the Prairie Sunset Trail, runs west from Goddard to Garden Plain.
Amber Waves Beer Walk and Tasting Tour
Enjoy specialty beers and delicious appetizers while exploring participating stores in Wichita’s Historic Delano District. This is an annual fundraiser for Starkey, Inc., which supports over 500 people with disabilities in Sedgwick County. This year’s event takes place Friday, May 12, 2017, from 6-9 p.m. Open to ages 21 and older, advance tickets are available online.
Food Trucks at the Fountain
On the last Sunday of every month from April through October, enjoy an afternoon of live music and tasty homemade food. Wichita’s food trucks gather at the WaterWalk pavilion, located downtown at Waterman and Main Street. Depending on which trucks participate each month, food choices can include sandwiches, pasta, barbecue, pizza and desserts. Food served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. No charge for admission, but food is available for purchase. Outdoor yoga will begin at 10 a.m. Learn more.
Great Plains Renaissance Festival
The spring Great Plains Renaissance Festival will be held April 22-23 at Sedgwick County Park in Wichita. Travel back in time and enjoy knights, magicians, jousting, a variety of musicians, kids’ activities, vendors and contests. In addition, the Wichita Highland Games will be part of this event, so you can also witness amazing athletic feats and discover Scottish and Celtic history. Ticket prices are $5 for kids and $12 for adults, but advance tickets can be purchased for $8.50.
Midwest Winefest Old Town Walkabout
This fun, casual event is a fundraiser for the Guadalupe Health Foundation and Guadalupe Clinic. Each spring, enjoy and evening exploring Old Town while enjoying live music and sampling delicious food and a variety of wines. This year, the event will be held on Thursday, April 20. The walk starts in Wichita’s Farm and Art Market Plaza in Old Town. Participants will stop at restaurants, museums and bars along the tour for entertainment, appetizers and wine. A trolley is available, too.
This annual event usually sells out quickly, so purchase your tickets early!
O.J. Watson Park
Spanning 119-acres in southwest Wichita, O.J. Watson park offers three separate playgrounds, two fishing lakes, a mini golf course, miniature train rides, pedal boats, pony rides, 32 sand volleyball courts, picnic tables, snacks and drinks. You can also rent shelters and inflatables, and reserve picnic tables, the campfire circle, and hayrack rides.
Educational and recreational programs are offered for visitors of all ages. Free admission, but there is a fee for the rides and some activities. Fishing licenses are not sold on-site. From March 14 – October 31, the park is open 8am – 10pm every day. On weekdays, the rides operate from 5 – 8 p.m., and from noon – 8 p.m. on weekends. Coupon books are available to save you money on the amusements.
Old Cowtown Museum
There are probably a lot of people who’ve lived in Wichita for years and have never visited Old Cowtown Museum. Located next to Botanica in the Riverside neighborhood, it’s a hidden piece of our history. Old Cowtown is a living history museum that sits just off the historic Chisholm Trail. The 25-acre, open-air attraction will give you a glimpse of frontier life in Wichita and Sedgwick County during the “Old West” period of the late 1800s.
Visitors can watch gun fights, ride in a covered wagon, try on period costumes, explore real historic buildings from the era, and more. Currently open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am-4pm. Spring and summer hours begin in April, and will be 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday and noon - 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Local Farmer's Markets
Visit a local farmer's market for a fun and unique shopping experience. Enjoy locally-grown produce, as well as meats, eggs, and cheeses. You’ll also find handmade crafts, baked goods, salsas, honey, and more.
Old Town offers a Farmers Market on Saturday mornings from May to October. This market holds special events throughout the season, including the Old Town Iron Chefs Cookoff, and each week features live music. Held at the Farm & Art Market Square at 2nd and Mosley in Old Town. The Old Town Famer's Market open on April 1. There is no charge for admission, but items are for sale.
You can also check out the Kansas Grown Farmer's Market at the Sedgwick County Extension Center. Open on Saturday mornings from April through October, this market offers a variety of goods from across the state of Kansas.
Other Kansas Grown Farmers Market locations include Green Acres Bradley Fair, opening April 11; 21st and Amidon Green Acres Clear Lakes, opening May 3; and Derby Madison Avenue Central Park, opening May 6.
Sedgwick County Zoo
Located in northwest Wichita, the Sedgwick County Zoo is open every day, except one day in the fall for their annual fundraiser. With your paid admission, you can check out more than 3,000 animals, and there are frequent special events.
Moms get in free with a paying child on Mother’s Day (May 14). From March to October, you can also enjoy the Zoo by bicycle! It happens the 3rd Wednesday of each month, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and there is a one-time fee to participate.
Wichita is fortunate to have one of the last remaining two-screen drive-in movie theaters. The drive-in closes each winter and it's reopening is a Wichita springtime staple! Located in the southeast part of town, spring is one of the best times to go to the Starlite Drive-In, because the weather is perfect for a night under the stars! This year, The Starlite debuts a new pricing structure, where guests will pay per person rather than per carload like they have done in the past. The change, according to Starlite's Facebook, allows them to continue screening first-run movies. Tickets are priced at $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-11 and free for ages four and under.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park
Located a few minutes west of Wichita in Goddard, Kansas, Tanganyika Wildlife Park is a zoo that lets you get up close and interact with animals.
The Park’s goal is to educate the public about endangered animals and promote their conservation.
Interactive activities include feeding a giraffe, riding a camel, and more. Days & hours vary. Open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily.
Wichita State University Shocker Baseball
The Wichita State University Shocker baseball team’s season runs through mid-May, so there are several opportunities each spring to catch a game at Eck Stadium on the Wichita State campus. Single-game ticket prices for 2017 range between $5 and $12, so it’s an affordable way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
Wichita Wingnuts Baseball
From May to September, enjoy professional baseball in downtown Wichita.
The Wingnuts are part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball’s Central Division, and they play at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
There are often theme nights and special events such as fireworks, and special activities for kids.