This is our first year with a child in school, and I was completely unprepared for Christmas break and having to keep him entertained for two straight weeks. Well, Spring Break has arrived, and I will not be caught without a plan again! I have compiled a list of several places within day-trip range (I consider that to be 2 hours, one way) where I have always wanted to go.
Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure – This zoo experience begins their spring hours the weekend before spring break, so they will be open 9am-5pm. The trams are running daily the week of spring break. They have a giraffe feeding station, which is my most favorite thing to do at any zoo ever!
Smoky Hill Museum – This free attraction in the Salina area has many exhibits that will appeal to kids of all ages. For the older kids, there are detective mysteries to solve and a full scale replica of Salina’s first home, a dugout from the 1858 frontier.
Kansas Museum of History – If the weather if nice and your kids are tired of being inside, the museum grounds include a picnic area and playground to get the wiggles out. The hands on gallery, Discovery Place, is open every afternoon, and the rest of the exhibits are open all day. The special exhibit over spring break is all about food – “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?”
Topeka Zoological Park – Plan ahead! Ordering a Gage Park Passport online gets four passes for admission into the zoo, the mini train in the park, and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center for only $49. You can get this deal in person, but it costs slightly more. The Topeka Zoo has a great bug exhibit for those kids into creepy crawlies, and a fun Kansas-themed exhibit featuring mountain lions and river otters.
Gage Park – The mile long mini train and the carousel are must-visits for the littles in your life!
Combat Air Museum – Pro Tip: have a docent/volunteer walk around with you. You will gain so much more from the experience. Plan on an hour or two to see everything, unless you have an airplane obsessed kiddo! There are over 30 types of aircraft on display, both old and new.
Cosmosphere – Many schools take field trips here, but it may be worth a second visit. The Carey Digital Dome Theater shows documentaries and other educational films, as well as popular movies like Star Wars or Kung-Fu Panda. The Hall of Space is full of unique space artifacts.
Strataca – Visiting the salt mines is not for the faint of heart! They strictly enforce their age limit of 4 and up, as you will travel more than 650 feet under the earth’s surface. The mining process is explained in detail and you’ll get to meet Harry, the oldest living organism on earth.
Hutchinson Zoo – Not much is free these days, but this is! You can see over 100 animals, dig for dinosaur bones and play in the rope spider web.
Carriage Crossing – This gem is worth the drive to Hutch by itself for the great food and adorable gift shop with all manner of delicious treats.
Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma State Firefighters Museum – Good news: 6 and under are free! The museum features two fire trucks that are almost 100 years old, as well as modern equipment. There is a replica of an old firehouse, complete with working alarm bell.
Museum of Osteology – This is the only museum of its kind in the US. They have over 400 skulls and 300 skeletons for your viewing pleasure. There are no dinosaur bones; in fact, most skeletons are from animals still living today.
Myriad Botanical Gardens – The outdoor grounds, which include a splash park (brrr!), an off leash dog park, walking paths and a children’s garden are free. The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory has over 750 different types of plants and multiple waterfalls.