Just because you have little ones doesn’t mean you have to be relegated to home all the time. Get out around town with your kids! These are my 25 favorite things to do in Wichita with the preschool set.
1. Great Plains Nature Center: Stroll through the education center, attend a craft or story time, walk through Chisholm Creek park (they sell turtle food for a quarter at the front desk during open hours), or go to one of their great special events.
2. Exploration Place and Exploration Park: The permanent Kansas Kids Connect exhibit is made with your kids 0-5 years in mind, but the whole place is perfect for leisurely fun with the whole family. When the weather is nice their outdoor spaces are fantastic to visit too.
3. Wichita Art Museum: You (yes, you!) can, and should, take your kids to the Wichita Art Museum. The Living Room is designed for kids and features tents, a puppet theater, bean bags, books, and crafts. Littles also love playing shoe-free on the Chihuly Bridge upstairs too. Saturdays are always free, Family ArtVenture days are packed with even more crafting and creating, and ArtStart is perfect for your 3-5 year old artists.
4. CityArts: Peruse the gallery or sign your child up for an Art For Tots youth class.
5. Wichita Children’s Theater & Dance Center: Schedule a time to enjoy a show from their Picnic Theater Series. The shows are just the right length for little ears and wiggly bums. Plus, pizza and cookies!
6. Botanica, The Wichita Gardens: There are idyllic childhood memories waiting to be made in the Downing Children’s Garden. Other kids’ favorites are the Butterfly House, Chinese Garden of Friendship and the Railroad Garden. When the weather is gloomy spend your time in the Children’s Library. Don’t forget Sunny Days Story Time, Garden Sprouts classes (ages 3-5), and special events for the whole family.
7. ICT Pop-Up Urban Park: The Pop-Up Park is a great destination for kids. Grab a snack at one of the many food trucks who frequent the space (schedule announced weekly on Facebook), play ping pong or giant Connect Four, and, if you’re lucky, you might get treated to live music too.
8. Ride the Q-Line: Preschoolers are sure to get a thrill from hopping on a Q-Line Trolley. Use it to get from A to B in the downtown/Old Town/River area or ride the loop just to see the city pass by.
9. Sedgwick County Zoo: This list wouldn’t be complete without the number one outdoor attraction in Kansas. Take your zoo trips a step above by participating in the Wee Wigglers, Owlet and Tot Tuesday Learning Adventures.
10. Fountains at Water Walk: Everyone calls it the Bellagio of the Great Plains. Or, is that just me? In front of the historic Wichita Boathouse you’ll see the lovely dancing fountains that also preform with lights and music several times a day. Lucky kids will get sprayed with stray water and can catch frogs in the spring time.
12. Lawrence-Dumont Stadium: In the summer Lawrence Dumont is buzzing with baseball from the hometown Wichita Wingnuts and the National Baseball Congress World Series. Kids are free to be rowdy at the ballpark, and, bonus, there is a playground down the first base line.
13. Wichita State Baseball: For a different take on America’s pass time, watch the Shockers play from the uber kid friendly outfield of Eck Stadium. You can pack a picnic and have plenty of space to roam.
14. Wichita Riverfest: I’m an unapologetic Riverfest lover, especially because there are so many fun activities for young kids. Events change yearly, but perennial favorites are the Sundown Parade, Tot Trot, Wagonmasters River Tour, Kids Korner, the Ice Cream Social…I could go on!
15. O.J. Watson Park: I could have highlighted many of the 100+ Wichita parks as all are awesome destinations for littles, but O.J. Watson Park stands out. In addition to green space and play grounds, Watson has a charming, working miniature train, paddleboats (parent manpower required), mini golf, and ponies for riding or gawking at.
16. Trampoline Parks: Wichita has three trampoline parks. Aviate and Urban Air both have designated hours exclusively for younger kids; Get Air has a dedicated jumping area just for the littlest jumpers.
17. Elderslie Farm: This farm is more than just blackberry picking (although that’s a must if you can snag a you-pick spot). Have a relaxing breakfast on the patio of the Bramble Cafe, swing on the play set, take a tractor ride/tour of the farm, and don’t forget to visit the baby goats.
18. Splash Parks: When the summer heat is on there’s no better place to be than one of Wichita’s many splash parks.
19. Wichita Thunder: Hockey can be a big hit with young kids. Constant action, lights, music, Zambonis – what’s not to love?!
20. Bartlett Arboretum: Nature enthusiasts will surely enjoy introducing their kids to the beauty of Bartlett Arboretum. You can traipse through the gardens, take a swing on the tree swing, or enjoy a concert under the canopy.
21. Stearman Field Bar & Grill: Perhaps the most kid friendly restaurant in Wichita, Stearman has a large patio with a play set, airplanes taking off and landing, and the occasional parachuter.
22. Story time: There are dozens of story times all over town, many especially geared toward the 0-5 set.
23. Tanganyika Wildlife Park: For a special wildlife encounter, take kids to Tanganyika. Even the littlest guests can participate in the interactive experiences with animals as small as a rabbit and as tall as a giraffe.
24. My Gym: For an outlet of pint sized energy consider getting your kiddo into My Gym. Memberships, classes, parties, and drop in parents nights out are available.
25. Library: Beyond story times, the Wichita Public libraries have a great supply of kids toys and educational games for creative play. Keep an eye on the events calendar too for take and go crafts and special programming for kids.
Do you have a favorite place to take young children around Wichita? Please, share!
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