The Old Cowtown Museum in Kansas City, Kansas is the perfect place if you want to take a trip back in time to the frontier days of cowboys, ranchers, and wagon-bound settlers. If any of you remember playing the game “Oregon Trail” as a kid, then the Old Cowtown Museum will definitely make you feel nostalgic! The 17-acre park is full of frontier-style buildings (around half of which are original 19th-century constructions), actors taking on rolls like settlers, cooks, and blacksmiths, and a petting zoo/farm with barnyard animals. It’s a great place to take the kids who’ll not only enjoy playing cowboy and interacting with the re-enactors, but who’ll learn something in the process!
The two hits of the museum are the gunfight in the street and the covered wagon rides, an activity that will surely delight the little ones. Kids can also dress up in period outfits and get an old-timey silver-gel photo taken or head to the period saloon for a somewhat-over-priced snack. All in all, I’d say that the Old Cowtown Museum is one of the better family-oriented visits in the Kansas City area. The park is huge (bring your walking shoes!), there are seemingly-unlimited activities, and the low price makes it affordable for the entire family.
Located in Wichita, the best part of the Ulrich Museum of Art collection is outside: Martin H. Bush Collection Outdoor sculptures, more than 70 sculptures scattered throughout the campus of Wichita State University. It includes art by Scott Burton, Luis Jimenez, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, George Rickey and Auguste Rodin. Includes art of Scott Burton, Luis Jimenez, Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, George Rickey and Auguste Rodin.
The Lake Afton Public Observatory Museum is in the city of Wichita. Young people and adults can share the excitement of the night sky at the Observatory. Through the telescope that is 16-inches, wonders can be seen such as Saturn and its rings, the moon with its craters and mountains, clouds of gas, star clusters, with thousands of stars and galaxies many times bigger than the Milky Way. After touring the world, you can discover the museum area of the Centre with its interactive astronomy displays. The Observatory is about 20 miles southwest of the city of Wichita, Kansas. In these web pages you will find descriptions and schedules of public programs, astronomical images, and more. By visiting Wichita, be sure to put this unique attraction on your list of things to do.
The Indian Center Museum is a multi-purpose center that happens to house a museum, a gallery of Nations for special events and also has a gift shop. The store is also a cultural center and a museum that's devoted primarily to educating people about the heritage conservation and knowledge of the customs of American Indians.
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum's mission is to educate the community and its visitors about local history and care for the collection, preservation and interpretation of materials reflecting the heritage of Wichita and Sedgwick. It also seeks to capture the spirit of Wichita entrepreneurs through, oil barons, merchants and a group of aviation pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech. A local landmark since 1892, the Wichita City Hall is the seat of Museum. also known as the Palace of the Plains, the building is an architectural gem of the city . The interior is equipped with fine woodworking, decorative painting and leaded glass.
The Sedgwick County Zoo is a nationally-renowned zoo in Wichita, Kansas that has the facilities and animals to take visitors on a virtual tour through all six continents. As far as the highlights go, the North America section has an amazing selection of big mammals like elk, cougar, and bar, while the Africa section is home to the zoo’s famous lions (often seen scenically sunning themselves atop a large rock in their pen) and other perennial favorites like rhinos, hippos, and giraffes. In fact, there’s a feeding station for the giraffes so you can get up close and personal with those gentle giants. Feeling that long black tongue slurp the feed out of your hand is quite an experience! The Asia section is a little bit less extensive, but it has what for many is the best part of the entire zoo: the tigers. The Slawson Family Tiger Trek is a fun and innovative way to see these big cats in a more-or-less natural environment. The whole area has been set up to resemble the forests of Asia, and you can explore the area and see the tigers interacting with each other in a natural way. The best part are the glass porthole that let you take a very close view at the animals. Simply stunning.
There are lots of educational activities for young and school-age kids, but one of the most interesting is the Creature Campout, a chance to bring a tent and sleeping bag and camp out at the zoo. Anyways, the zoo costs $14 for adults, $11 for senior, and $9 for kids between 3 and 11.
Botanica is one of the best and most beautiful things to see in the city of Witchita, Kansas. No, it's not the biggest or most varied botanical garden in the world, but they have managed to create a wonderful and whimsical little world full of colorful blooms and, more famously, butterflies. Botanica has intentionally created various gardens designed to attract butterflies and the result is simply magical! The best is the “Butterfly House,” a cute little greenhouse-type building that is full of the colorful winged creatures. Also, Botanica is perfect if you have kids. There are all kinds of supervised activities and play areas for the kids and it’s a perfect chance for parents to take a relaxing breather among the shady rock gardens and wildflower meadows.
Another must-see at Botanica is the “Sensory Garden,” an garden-exhibit that’s specifically designed to bring visitors in touch with a wide variety of colors, aromas, and textures. Before your visit make sure to check out the Botanica website as they regularly host themed events in the evenings like dinners, tours, or markets throughout the year.
The Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, Kansas is a thoroughly interesting and original concept in museums: rather than focus on one aspect of interest like science, art, or natural history, present visitors with a full range of "treasures" from around the world. Consider is a "greatest hits" of global history and nature. The museum has everything from dinosaurs to mummies to fossils and ancient Buddha statues from East Asia. Since this is Kansas, the Museum of World Treasures also has a special section dedicated to the Wild West that outlines a bit of frontier history and shows off items like the era. Without a doubt, the museum’s most famous attraction is “Ivan,” a massive T-Rex skeleton on display. The result is impressive. The fossil is nearly perfectly intact and just taking a look at the giant head with the razor-like teeth is enough to send a chill up your spine!
The Museum of World Treasures also has a curious selection of historical artifacts that defy expectations. There’s a section of the Berlin Wall, a collection of signatures from every American president, manuscripts from Beethoven and Mozart, and sports memorabilia from greats like Mohammad Ali or Joe DiMaggio. Like I said, it’s basically a greatest hits of world culture and a place where you’re sure to find something to marvel at no matter what your interest are.
The Wichita Art Museum is a wonderful little art museum in Wichita Kansas that specializes in the cream of the crop of American art. The highlights of the collection are Charles Russel, a turn-of-the-century American artists whose paintings of the American West came to symbolize an ideal, and Edward Hopper, the 20th-century American painter most well-known for his classic 1942 painting Nighthawks.
The museum also has a small but well-curated collection of Native American and Pre-Colombian art that’s worth seeing. The museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibits ranging from subjects like contemporary Native American art to works from as far away as Australia and prestigious traveling exhibits like the May Cassatt and the American Impressionists. Another obvious highlight is the dazzling glass sculpture by contemporary artist Dale Chihuly that adorns the lobby area.
The museum also has a small gift shop selling souvenirs and prints of the works and a cafe where you can grab a coffee or a bit to eat after exploring the museum. The museum also hosts regular events and activities like yoga or film screenings so you should check the schedule before you visit to see what’s on.
The Kansas Aviation Museum is a must for amateur pilots, military history buffs, and gear-heads in general, not to mention an ideal place for families since your kids will love climbing around the old planes and exploring the cockpits. Hey, even many adults would like to climb around the planes and explore historic cockpits! The building itself is a hulking art-deco masterpiece that’s worth a few minutes of your time by itself. But, of course, the real treasure is inside: you’ll find classic biplanes like the Laird Swallow, Stearman Trainer, and American Eagle aside more modern ones like the Beech Starship or Boeing 727. On the runway outside of the museum you’ll find the jewel in the crown of American aviation: the legendary B-52, full-restored and on-display for all.
Also, you can’t miss a visit to the control tower to take in what is probably the best view in all of Witchita. Even if you have no interest in flying, the planes are amazing works of craftsmanship and could even be considered art.