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Wichita is a city in south-central Kansas. Exploration Place features hands-on science exhibits and Kansas in Miniature, a display of animated models depicting 1950s Kansas. Old Cowtown Museum recreates 19th-century life with old buildings and costumed guides. Themed gardens at Botanica Wichita include a wildflower meadow and a Chinese garden. The Museum of World Treasures has Egyptian mummies and a T. rex skeleton.
The Keeper of the Plains: this statue stands at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers with hands raised in supplication to the Great Spirit. Renowned Kiowa-Comanche artist Blackbear Bosin donated the Keeper of the Plains to the citizens of Wichita on May 18, 1974.Since the sculpture’s installation to commemorate the United States Bicentennial, it has become a symbol for the city of Wichita and a tribute to the local American Indian tribes. in 1974. A complete renovation of the sculpture and installation of the Keeper of the Plains Plaza now brings people out each evening to see the Keeper and the “Ring of Fire.” The 44-foot Cor-Ten Steel Keeper of the Plains statue is now 30 feet higher than before with its new pedestal, surrounded by a plaza which describes the Plains Indian way of life. The Keeper also serves as the focal point of an eight-year, $20 million restoration and river beautification project completed in May 2007. Pedestrians can access the area via two bow-and-arrow-inspired cable-stay bridges which span the Little and Big Arkansas rivers. Fire drums on boulders at the foot of the Keeper dramatically light the night. Plantings of sage, bottlebrush, medicinal herbs, prairie grasses, yuccas and cactus add to the sense of place and time. The area is free and open to the public year-round.
Old Cowtown Museum: This is a great way to step back into history and learn the past of Wichita. Reenactments, live gun fights, and a working saloon. Kids love this place. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. The best time to go is in the spring or fall. Winter is too cold, and summer is way too hot. It’s an outdoor/indoor exhibit. Some of the indoor exhibits have air conditioning, but most don’t. From a dirt main street to a working farm, a saloon to newspaper to a school to a church, it has what a small town was like.
Great Plains Transportation Museum: This is a fun visit for anyone who loves trains. Located across the street from the old union station it made a good first destination to explore the train tracks and then into OLD TOWN. Highly recommend if you love trains and transportation with some local history.
Great Plains Nature Center: About Great Plains Nature Center; A Kansas wildlife habitat in the city. Bird watching. Paved hiking trails. Discovery programs. Indoor wildlife observatory. Connecting people with nature. The Great Plains Nature Center is a cooperative partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and the City of Wichita Parks and Recreation Department. Together with the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center, provides nature experiences to the community. Visit us to check out the Koch Habitat Hall exhibits with your grandchildren. Stop in for quiet reflection in the Bob Gress Wildlife Observatory. Or, pick up a Kansas critter memento in the Owl’s Nest Gift Shop.
Museum of World Treasures: Discover the treasures . . . around the world and through the ages. Where can you explore the crusty bones of long-lost creatures, marvel at Egyptian mummies, uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations, travel to the land of Conquistadors. and enter the battlefields of World Wars? The Museum of World Treasures, with more than 3,000 artifacts on three floors. Discover your inner explorer! This museum has a little bit of everything, including the mummy! There is something for everyone here no matter what your age. It’s in a revitalized area called Old Town. You can walk to go get something to eat and look in specialty shops.
Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum: This is one of the best museums for a city/county this size in the country. The building alone is worth the trip. The exhibits are so well done. And this museum does a great job of telling the history of this city, which has a very interesting story. Amazing conglomeration of aviation history much of which has a close connection to Wichita. It would be difficult to take it all in over less than 3 hours. The airplanes outside would be a great place for children to romp around. Serious aviation explorers could spend limitless time with all the available material. It has a nice variety of exhibits, including 1950s furniture, old toys, a re-created mechanic’s shop,
Exploration Place: Delve into hundreds of interactive exhibits that stimulate the mind and teach about science, and that’s only inside the main building. Outside there’s a park where visitors can observe Kansas wildlife in a wetlands habitat and dig for archeological treasures inside a giant sandbox. this place has a lot to offer! We spent the morning exploring the exhibits, everything is very hands on and the employees were all very passionate about their jobs and really engaged with the kids. This place is Cool for kids! Some of the favorites are Rescue exhibit, the ball pit, and the main castle area. The 3D presentation Super Volcanoes and is a “must to do”.
Travelkatz will be glad to make your family vacation to Wichita a very special one. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300.
Kansas State Capital: Topeka
Topeka likely means “wild potato,” or possibly “a good place to dig wild potatoes,” in Shawnee. But Topeka’s founders didn’t know that when they named the town in 1854. They just thought Topeka was a unique name, and that it had a nice ring to it. The name was proposed by one of the city’s founders, Reverend S.Y. Lum, who claimed it was “a name not found in the list of post offices in the United States, nor in any lexicon of the English language. It was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound.” The name was immediately popular with the other city founders, who liked that it was easy to pronounce.
It’s unclear where Reverend S.Y. Lum heard the word “Topeka” in the first place, though it seems likely he read it at some point on one of the maps drawn by missionary Johnston Lykins, who documented the geography of the region.
Kansas State Capitol Building: Kansas’ capitol is very attractive and offers artwork and history in one stop. The capitol is right downtown and sits on a beautiful block surrounded by lovely gardens. Years of restoration have created a lovely spot to visit. The library was a more memorable room in the capital. The upper level of the library had glass flooring.. There is a reason for the glass but we are not going to tell you. You’ll have to go and find out.
The artwork, murals, and the dome ceiling are amazing. There’s a great mural that has been restored on the main floor. You can self-guide or take the free tour. There’s an 8 minute film in the visitor’s center that is worth a look. A gift shop is also there and vending machines for a nice break if you need one. Very nicely done and well worth a visit. We took our time and took a few breaks and needed two hours but you can do it nicely in an hour. Also recommended is a visit to the ceremonial governor’s office. There are some wonderful Kansas artifacts on display there, including a buffalo skin and head, some fossils, depictions of Kansas wildlife, etc. The staff have been very friendly.
Lake Shawnee: This quiet little lake with so much to do. A long walking trail that goes all the way around. lovely flower gardens to stroll through and relax. for the more adventurous there is Kayak canoe and paddle boats to rent. if you already have a boat launch it for skiing or fishing, there is also Golf, Frisbee golf, Softball and Baseball, something for everyone. and then there are the Events. Pow Wow. 4th of July, Great Planes Huff and Puff, a wonderful Christmas light display and so much more. There is something special each season at Lake Shawnee. The spring flowers and tulip festival,4th of July at the lake and all the activities, booths and fireworks, fall festivals, hot air balloon weekend, gazebos, weddings, picnics, fishing, ballgames and paddleboats.
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site: This interesting site helps us understand the fight for equal education for all races that culminated in the court’s decision making it legal for black and white children to have equal educational opportunities located in a former elementary school. The exhibits explained the fight for constitutional rights. Finally, in the face of long-standing judicial precedent and societal resistance, the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. Board of Education decision in 1954 declared that segregated education was a denial of “equal protection of the laws” under the 14th Amendment.
Ranger guided tour was informative. There was a very good movie shown on wrap-around multiple screens in the auditorium. There were exhibits in some of the classrooms which explained the history of segregation and the efforts to rectify the wrongs. They had news reels from the era which were fascinating. This is a must-see site.
Combat Air Museum: In a couple of non-descript hangars on the south side of the airport sits this really cool collection of all sorts of US military aircraft and paraphernalia. The kid’s jaws will drop when you opened the door and here are all these aircraft they’d only seen in movies. The collection spans from WW1 up until recently retired aircraft like the F-14. You get to go right up to all of the aircraft and you get to go inside several of them. If you’re into history, machines, or anything airplanes you could easily spend hours here. The museum is run by all volunteers who are friendly and helpful. They also have a brilliant flight simulator that is sometimes open that the kids got an amazing intro to flight in. This museum has two buildings. The main building is very well laid out with exhibits on military aviation history and very nicely maintained aircraft on display. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers working there to help with any questions. The second hangar is Jam packed with aircraft awaiting restoration. Watch your head! They have a number of aircraft you rarely see, like several Migs. Allow a couple of hours to take it all in.
The Great Overland Station: Great place to take kids they have a while train set up right as you walk in. It is nice to walk around the whole building and learn so much about the history of the place and the trains. And the people that work there were very helpful and full of info that we wanted to know. I absolutely recommend going and checking it out if you are out sightseeing. Built in the 1920’s this station on perhaps the most famous railroad line the world, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, with its elegance restored is a must stop for railroad buffs, and people interested in history. Displays highlight railroad history and Topeka’s part in it with a good number of hands on things for younger visitors. Visitors interested in architecture will appreciate the elegance of the building. A non-railroad display that’s interesting is a display of fire-fighting equipment through the years and along with a history of fires that have occurred in Topeka.
Topeka is served by Kansas City Downtown Municipal Airport (Kansas City, MO) which is a bit over 50 miles from Topeka.
KANSAS VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
Another option for our Kansas Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
KANSAS Natural Wonder: The Salt Deposits
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