WICHITA, Kan. – Not only is the 'Pokemon Go' craze is popping up at some of Wichita’s most picturesque and well-known landmarks and attractions like the Keeper of the Plains and Sedgwick County Zoo, but it’s spurring Wichitans to explore the city in an all-new way.
“It’s a fun, new approach to get outdoors and explore all that Wichita has to offer. For some, it’s the first time they’ve seen the iconic Keeper of the Plains or it’s gotten them to check out a new neighborhood or re-visit a district they haven’t been to in ages,” said Susie Santo, Visit Wichita president and CEO. “For others, it’s simply a great way to get exercise, meet new people or spend time with friends and family.”
Among those in Wichita embracing the game and offering special activities for patrons and visitors are local restaurants, parks, attractions and retail shops. Want to know where to go to rack up the XP on your Poké adventures? Below is a list of a few of Wichita’s popular locations to explore:
- Downtown and Museums on the River
Some of Wichita’s best museums are within a two-mile walk along the Arkansas River. In the area is Keeper of the Plains, Wichita’s most-photographed and iconic landmark. The whole area is known to have some fruitful stops and gyms. The nearby Riverside area is also a fun spot to explore. According to Wichitan Jen Cole, downtown Wichita, Old Town and Museums on the River are the best places for Pokestops and gyms. “It's pretty fun. I'm only on level 7, but I’m learning a lot and, by playing, I re-discovered the Riverside area,” she said. “I love exploring Wichita and hadn't been to Riverside in years. After playing along the river, I went to the Riverside and stumbled upon new, neat shops like Songbird Juice Co. and R Coffeehouse. It’s so cool over there!”
- Sedgwick County Zoo
Not only is the Sedgwick County Zoo Kansas’ most visited outdoor attraction, it is also known to be a fun stop for Pokeman Go players. The location has 30-plus Pokestops, five gyms – one in the parking lot and four inside the zoo – and countless Pokémon around the zoo. “In July, we had several Pokemon Go groups take advantage of Twilight Tuesdays, and we’ve seen on social media that people are heading to the zoo to play,” said Melissa Graham, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Sedgwick County Zoo.
- Old Town
If you’ve been to Old Town lately, you’ll see people of all ages strolling the brick-lined streets, looking to add to their pokedex. While players are hunting Pokemon, there are plenty of unique shops, great lunch options and nighttime entertainment to take in while exploring the popular district.
- Crown Uptown Theatre
Nestled between the Douglas Design District and Clifton Square along historic Douglas Avenue, this unique venue is attracting more than concerts and weddings by getting in the Pokemon game. They are a gym location and have been letting people know by promoting their status on the outdoor marquee.
- Kansas Aviation Museum
The museum is a gym location for Pokemon Go and recently held a Pop-up Pokemon Go Party. They provided prizes and local craft beers, food and music. “The Pokemon Go party, and the fact that we are a stop, has sparked interest in the museum and has even attracted some new visitors,” said Lon Smith, interim executive director at Kansas Aviation Museum. “Approximately 60 people attended the party, and only two of them had been to the museum before. Quite a few attendees mentioned coming back out for a visit with their families. We also had one family that drove up from Tulsa specifically for this event. It’s exciting to see so many people experiencing the museum for the first time and learning more about aviation in Wichita.”
- Local parks
Wichita is home to more than 125 parks and greenways covering nearly 5,000 acres. Sedgwick County Park and Riverside Park are two popular Pokestop parks to catch virtual critters. In addition to playing Pokemon Go, park visitors can enjoy playground equipment, fishing lakes and paved pathways at local parks. For a list of all Wichita parks, visit www.wichita.gov/Government/Departments/Park/Pages/Parks.aspx.
- Wichita State University
With 54 Pokestops spread throughout the Wichita State University campus, WSU is a prime location for anyone playing Pokemon Go. There’s an interactive map at wichita.edu/pokemongo that shows every WSU Pokestop, and players can use the hashtag #WSUPokemonGo to share their adventures on social media.
How Visit Wichita is Getting in the Game
Visit Wichita is a great resource for recommendations on things to do if you are playing Pokemon Go and exploring a new area in Wichita. “If Pokemon players are downtown, they can stop in and recharge their phone battery – and check out the resources we have in our visitor’s center,” said Cynthia Wentworth, vice president of marketing at Visit Wichita. “If they’re in a location not familiar to them, players can use our app, browse our website – or even give us a call – and we can give them ideas for activities to do in a particular area or restaurants to eat in different neighborhoods all across Wichita.”
Posts about Pokemon Go are currently the most popular on all of Visit Wichita’s social media networks, showing that Wichitans – and visitors to the area – are interested in how they can play in Wichita,” Wentworth continued. “It’s really exciting to see so many people discovering new places all over the city. And while they’re out at Pokestops, we encourage them to try a new place to eat or stop in to a local retail shop to add to their adventures.”
Visit Wichita adds that while ‘Pokemon Go’ is both fun and entertaining, it can also be distracting. Visit Wichita encourage players to use common sense and follow safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings, while on a Pokemon quest.