Capture the magic of the season and make memories with your family during Christmas in Wichita. There is a sleigh full of Christmas-themed events, from live performances to hands-on activities for all ages to old-fashioned and prairie-themed experiences.
The merry-making has already started and runs through the end of December. Make the most of every moment in Wichita with this selection of festivities that will deliver holiday cheer.
Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Nov. 18-Dec. 23 @ Bradley Fair
Celebrate the season with a horse-drawn carriage ride as you enjoy miles of crystal lights through Bradley Fair. Carriage rides are free and open to the public. They originate from the fountain at the Bradley Fair Plaza.
Cowboy Christmas on the Prairie
Nov. 24-Dec. 22 @ Prairie Rose Ranch
Experience Christmas the cowboy way with five different holiday shows at Prairie Rose Ranch in Benton between Nov. 25-Dec. 22: Prairie Rose Rangers Christmas on the Prairie, Diamond W Wranglers Cowboy Christmas, Barry Ward’s Holiday Homecoming, A Patsy Cline Christmas featuring Kim Coslett and Bucky Fowler's Family Christmas. Choose from matinees and evening shows. There’s one concert-only event for $15, the other tickets range from $30 to $45 for adults, $10 for ages 3-12 and include an all-you-can-eat chuckwagon supper. The gates open well before the shows so guests can enjoy the ranch’s decorations, horse-drawn wagon rides, Christmas movies and the Silver Screen Cowboy Museum.
Prairie Pines Old-Fashioned Christmas
Nov. 24-Dec. 17 @ Prairie Pines
For more than three decades, Bob Scott and his family have turned their 20-acre Christmas tree farm into an old-fashioned Christmas experience. Prairie Pines Old-Fashioned Christmas centers around the rustic log barn that becomes the Christmas Shop, filled with fresh trees decorated with ornaments for sale. Fresh wreaths are made each weekend. You can cut your own tree, purchase a pre-cut tree or just enjoy the old-fashioned atmosphere. A free children’s train runs on the weekends, pulled by a small tractor, and horse-drawn and tractor-drawn hayrack rides are available. The horses are available during select weekend hours. Also on the weekends, children can visit with Santa in his 100-year-old sleigh while families take a quick snapshot with their cameras. There is no charge to visit with Santa, though donations to his reindeer food fund are accepted. Maize High School students sell cookies and hot chocolate.
Nov. 24-Dec. 31 @ Botanica Wichita
Enter a true winter wonderland and gaze at more than 1 million lights as you stroll through more than 30 gardens at Botanica Wichita. Illuminations begins Nov. 24 and lights up the gardens every night through Dec. 31. Find yourself walking down Candy Cane Lane, playing with tree monsters in the Downing Children’s Garden or watching the choreographed light show with 50,000 lights set to music. You and your family can enjoy a trip through Illuminations 5:30-8:30 p.m. nightly (excluding Dec. 24 and 25). Tickets are $8 ($7 members) for adults and $6 for youth (3-12).
“Let It Snow” Dome Movie
Nov. 25-Dec. 31 @ Exploration Place
Exploration Place will show “Let It Snow” in the Boeing Dome Theater again this season. The fun-filled, larger-than-life show for all ages features joyful holiday imagery set to classic holiday music from Frank Sinatra to the Muppets. Tickets are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for youth (3-11). The dome does not require general museum admission. Call 316-660-0600 for daily show times.
Kansas in Miniature Holiday Show
Nov. 25-Dec. 31@ Exploration Place
The popular Kansas in Miniature exhibit inside Exploration Place will be decorated to depict a 1950s holiday, including a Christmas parade and nostalgic music. The exhibit is included in general museum admission.
Winter Art Mania
Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 26-28 @ Wichita Art Museum
The Wichita Art Museum is expanding its Winter Art Mania from two days to five this year. You’ll enjoy free museum admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 26-28 along with family–friendly movies, exciting artmaking, gallery explorations and more surprises. Each day brings new and fun activities.
The Polar Express Experience
Nov. 25-Dec. 23 @ O.J. Watson Park
Seats are limited on the popular The Polar Express experience at the city of Wichita’s O.J. Watson Park and you can reserve yours by calling 316-529-9940 or visiting www.wichita.gov/parkandrec. This family activity is geared toward children 2 and up. Kids are encouraged to wear pajamas and an adult must also attend and register. The fun starts with a reading of “The Polar Express” with milk and cookies. Enjoy crafts and activities, then take a ride on the miniature train to see Santa at the North Pole, where you’ll have s’mores and hot chocolate. The event is at 12:30 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 and at 6 p.m. Dec. 23.
K-LOVE Christmas Concert
Nov. 26 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
Celebrate the reason for the season with your family and friends during a night of Christmas favorites and top hits. K-LOVE Christmas 2017 features Steven Curtis Chapman, Hillary Scott & The Scott Family and We Are Messengers.
The Gingerbread Man Children’s Theatre
Nov. 29-Dec. 16 @ Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center
Evening and matinee performances are available for The Gingerbread Man, recommended for ages 2 and up.
First Friday/Bringing in the Greens
Dec. 1 @ Great Plains Nature Center
Join the Great Plains Nature Center staff as they kick off the holiday season with Bringing in the Greens, an evening of music and family fun. Make your own ornament, decorate holiday cookies, then enjoy critter programs and music in the auditorium. Don’t forget to get your picture taken with Santa! The Owl’s Nest gift shop will offer a 15 percent discount on all purchases.
Dec. 1-2 and Dec. 8-9 @ Old Cowtown Museum
Stroll through the historic streets of Old Cowtown decorated for an 1880s Christmas at the Victorian Christmas. This four-night event allows visitors to enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas with their family: carolers strolling the streets, crafts and activities for kids, popcorn stringing, wagon rides, Santa Claus in Santa’s Workshop (aka Carpenter’s Shop) and more! Cookies, cocoa and unique Christmas gifts will be available for purchase. Regular museum admission applies.
Holidays in Old Town
Dec. 2-16 @ Old Town Wichita
With lights and decorations, Holidays in Old Town is a holiday haven in the middle of the city. Don’t miss the Mayor’s Tree Lighting, which will be moving to Old Town Square from Kennedy Plaza on Dec. 3. Celebrate the holidays with live music, visits from Santa, free carriage rides, crafts and more. This event happens on Dec. 2, 9 and 16.
A Cirque de la Symphonie Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 2-3, 2017 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
Prepare to be amazed as the magic of the Cirque du Soleil meets the classical renderings of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra in A Cirque de la Symphonie Holiday Spectacular! This holiday show is perfect for the whole family and comes equipped with acrobats, aerial flyers, contortionists, dances, jugglers, balancers and some of the strongest men and women you will ever see. These gravity-defying stunts are professionally-choreographed and set to classical masterpieces recognizable for all ages.
Carriage Rides in the Park
Dec. 2 @ High Park, Derby
Enjoy rides in carriages pulled by Clydesdales or sleighs pulled by reindeer at the 2nd annual Carriage Rides in the Park. This free event is at High Park in Derby, just south of Wichita. There’s also a petting zoo, hot chocolate and cookies!
Lights on the River
Dec. 3 @ Wichita Boathouse
Lights on the River, presented by Wichita Clean Streams, is a free family-friendly event that highlights Wichita’s best natural asset each holiday season – the Arkansas River. The event takes place immediately follow the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting, and trolleys will be available to take you from the lighting ceremony in Old Town Square to the Wichita Boathouse for the event. Purchase floating lights for the floating light launch, enjoy wagon rides, visit with Santa, listen to holiday music, partake in yummy food from local food trucks and more.
Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Holiday Open House
Dec. 3 @ Wichita Art Museum
The Friends of the Wichita Art Museum will hold a free Holiday Open House from 2-4 p.m. to celebrate the season with an afternoon of refreshments and entertainment, including performances by the Goddard High School Madrigals and Young World Dance Studio, storytelling with Glitter Elf and a visit with Santa Claus.
Dec. 4-Jan. 12 @ Mid-America All-Indian Center
The Native Christmas exhibit at Mid-America All-Indian Center features an American Indian Christmas tree decorated with handmade ornaments and four separate nativity sets.
Spirit of the Season: Free Holiday Concert
Dec. 5 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
The Wichita Symphony Orchestra wants to get everyone in the holiday spirit with the Spirit of the Season Free Family Holiday Concert. This one-hour event is sponsored by Spirit AeroSystems. Bring a canned food donation to support the Kansas Food Bank and enjoy some Christmas cheer for the whole family.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”
Dec. 5-10 @ Mark Arts
Wichita Children's Theatre and Dance Center has been performing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" for 35 years with 100 children/adults from the local area. Matinees and evening shows are available.
Dec. 8 @ INTRUST Bank Arena
INTRUST Bank Arena lights up for the holidays with an incredible performance by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The band has been traveling for more than two decades bringing unforgettable holiday shows full of energy and special effects. Don’t miss this multi-generational holiday tradition.
Chris Mann: Home for Christmas
Dec. 9 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
Wichita native and opera superstar Chris Mann comes Home for Christmas in an enthusiastic performance with Wichita Grand Opera. Mann rose to fame on NBC’s “The Voice,” and is most well-known for his Broadway Tour as the Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself for the title role. Don’t miss his performance alongside Kaitlyn Costello, the Rose Hill High School Choir and the Wichita Community Children’s Choir. World-renowned maestro Steven Mercurio will conduct the performance.
Saint Nick 5Klick & Little Dashers 1K
Dec. 9 @ Sedgwick County Park
This kid-friendly event is a perfect holiday outing for the entire family! All Saint Nick 5Klick & Little Dashers 1K participants take home finishers medals, santa hats, race shirts and maybe even an award for age group, best costume, best team themed costume, ugliest sweater or best Christmas pajamas.
Bethlehem, Kansas – Presented by Music Theatre for Young People
Dec. 9-10 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
Hotel workers struggle to meet the needs of the unexpected crowd when a blizzard strands travelers at the Bethlehem Motel in western Kansas. As the rooms fill up, a couple arrives seeking shelter, including one very pregnant woman named Mary. As chaos ensues for the motel guests and workers, Mary goes into labor. Bethlehem, Kansas – Presented by Music Theatre for Young People is a musical telling the story of people who find love and peace in a Christmas miracle.
Ballet Wichita’s “The Nutcracker”
Dec. 15-17 @ Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
Don’t forego Christmas tradition and miss out on this classic tale brought to life by Ballet Wichita. The timeless tale, “The Nutcracker,” will take you back to a simpler time with the lovely sounds of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. As Clara sneaks out of bed to play with her toys, everything comes to life. She is taken to a magical land of sweets after saving the life of a prince who was turned into a nutcracker. This story has lasted through the ages and is the perfect addition to your holiday tradition in Wichita. Tickets start at $20 for the Friday and Saturday evening performances and a Sunday matinee at Century II Concert Hall.
Holiday Live Science Shows
Dec. 16-30 @ Exploration Place
Plan to be in Exploration Place’s Kemper Creative Learning Studio at 1:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday for exciting, interactive live science shows. From Dec. 16-30 they will be holiday themed. Frosty and Frozen features shattering snack foods and instant ice courtesy of liquid nitrogen, over 300 degrees below zero. Holiday Science Spectacular engage all of your senses as you experience the lights and sounds that make the holidays.
Miracle on 34th Street Film
Dec. 21 @ Orpheum Theatre
Enjoy the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street in a classic setting, the historic Orpheum Theatre. The comedy-drama is being screened in honor of the film’s 70th anniversary. The 1947 Academy Award-winning title stars Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn.
These are just a few of the many holiday-themed, family-friendly events you can explore during Christmas in Wichita. For other holiday happenings, click here. For a complete list of all that’s happening in Wichita, check out our calendar of events. Don’t forget to download the free Visit Wichita mobile app available for Apple or Android smartphones and tablets.