If you’re lucky enough to be spending the holidays in Wichita, you have got a sled full of holiday-themed activities to choose from, including free things to do. Be sure to check out our first holiday festivities blog post that covers activities starting in November (many of them run through December, such as melodramas, musicals, movies, carriage rides and Botanica’s Illuminations).
Here are more special events on tap for the season:
Winter Art Mania
The Wichita Art Museum invites families and neighbors to Winter Art Mania, two days of free admission and special activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The museum will be decorated for the holidays and will offer a range of joyful activities: films, arts and crafts, PopUp Tours, scavenger hunts and more surprises. Stroll the galleries, enjoy great food in the Muse Cafe and shop for holiday gifts in the Museum Store.
Christmas at Prairie Rose Ranch
Nov. 25-Dec. 18
Experience Christmas the cowboy way with three different shows at Prairie Rose Ranch in Benton. Prairie Rose Rangers Cowboy Christmas is Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18. Bucky Fowler's Family Country Christmas is Nov. 26. A Classic Country Christmas featuring Kim Coslett is Dec. 8 and 15. Prices range from $30 to $35 for adults, $10 for ages 3-12 and those under 3 are free. Evening and matinee shows are available. Admission includes an all-you-can-eat chuckwagon supper, and 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.
Jingle Mingle at Exploration Place
This holly jolly evening is for adults only, so get ready for an evening of adult holiday diversion. Sip wintry-flavored drinks made by a mixologist, make-and-take holiday décor, illuminate a wine bottle in CreatorSpace and more. Wear your ugliest sweater or bring one with you to decorate and enter the ugly sweater contest. Local a cappella groups will entertain. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door ($25 for members) and include unlimited food, one drink ticket and access to all exhibits.
Wichita is one of 60 North American cities where Trans-Siberian Orchestra will bring its winter tour, the live debut of “The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve.” Based on TSO's multi-platinum DVD and long-running PBS fundraiser, the story follows the journey of a young runaway who breaks into an abandoned vaudeville theater on Christmas Eve seeking shelter from the cold and the ghostly visions she experiences from that concert hall's past. Tickets for this INTRUST Bank Arena performance range $47 to $77.
Victorian Christmas at Old Cowtown Museum
Dec. 2-3 and Dec. 9-10
Stroll through the historic streets of Old Cowtown decorated for an 1880s Christmas at the Victorian Christmas, which has become a family tradition for many. 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.
Tchaikovsky’s “Sweetest Suites”
Travel through Europe and the ages for a classical holiday celebration when the Wichita Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky’s “Sweetest Suites” at Century II Concert Hall. The WSO celebrates the holiday season with a concert full of sweet bonbons, including music from Tchaikovsky’s most popular ballet suites: “The Nutcracker,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake.” Four WSO principal musicians will be featured in music by Haydn. This is music for the entire family that brings back memories of holidays past, with peace and joy for the present. Tickets range $20 to $65 for the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances.
Holiday Open House at Wichita Art Museum
The Friends of the Wichita Art Museum will hold a free Holiday Open House to celebrate the season with an afternoon of live musical performances, Christmas cookies and a visit with Santa.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical”
The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage at the Orpheum Theatre. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in the national tour of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Tickets range from $37.50 to $47.50.
Season’s Treatings at Sedgwick County Zoo
Celebrate the holidays with the animals at Sedgwick County Zoo during Season’s Treatings. Come learn firsthand what “animal enrichment” is all about while watching the animals receive special holiday-themed treats. Want to be sure you don’t miss your favorite animal? Check the schedule here. Stop by the Plaza Beastro for hot chocolate, and don't forget to peruse the gift shop for the animal lovers on your list. Regular admission applies.
“The Nutcracker” Ballet
Ballet Wichita’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker” with a full orchestra, a cast of more than 150 local dancers and guest artists from across the country is one of the city's treasured cultural events. The ballet is a charming tale of holiday adventure that follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice. Tickets start at $20 for the Friday and Saturday evening performances and a Sunday matinee at Century II Concert Hall.
Breakfast with Santa and Dasher
Stearman Field Bar & Grill is serving its breakfast buffet on Saturday, Dec. 17, and welcoming families to come out to Benton for Breakfast with Santa and his reindeer Dasher.
A full event calendar is available at https://www.visitwichita.com/events/.
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