Summer might heat up the Plains, but Wichita has heat-proof activities sure to cool you down on even the hottest summer day.
Spend the day inside
When temperatures rise, spend the day inside! Attend one of Wichita’s 33 museums – featuring everything from modern art and ancient history to the most complete tyrannosaurus rex fossil in the country.
The Wichita Art Museum is the largest in Kansas, featuring popular works by Dale Chihuly, John Steuart Curry and Winslow Homer; and the Ulrich Museum of Art on Wichita State University’s campus houses more than 6,000 works of modern and contemporary art. The best part? Going to the Ulrich Museum is free, and the Wichita Art Museum is free on Saturdays.
One of the coolest indoor entertainment venues in Wichita is the Warren Old Town Theatre, the only digital theater in Kansas that serves food and beverages in each of its seven theaters. Air conditioning? Cold drink? Popcorn (or a full meal)? Check, check, check! If you prefer live theater to the big screen, Wichita’s got you covered there, too. With Music Theatre of Wichita, Mosely Street Melodrama and Roxy’s Downtown, you’ve got several show options to choose from in the cool comfort of the indoors.
If you want all the action of summer without any of the sun and heat, Wichita’s indoor recreation scene is vast and exciting. Go rock climbing at Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex or show off your stealth at Laser Quest. The Wichita Sports Forum is home to Aviate, the largest extreme air sports trampoline park in Wichita, with 20,000 square feet of high-flying fun. The Alley Indoor Entertainment is perfect for a summer day indoors with bowling, indoor go karts, an arcade and billiard tables! For those who truly miss the winter weather, Wichita Ice Center offers public skating, skating lessons and a figure skating academy – if you’re not already a member of the speed skating club or an ice hockey team!
Spend the day outside
Yes! You can spend the day outside and still stay cool in the Kansas heat.
Celebration Plaza at Riverside Park features an interactive water fountain for adults and children to enjoy during the summer. With ornamental trees throughout the park, a visit to Riverside Park will keep you cool, shaded from the sun and having fun!
While not as large as Celebration Plaza, Botanica Wichita’s Downing Children’s Garden has a water feature for children to splash in as well as an adventurous treehouse in the Monster Woods with shady spots to keep out of the sun and endless fun. If a fountain isn’t quite large enough to keep you and your family cool this summer, drive south to Derby, Kansas – just a short drive from Wichita – to Rock River Rapids! With six water slides, a lap pool, a lazy river and a shallow water play area, the entire family can have fun and keep cool all summer long.
You can also enjoy water features this summer without getting wet at Wichita’s WATER Center. With shady trees, a fountain and an aquarium, you’ll beat the heat while learning about conservation, pollution prevention and Kansas’ fish!
When the sun goes down, the heat eases up. On your next cool summer night in Wichita, head to the iconic Keeper of the Plains – a 44-foot sculpture situated at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas River. Every night at 9 p.m. this summer, large firepots surrounding the sculpture are ignited to represent the Circle of Life – one of the most picturesque experiences in Wichita.
Get a sweet treat
Cool off with a sweet treat at one of Wichita’s many ice cream shops!
Churn & Burn offers a unique mix of ice cream and hot (or cold) coffee – and you can even mix the two! Using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream, Churn & Burn designs all the ice cream offerings in-house without using eggs or preservatives. You can choose from a premade scoop of a specialty recipe or a custom-made recipe of your own creation.
Founded in Wichita, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers locations are spread throughout the city so you’re never too far from their famous frozen custard treats and concretes, which is their frozen custard blended with mix-ins, like chocolate fudge, caramel or fruit. While you’re enjoying a cool custard, order a steakburger and side of fries for a truly American summer meal.
If frozen yogurt is more your taste, Yo-B Yogurt & Burgers in downtown Wichita is a self-serve frozen yogurt shop with multiple flavors and a fully-loaded topping bar. You won’t miss out on a full meal either with Yo-B’s short-order menu of burgers and sandwiches.
For a more traditional ice cream experience, head to College Hill Creamery in Clifton Square for gigantic scoops of classic ice cream favorites. Order your one scoop or two in a cone, and you’ll get a Nifty Nut House malted milk ball in the bottom (to keep the ice cream from melting out!). Speaking of Nifty Nut House, the warehouse-sized candy store in Wichita is filled with 4,500 varieties of candies, nuts and snacks. While these treats aren’t cold, they’re incredibly sweet, and you’re bound to lose yourself among the aisles for a while.
No matter the sun or the heat, you can keep cool in Wichita this summer!