Looking for a getaway on Mother’s Day weekend? Whether you have a few hours or a few days, Wichita has plenty of things to do the first weekend of May – from shopping at art and book fairs to creating art, from seeing exhibits on the evolution of the guitar to exploring an eclectic jewelry collection, from enjoying a low-key wine tasting to celebrating at a bacon and beer festival. Some of our most popular attractions are even offering free admission on Sunday, May 8 for moms!
Here are a few highlights to help you plan your 2016 Mother’s Day weekend in Wichita.
Attractions offering discounted admission
Only about 30 percent of the total 9,000-piece collection at the Museum of World Treasures in the Old Town District is on display in three stories of exhibit space. The museum shows some of the off-exhibit collection in its rotating gallery space, including a recently curated exhibit titled Time Adorned, a highlight of the museum’s jewelry collection. This exhibit opened in February and will be on display the remainder of the year. You’ll see a full range of colorful birthstones, tiaras, a ring from the family of Nazi military leader Hermann Goering, a necklace reported to have been owned by Marilyn Monroe and more. And, of course, the museum’s well-known inhabitants are always on display: one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rexes in the world and 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummies. All moms are admitted free on May 8 when accompanied by a paying child.
Touring the beautiful art deco terminal at Wichita’s first airport, opened in 1935, alone is worth a stop at the Kansas Aviation Museum, but you’ll also want to spend time exploring the control tower and browsing the thousands of artifacts preserving the state’s rich aviation, including 40 historical planes. The museum is offering free admission to mothers on May 8 with the purchase of one admission.
In addition to its core collection highlighting the heritage of the area, the Wichita-Sedgwick Co. Historical Museum currently has a special exhibit The Electric Guitar – Wichita’s Instrument. The museum has received international recognition for its research and exhibits devoted to the electric guitar, which was launched from Wichita in 1932. This exhibit features rare guitars from notable collections, including what experts have recently agreed “may well be the most historically important guitar ever made ... the first modern electric guitar.” The museum is offering free admission on May 8 to mothers and their guests when “Visit Wichita” is mentioned. Entrance includes the special guitar exhibit as well as a new art exhibit featuring Cecil McAlister, who designed the Wichita flag.
Enjoy art indoors and outdoors at the Wichita Art Museum, one our museums along the Arkansas River. The state’s largest art museum houses American art spanning three centuries and is holding its 57th annual Friends of the Wichita Art Museum Art & Book Fair on May 7-8. Admission to the fair and the museum is free for everyone both days. National and regional artisans will show and sell their art at tents throughout the newly developed Art Garden that surrounds the building. Hundreds of books will be for sale inside. Live entertainment is scheduled, along with food trucks and a special menu at Muse Café, including a Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday.
Also along the river, Botanica offers free admission for moms on May 8 and has several special activities planned in addition to strolling through 27 themed gardens with thousands of blooming bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs. Guests can create their own garden art, listen to live music, browse through a book sale and buy art displayed by Gallery XII artists. The Iris Club, Rose Society and the Prairie Winds Daylily Club will each have a show and sale. Lunch is available at Mother’s Day Café, provided by Friends of Botanica.
See the newest animal babies and their moms at the Sedgwick County Zoo, home to more than 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. Moms are admitted free on May 8 when accompanied by a paying child (if child is 2 and under, another paid admission will apply). From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be an all-you-can-eat Chris Cakes pancake and sausage brunch for $5 a plate.
Moms get half-price admission and a free wristband for feeding stations on May 8 at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, offering interactive animal experiences with lorikeets, giraffes, lemurs and more 15 miles west of downtown Wichita. The first 100 moms through the gates on Sunday also receive a special gift.
You can shop with mom or for mom at the second annual Mother’s Day Art Fair May 6-7 outside at the Wichita Center for the Arts, the area’s oldest visual and performing arts organization. The event highlights art made by artisans at the center and covers a wide price range. Kids can make a free Mother’s Day project and food trucks will offer lunch. While you’re there, be sure to go inside and explore the center’s gallery, which is free and open from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. May 8 is the last day of the Pastel National Exhibition showcasing 75 works by the nation’s leading pastelists.
Other experiences perfect for Mother’s Day
Create art! Pinot's Palette art studio has painting sessions scheduled all weekend, including a family-friendly class scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 7. All ages are welcome to create the mini-sun & moon painting that can be personalized. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by a painting (and paying) adult.
Get pampered! Schedule an appointment at one of Wichita’s relaxing spas. From facials to massages to nail care, you’ll find an array of body treatments at Healing Waters, Pure Salon & Spa and Shine Salon. Check the Healing Waters website for package specials and book early for May 8 appointments, which include champagne and hors d'oeuvres.
Sip relaxation! A tasting at one of our nearby wineries is another great way to relax. Grace Hill Winery uses grapes grown on its 8-acre vineyard, located about 25 minutes northeast of Wichita, to make dry and sweet wines, red, white and rose. The winery is open for free tastings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. as well as Mondays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with no appointment necessary for groups smaller than eight. Free tours are available at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday, with an additional tour at 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Wyldewood Cellars has several locations in Kansas, including its main operation south of Wichita, just west of Exit 33-Mulvane on I-35. They offer free tastings of their 32 varieties of fruit, berry and grape wines, pure elderberry juice concentrate, as well as homemade gourmet jellies, syrup and fudge. The Mulvane location is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Enjoy a beer … and bacon! The new Air Capital Bacon & Beer Festival is May 7 at Hartman Arena, just north of Wichita. Sample from the 100+ craft beers and enjoy bacon dishes from more than 15 of the area’s top restaurants, chow down in a bacon-eating contest, ride a mechanical pig, enjoy games and listen to live music. This event is for ages 21+; general admission tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the gate and VIP tickets are available for $60.
See more guitars! Head to our interactive science museum Exploration Place for the closing weekend of GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World. Regular admission rates to Exploration Place also get you in to see this national touring exhibit with more than 60 guitars and nearly 100 historical artifacts. You can even play a Guinness Record-breaking 43.5-foot-long guitar.
Catch a show! Head to Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper on May 7 for an all-you-can-eat chuckwagon dinner and family-oriented comedy and western music by the Prairie Rose Rangers. On May 6 and 7, Roxy’s Downtown is presenting the cabaret event Party of One, an original musical revue that appeals to anyone who is or ever has been single. Through May 21 Mosley Street Melodrama is performing The Mountain Gals every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. After the main show, enjoy a musical comedy revue featuring music from every decade from the 1950s through today. The worldwide Chippendales: Break the Rules Tour is making a stop in Wichita on May 7 at the historic Orpheum Theatre.
Enjoy a special meal! You’ll also find live music throughout the city at our bars and restaurants, many of which host a special Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday. From food trucks to fine dining, foodies and families love the Wichita food scene. Try a few of our 1,000+ restaurants to see why Livability.com called Wichita a "Top 10 Surprising Foodie City."
Visit our website for a full listing of attractions and upcoming events or book your stay now to make the most of your time in Wichita.