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Wichita Story Ideas

Wichita offers a unique backdrop from its western heritage to its hip, urban artwork. Below you’ll find a list of story ideas and key items that makes Wichita the place to be.

Old Cowtown Museum

Western Heritage

Old Cowtown Museum offers visitors a living history experience as reenactors stroll among 26 historic buildings depicting life in Wichita in the 1870s. Used for commercials, television shows and movies, the museum injects you into the Wild West by awakening your senses through a frosty-cold sarsaparilla, gunfights in the street and other cowboy adventures. The museum and the nearby historic Delano District are among Wichita's stops on Kansas' Gunsmoke Trail.


Air Capital of the World

About 35 percent of the world’s (and 48 percent of the United States’) general aviation aircraft are produced in Wichita. The Kansas Aviation Museum displays Wichita’s aviation history with exhibits like the B-47 and B-52 jet bombers. See one of only two airworthy Boeing B-29 Superfortress aircraft left in the world at the B-29 Doc Hangar & Education Center. Fly in or drive in for lunch at Stearman Field Bar & Grill in nearby Benton and rub elbows with fellow aviation enthusiasts. Stroll through the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum to learn about the city’s many aviation pioneers and leaders, and peek into the aviation industry at Exploration Place's Design Build Fly exhibition.

Sedgwick County Zoo

Wonderful Wildlife

The Sedgwick County Zoo is Kansas’ most popular outdoor attraction and the seventh-largest zoo in the country. Spend hours up-close-and-personal with tigers, gorillas, penguins and more than 3,000 other animals at this truly world-class facility. The remarkable Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley opened in 2016, showcasing the 3rd largest elephant exhibit in the country and the world’s largest elephant pool at 550,000 gallons.

Petting Lemurs at Tanganyika Wildlife Park

Tanganyika Wildlife Park

From ring-tailed lemurs to pygmy hippos, you can get up-close-and-personal with many rare animals at Tanganyika Wildlife Park. This exotic destination is located just 15 minutes west of the city and features some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to interact with wildlife. You can even go behind-the-scenes with an okapi or sloth or swim with African penguins.

Keeper of the Plains with Lit Fire Pots

Keeper of the Plains

At the confluence of the of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers – pronounced OUR-Kansas locally – see where Wichita was founded, and visit the iconic Keeper of the Plains, which turned 50 in May 2024. Watch for the nightly Ring of Fire, which happens between 9-9:15 p.m. (7-7:15 p.m. during fall/winter hours) when this 44-foot-tall monument is illuminated by fire pots.

Music Theatre Wichita presents Chicago

Arts & Culture

Wichita is a cultural hub with a variety of offerings, including the amazing sounds of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, and the unmatched performances of Wichita Grand Opera, one of only 110 operas in the country. Bursting with talent, there are Music Theatre Wichita alumni in nearly every Broadway production currently running. Plus, you can see comedic and musical live shows at Roxy’s Downtown and Mosley Street Melodrama. Wichita’s rich culture can be experienced at attractions like the Mid-America All-Indian Museum and The Kansas African American Museum.

Pizza Hut Museum exterior

Worldly Museums

Nowhere else in the world can you see The Original Pizza Hut Museum, admire the one of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex in the country and see one of the finest collections of early 20th century art. You can spend days visiting Wichita’s museums that span from Wichita’s Wild West roots to its technologically advanced aviation heritage.

Larkspur Patio

A Foodie's Dream

In a town where hummus is as popular as potato salad, Wichita is home to an incredible selection of international restaurants, fine-dining, award-winning food trucks, coffee shops, breweries and more. Spend a weekend trying authentic Mexican cuisine, delicious Mediterranean dishes, fresh Vietnamese pho and locally raised beef. You’ll leave blown away by Wichita’s more than 1,200 restaurants taking you on a trip around the world without leaving city limits.

What’s New in Wichita

Wichita is ever evolving and welcoming new features, businesses and restaurants. Below you’ll find a list of the latest gems in the city.

Big Developments

A rendering of the new Textron Aviation Flight Adventure playground at Exploration Place

Exploration Place – In March 2024, Exploration Place broke ground on a 1,500-capacity amphitheater, which will overlook the Keeper of the Plains on the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. It is designed to host drone shows and other outdoor events and is expected to open this fall in time to host the Drone Light Festival from Sept. 20-22. The amphitheater is part of a five-year strategic plan to capitalize on Exploration Place’s location along the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita.

Also in March of this year, Exploration Place announced Textron Aviation as the naming sponsor of the largest attraction at the heart of the museum’s expansive new outdoor “destination playscape” project, the Textron Aviation Flight Adventure. The new exhibition is anticipated to open in the fall of 2025.

The Textron Aviation Flight Adventure features a Beechcraft Staggerwing biplane sculpture atop a towering control tower and an explorable Cessna Citation business jet, not only designed for climbing and play, but also to ignite visitors’ imaginations and foster a sense of wonder in aviation. The aircraft serve as a testament to the state’s rich aviation heritage and promise of a continued bright future in advanced aviation manufacturing.

In 2023, Exploration Place welcomed 403,543 visitors. With the arrival of the envisioned destination playscape spanning across 6.5 acres, it is anticipated that Exploration Place will soar to an annual count of 1 million visitors, amplifying the impact and reach of Textron Aviation.

Tap N Paddles – Two Kansas natives and pickleball fanatics are opening an all-new pickleball facility in summer 2024, which will be located near Aloft Wichita Northeast. The facility will include 12 professional level courts, a full restaurant and bar, an indoor event space and more.

Elsewhere Festival and Conference – Wichita will be the location for the first-ever Elsewhere Festival and Conference. Produced by Midtopia, the event is set for June 21 and 22. The genre-agnostic festival will feature performances from Killer Mike, Lane 8, Vince Staples, Steve Aoki, Snow Tha Product, BADBADNOTGOOD, Sudan Archives and more. Many local Wichita venues will host festival and conference programming throughout the event, with one free stage open to the public. The festival will also include various art experiences, an immersive light and sound stage and will act as a platform for community-based artists of all kinds. Part of what distinguishes the event is its community focus—specifically within the Midwest, a region often overlooked despite its vast influence and vibrant musical history.

Sedgwick County Zoo  Kansas’ most-visited attraction, the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, expects to welcome five baby African elephants in 2025. If five current elephant pregnancies are successful in 2025, Wichita's zoo would be the first accredited zoo in the U.S. to have five elephant births in one year. Elephant pregnancies last 22 to 24 months, potential births are anticipated at the end of spring 2025 into next summer.

Fitness Court®  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS), Wichita Park & Recreation and National Fitness Campaign (NFC) partnered to develop and open an outdoor Fitness Court® at Pat Garcia Veterans Memorial Park in Wichita. The Fitness Court, which opened May 10, 2024, was developed by the three organizations to expand free access to high quality workouts and create equitable access to exercise for communities around the state. The Fitness Court is the world’s best outdoor gym that lets people use their own body weight to get a complete workout using seven exercise stations and will be a great option for visitors looking to stay active while traveling. Created with people aged 14 and older and with all abilities in mind, the workouts are adaptable for all fitness levels, allowing participants to move at their own pace. Users also may download the free Fitness Court App which acts as a coach-in-your-pocket and enhances the outdoor gym into a digitally supported wellness experience. 

NBC World Series The National Baseball Congress (NBC) World Series is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2024. Since 1935, the NBC World Series has been bringing a one-of-a-kind baseball experience to Wichita. The 2024 event will take place July 25-Aug. 3 at Wichita State University’s Eck Stadium. The series is an opportunity to watch baseball stars and experience this 90-year-old baseball tradition that has brought talent like Ozzie Smith, Mark Teixeira, Barry Bonds, Joe Carter and more to the NBC World Series.

Barks & Brews The first off-leash, indoor/outdoor dog park and bar, Barks & Brews, has opened in Wichita. The new attraction allows humans to enjoy adult beverages while their dogs play in an off-leash park. In order to keep both human and canine visitors safe, those who want to visit the business must have a membership, which requires up-to-date vaccination records. People can choose from annual or monthly memberships, or they can pay per visit.

Broadway Plaza AC Marriott is underway in Wichita’s historic Broadway Plaza, located at Douglas Avenue and Broadway Street in downtown Wichita. The hotel is being developed in conjunction with the Kansas Health Science Center - Kansas College of Osteopathic Medicine and is expected to have 118 rooms. Developers plan to blend modern aesthetics with the building’s unique, historic elements. The 11-story hotel will feature a ground-floor bar that will be open to the public and a covered entryway for valet parking.

The Derby Shores – Construction is set to begin summer 2024 on The Derby Shores, a 4.5-acre, $160 million project in Derby, Kansas, located southeast of Wichita. The attraction is expected to include a man-made lagoon, hotel, rock-climbing facility, waterslides, beach volleyball courts, waterfront restaurants and more.

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