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Meeting Planner Newsletter - August 16, 2018

New attractions, hotels and team members

Just south of Wichita, a collection of life-size animatronic dinosaurs offer visitors a chance to trek through a Kansas version of Jurassic Park. The experience combines art, puppetry and theatre to take guests on a scientific expedition among these lifelike creatures.

Field Station: Dinosaurs opened earlier this summer as the country’s largest dinosaur-themed park. The $11 million, 14-acre attraction features more than 40 hand-carved and painted animatronic dinosaurs built to scale, informative and interactive live shows, workshops, games, a miniature golf course and North America’s first challenge dome.This is the second park of its kind in the U.S. with the other location outside New York City.

The dinosaurs move and make sounds. There are familiar species like Stegosaurus and T. rex as well as lesser-known dinosaurs discovered right here in Kansas. Conference attendees and their families will enjoy this unique journey.

Keeper Trail
Enjoy a National Water Trail

It’s hard to miss the Arkansas River that flows through the heart of Wichita. Most conference attendees don’t pack their kayak and they don’t need to! It’s never been easier for visitors to get out and enjoy this stretch of the river, which the U.S. National Park Service has named one of its prestigious National Water Trails.

We have three seasonal options that include equipment (and instruction if needed): sunrise and sunset stand-up paddle board and kayak tours operated by the city’s Park & Recreation department; open kayak & SUP rentals on summer Saturdays; and monthly 10-mile floats organized by Arkansas River Coalition.

By Spring 2019, there will be a year-round, daily rental option: Boats and Bikes is opening inside a new boathouse on a new 240-foot public dock. They will rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboats as well as wheeled rentals, from bicycles to skateboards.

Meet Visit Wichita's newest team members

Visit Wichita has hired Brian Hargrove in a newly created role of executive director of sports development and Kylie Kendall as convention services manager.

Hargrove will work hand-in-hand with sports sales manager Josh Howell to attract sporting events to Wichita. Hargrove has 20 years of experience in the sports industry, most recently as general manager of the Wichita Sports Forum. Previously he handled events and marketing for the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission and worked in two Olympic games – Sydney, Australia and Athens, Greece.

As convention services manager, Kendall is the main point of contact for corporate event planners and association officials, linking them with vendors, services and attractions and coordinating details to ensure their event is a success. Kendall replaces Susan Cohrs, who recently moved into the role of director of partnership development for Visit Wichita.

Get in touch with any of our team members here.

Wichita Marriott Hotel Lobby
Hotel inventory continues to expand

Wichita added 245 rooms to its hotel inventory in 2017 and is expecting to add another 416 this year and a proposed 376 rooms in 2019. Here’s an update on the latest projects:

  • 85-room Hampton Inn by Hilton Northwest opened in first quarter 2018
  • 113-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Wichita East opened in second quarter 2018
  • 98-room Tru Hotel by Hilton opened in east Wichita in second quarter 2018
  • 120-room Hilton Garden Inn is scheduled to open downtown in fourth quarter 2018
  • 107-room Home2 Suites by Hilton will open in northeast Wichita in early 2019
  • 144-room Crowne Plaza will open in Goddard, west of Wichita, in late 2019

Q1 Meeting Planner Newsletter Tradeshows
Meet us in person at these upcoming industry tradeshows

The Visit Wichita sales team will be at numerous industry tradeshows in the coming months. We’d love to meet you in person at any of the following events.

  • Aug. 18-21:ASAE Annual Meeting & Expo, Chicago, Ill.
  • Aug. 23-25:Connect MarketPlace, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Sept. 5-9:Professional Fraternity Association National Convention, Wichita, Kan.
  • Sept. 10-13:S.P.O.R.T.S. Relationship Conference, Winston-Salem, N.C.
  • Sept. 23-25:Small Market Meetings Conference, Ontario, Calif.
  • Oct. 1-4:TEAMS Conference & Expo, Louisville, Ky.
  • Oct. 16-18:NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, Orlando, Fla.
  • Nov. 12-14:Connect Faith MarketPlace, Ontario, Calif.

Wichita Highlights