Kick off your family vacation with fun for everyone in Wichita. Feed the giraffes at our nationally-renown zoo, capture your need for speed at the go-kart track, get some air at an indoor trampoline park or experience Wichita’s rich cowboy culture. Explore artwork, gardens, games and lovely urban scenery at dozens of local attractions.
Do you have adventure-seekers in your family? There’s never a dull moment at Bliss Bouldering & Climbing Complex, the perfect place to put your agility to the test. Climb on rock walls of varying difficulty levels and see who can make it to the top first. With auto-belay, enjoy this safe, challenging activity with the whole family.
No matter the season, head to Botanica Wichita to explore more than 30 themed gardens and exhibits, including the Downing Children’s Garden. Designed with kids in mind, this educational, hands-on environment allows the whole family to learn more about the natural world. Botanica offers 18 acres of plant life and houses more than 4,000 native species. Botanica opens at 9 a.m. daily and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.
Wichita can easily be called a chocolate lover’s paradise with endless options for anyone craving sweets. At Cero’s Candies, enjoy a Wichita tradition since 1885. Satisfy your sweet tooth with custom-made chocolates made right before your eyes. Cero’s Candies is open at noon daily, but is closed on Sundays. Step into a world of pure imagination at the Cocoa Dolce Chocolate Lounge. With more than just artisan chocolate options, the lounge brings you coffee, wine, liqueur and gelato. All Cocoa Dolce chocolates are made from the rarest cacao in the world, Fortunato No. 4. It is taken from a cacao plant that is found in Ecuador and Peru. Cocoa Dolce is the only retailer in Kansas that uses this rare ingredient. The store is open daily at 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays.
Are you craving coffee while the kids are screaming for ice cream? Get your fix at Churn & Burn, a coffee-and-ice-cream hybrid shop in south Wichita. Churn & Burn uses all-natural, local ingredients in all its products. With no added preservatives, the whole family can enjoy these nitro-frozen treats. Churn & Burn is open Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; 7:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat.; 1-10 p.m. Sun.
Choose from more than 4,000 candies and nuts at Nifty Nut House, which has been a staple in Wichita since 1937. Even as a parent, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store. Alton Brown of the Food Network calls this place, “a national treasure,” so don’t miss out on some serious snacking at this nifty little shop.
Step back in time to the days when Wichita was a booming cattle town. At Old Cowtown Museum, visitors can experience life in the 1860s and watch blacksmiths at work or witness a gun fight right outside a local saloon. Stop in for an ice-cold sarsaparilla and interact with characters from the past. Old Cowtown Museum is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Are you in the waterpark mood? Summer fun starts at Rock River Rapids, where families can enjoy numerous activities like the tree house-themed spray area, a lazy river, shallow water play area and several water slides.
The seventh-largest zoo in the country is right here in Wichita. Sedgwick County Zoo houses more than 3,000 animals and 400 species in its 25-acre outdoor environment. See exotic creatures from all over the world including red pandas, rare okapis and an impressive number of apes. Witness the magnitude of the zoo’s newest exhibit, the Elephants of the Zambezi river Valley, holding the world’s largest elephant pool at 550,000 gallons of water. Travel to North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Africa without leaving the gates. Sedgwick County Zoo is open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. in the summer and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in the winter.
For even more animal interactions, head just west of Wichita to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Sign-up for 10 different animal experiences and get the rare opportunity to feed creatures like lemurs, giraffes, okapi and pigmy rhinos. Stop by the kangaroo exhibit for a one-of-a-kind selfie with these fun marsupials. You can even go swimming with penguins. Tanganyika Wildlife Park is open Mon.-Fri. 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
Get some air at Urban Air Trampoline Park’s six trampoline activity areas. From foam pits to a slam dunk court, bounce and flip to your heart’s desire. Enjoy an indoor ropes course and an area devoted to the little ones. Urban Air Trampoline Park opens at 10 a.m. daily.
Fulfill your need for speed at Wichita’s newest premier indoor race track, pushing your go-kart up to 45 mph. This 55,000-sq.-ft. facility also houses a pool table, air hockey and foosball tables and videogames, coupled with concessions and a gift shop. Xtreme Racing is open daily at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays.