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Memorial Day Weekend Getaway

Memorial Day weekend signals the arrival of summer, marked by an atmosphere of remembrance and celebration. As the nation pays homage to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country, families and friends often gather for a weekend filled with tradition and camaraderie.

Whether it's through solemn ceremonies honoring fallen heroes or joyful barbecues and outings, Memorial Day weekend holds a special place in the hearts of many. If you are visiting Wichita over Memorial Day weekend, here are some ideas of things to do in the Heart of the Country.

A young girl smiles as a kangaroo sniffs her face at Tangayika Wildlife ParkTanganyika Wildlife Park

There are plenty of Wichita-area attractions and museums to help you find things to do throughout Memorial Day weekend.

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.

Step back in time to the days when Wichita was a booming cattle town. At Old Cowtown Museum, visitors can experience life as it was in the late 1800s and watch blacksmiths at work or witness a gunfight right outside a local saloon. Stop in for an ice-cold sarsaparilla and interact with characters from the past.

Experience a one-of-a-kind prehistoric expedition at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Derby, located just south of Wichita. The park is a dinosaur-lovers dream with 40+ life-size, animatronic dinosaurs from different eras, live shows, a raptor maze, miniature golf and more.

One of the nation’s 10 largest zoos, 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 orangutans and rare okapis. Check out recent additions such as the Slawson Family Asian Big Cat Trek featuring Amur leopards, snow leopards, Amur tigers and red pandas as well as Stingray Cove.

Take the family and head just west of Wichita to Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Sign up for one of their animal experiences and get the rare opportunity to interact with creatures like lemurs, giraffes, okapi and pygmy rhinos. Stop by and pet kangaroos. You can even go swimming with penguins. During summer months, play in the water at Tanganyika Falls.

Wichita is home to many sports teams, from hockey to indoor football. If you like to experience the excitement of sports while getting fresh air, make plans to cheer on the Wichita Wind Surge minor league baseball team at Riverfront Stadium.

Wichita has a variety of entertainment complexes with both indoor and outdoor areas to play and eat, including Topgolf Wichita and Chicken N Pickle. All Star Adventures or All Star Sports have a variety of activities, such as go-karts, mini golf, laser tag, a rock-climbing wall and batting cages. Both locations are also equipped with a full indoor arcade.

Also, many Wichita museums are part of the Blue Star Museum program in which military members and their family members may visit the museum free of charge. Blue Star Museums in Wichita include Exploration PlaceOld Cowtown Museum Wichita Art MuseumWichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum and Botanica Wichita.

Rock River Rapids - Kiddie PoolRock River Rapids

Wichita has six public pools throughout the city, which typically open for the season each year on Memorial Day. The city also has 10-plus interactive fountains that are open to the public (no pets) and do not charge an admission fee. There are additional splash pads at New Market Square Plaza (at 21st St North & Maize Road), Old Town Square at 334 N. Mead and at various surrounding area parks.

Wichita area outdoor water parks, pools and splash parks including the one at Tanganyika Wildlife Park typically open for the summer season over Memorial Day weekend. Rock River Rapids is a full-service outdoor water park just south of Wichita and Splash Aqua Park is an inflatable playground installed on a lake in south Wichita.

Several people explore the Arkansas River on pedal boats and kayaks rented from Boats and Bikes

When the sun is shining and temperatures make for the perfect day spent outdoors, Wichita has tons of family-friendly activities to enjoy and many of them are free and affordable.

Boats & Bikes is a rental company operating from a 240-foot public dock on the Arkansas River near the Douglas bridge. The operation is run by Wichita State University’s rowing program and among their offerings are youth and adult paddleboards, pedal boats, kayaks and more. Boats & Bikes is open daily from Memorial Day Weekend through October, and by reservation outside those dates by emailing Hours of operation are subject to change due to weather or special activities in the area.

Hop on a bike and ride around downtown Wichita exploring all the city has to offer with Bike Share ICT. Download the app, pick your package and choose a bicycle from one of 40 stations scattered around the area. For only $1.50 a half-hour, rent your bicycle for a short period of time, or pay $30 a year and bike whenever you want. Riders must be at least 18 years old to use the service. Be sure to get out and explore Wichita’s parks and trails and swing by for a visit to the Keeper of the Plains.

The City of Wichita Park & Recreation maintains more than 140 parks, greenways and courses for visitors to enjoy. Fans of disc golf will find more than 15 courses in the Wichita area for all skill levelsSimilar to disc golf, Wichita is a great place to play footgolf, which you can play at two courses: Pine Bay Golf Course and Andover Municipal Golf Course.

For the lover of traditional golf, Wichita has five public golf courses each offering different golfing experiences. With fairways and hazards big enough to challenge even the strongest golf game, professionals and amateurs alike say Wichita has some of the best courses in the country. The city is home to a number of private courses such as the ones at Crestview Country Club and Rolling Hills Country Club.

Investigate native Kansas wildlife and develop an appreciation for the environment while making your way through 240 acres of accessible wildlife trails at Chisholm Creek Park, which is just outside the doors of the Great Plains Nature Center, which is always free to visit. Pro tip: bring a quarter for turtle food when heading out to the trails.

Take the family on a photo journey via public art in Wichita. Swing by Gallery Alley in downtown Wichita, track down murals and keep an eye out for Alley Doorsbronze sculptures and chrome bumper art along the way. Throughout the city you will find Keepers on Parade, smaller, hand-painted versions of the Keeper of the Plains. There is also an impressive collection of art at the art garden at Wichita Art Museum and on the Wichita State campus where the Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection touts nearly 80 unique pieces and everyone gets in free to the Ulrich Museum of Art.

Operation Freedom Memorial, Veterans Memorial Park, Wichita KS

Commemorate the Holiday

Traditionally in Wichita, Memorial Day is commemorated at the flag pavilion in Veterans Memorial Park. The free event is often marked by a guest speaker, color guard, rifle detail and the playing of the national anthem and taps. The 4.5-acre riverfront park sits between downtown Wichita and the Historic Delano District, near the Keeper of the Plains Plaza and the Museums on the River.


Click here for the most up-to-date list of events you can expect if you plan to spend your Memorial Day weekend in Wichita.

Wichita Highlights