Six Ways to Spend a Family-Friendly Spring Break in Wichita
Wichita is brimming with fun and affordable activities for the entire family during spring break. Take a look at these six suggestions to keep your clan entertained throughout the week. (Compliments of Visit Wichita).
1. Learn and play at Exploration Place
Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments, hands-on experiences, Kansas’ largest domed theater – the Boeing Dome Theater and Planetarium – imaginative spaces and outdoor recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita.
The science center recently opened two new national traveling exhibits that are included in general museum admission. Through April 23, “Voyage to Vietnam: Celebrating the Tet Festival” allows visitors to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, dress and food of Vietnamese culture and traditions.
Through April 30, “Discover the Ice Age” takes visitors back in time to a frigid world where woolly mammoths, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, massive bears and cave people roam. The ice age exhibit features life-sized animatronic animals as well as the humans that lived among them, all recreated in a realistic setting. Guests will travel through galleries exploring the Earth after the age of dinosaurs, the emergence of the ice age giants and the ice people that lived among these large mega mammals. There’s also a new dome theater film “Titans of the Ice Age.”
In addition to exploring the exhibits and film, visitors can enjoy programs and activities related to the exhibits during spring break. All are included with museum admission unless otherwise noted. Activities can change without notice; call ahead to confirm.
“Discover the Ice Age”Monday, March 20 - Friday, March 249 a.m.-4 p.m.Daily, unless otherwise noted. Subject to change without notice.
Spring Break Edventures: Participants in grades kindergarten through 5 can spend their spring break with ice age-themed activities. Price (per day) Member: $30/Nonmember: $35 Registration required: 316-660-0620 or http://exploration.org/programs/parents/spring-break-edventures.
“Voyage to Vietnam: Celebrating the Tet Festival”Friday, March 17 - Sunday, March 26, 1-4 p.m. Daily, unless otherwise noted. Subject to change without notice.
Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture with special dances, fashion shows, food, music and more.
Friday, March 17 Create a rubber band jump rope. Practice Vietnamese calligraphy and make ornaments, lion dance puppets and your own firework painting.
Saturday, March 18 Museum Tet Festival Kick off the day with fireworks and a performance by the St. Anthony Lion Dance Team. Then enjoy Vietnamese food at the Vendor Marketplace (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Learn Vietnamese vocabulary, such as colors, numbers and food. Listen to classical Vietnamese music. Meet the Vietnamese Pageant Court.
Sunday, March 19 Talk with local Vietnamese volunteers wearing different clothes that represent the culture. Take a selfie with props including fans, dress, lanterns and more.
Monday, March 20 Assemble a rubber band jump rope. Listen to classical Vietnamese music. Write your favorite wish and add it to lucky trees.
Tuesday, March 21 Put on your dancing shoes and try a short routine with the Vietnamese Student Association. Enjoy classical Vietnamese music. Create a firework painting and make lion dance puppets.
Wednesday, March 22 Play Vietnamese games. Learn Vietnamese calligraphy. Find out about the five fruits on the Tet celebration’s ancestral altar.
March 22, 1:30 p.m. Senior Wednesday Learn the basics of eating at a Vietnamese restaurant. Make your own spring roll with the help of Vietnamese volunteers. Admission is $4 (plus tax).
Thursday, March 23 Put on your dancing shoes and try a short routine with the Vietnamese Student Association. Create lion dance puppets and your own firework painting.
Friday, March 24 Play Vietnamese games, including Bau cua ca cop and more.
Saturday, March 25 Meet and take your picture with Miss Vietnam and the Vietnamese Pageant Court. Enjoy a showcase of the national dress of Vietnam. Learn Vietnamese vocabulary, such as colors, numbers and food. Interact with the lion dance performed by Phap Hoa Temple Lion Dance Team and enjoy the Vietnamese Student Association as they perform a cultural dance while wearing traditional clothing.Sunday, March 26 Meet and talk with Miss Vietnam and her Pageant Court. Create a firework painting and make lion dance puppets.
2. Find inspiration at Museum of World Treasures and Mark Arts
The week-long Week of Heroes event features activities for the whole family included in regular admission to the Museum of World Treasures, which features three floors of eclectic pre-history to modern day artifacts. Everyone will be celebrating the heroes of yesterday and today with fun stations around the museum and special guests from the community. Discover heroes in local, national and world history. Meet local heroes: veterans, active duty service members, police, firefighters and more.
Enjoy themed crafts, focusing this year on “The Grand Ole” Flag, and educational activities all week. Every child in attendance will receive a prize bag, lectures of all types will be hosted throughout the week and the event will spill onto the plaza with military vehicles, an F4 fighter simulator and vehicles of various first responders.
Mark Arts STEAM Camps are all about creativity and innovation, linking art to concepts in science, technology, engineering and math. Students ages 6 to 12 will explore mixed media, drawing, painting, clay and experiments. At the end of the week, students will showcase their work for family and friends to enjoy. Camps for students 6 to 9 will be held from 8 a.m. to noon March 20 to 24, and camps for students 9 to 12 will be the same days, but from 1 to 5 p.m. Find full details at www.markartsks.com/spring-break-steam-camps.
3. “Zoocation” at Sedgwick County Zoo or Tanganyika Wildlife Park
The Sedgwick County Zoo is the seventh-largest zoo in the U.S. and the state’s most-visited outdoor attraction. The zoo is home to more than 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species. See orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, tigers, penguins and the Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley, the third-largest elephant exhibit in the country. Find the daily schedule on the zoo’s website if you want to time your visit with an animal feeding.
Just in time for spring break, opening day at Tanganyika Wildlife Park is March 17, and there are sure to be plenty of animal babies to see. Tanganyika specializes in wildly different animal encounters. In addition to viewing the animals, guests can interact with some of the animals in the collection, from riding a camel to petting a kangaroo to feeding a lemur, giraffe or lorikeet.
4. Get active
If you want to get active on spring break, Wichita has many indoor and outdoor options. Enjoy scenic views at nature trails like the Great Plains Nature Center or Pawnee Prairie Park. At Great Plains Nature Center, explore a different habitat each day – prairie, woodlands, wetlands, underwater, desert – through two short nature walks and two animal presentations. For more fun, visit O.J. Watson Park for pony rides and paddle boats. You’ll find more than 80 miles of paved paths at over 125 Wichita parks.
Indoors, consider a public ice skating session at the Wichita Ice Center or call ahead to the $14 million sports complex Wichita Sports Forum to find out what sports courts are available for open play or catch some air at the forum’s Aviate indoor trampoline park. They are also offering half-day and full-day Spring Break Camp for grades K-6, from March 20 to 24. Urban Air is a 30,000-square-foot park in west Wichita packed with large trampolines, foam-block pits, basketball hoops and a dodge ball arena. Dart Warz offers an indoor foam dart battlefield. They are normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, with limited hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but during the week of March 20-24, Dart Warz will be open every day from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., with late hours from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday nights.
5. Go (wild wild) west
This year is the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail and you’ll find events for all ages throughout Wichita commemorating the city’s role in the cattle drives. Read our blog post on the 150th celebration for details about a series of events during spring break at the Wichita Public Library. You can experience Wichita like it’s 1865 at Old Cowtown Museum, a living history museum that lets you immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and activities common to a Midwestern cattle town. Hear the ring of the blacksmith anvil, try an ice-cold sarsaparilla in the saloon and be prepared to duck in the doorway as gunfire erupts in the streets.
6. Get Artsy at Wichita Art Museum and City Arts
Wichita Art Museum’s art never goes on break, so join the Wichita Art Museum for some serious Artcation fun while the kids are out of school. During Wichita’s spring break week (March 20-24), the museum welcomes all children and high school/college students (with ID) Tuesday through Friday for just $1. On Saturday, admission is free for everyone. Try your hand at special art projects in the museum’s living room. Watch an animated movie. Explore the galleries with special gallery guides and games, plus more surprises.
CityArts presents “Road Trip Across America,” a week-long excursion into the art and history of five great American cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Fe and New Orleans. Camps run daily March 20 through 24.
Not only can Wichitans have lots of fun over spring break, but they can save money by picking up a free Visit Wichita Explore Card that allows card holders to pay full admission for each ticket at the first attraction, and then receive a $2 discount for each ticket purchased at other participating attractions, which include: Botanica Wichita, Exploration Place, The Kansas African American Museum, Kansas Aviation Museum, Mid-America All-Indian Center, Museum of World Treasures, Old Cowtown Museum, Sedgwick County Zoo, Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Wichita Art Museum and Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. Ask for the card, which is good throughout 2017, at Visit Wichita, 515 S. Main, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A HUGE thanks to my friends at Visit Wichita for this amazing list of things to do in our awesome city during spring break!
Want to travel outside of Wichita?
You can check out the Spring Break activities at the SPRING BREAK at the Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center.
Great engineering-themed fun during the weeks of Spring Break (March 17- April 2) at the Cosmosphere! Extended hours begin March 17, with the Cosmosphere open until 7 p.m.
The following schedule is specific to the dates listed:Friday, March 17—Sunday, March 19: Lucky Weekend for Big Dreams and Big FunWear green for 10 percent off in the Cargo Bay gift store or on the purchase of a pass to Our Universe Theaters (Dr. Goddard’s Laband the Justice Planetarium). *Discount is not included on a purchase of the all-access mission pass.
Saturday, March 18 (*some activities require admission):
10 a.m. & 12 p.m. Children can make an Irish-themed probability game at the Innovator’s table in the lobby
11 a.m. Children can participate in an engineering themed story time in the Cosmosphere lobby
Noon, 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. Docent guided tours of the Hall of Space will be available for families
1 p.m. Kids Space Trek guided tour of the Hall of Space Museum and scavenger hunt to collect gold coins for prizes
2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Behind-the-scenes tours of the Cosmosphere camp areas will be offered
3 p.m. Kids take a self-guided scavenger hunt through the Hall of Space Museum to collect gold coins for prizes
The following activities take place daily throughout Spring Break (March 17- April 2) *some require admissionInnovator’s Workshop—Cosmosphere Lobby10 a.m.—4 p.m. Free, hands-on STEM activities for children from making a self-propelled paper car to a hologram illusion.
Practice building a skyscraper for the Cosmosphere’s “Slender Tower Engineering Challenge” to take place on April 8. This friendly competition will challenge young engineers to build and test wind resistance on paper skyscrapers.For a detailed description of which projects will be offered on specific days, please visit the event calendar at cosmo.org.
Adult Scavenger Hunt—Hall of Space Museum
10 a.m.—4 p.m. (excluding Sundays) Scavenger hunt through the Hall of Space Museum where adults can collect points to redeem for prizes.
Dream Big Food Drive—Big Dreams can only happen when basic needs are met!
Patrons will receive an instant $1 off* any documentary for a donated canned food item. *One discount allowed per person.
Feature Films, Documentaries and Our Universe Theater Shows
During Spring Break hours, see feature films on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings both weekends at 7 p.m.
New Documentaries, Planetarium and Live Science Shows
Visitors won’t want to miss the newest engineering documentary showing at the Cosmosphere: “Dream Big--Engineering OurWorld”! “Night Sky Live” will show Planetarium guests the celestial bodies they can see each evening. Additionally, “Black Holes”will begin showing. Shows in the Our Universe Theaters (Dr. Goddard’s Lab and the Justice Planetarium) will be added as needed dueto attendance.
Noon—2 p.m. Ice cream made with liquid oxygen will be served in the Cosmosphere lobby
1 p.m. — “Meet an Engineer” activities and conversation at the Innovator’s Workshop in the lobby
2:45 (following the 2 p.m. “Dream Big” documentary showing) behind-the-scenes tour of Cosmosphere camps
Noon–3 p.m. Ride the Multi-Axis Trainer for $2