Photo: Courtesy Botanica/Visit Wichita
If you will be hosting your family or friends in Wichita for the upcoming holidays, my friends at Visit Wichita can help you make it a memorable visit. Here's how!
Show your guests why ESPN writer Myron Medcalf calls Wichita dining the “best surprise in the Midwest” by dining in a variety of Wichita’s more than 1,000 restaurants that reflect our city’s appetite for brunch, lip-smacking barbecue, international cuisine, delicious burgers and more in settings ranging from fine-dining to family-owned, independent restaurants.
After dinner, hop on the city’s free Q-Line Trolley to show off the growing number of craft breweries in Wichita, or stop for a specialty drink at one of the many local coffee shops. If you need snacks or desserts, your guests will love sampling at the newly-expanded Nifty Nut House, selecting a handcrafted chocolate in the chocolate lounge at Cocoa Dolce or stopping at other one-of-a-kind sweet spots like Churn & Burn or College Hill Creamery & Coffee Bar.
You’ll have no problem keeping your visitors busy during their stay in Wichita. For a helpful recap of the array of holiday festivities taking place, start by looking at events taking place in December or search the website’s calendar of events for specific dates. Popular holiday experiences in Wichita include:
- Illuminations at Botanica is an award-winning, family-friendly event, which boasts more than 2 million lights and showcases Botanica’s 17 acres of beautiful gardens in a completely different light. As Kansas’ largest holiday light display, visitors will find more than 5,000 LED luminaries, approximately 120 expertly-lit trees, the fragrance of chimineas, the warmth of hot cocoa and cider and the joy of live musical groups through Dec. 31.
- Also through Dec. 31, soak up the sights and sounds of the holiday season as the popular Kansas in Miniature exhibit at Exploration Place is decked out for a 1950s holiday, complete with a Christmas parade and nostalgic music.
- Join the holiday fun at Holly Jolly Jurassic Holiday as Field Station: Dinosaurs’ prehistoric friends provide a hilarious, unforgettable holiday celebration. Visitors will find a one-of-a-kind exhibit and light show through Dec. 31, featuring the park’s 44 life-sized Dinosaurs wrapping gifts, decorating trees and kissing beneath the mistletoe.
- For the holidays, Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper transforms into a Christmas wonderland with Christmas at the Prairie Rose. Gates open at 5 p.m., so get there early for Christmas movies inside the two theaters, warm up in the Opera House by the large stone fireplace, shop in the Prairie Rose Mercantile and if weather allows, enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides. The experience also includes a Chuckwagon Supper, the Prairie Rose Rangers singing Cowboy Christmas songs as well as timeless Christmas favorites. The season’s last show is Dec. 22.
- December 15 and 22, head to Old Town to enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday décor, live music and a variety of family-friendly activities for Holidays in Old Town. Carriage rides can also be found in Bradley Fair on Dec. 16 and 23 from 1 to 7 p.m.
- Winter Art Mania is two days of free admission on Dec. 26 and 27, and will include family-friendly movies, artmaking and take-home projects, gallery explorations and other fun activities and surprises.
- Another attraction your guests should witness while in Wichita is the Keeper of the Plains. The nightly lighting ceremony, where firepots are lit for 15 minutes, is at 7 p.m.
Save money at attractions and local businesses
Take advantage of the discounts available at 11 Wichita-area attractions through the Explore Card. Guests pay full admission for each ticket at the first attraction they visit, then they are eligible to receive a $2 discount for each ticket purchased at the other participating attractions through Dec. 31, 2018. The card is free and available at the attractions (except the Kansas Aviation Museum) or at Visit Wichita’s office, 515 S. Main, Ste. 115 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.Explore Card participants: 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.
For more holiday events and shows, where to find Christmas light displays and how to book your stay, go to www.visitwichita.com/things-to-do/holidays.