As my 3 kids get older, and their summer schedules get more full with multiple camps for each, we found ourselves only having a few days with schedules synced to plan a summer getaway. This year we needed something close, and preferably somewhere we’d never been. Wichita fit the bill. We jumped in the van, everyone armed with their devices and took the quick trip 2 hours up I-35 to spend the weekend.
It’s no secret teenagers are a bit hard to please. And I have 3 very different tween to teenagers. But our weekend was packed full of fun things we’d never done as a family so I was hopeful they would love at least one of the things we had planned.
We checked into our hotel, the Fairfield Inn and Suites that was located right along the river where the city’s well known annual festival Riverfest was just kicking off. We were in walking distance to all the fun!
Riverfest didn’t disappoint with things like music, food, the kick off parade, and taking in all the downtown sights. The night was topped off with fireworks along the river. The river is landscaped beautifully and we took it all the way down to watch the lighting of the Keeper of the Plains. It was a perfect evening stroll along the river that made for some great photos as well!
My family also loved these activities in Wichita:
The Wichita Escape room had our family testing our strengths as we were locked in a room called The Barber Shop and had to follow the clues to find the key to get out. Watching our families personalities come out was the most fun and while we got close, we ended up trapped by the time the hour time limit expired. This was one of my family’s favorites. We all participated and worked together – and I might even venture to say it brought us a little closer together.
Cow Town was another family favorite as we walked among the old buildings in the replica of a 1870’s Kansas Cow Town. From watching the working blacksmith to enjoying a bottle of Sasparilla in the Saloon to watching a gun fight we were immersed in the quaintness of the old Cow Town. All the buildings were open and we were able to walk the streets and explore the buildings as we pleased. We could have spent all day here.
Bliss Bouldering and Climbing Complex gave us a challenge as we all got geared up and hit the 70 foot climbing wall. They give you a quick orientation after they make sure your equipment is in order. It tested skill and determination and I learned we were all up to the challenge. All the routes are marked and there was one for each skill level from beginner to advanced. So each of my kids could climb at their own skill level.
The evening met us with rain so we headed to The Alley Indoor Entertainment for some bowling, go cart riding and gaming. It was the perfect place to let off some steam, enjoy a “friendly” game of family bowling and end the evening.
We ended our Wichita stay with the morning spent at The Tanganyika Wildlife Park. This was a highlight of our trip and an experience like no other. Petting kangaroos, feeding giraffes and ring tail lemurs were just a few of the awesome animal experiences. My teenagers loved the animal interaction and agreed it was something they would never forget.
Wichita Favorite Eats
We headed straight to Bite Me BBQ upon entering Wichita. Located just outside of downtown Wichita it was a great place to get fueled up on 18 hour smoked brisket before we started our Wichita adventure. The pickle relish bar was a favorite.
After our mentally taxing hour at the Wichita Escape we worked up an appetite and walked over to College Hill Creamery. Their unique ice cream flavors had us intrigued and was terrific! They could mix their fresh brewed coffee with any ice cream for a cool coffee treat!
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and visiting the R Coffee House in Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood made us feel like we were having breakfast at a friends house. Stepping in the first thing I noticed was the local art on display, their breakfast menu had something for each of us and their quaint outdoor seating made it even more enjoyable. I will always make this coffee house a stop when visiting Wichita.
Lunch at The Pump House is a must visit. If not for the spicy fried pickles and pizza, then for the experience of eating in an old gas station turned restaurant. They have a huge outdoor seating area and if that’s not your thing you can eat inside and watch any sport you wish on one of their many TVs.
When a snack craving hit, we ventured to the Nifty Nut House. We were all in chocolate, nut, heaven. This place is filled with any sweet confection your heart desires. The only bad part was trying to make a decision on what to get! Nuts, chocolate, snack mixes, traditional candy, exotic candy – they have it all.
If everyone wants to watch something different on the TV, and it’s time for dinner then eating at Bubba’s 33 will make everyone happy. Boasting of more TV’s than tables, there is something for everyone. We quickly figured out why they’re known for their burgers – they were delicious!
We were craving Mexican food and Carlos O’Kelly’s hit the spot. They had all of our Tex Mex favorites and a pleasant atmosphere.
Our family weekend in Wichita didn’t disappoint. There were so many different things to do to please any family with different tastes. We came back well fed, sleepy, and full of new family memories. Take a weekend to Visit Wichita! They have lots of ideas for weekend fun ideas. You’ll wonder why you haven’t been before and you’ll be planning your next trip back.
For more ideas – check out our other trip to Wichita!