Cowtown? Try 'wow town'
Wichita entices with myriad weekend options.
Wichita Art Museum
Courtesy Visit Wichita
1. Douglas Design District
Ninety-five percent of the time I hear about an exciting new business in Wichita, it is located in the Douglas Design District, a 3-mile stretch of East Douglas Avenue running to the heart of downtown. These 3 miles include some of my favorite Wichita attractions, both old and new: Reverie Coffee Roasters, the Spice Merchant, the Anchor restaurant and two independent bookstores, Watermark Books and Café and Eighth Day Books. If you’re in town for the first or final Friday of the month, you especially want to explore this up-and-coming arts district for its art crawls.
316-425-7337 | dddwichita.com
2. Nifty Nut House
Nifty Nut House is less than a mile away from the western end of the Douglas Design District, and your sweet-toothed, retro-
loving self will be so glad you made the extra hop, skip and jump to visit this beloved business. Opened in 1937, Nifty Nut House is a third-generation business that specializes in bulk nuts and candy of all varieties. If you love to bake, there is no better place to stock your pantry because the shop also sells bulk dried fruits and any flavor of baking chip you can think of.
537 N. St. Francis St. | 316-265-0571 | niftynuthouse.com
3. Sedgwick County Zoo
Yes, Tulsa has a zoo, but the Sedgwick County Zoo is still worth a visit. The zoo has steadily been updating, expanding and establishing new exhibits for the past three decades, and it most recently opened “The Reed Family Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley.” This exhibit introduces the public to six elephants from Swaziland, where drought and a lack of space led conservationists to determine that relocation would be better for the elephants, the local landscape and indigenous rhino populations. Also be sure to visit the recently renovated “Tropics” exhibit, which is a beautiful walk-through habitat for free-flying fruit bats and other exotic creatures.
5555 Zoo Blvd. | 316-660-9453 | scz.org
4. Chisholm Creek Park
Take a relaxing walk through Chisholm Creek Park and experience the beauty of Kansas, including the prairie, streams, wetlands and wooded areas. As a child, my favorite parts were the old combine and one wonderful spot where you could walk across a stream over broken concrete slabs. Chisholm Creek Park also is home to the Great Plains Nature Center, which hosts frequent kid-friendly events, bird walks with the Audubon Society on the second Saturday of every month and other nature-themed activities.
6232 E. 29th St. N. | 316-683-5499 | gpnc.org/chisholm
5. Cowtown/Botanica/Wichita Art Museum
It’s cheating to lump three quality museums into one paragraph, but these are all located within a mile of one another. At the Old Cowtown Museum, tour a recreated cowtown, including a one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith, Victorian-style home and more. Highlights at Botanica Gardens include the Sally Stone Sensory Garden and the Downing Children’s Garden. The garden also includes a farm with a working water pump, tree house structures to explore, a musical maze and more. Finally, the Wichita Art Museum is a carefully curated collection of American art, including the “Confetti Chandelier” by David Chihuly. It’s the largest art museum in Kansas and well worth a visit.
Old Cowtown Museum:
1865 W. Museum Blvd. | 316-350-3323 | oldcowtown.org
701 Amidon St. | 316-264-0448 | botanica.org
Wichita Art Museum:
1400 W. Museum Blvd. | 316-268-4921 | wichitaartmuseum.org