A family-owned emporium of alley-based athletics, Prairie Bowl combines the well-loved pleasures pin-pugilism and hot food to provide fuel and fun for every member of your familial strike force. After filling pie-shaped stomach vacancies with delicious slices of pizza, lace up and slip-slide out onto one of 16 lanes with up to three teammates to vie against one another for the title of best turkey-trotter. Saturdays are host to cosmic bowling, illuminated by black lights and set to hypnotic beats as bowlers toss their balls into an infinite void of milk bottle impersonators. Although not included in the Groupon, Prairie Bowl also boasts an arcade room to allow guests to reconnect with comforting un-reality, while late hours on Fridays and Saturdays make the alley a safe and friendly place to spend quality time with your brood until 1 a.m.
Spurred by a mutual dream of owning oodles of creatures out in the country, animal lovers Robert and Kathy Harris swung open the gates to Four Points Ranch and Petting Zoo in 2010. Today, the facility invites families onto its grounds to learn about the natural world while interacting and playing with a variety of furry, four-legged residents. For a quarter, guests receive a handful of grain to use in designated feeding areas, and can climb into some of the pens, where goats, sheep, and miniature horses wait to be patted on the back or spoken to in words of no fewer than five syllables. Face painting, inflatable play zones, and a fire pit for roasting s’mores accompany each visit to Four Points, which also hosts birthday parties and field trips and offers a mobile petting-zoo service.
In 1919, discouraged that artifacts of Wichita and Sedgwick County were disappearing, the Sedgwick County Pioneer Society began collecting and displaying historical items in the Sedgwick County Courthouse. Nearly a century later, what began as a modest collection of early memorabilia has expanded to nearly 70,000 Sedgwick County and Wichita-related artifacts, which together trace the history of the region from 1865 to the present. Now housed in Wichita’s original, renovated City Hall, the collection’s photographs, clothing, decorative arts, and household items enrich award-winning exhibits that tell tale of the area’s Buffalo-hunting days, Great Depression–era dust storms, and aircraft industry.
The museum is also home to three re-created environments from the region’s past. The garage re-creation holds a 1916 Jones Six automobile, the only such Wichita-built vehicle on public exhibit, and the drug store reproduces the feel of the popular early 20th-century neighborhood gathering place. Over in the Wichita Cottage, seven rooms of a Victorian-style 19th-century home house authentic period items such as a wooden icebox, a gas-and-electric ceiling light fixture, and a phone powered by animosity toward Rutherford B. Hayes.
At the Museum of World Treasures, a team of curators and historians gather artifacts from around the world to nourish the knowledge-hungry brains of families and students. Since opening in 2001, the diverse collection has grown to encompass three floors of the museum’s renovated warehouse location. Skeletons of dinosaurs loom over visitors in the fossil gallery, and an authentic Civil War cannon stands vigilant among the museum’s military exhibits, which span from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War. A plethora of interactive and historical displays also allow visitors to witness original footage from the discovery of the Titanic and feel humbled in the presence of signatures from every American president, including those not yet born. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Museum members can capitalize on myriad benefits, including discounts on educational programs and invitations to special events.
At West Acres Bowling Center, sphere flingers unleash pin-pounding fury across 36 lanes, each of which comes equipped with automatic scoring. Thunderous strikes and spares produce the alley's soundtrack late into the evening seven days a week. On Friday and Saturday, cosmic bowling and live DJs launch frames into celestial spaces. In addition to accommodating birthdays, family outings, and work functions, West Acres also hosts lessons from two-time PBA champion Rick Steelsmith. Between games, players can gear up at the onsite pro shop or stop in at Crummy's Sports Bar, where big-screen TVs and weekend karaoke serve as diversions to low scores and the Bronx cheers of self-confident pins.
Shrill giggles and the pitter-patter of tiny sock-swathed feet echo off the walls of Pump It Up, where lilliputian guests pinball through a metropolis of inflatable slides and bouncy enclosures. During glow pop-in play sessions, tykes frolic in the radiance of special lights, and in pirate-themed sessions, youngsters don costumes or just feel less self-conscious about the parrot permanently affixed to their shoulder. Small groups of ankle biters tear through the facility during private parties, plummeting down slides, scaling plush ladders, and bounding off of springy floors.