The 105,000-square-foot, Smithsonian-affiliated museum, which was voted one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas in 2008, boasts the second-largest collection of space artifacts in the United States (behind only the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.). An all-day mission pass gets you access to all the museum’s treasures: the Carey IMAX Dome Theater, Justice Planetarium, Dr. Goddard’s Lab, and the Hall of Space Museum. Start by strolling through the Hall of Space, where notable space souvenirs such as the command module from Apollo 13 and the Liberty Bell 7 Mercury capsule chronicle mankind's courtship with the cosmos. Then explore Dr. Goddard’s Lab, a replica of the 1930s laboratory where Dr. Robert Goddard pioneered modern rocketry. Explosive reenactments of the doctor's attempts to find the right rocket fuel, figure out how to circumvent gravity, and lick his elbows are performed daily to delight children and their copilots. Click here to download a basic museum itinerary.
The Courtyard is a fine art gallery featuring Kansas Artists. Mediums such as wood carving, paintings, jewelry, glass, weaving, and prints are on display by many artists. It is located in a small town known for the arts. In the center of our building is the Courtyard Bakery featuring Swedish baked goods made daily.
The Museum of World Treasures lets adults ($9 value), seniors ($8 value), and kids 4–12 ($7 value) brush up on their history with three floors of exciting exhibits and artifacts. After striding into the museum’s brick-faced edifice, stay-at-home time travelers are whisked to the first floor, where they can Lindy-Hop through the Ancient Civilizations gallery, bring Egyptian mummies back to life both figuratively and literally, touch a 4.5-ton piece of the Berlin Wall, and take turns riding a 40-foot-long T. rex skeleton named Ivan. On the second floor, explore the President’s Gallery—which displays interesting items such as a lock of George Washington’s hair and the signatures of the first 43 American presidents—as well as jewelry, swords, beer koozies, and signatures from European royalty dating back to the 12th century. The third floor plays host to a swarm of sports artifacts and pop culture treasures such as the pearls Lucy wore to greet Ricky at the door in an episode of I Love Lucy, and the pitchfork used by the Scarecrow to kill Frankenstein in The Wizard of Oz. The American Frontier exhibit, meanwhile, includes a 34-star flag that was accidentally produced when the fledgling country was still composed of 63 states.
Botanica's 9.5-acre plant paradise is divided into more than 20 meticulously designed gardens, including a rose garden for contemplating roses and a wildflower meadow for frolicking in wildflowers. More than 3,600 species of plants are artfully arranged around calming streams, flowing waterfalls, and sculptures. Stop by the sensory garden to touch, smell, and telepathically understand plants' thoughts about hot dogs. A retreat to an urban garden can help soothe one’s sensibilities and wash away haunting memories of cubical confinement. Consult Botanica's bloom schedule to plan a trip to view your favored flora.
Built within the 1935 art-deco-styled Wichita Municipal Airport, the Kansas Aviation Museum houses an eclectic array of historic aircraft and artifacts. The museum boasts around 40 historically significant aircraft, including the Beech Starship, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, and the KC-135E, the first plane to break the smell barrier. Landlubbers with a passion for planes can study their evolution, from the earliest aircraft engines all the way to the latest jet turbines; inspect an Allison J-35 off a 1948 Republic F-84C Thunderjet or marvel at the museum's oldest engine, a pre-WWI four-cylinder Kemp.
Now in its 75th-anniversary year, the Wichita Art Museum hosts an eye-feast of traveling exhibitions, in addition to nearly 7,000 pieces in its permanent collections. The gorgeous, multihued Persian Seaform Installation by Dale Chihuly headlines the museum's F. Price Cossman glass collection, and major works by Edward Hopper, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer adorn the halls of the esteemed Roland P. Murdock collection. In the recently introduced exhibit In Plane View, Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo examines the visual dimensions and abstract beauty of airplanes while refusing to airbrush any cabin's unflattering anterior-engine love handles.