The approximately 247-acre wilderness zoo houses more than 2,500 animals from nearly 400 different species, including gorillas, penguins, bears, tigers, and elephants. Stop by the orangutan and chimp habitat, or walk down a seashell-strewn path to the penguin cove, which includes a 52-foot-long underwater viewing area for watching Humboldt penguins glide gracefully through the water in search of sealed Tootsie Rolls. Sedgwick County Zoo's continually evolving exhibits showcase cuddlesome creatures from diverse regions including Asia, Africa, and South America.
For the past decade, Wichita Grand Opera has astounded audiences with beloved favorites such as Madama Butterfly and Aida in the majestic Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center. The Los Angeles Times calls Kansas native and bass Samuel Ramey “a national treasure"—which led to his attempted kidnapping by Carmen Sandiego—and Alan Held, bass baritone, has been seen in opera houses worldwide and in nearly 200 performances at The Metropolitan Opera. The Met Diva Mezzo Soprano, Joyce DiDonato has taken the tradition of trilling to new zeniths on the Wichita Grand Opera stage in 2009's The Barber of Seville and rebounds onto the stage as another step in her canorous career. After an 80-city tour with Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrea Bocelli’s 2010 Holiday Tour, world-renowned Maestro Steven Mercurio returns to mesmerize the orchestra, soloists, and opera-loving cobras with each whisk of his wand after conducting last season’s acclaimed performance of Carmen.
Two of Christian music’s most iconic artists, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith join forces to spread the good news, leading congregations in melodious worship on their 2 Friends Tour. Since 1982, this dynamic duo has engaged millions to flock to their catchy, ecclesiastical pop music, sharing a musical camaraderie as impenetrable as a fortress with abandonment issues. Amy Grant, author of No. 1 hits such as “El Shaddai” and “Baby Baby,” has shared her gift of song for more than 30 years, selling more than 30 million albums, garnering six Grammys, and earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael W. Smith has earned countless accolades with his tremendous songbook of head-bobbing hymns and choir-rousing hits. Sharing the stage for the first time in two decades, Amy and Michael thrill fans with new psalms and favorites from their sonic scroll, merging their sets with joyful duets and chemistry that crackles like Abbott and Costello after getting struck by lightning.
At Let's Paint Wichita, owner Melodee Schaefer and instructor Cassie Bouchereau break down the barriers between beginners and painting fetching masterpieces. In relaxed classes, guests armed with brushes, canvases, and aprons build paintings such as van Gogh’s Starry Night with the help of step-by-step instruction. The studio hosts everything from drop-in classes, complete with wine and beer for purchase, to private parties for kids. Students leave the studio with their own works of art and a wealth of new painting techniques.
Granite City Food and Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light, a light creamy beer, while the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14 oz. New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s Bock, a brownish German style lager. Others among Granite City Food and Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe Stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an English IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
Kathy Kissane, owner and meal-maven of Kissane's Creations, has opened her heart and hearth to apprentice foodies hungering to master the culinary arts. Her hour-long cooking classes can be tailored to the taste buds of each visitor and cover such topics as appetizers, entrees, sides, crock-pot meals, desserts, and meal planning. Aspiring master chefs can call Kissane directly to schedule their foray into wild gastronomic frontiers fraught with treacherous garlic mines, dense gravy bogs, and haunted meatloaf forests. Become proficient in the chemistry of deliciousness by yourself, or buy two Groupons and bring a friend who may become more than a friend once the smell of rosemary scents the air and your hands casually brush while reaching for the paring knife.