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.
With its grand reopening in 2005, the Louise C. Murdock Theatre married the technological trappings of a modern cinema to its historic, 80-year-old interior. The theater’s original frescoes and iridescent, art-deco chandelier greet guests as they make their way toward a single 25'x16' screen. Framed by lush red curtains, the digital canvas displays images from a digital projector with high-definition capabilities, accompanied by the boisterous booms of Dolby surround sound. The theater screens a diverse calendar of cinematic fare, including limited-release arthouse films and classic foreign cinema augmented by popcorn and other epicurean goodies from the full concession stand stocked with snacks, alcohol, and more. The Murdock also proudly projects simulcast and prerecorded productions through partnerships with The Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre, transporting international stage performances to the Murdock without the hassle of getting sandbags through customs.
Wichita Fencing Academy was established in the late 1970s to educate, instruct, and advance the sport of fencing in Kansas. Today, having produced regional, national, and international competitors, and as a member of the United States Fencing Association, the academy continues to sharpen skills of both beginner and advanced fencers behind its prominent red door. Current head coach William Wells is third in a short list of renowned maestros, which includes Herman Bonner, under whose direction the academy began functioning strictly as an all-epee club and stopped forcing less-advanced students to duel with crazy straws. Those coaches have continuously shared their knowledge at the academy's year-round schedule of events, highlighted by lessons and tournaments.
Internationally renowned wines and craft beers harmonize with a full slate of Mediterranean-inspired tapas and other small plates at Oeno Wine Bar. Guests thumb through a wine list flush with rare varietals, budget-friendly bottles, or selections from top wine producers. Drawing out complex flavor profiles, the bistro crafts a host of small plate amuse-bouches, including spanish bruschetta with prosciutto-wrapped shrimp, cilantro aioli with manchego cheese, and chorizo sliders. A champagne room hosts private parties, events, and games of Pin the Tail on the Cask of Amontillado. Outside, the wine bar regales diners with live music and local DJs spinning dance music.
Though it's known for turning out bubbling slices of locally renowned pizza, Mulligan's Pub still sports the same classic, no-frills ambiance it established more than 20 years ago. Soft bar lights and buzzing neon beer signs exchange glows like a firefly swap and gently illuminate the quadruple meats flecking a famous Mulligan's specialty pizza. Gluten-free slices cater to sensitive stomachs, and a hearty list of toppings colors creatable pies. Between bites, patrons can tend to arcade and video bar games or heated rounds of keno with new acquaintances or old invisible foes.
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.