Zoo in Wichita

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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.

5555 W Zoo Blvd
Wichita,
KS
US

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.

204 S Main St
Wichita,
KS
US

The animal-loving owners of Tanganyika Wildlife Park know that in order to save endangered animals, humans must feel a strong connection to them. It is the park’s mission to foster this connection by putting visitors in close contact with its rare animals. Visitors can gaze at cheetahs and red pandas and feed reticulated giraffes and African spur-thighed tortoises, which are best known for their role in slow-motion Westerns. The park also safeguards endangered animals from extinction by breeding species such as clouded leopards and amur leopards.

1000 S Hawkins
Goddard,
KS
US

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.

3350 South George Washington Boulevard
Wichita,
KS
US

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.

1400 W Museum Blvd
Wichita,
KS
US

There are dragons in central Kansas. Granted, they're pet bearded dragons, not the fire-breathers from myths, but that doesn't stop people from clamoring for them. The dragons?lovingly called "beardies"?will join other be-scaled brethren at the Central Kansas Reptile Expo.

This two-day convention will showcase snakes, lizards, and insects at the Best Western in Wichita. Guests can pet a live gecko or watch a python curl up in a massive spiral like the most adept yogi. The expo will also feature vendor booths with reptile supplies from business such as K-State Insect Zoo, Netta's Scaly Babies, and Night Glow Reptiles, as well as accessories for human companions that include jewelry and snakeskin bags. Proceeds from an onsite auction will benefit the United States Association of Reptile Keepers, which protects and raises awareness for herpetofauna.

915 E 53rd St. N
Wichita,
KS
US