We are a family of travelers, especially when we can make our trips educational for our homeschool. We recently took a trip to Wichita, Kansas, and I’m so excited to share about the fun we had,and how we kept the trip educational for the girls.
*Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by Visit Wichita. We received this entire trip and all of our travel expenses completely free of charge in exchange for an honest review of our experience. I was not required to write a positive review (if you know me, you know I don’t do dishonest!).
Our Trip to Wichita, Kansas Part 2
Last week, I shared part one of our journey through Wichita. Click here to check out that post and watch a video blog from the day.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Downtown Wichita
One of the girls favorite parts of traveling are staying in different hotels. They love the feeling of sleeping in new cozy beds and seeing the different views from each new window.
That being said, we were excited to also stay one night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in downtown Wichita.
I knew this hotel would not disappoint since I often stay in a Marriott once a year during other trips. The staff was so friendly, and the rooms were so clean and nice. Not to mention, they have an amazing breakfast that you certainly cannot miss while staying here.
The location of this hotel was great too, being just a stones throw away from the Doo-Dah Diner, and within walking distance of the iconic Keeper of the Plains statue.
The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (Downtown) is located at 525 South Main (just north of Kellogg).
We started the morning with a fantastic breakfast at Jimmie’s Diner. Jimmie’s is a 50’s themed diner, complete with waitresses wearing poodle skirts. I absolutely love diners like these, because they make me feel like I’m traveling back in time to some degree, and the food is usually so good.
Jimmie’s Diner definitely did not disappoint! I had the french toast which was amazing, but what really set this diner apart for me was the service. Our waitress was phenomenal!
I cannot recommend this restaurant enough.
Autumn & Art
To walk off all of the amazing breakfast we had just eaten, we took a stroll through the Autumn & Art fair that was happening that weekend. The weather was a little cool, damp, and cloudy, but that did not stop 100 artists from all over the country from bringing their beautiful work to display and sell.
The show was juried and also had booths set up for kids to create hands-on art projects as well.
Autumn and Art is located 2000 N Rock Road.
We then headed over to the Great Plains Transportation Museum to check out Kansas Railfest. While here the girls were able to climb on real trains and see what they are like on the inside.
There was also an option to ride an authentic, coal-fired steam locomotive, but we opted to sit that out (again, I’m cheap. Ha!) There was live music, games for kids, vendor booths as well. There were even a few model trains with little towns set up as well which were fun to look at.
We also spent some time exploring the museum itself learning a little bit about the history of the station, Wichita, and the train cars.
Out of our entire trip, I do have to say this was our least favorite part. Mostly because we’re not a family that’s big on trains like this. However, it was still very educational and a new experience for us. The girls learned a lot, and that’s all that truly matters!
If you have a little one who loves locomotives and all things railroad, this is for you!
The Great Plains Transportation Museum and Kansas Railfest is located at 700 E. Douglas.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
After climbing over all the trains, we had definitely worked up an appetite, so we headed over to Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers for lunch. We had been to Freddy’s once before on a previous family vacation, and loved it.
Even though we have Steak n Shake where we live which is pretty similar, We all agree that Freddy’s is even better. While we were here we learned that the first Freddy’s location that ever opened was actually in Wichita, so we thought that was pretty cool!
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is located at 420 S. Ridge Road, #100.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park
After lunch we made our way to the place we were looking forward to the most, Tanganyika Wildlife Park. Our family (especially the girls) have a deep love for animals, so knowing we were going to be around so many of them, and able to interact with them, was something we looked forward to.
Tanganyika definitely did not disappoint! We were able to spend hours here observing beautiful animals such as white tigers and baby leopards. We were also given an arm band that allowed us to interact with up to 5 different animals such as giraffes, lemurs, camels, lorikeets and more.
Some off the exhibits allowed us to walk through the cages and pet the animals, like the kangaroos.
My favorite animal interaction was definitely the lorikeets. We stood there for what seems like forever while birds landed on us. At one point the hubsterdude had 4 or 5 on him. He said his next career move would be a statue. Ha!
Did Somebody say Penguins?
Hands down, my personal favorite part of Tanganyika was our behind the scenes tour where we learned all about penguins, and even got to pet one. It was just the 5 of us and our tour guide, so we felt like we were getting a unique view of the park and experience that many others do not get.
We were also each given a piece of art made by the penguins themselves! As an art lover, I thought this was so cool. Who else can say they own artwork made from penguins? (I really wanted the Kangaroo art too, and am kicking myself for not buying some!)
We spent so much time at Tanganyika, because there was so much to see and we didn’t want to miss any of it. It was easily the best part of our entire trip.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park is located at 1000 S. Hawkins Lane in Goddard, KS.
Old Mill Tasty Shop
After leaving Tanganyika, we were ready for a sweet treat, so we headed back to Wichita’s historic downtown area to check out the Old Mill Tasty Shop. The Old Mill Tasty Shop has been a family tradition for many in the Wichita area since 1932.
The girls had never had an old fashioned ice cream soda before, so they were excited to give it a try. They had fun watching the soda’s being made with the old fashioned fountains.
I opted to try a turtle sundae which turned out amazing.
The Old Mill Tasty Shop is located at 604 E. Douglas.
Douglas Design District
After our tasty treats, we hopped on the Q-Line Trolley for another ride around the Douglas Design District. All throughout the district are wall murals (more than 40) that give the area a very artsy and fun vibe.
Since we had spent so much of our time at Tanganyika, we were running out of daylight so we didn’t have as much time exploring as I would have liked.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any good pictures through the trolley windows, so I don’t have any of the murals to share. They were all fantastic pieces of art though and I hate that I couldn’t capture some of them on film!
The girls were happy to spend more time on the trolley though. They had so much fun riding around town.
Clifton Square and Ziggy’s Pizza
We ended our trolley ride at Clifton Square, where Victorian style homes have been transformed into a village full of places to shop and dine. I was so sad that by time we got here most of the shops had closed for the day, so I didn’t get to do any shopping.
It was fun to see what shops were there and how unique each building looked. Someday I’ll make a trip back just so I can spend more time here.
We did get to stop for dinner at Ziggy’s Pizza, one of the dining options located in Clifton Square. We really enjoyed the atmosphere here. It had a very “college-town” feel as the TV’s played the days college football game. Many gathered in the bar area to enjoy each others company and take in the game.
The pizza and pretzels were fantastic, and the hubsterdude really enjoyed the “Ziggy Bites” appetizer.
Ziggy’s Pizza is located at 3700 E. Douglas.
Keeper of the Plains
We ended our last day in Wichita taking in the fantastic view of the Keeper of the Plains statue and its “ring of fire”. The historical landmark stands 44 feet tall overlooking where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in downtown Wichita.
Each night at 9pm during the summer (7pm during the winter), the fire pots surrounding the statue are lit for 15 minutes. Many people came to watch this must-see Wichita experience. There were even a couple people on kayaks enjoying the view from the river itself.
We all relaxed together in the newly renovated plaza while taking in the view. It was a perfect way to end our day, and send our farewells to Wichita.
I created a video blog from the second day of our trip which you can watch below. You can also check out day one from our trip (which also includes a video) by clicking here.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed our adventures in Wichita. It exceeded my expectations and Lil’ Sis asks me nearly every day if we can go back.
It just goes to show that even smaller areas often looked over, are still excellent destinations for family fun. The girls learned so much without even trying, so I was able to log the entire trip as school hours.
If you’re looking for a great family adventure, I highly recommend checking out the fun and educational experiences Wichita has to offer.
What is your favorite Wichita attraction? If you’ve never been, which looks the most exciting for you? Share in the comments below!