Our youngest just turned 10! It’s so weird to think that she is in the double digits already! To celebrate her big birthday milestone we headed to Wichita, Kansas for some wildly fun adventures. If you have not been to Wichita before then you should really consider a visit.
We have been a few times but every time we return we find completely new things to explore. Wichita is always high on our list when it comes to a weekend adventure for the family. Tons of stuff to do and small enough to be able to fit a lot into one day. This trip we focused on things that our daughter enjoys bowling, painting, cooking, and animals. It was an amazing trip!
Mark Arts Cooking Classes:
Mark Arts is Wichita’s very impressive art association center. This beautiful complex is home to a huge variety of different art mediums. They have an amazing gallery full of art each month. They are also hands-on though, they have tons of studios for just about every art medium you can think of for community members to enjoy. They host classes just about every day to help pass on the love of art.
Our daughter loves cooking and we found a really cool cookie decorating classes listed in the culinary arts courses on Mark Arts calendar. The class was taught by the owner of Adore Sugar Cookies who has some amazing baking and decorating skills and did an amazing job passing along her knowledge. We learned all about decorating cookies and even left with recipes to recreate at home.
The classes we attended had an Easter theme but they have a huge variety on their course list in the upcoming weeks. You learn the ins and outs of cookie decorating in this two-hour course. We learned everything from icing, making flowers, airbrushing, and more.
The class is kid-friendly or you could enjoy it with some girlfriends. There was a little bit of both in our class. They keep the class size small though so you don’t feel crowded and you can get lots of help if needed. I love that it was kid-friendly and my daughter had a blast learning these fun new skills. We have already tried out our new skills at home over Easter weekend.
We created five cookies each. We learned several techniques and left feeling like pros. I love all the small touches from the instructor. She gave us all a gift, a rabbit cookie cutter. She even gave us her personal cookie and icing recipe printed up to take with us. It’s a very fun course, I highly recommend it. A very fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
We love bowling, I grew up bowling so I wanted to pass that along to my daughters. We don’t get to go as often as we would like but with a birthday weekend trip, we just had to go. We visited The Alley in Wichita for some bowling fun. The Alley is way more than just bowling, they have a little bit of everything.
They have a really fun arcade, we spent a little bit of time there and enjoyed all the fun games. You can earn tickets and turn them in for prizes, which is always fun for the kids. We even saw some virtual reality games that look pretty cool.
They have Escapology which is a fun escape room. You can book your room and enjoy some puzzle solving fun. We did not check it out on this visit but we do love escape rooms so I’m sure we will be back in the future to try our hand at one of their rooms.
They have go-carts that you can race with friends and family. Again we did not check them out this visit but we did see the track which looked like a ton of fun.
We did get to do some bowling. They had glow bowl going on. We booked a lane in the club section so they had glow lights, music, and black lights to give the whole club feeling while you bowl. They make your experience super comfortable with great couches to sit on while waiting your turn. It was a really nice facility and we really enjoyed it.
We booked our lane for an hour and played three or four games I believe. Bookings lanes are really easy, you can even do it online so it’s ready when you get there, no waiting. We were really impressed with the lanes and had lots of bowling fun.
While we were there we checked out AJ’s Sports Bar attached to The Alley. They have some amazing pizza. It’s the perfect dinner spot for a birthday adventure. You can’t beat pizza and bowling. They even have a huge 29-inch pizza, it’s as big as a table! You can also order pizza and have it delivered to your lanes or head in to sit down at the sports bar and enjoy dinner.
Paint The Towne:
Our youngest is a budding artist, she loves to paint so we just had to visit Paint the Towne East in Wichita. At Paint the Towne they provide guided painting classes that make everyone an artist. The instructors will guide participants through a painting giving you lots of techniques and skills to apply to their own work at home.
They have a schedule that you can browse on their website to choose a painting that you like. The night we visited we painted a flower. They have some classes that are for adults only (you can bring your own alcohol) and some that are family nights and they allow children. Of course, we went on family night. You can book your course on their website, it’s super easy.
We love going to paint nights, they are always so much fun. Paint the Towne was great, the staff was super friendly. Our daughter was a little cranky for all the activities we had done that day and kind of gave our instructor a hard time asking tons of questions and being upset her flower wasn’t perfect. The instructor was amazing with her. You know as a mom, I always cringe when she gets cranky in public but the teacher was so kind and took her time, answered all of her questions, and helped her get her flower looking perfect. I was really impressed with how great she was with kids.
We had so much fun in our class, even if our daughter was a little cranky. We all came home with beautiful flower masterpieces. We had so much fun we will definitely return in the future.
Tanganyika Wildlife Park:
The last day of our trip we spend the entire day at Tanganyika in Goddard, Kansas which is only a few minutes from Wichita. Tanganyika is an amazingly beautiful wildlife park full of animals that you can see up close and even experience some hands-on encounters with several of their animals.
Tanganyika has a variety of amazing animals, each one has a beautiful habitat to live in. We love visiting Tanganyika because the park is smaller, so you can easily see every exhibit, even more than once. Plus the exhibits are easy to see, the animals are almost always out and playful and we feel like you can closer look at the animals. You really feel like they are right in front of you when you visit.
Throughout the day they have educational talks with the zookeepers so you can see the animals and learn more about them. We caught the tiger talk while we were at the park and learned all about their training and natural habitat. They also had programs for the otters and a few others. They provide you with a convenient schedule so you can catch the chat if you would like.
Our favorite part though is the animal encounters. They have several exhibits where you can get up close and personal and even feed some of your favorite animals. We were able to feed lemurs, giraffes, lories, bunnies, guinea pigs, fish, and more. Our daughter got to ride a camel and even pet a kangaroo. The lemurs were our favorite and we fed them a few times. It’s one of the only places that you can hand feed a lemur, and they are so cute.
One of our favorite exhibits were the penguins. They have a huge exhibit you can visit and watch them swim and play. We spent a lot of time watching them. Next, to the penguins, they have a new albino alligator as well, which we had never seen before. It was amazing to see.
Everywhere you look are amazing animals at Tanganyika. We even set and ate lunch on a bench and watched some really adorable monkeys play on the ropes in their exhibit. A zookeeper even walked by with a porcupine and let us pet her and ask questions while we had lunch. They have a great deli in the park you can buy sandwiches and basic park foods. They do allow you to bring food into the park though so you can also pack your own lunch and bring with you.
If you love animals then you will love Tanganyika. It’s a must visit for all animal lovers. It’s our favorite wildlife park, we have been a few different times we have a blast every time we visit. It’s a really fun and unexplainable experience.
Two Brothers BBQ:
Do you like BBQ? If you do then Two Brothers BBQ in Wichita is a must-stop place for dinner. It’s the perfect place for a birthday dinner too. They have just about everything you could ask for when it comes to BBQ. Something for everyone on their menu. Our favorite part though is the buffet they have for lunch and dinner. It’s the best buffet in town. Full of BBQ meats and all the fixings.
They have just about anything you could want on the buffet but you can order your favorites from the menu as well. They even have convenient drive up stalls outside so you can pull up, order, and head home to enjoy. They even have a full bar and TV’s set up so you can enjoy the game if you like the sports bar atmosphere.
Two Brothers BBQ was the perfect choice for our birthday girl’s Friday night dinner. We loved it and she had all of her favorites.
Freddy’s Frozen Custard:
We can’t visit Wichita without lunch at Freddy’s Frozen Custard. If you like old school burgers and fries then you will want to check out Freddy’s. They have amazing steak burgers and the best fries ever. It’s the perfect spot for a quick birthday lunch between adventures.
You can’t eat at Freddy’s Frozen Custard though without their classic custard. Our daughter loves their dirt worm sundae, it’s the best. Their custards are delicious, you will be hooked. Choose one of their custom creations or make your own.
Our trip to Wichita mostly consisted of venues on the west side of town so we stayed at Hampton Inn & Suites Wichita Airport. It was the perfect location so we could easily get to each activity quickly. They even offered us a shuttle to any locations within five miles which was super convenient. If you are flying to the airport is right next to the hotel. We actually had a lot of fun watching the planes from our room window.
The Hampton Inn & Suites has some great amenities to enjoy during your stay. A full business center, if you need to catch up on some work or hop on the internet. They also have free wi-fi which is really handy. They have a great gym so you can get a workout in during your stay. My daughter loved the pool, she swam a couple of times during our visit. Very clean and well maintained. They even have a great little shop that you can grab some snacks and drinks. The hotel does serve alcohol as well for moms and dads. Everything was really nice and well maintained.
Our room was really nice. We actually got two rooms, they were able to give rooms that were connected so we could check on the kids easily. The bed was super comfortable, one of my favorite hotels when it comes to comfort. Very clean and they checked on us each day to replenish towels. We didn’t spend a lot of time in our rooms because we were so busy but when we were there we were very comfortable.
We ate breakfast both days we stayed at the hotel. They had a great variety of items. The traditional offerings, pastries, waffles, eggs, cereal, yogurt, bagels, and they alternated some hot options like sausage and potatoes each morning. The dining space was spacious and the seating was comfortable. We really enjoyed the options they had available.
The hotel even left us a candy bouquet for my daughter since they knew it was her birthday. I love those extra touches, it really shows they care about their guests. She loved it and was super excited to find it in her room. It was very nice of them.
Why You Should Visit Wichita:
You may not know this because usually talk about Oklahoma but I was actually born and raised in Kansas and visited Wichita quite often when I was a kid. When we moved away we stopped visiting for awhile. We recently rediscovered Wichita and we are so happy w did. It’s a smaller city but we love it. Everyone is always so nice to us no matter where we visit. They have so many fun things to do for families. We never run out of new things to explore.
If you are looking for a fun city to explore you should consider Wichita. Even if you don’t live close by I promise it’s worth a visit. You will be totally surprised by the amount of fun-filled activities you will find is this mid-western city. And you can’t beat the southern hospitality. Plan your trip to Wichita today!
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