Many of us enjoy getting outside and taking in fresh air while traveling, and Wichita is a nature lover’s dream with plenty of opportunities for travelers to explore the outdoors.
The Heart of the Country offers peaceful hiking through nature trails, bike and scooter rentals, and paddling on the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. If you like a cold pint and a satisfying meal after a long day of adventure, unique breweries and eateries are around every corner of the largest city in Kansas. Pick one—or all of these outdoor adventures—and start planning a trip to Wichita, located in south-central Kansas.
Wichita is home to many outdoor attractions, from outdoor family fun venues and water parks to sports and recreation and parks and wildlife experiences. Visitor favorites include playing pickle-ball and outdoor games at Chicken N Pickle, cheering on the Wichita Wind Surge at Riverfront Stadium minor league baseball team, meeting the animals at Sedgwick County Zoo and Tanganyika Wildlife Park, and exploring the more than 30 themed gardens at Botanica Wichita.
Looking for a unique way to cool off? Head to Splash Aqua Park, which consists of a series of inflatable slides, runways, trampolines, bouncers, swings, and ladders on a 27-acre lake.
Keeper of the Plains
The Keeper of the Plains Plaza is a must-explore outdoor area in Wichita. One of the most iconic images in the state, the Keeper of the Plains stands at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas rivers. This 44-foot, five-ton weathered steel sculpture sits atop a 30-foot pedestal overlooking the city. Don’t miss the nightly Ring of Fire when the firepots surrounding the Keeper are lit for 15 minutes (starting at 9 p.m. during spring and summer months, weather permitting).
Surrounding the Keeper is a plaza with exhibits that depict the Plains Indians’ way of life. Access to the plaza area is by two bow-and-arrow-inspired cable-stay bridges or through the Mid-America All-Indian Museum during the day. The entire area is wheelchair accessible.
Walk and Ride
Wichita offers a variety of ways to enjoy the outdoors, including more than 140 parks and greenways covering more than 5,000 acres. Bike Walk Wichita has many resources for walking and biking the city. You can download the free Bike Walk Wichita app to access its collection of self-guided walks and rides, complete with points of interest and historical information to enjoy as you explore. The Wichita Public Library also offers the PocketSights app, which allows users to explore Wichita’s history with the Wichita History Walk.
If you don’t have your own wheels, try Wichita’s bike-sharing program, Bike Share ICT, which offers more than 200 bicycles at 40 stations across the city, or a rental from Boats & Bikes. Wichita also has electric scooter rentals through Bird or VeoRide.
Kayaking and SUP
Boats & Bikes offers season passes and hourly rentals for kayaking and other water activities such as pedal boats and stand-up paddle boards (SUP) from May through September. From their downtown dock, it’s easy to make your way on the Arkansas River to the Keeper of the Plains for an unforgettable view.
Wichita Park & Recreation also offers fun kayaking options through special tours and through regular rentals during summer and fall months. Check their website for operating hours at O.J. Watson Park and on the Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. Remember to always check the river status here before you head out.
Self-guided Mural Tours
Explore our gallery of some of the most photogenic murals around Wichita, and visit your favorites with your own tour using this map of more than 100 murals that includes the mosaic mural “Personnages Oiseaux” by Joan Miró.
Public Art Installations
You can also explore Wichita’s art scene by taking a tour of public art in Wichita. In a four-block area in the heart of downtown Wichita, you’ll find a collection of 31 lifelike bronze sculptures by artist Georgia Gerber. Other unique public art to view in Wichita includes the Keepers on Parade, Alley Doors, the Art Garden at Wichita Art Museum, and the more than 80-piece Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection on the campus of Wichita State University.
Plus, you’ll find cozy outdoor patios at restaurants across the city as well as a number of open-air shopping districts like Bradley Fair and New Market Square. If that’s not enough, check out all the events going on in Wichita during your stay and other things to do in the Heart of the Country.