Hi there! This is an older post, and some of the information is still good, but do be sure to check out the Wichita Kids Guide to Summer to see the latest summer activities in Wichita.
Let’s start our list! School is out in just a week or so for most public schools in the area. Below are some ideas of inexpensive summer activities for kids (and some for adults!) in the Wichita area. (I’ll update the list with links and more information as I get it.) If you see that I’ve missed some, please feel free to share in the comments!
- The Wichita Parks and Rec guide will be filled with fun for all ages and is available HERE for download.
- Fishing is available at over 20 public lakes in the Wichita metro area. There are also other smaller community or neighborhood ponds in the city limits, just be sure to ask for permission before you fish. Read more about where you can go fishing in Wichita.
- Camping at state parks can be a real bargain. Many parks offer primitive camping, RV hookups, or even cabins to rent. Some have shelters for get-togethers. Here is a list of Kansas State Parks, and don’t forget about the Kansas Corps of Engineers reservoirs and campgrounds.
- Walking provides great exercise and we have plenty of nice places to walk here in Wichita. Friends of mine have made good use of the nice walking paths along the river near downtown. During the day, big trees provide some shade, and in the evenings, if you time it right, you might catch the fire-lighting at the Keeper of the Plains (9 p.m. during spring and summer). Chisholm park near the Great Plains Nature Center at Woodlawn and 29th is a beautiful walk, as is any of the paths at Sedgwick County Park on West 21st Street North.
- Playgrounds and parks dot the city. Some have water features, others have tennis courts, etc. All are free.
- Bowling Too hot to play outside? Get two games of bowling every day – free for kids, cheap for adults. See Kids Bowl Free for more information.
- Interactive Fountains will be a great relief from the heat. Kids get to splash around in these playgrounds, and amazingly, they’re all free. Yeah, they really are! Where can you find them? I have a complete list of Wichita Splash Parks and Water Playgrounds here.
- Swimming Wichita has 8 outdoor swimming pools at parks located throughout the city, and each of them will have FREE swim days this summer! Regular admission is quite affordable too: adults $3, kids $2, and family admission for the day is only $8. The YMCA has water parks at four of its Wichita locations that are free for YMCA members. Non-member families can purchase a day-pass for the YMCA water parks.
- The Great Plains Nature Center is free and open to the public year-round. It offers a variety of programs throughout the year that are also free or low-cost. Adjacent to the GPNC, the Chisholm Creek park has a terrific walking path that winds through lush native Kansas grasses, trees, and plants.
- Summer Reading Programs from the Wichita Public Library, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and others allow kids to set their own reading goal, and then rewards them with prizes and coupons when they reach it. The Wichita Public Library even offers reading programs for teens and adults!
- Recreation Centers in other towns are another way to find fun at affordable prices. In addition to classes and activities through the Wichita Parks and Rec department, several surrounding cities like Maize, Derby, and Andover have recreation centers that offer inexpensive classes, activities, and sports teams.
- Farmer’s markets are a great way to keep the kids and the parents entertained on early Saturday mornings. Some farmer’s markets are open on weeknights. See my list of Wichita Farmer’s Markets.
- Museums and Local Attractions offer plenty of fun for very little money. The Wichita Art Museum is always free on Saturdays and they also offer free or low-cost kids’ activities throughout the year. Cowtown is now free on Sundays. At the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, even the building is part of the history of our area. You’ll be amazed at some of the “firsts” we Wichitans can lay claim to. Admission is cheap year-round. For many more places you can visit with the kids, see my list of Wichita museums and attractions.
- Getaways Become a Kansas tourist on the cheap. A vacation in your own state can be just as refreshing and fun as a long-distance trip, with the added bonus of getting there faster! TravelKS, from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Tourism, is a good place to start, as is their Facebook page, to get ideas and find ways to save.
Can you think of some other summer activities that are relatively inexpensive and fun?