Wichita on the Cheap

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Keeper of the Plains and Wichita Troll

Want something fun and frugal to do? Visiting the Keeper of the Plains and the Wichita Troll is a MUST! The Keeper of the Plains is not just a sculpture; it’s a beacon that celebrates the cultural diversity and heritage of Wichita. It’s a beautiful and meaningful landmark that invites reflection on the city’s history and connection to the Native American roots. 

The Keeper is on the list of the Top Free Things to Do in Wichita as voted on by Wichita on the Cheap Readers and is one of my personal favorites as well.

The sculpture has become known as the centerpiece of our city, standing at the confluence of the Little and Big Arkansas Rivers, flanked by the striking spires of the pedestrian bridge and surrounded by fire drums.

Wichita Keeper of the Plains & Wichita Troll

The Keeper is free and open to the public year-round (closed only between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.).

In the evenings, the fire drums are lit for about 15 minutes – weather and river conditions permitting.

In spring and Summer, the fires are lighted at 9-9:15 p.m.

They are lighted in the fall and winter at 7 -7:15 p.m.

 Hours for the Ring of Fire adjust each fall when Daylight Saving Time ends and again in the spring when Daylight Saving Time begins.

Keeper of the Plains

Photo: Keeper of the Plains Sunset by Mickey Shannon Visit his website HERE

Key Features of the Keeper of the Plains:

  1. Design: The sculpture is a 44-foot tall steel structure that represents a Native American warrior holding a sacred fire. It’s a powerful and symbolic depiction of the spiritual connection between humanity and the elements.
  2. Location: Positioned on a scenic plaza, the Keeper of the Plains is surrounded by the stunning Keeper of the Plains Plaza, which features exhibits, sculptures, and information about the Native American tribes of the region.
  3. Ring of Fire: One of the unique features of the Keeper of the Plains is the “Ring of Fire.” In the evenings, this area is lit by a series of fire pots that encircle the base of the sculpture. The flames pay homage to the sacred fire that the Keeper holds.
  4. Ceremonial Area: The plaza is designed to accommodate Native American ceremonies and events, fostering an understanding and appreciation of the indigenous cultures in the region.
  5. Art and Culture: The Keeper of the Plains serves as a testament to the importance of art and culture in Wichita. It has become a symbol of civic pride and a popular destination for both locals and visitors.

 

Photo: Keeper of the Plains Sunset by Mickey Shannon Visit his website HERE

You can access the walking bridge from the Mid-America All Indian Center when it’s open, or from the small parking lot on West Central Avenue, or from the Exploration Place parking lot on North McClean Boulevard. You can also reach it by walking on the paved paths along the Arkansas River downtown.

Around the base of the sculpture are plaques with information about the sculpture, which was donated to the city in 1974 by Blackbear Bosin, and the lifestyle of the Plains Indians.
Informational displays at the Keeper of the Plains plaza in Wichita

Bring your camera; taking pictures of the Keeper and the walking bridges is practically a competitive sport in our city! 🙂

Wichita Troll Sculpture 

While your visiting the Keeper of the Plains make sure to checkout the TROLL

The Troll first appeared in May 2007, chained to some pipes beneath a large sidewalk grate near the Arkansas River. He was created by local sculptor Connie Ernatt.

About the Troll:

  • Its FREE to go see 
  • It stands seven feet tall
  • It weighs 200 pounds
  • He is made of metal with greenish skin, a bold head and big ears

The troll is in an abandoned outflow junction that was used by an old energy plant. Unfortunately someone broke into the troll’s lair in 2013, stealing his arm and his bird skull necklace. Connie Ernatt the artist removed, repaired, and returned him in April 2014. Wichita now has better security to keep the troll safe. He is a hidden gem of the city. 

Where to Find the Troll: 

  • He is along a walking path behind and just to the right of the old Westar power plant building, which is on the south side of W. Central Ave. on the east bank of the Arkansas River.
  • Park in the lot behind the building, then walk to the right. You’ll see the path and the big grate in it. The troll is visible beneath that grate, and also from the side, through a wall grate visible from another path that parallels the river. 

Troll

Photo by: Connie Ernatt 

Related Articles:

Wichita Fun Facts

Museums in Wichita

Calendar of Events in Wichita 

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