OJ Watson Park is such a fantastic place for families, and it’s even fun for teens or anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy some outdoor activities. This is the Wichita park that has the yellow brick road!
Admission to OJ Watson Park is free. Some of the kids activities have a small fee, like the miniature train ride and pony rides. There’s also mini golf, kayaking, paddle boats, and more, and the fees for those are all very affordable!
“The beautiful 119 acre site offers a rustic setting which includes a 40-acre lake for fishing and pedal boats.”
My friend and I just visited the park to get pictures for this article and we had so much fun. Keep reading to see all of the great things this little Wichita gem has to offer.
Among the many unique features of Watson Park is the availability to take a ride on pedal boats! The pedal boats will each hold up to three adults and one child. The fee is just $3 per person for 30 minutes. Look how cute they are!
Pedal boats are available every afternoon during the summer, but that changes to weekends only in about mid-August each year.
Not only do they have pedal boats available to rent for $3 per person on weekends, they have kayak rentals for $10; including tandem kayaks (not as hard to do as you might think) available Sunday-Saturday during the season.
In these kayaks, you can paddle around the lake. We have seen some beginner kayaking skills classes offered through the Park and Recreation Department, so keep an eye out for those in the Evolve activities guide.
O.J. Watson Park Yellow Brick Road
One of the most recognizable traits of OJ Watson park is the yellow brick road that will have you skipping and singing “We’re off to see the Wizard!”
Follow the yellow brick road and you’ll see a train crossing and the cute covered bridge. This is a nice walk for the whole family.
Miniature Golf at OJ Watson Park
For just $3 per person you can play their 18-hole mini golf course! That’s quite a deal – in fact, we think it’s the cheapest mini-golf in Wichita. The course is adorable too.
Pony Rides at Watson Park
While pony rides are not available at the moment, they are another thing that sets this park apart from other parks in Kansas.
You’ll see the little stable and arena where the ponies are.
Riders must be under the age of 10 and under 60 pounds. (The ponies are little! And very cute.) Riders also must be able to hold on to the saddle by themselves, because adults are not allowed to walk next to the ponies.
Grab your camera and let your kids or grandkids get their first taste of an old west adventure. (A very mild, tame and circular adventure with adult supervision, but a thrill for kids nonetheless.)
Watson Park Miniature Train Rides
OJ Watson Park also has a miniature train ride for ALL ages. Just $3 per person. Listen for the whistle of the train and hop aboard for a ride around the park and the lake. It even goes through a quaint red and white painted covered bridge.
OJ Watson Park Playgrounds
The park also has three different playgrounds! Each is a little different. One has this rubberized surface and the other two have sand.
More Things to Do at OJ Watson Park
Volleyball For those with great eye-hand coordination, Watson Park has sand volleyball courts, and volleyball nets available to rent.
Kite Flying With its vast acreage OJ Watson is also a fantastic place to fly a kite in Wichita.
Picnic You can also enjoy a nice picnic lunch at one of their several picnic spots! Bring your own blanket or use one of over 100 picnic tables available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fishing Take the whole family fishing at one of the two fishing lakes at OJ Watson Park. Each lake has a variety of fish in it, from bass to bluegill to catfish and more. Adults over the age of 16 must have a Kansas state fishing license. Kids don’t need one. (Yay!)
Concession Stand It’s very handy that Watson Park has a concession stand on grounds with simple, moderately priced food, snacks, and drinks. The concession stand also sells bait if you want to go fishing. The stand is open limited hours during the spring, summer, and fall and closed in winter.
Campfire Circle Watson Park is one of the few Wichita parks that has a campfire circle available for use by the public. You do need to reserve the area first.
Shelter Rentals OJ Watson Park has five open shelters that are available to rent. The size, price, and amenities vary at each shelter, but they range from very large shelters with electrical hookups, charcoal grills, and lots of picnic tables to smaller shelters with just the basics. Prices range from $15 to $60 for three hours.
Community Facility The small enclosed shelter, or community facility, is also available to rent. It has restrooms, tables, and chairs and can hold up to 50 people.
Hayrack Rides With advance reservation, you can take your group on a hayrack ride around the park.
Inflatables Have a party at Watson Park and rent an inflatable for the kids. Inflatable rental prices vary, and you do need to rent a shelter also (additional fee) in order to rent an inflatable at Watson Park. What a great idea for a child’s summer birthday party or a family reunion.
Events at OJ Watson Park
Watson Park hosts a free O.K. Kids Day most years. This usually happens in May each year, and is a great morning of activities for kids.
In December, the miniature train becomes the center of Watson’s Christmas Express, a holiday event for kids themed after the Polar Express book and movie.
OJ Watson Park Hours & Schedule
OJ Watson Park is owned and operated by the city of Wichita and is open year-round with seasonal hours.
- Spring (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
- Summer (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
- Fall (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
- October (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
- Winter (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
OJ Watson park can be found at 3022 S McLean Boulevard.
What’s available at Watson Park depends on the season. During the summer, activities are available every afternoon; after that, the pedal boats and train rides will only be available on weekends. Rides are closed during the winter (from November until about mid-March), but the park itself is open during the day. Be sure to check the website to find out when the rides are open.
OJ Watson Park Ride Coupons
Regular prices for pedal boats, pony and train rides, miniature golf, kayak rentals are very affordable. But if you know you’re going to want to go again and again, pick up a packet of ride coupons! You can purchase these at the Concession Stand when it’s open.