Wichita on the Cheap

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O.J. Watson Park Wichita

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!

The opening weekend should be pretty fun. And it kicks off spring break week for Wichita schools.

You can kayak, pedal boat, ride the train, fish, play volleyball, or play mini golf at Watson Park. Little kids can even ride ponies! And all of the activities are affordable.

OJ Watson Park Wichita

In This Article:

  • Pedal Boats 
  • Kayak Rentals
  • O.J. Watson Park Yellow Brick Road 
  • Miniature Golf
  • Pony Rides
  • Train Rides
  • Playground
  • More things to do at the park 
  • Events at O.J. Watson Park 
  • Hours and Schedule
  • How to get Ride Coupons 

Admission to OJ Watson Park is FREE. Some of the kid’s 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.

Pedal Boats at OJ Watson Park: 

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 $4 per person for 30 minutes. Look how cute they are!

Pedal boats are available every day during the summer, but in the spring and fall, they’re only open on weekends. Pedal Boat schedule

Kayak Rentals at OJ Watson Park: 

Not only do they have pedal boats available to rent for $4 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. 

Individuals may bring their own kayak to the park, the fee is $5 daily or $50 for an entire year.

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. 

Photo: Carolyn Erickson

Miniature Golf at OJ Watson Park

For just $4 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.

Photo: Joanna Erickson

Pony Rides at Watson Park:

The pony rides are another thing that sets this park apart from other parks in Kansas. Y

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 and adults will assist them getting on and off. It’s $4 to ride. 

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 $4 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. Train schedule

Photo: Joanna Erickson

OJ Watson Park Playgrounds:

The park also has three different playgrounds! Each is a bit different. One has this rubberized surface and the other two have sand. These are FREE. 

Photo: Joanna Erickson

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 for $5 per hour per court (minimum of 3 hours). 

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. 

Photo: Joanna Erickson

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. The rides are not open the entire time the park is open; you’ll want to check the website to double-check the ride schedule.

OJ Watson park Location: 3022 S McLean Boulevard.

O.J. Watson Park Hours:

Spring: March 19 – May 26

  • Daily 8 am – 10 pm 

Summer: May 27 – August 11

  • Daily 8 am – 10 pm

Fall: August 12 – September 29

  • Daily 8:am – 10 pm

October

  • Daily 8 am – 6 pm

Winter: November 1 – March 13

  • Daily 8 am – 6 pm 

Ride Open Hours:

What’s available at Watson Park depends on the season. In spring and fall, the rides are limited to weekends.

During the summer, the rides and activities are available every day.

In winter (November through February), rides are closed but the park itself is still open during the day. 

Be sure to check the website to find out the exact times when the rides are open. 

OJ Watson Park Ride Coupons

Purchase a ride ticket for $4 for the train, pedal boats, pony rides and mini golf. Park guests can purchase a ticket book to take advantage of a discount.

Buy in Bulk and Save:

  • 6 tickets – $20 (Save $4)
  • 20 tickets – $60 (Save $20)
  • 40 tickets – $90 (Save $70)
  • 100 tickets – $200 (Save $200)
  • 200 tickets – $350 (Save $450) 

Related Articles : 

The Top FREE Things to Do in Wichita, KS

A Kid’s Guide to Summer in Wichita

Best Places to Fly Kites in Wichita

Mini-Golf Places in Wichita

Where to Fish in Wichita

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