UPDATED December 6, 2010
Things to do in Wichita
One of the true values of a long distance bike tour is visiting places not on the radar of other travelers and experiencing them in the slow, visceral way that is only possible from the seat of a bicycle. So I thought I'd do a series of blogs that give you a taste of what you can see and do on some of the less well know cities and places on our epic route from San Francisco to St. John's.
Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, infamous outlaw Billy the Kid, eco-conscious engineer Buckminster Fuller and architect Frank Lloyd Wright are some of the famous figures from this cities past. A true old west town, originally named for the Wichita Indians who inhabited the area, Wichita was started in the mid 17th century when a 4 trading posts were built on the banks of the Little and Big Arkansas rivers. The abundance of wild game, river access and vast land for farming helped Wichita to grow quickly and by 1872 they connected to the rest of the county by rail. At that time the city slogan, posted on a wooden sign on the outskirts of town was “Anything goes in Wichita”. In 2003 old town Wichita was added to the National Registry of Historic places.
Celebrate the 4th of July!
Communities all over Wichita will host 4th of July Parades and fireworks displays to celebrate America’s Independence. The tour will arrive in Wichita on the 4th of July for a rest day so once you’ve checked into the hotel and had a chance to relax a bit head out into the old city and enjoy the festivities surrounding on the the US greatest national holidays.
Visit the Old Town District:
On the rest day visit the unique collection of shops, restaurants and nightlife situated in the converted red brick warehouse district on Wichita's east side. Experience fine dining, specialty shopping and live music, as well as the Wichita Farm and Art Market held each weekend. A don’t miss atttraction in Old town is the Museum of World Treasure: http://www.worldtreasures.org/index.php.
Visit the Great Plains Nature Center
The mission of the Nature Center is to educate adults and children alike about the environment and our natural resources. The center offers programs, field trips, and classes both indoors and out. Enjoy the 2,400-gallon aquarium and the Owl's Nest Gift Shop
Frank Lloyd Wright Allen Lamb House and Museum
This early 20th century home was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for noted journalist and statesman Henry Allen. The last of his prairie-style homes, Wright proclaimed it as one of his finest works.
Indian Center Museum
The museum's signature work stands outside on the grounds at the point where the Little and Big Arkansas Rivers come together. Wichita native Blackbear Boisin's bronze sculpture, "Keeper of the Plains," honors the region's original citizens and serves as a symbol for the city itself. The center is devoted to the preservation and presentation of the art and artifacts of Native American tribes throughout the continent. Traditional and contemporary art works include painting, sculpture, pottery, jewelry and bead work.
Located near by in Hutchinson, KS The Cosmosphere (http://www.cosmo.org/) houses the most significant collection of U.S. Space artifacts outside of the National Air and Space Museum and the largest collection of Soviet space artifacts in the Western world.The Cosmosphere’s collection includes the Apollo 13 Command Module, Odyssey, the SR-71 Blackbird and Russian rockets.
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