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The Ultimate Guide to a #RelentlesslyOriginal Wichita Day Trip

June 17, 2020

Whether you’re a party of one or six, this is your ultimate guide to having the best day trip from Wichita. Destinations range from 30 minutes to an easy hour and a half drive, but all are great ways to make the most of your summer while maintaining social distancing. After you decide where to go, use the handy packing list at the end of the blog with local food, drinks and goods to enhance your day trip experience. Be sure to use #RelentlesslyOriginal or tag @choosewichita to share about your summer adventures.

Meadowlark Farm

At Meadowlark Farm, you’ll find a you-pick peach and apple orchard, strawberry and pumpkin patches, a hard cidery and, on summer Sunday afternoons, an open mic. Savor the farm from its park, picnic tables, farm store or mile-and-a-half nature trail where you can spot wildlife, including deer and birds. There’s plenty of room to socially distance, relax with some homegrown hard cider and soak up some Kansas sunshine.

  • #RelentlesslyOriginal Fact: Starting in August, Meadowlark Farm will start pressing sweet cider, a treat for all to enjoy.
  • Drive from the urban core: about 30 minutes
  • Most up-to-date information: Meadowlark Farm Facebook page

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

You only have to look at Dyck Arboretum’s Instagram to see why you should visit. Blooming flowers of all shades, winding nature trails and a pond brimming with wildlife are the perfect recipe for a relaxing day away. The grounds, located in Harvey County, are open every day from dawn to dusk, or you can go during the week when the visitor center is open. Bring your bike or a picnic blanket and your favorite local snacks for time to reset and enjoy the region.

  • #RelentlesslyOriginal Fact: Dyck Arboretum, with the support of Hesston College, is dedicated to the conservation of native Kansas plants – so much so, that they will teach you how to establish your own native plant garden at home.
  • Drive from the urban core: about 40 minutes
  • Most up-to-date information: Dyck Arboretum Facebook page

Hutchinson

You could easily spend more than a day exploring all the city of Hutchinson has to offer. The Cosmosphere space museum has the largest collection of U.S. and Russian space artifacts in the world, including rockets and spacesuits. You can descend 650 feet underground in 90 seconds to Strataca, an underground museum of preserved fossils, tunnels and the oldest living organism on Earth. Spend time outdoors at the Hutchinson Zoo or the Hedrick Exotic Animal Farm. And that only scratches the surface of places to eat, explore and enjoy.  

  • #RelentlesslyOriginal Fact: Hutchinson is nicknamed the “Salt City” because it sits on top of one of the largest salt deposits in the country. It inspired the name for Salt City Brewing Co., one of two breweries founded in Hutchinson.
  • Drive from the urban core: about an hour
  • Most up-to-date information: Visit Hutch website

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Explore more than 11,000 acres of wildflowers, bison and hiking trails at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve 24/7, 365. While some of its buildings are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, there’s still plenty for the whole family to enjoy. Listen to an audio tour, fish the day away at one of three ponds, hike kid-friendly or strenuous backcountry trails or tackle 117 miles of cycling at Flint Hills Trail State Park. Tallgrass Prairie is the perfect place for a picnic, quiet outdoor getaway or wildlife adventure – and pairs well with a stop to see the Chase Lake waterfalls.

  • #RelentlesslyOriginal Fact: The Preserve is maintained as a public and private partnership with the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy. It’s the only park of its kind in the country that is devoted to the natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem.
  • Drive from the urban core: about an hour and a half
  • Most up-to-date information: Tallgrass Prairie National Park Facebook page

Prairie Lavender Farm, Mushroom Rock State Park and Kanopolis State Park

Start the day with the luminescent view of lavender and sage at Prairie Lavender FarmThe lavender grown on the farm is transformed into more than 80 products, including tea, lotion and almost every kind of soap you can imagine. Then, head to Mushroom Rock State Park, the smallest state park in Kansas. It’s well named (and well worth the stop) for its mushroom-shaped rock formations. The historic Kanopolis State Park, the first state park in Kansas, is a short 15-minute drive from Mushroom Rock. It has caves to discover, sandstone bluffs to admire and a lake for fishing, swimming, boating and more. If you choose to extend your day trip, Kanopolis is open for camping, giving you the opportunity to admire the wide open starscape away from city lights.

  • #RelentlesslyOriginal Fact: The annual lavender festival at Prairie Lavender Farm draws thousands - be sure to come back in 2021 to see what the hype is all about. And, in the Horsethief area of Kanopolis, there’s an active prairie dog town that’s most active on hot, summer days.
  • Drive from the urban core: little over an hour and a half
  • Most up-to-date information: Prairie Lavender Farm Facebook page and Kanopolis State Park Facebook Page

Your Local Packing List

Use this handy packing list to support local business and make your day trip even more #RelentlesslyOriginal. Don’t forget to practice social distancing, be safe and respect your surroundings.

FIGHTING COVID-19 WITH FACE MASKS AND FASHION

Stella Hankins is the founder and owner of Bella Bonita Designs, a Wichita-based fashion label with a line of silk scrunchies, twillies and scarves. Her ultimate goal has always been to help people, specifically by hiring women in recovery like herself. When she realized the inevitable impact of COVID-19, Stella did just that and pivoted her business to sew face masks, while empowering the community to do the same.

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