5 Places to Explore Nature in Wichita, KS

Wichita is one of the largest cities in Kansas that remains to have that small hometown feeling. Since it isn’t that large though, you won’t have a hard time navigating anywhere. Getting out of the city limits is exactly what you need to do when you want to explore nature in Wichita.

With tons of things to do from baseball games to botanical gardens to one of the best zoos in the country, you’ll want to take a day or the weekend exploring the beauty nature has to offer in Wichita. Kansas has hot summers and cold winters, so you’ll want to take advantage of the lovely weather when you can. Here are five places to explore nature in Wichita.

1. Botanica: The Wichita Gardens

Wichita has a beautiful botanical garden located in Sim Park with several themed gardens, such as the Butterfly Garden, Shakespeare Garden, and Wildflower Garden. Lose yourself while being immersed in the beauty of their gardens.

The mission of The Wichita Gardens is to expand public awareness of horticulture and educate people about how nature improves daily lives. Visitors can explore over 18 acres of gardenscaping with over 4,000 species of native plants as well as plants that are new to the region. Walk around enjoying the plants, whether its an assortment of wildflowers or the 12,000 pansies that The Gardens grow each year.

2. Great Plains Nature Center

Are you interested in seeing Kansas wildlife and bird watching? The Great Plains Nature Center hosts discovery programs, indoor wildlife observatories, and paved hiking trails. It’s one of the best places in the area to take a nice evening stroll. You can take your kids over and walk around the gardens before visiting the museums inside.

There are beautiful paths that are prairie-like areas that grow native plants. You can find ponds and check out herons, ducks, turtles, and deer. The trails are always cleaned and maintained. Each path is marked with the distance, so you quickly know if you think you can handle the length.

A visit to the complex allows guests the opportunity to visit and roam different displays, exhibits and ecosystem preserves! You can find literature for each area that provides you with educational material.

3. Arkansas River Trail

The Arkansas River Trail is a beautiful walking trail that winds along the river in downtown Wichita. The path is landscaped with waterfalls, trees, and native shrubs. It’s easy to enjoy and is always kept clean and well-maintained.

The trail meanders with multiple side paths. You can access it from either side of the river. It offers beautiful scenery in the morning and evening. Walking is a healthy form of exercise for everyone, so walking the trails get you outside and encourages exercising!

4. Sedgwick Park

Sedgwick Park is a large park located on West 21st Street with plenty of area for kids to walk and play. Families can enjoy picnicking, and the walking trails let you enjoy the scenery and beauty of Wichita. Sedgwick Park also has a stocked lake for the budding and experienced fishermen alike, but keep in mind that a license is required to fish.

The expansive park offers four inland lakes, and you can do more than fishing. The lakes give visitors plenty of opportunities to engage in watersports, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating. Aside from the lake, Sedgwick Park features recreational sports fields and hosts a sledding hill and an ice skating rink in the winter.

5. Prairie Sunset Trail

Prairie Sunset Trail is a public trail created for walking, jogging, and bicycling. Altogether, the path covers 15 miles from Garden Plain through Goddard, continuing to S. Hoover Rd in Wichita. Great for cycling, walking, or jogging.

The trail is bordered with tall trees and fields, making you feel like you’re nowhere near city limits. You can access the path at any street crossing and you can hit the trail year-round. It features local plants and animals, and kids have an opportunity to visit and explore wooded areas, streams, and farmland. Escaping from the busy life of the city has never been so easy!

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