Labor Day weekend offers plenty of opportunities to have fun

For Labor Day weekend, we offer 10 suggestions on how to have a good time.

09/01/2010 12:00 AM

09/03/2012 12:36 AM

By order of Congress, all workers must take a break this weekend.

OK, that might be stretching the intentions of our nation's leaders when they declared the first Monday in September as Labor Day, but plenty of laborers will be doing just that — at least for part of this three-day break.

To help you get the most out of your work hiatus, here are 10 ideas for having fun this weekend:

1) Visit a lake. In this last gasp of summer, head to the three main lakes in the Wichita area for boating, swimming or camping.

* El Dorado Lake, 20 miles east of Wichita on K-254, offers fishing, camping, boating, swimming. Call 316-321-7180 for permit fees and other information.

* Cheney Reservoir, 25 miles west of Wichita on 21st Street; activities include fishing, sailing, swimming and camping. Call 316-542-3664 for information.

* Lake Afton Park, 25401 W. 39th St. South, is 20 miles west of Wichita on MacArthur Road and offers boating, water-skiing, swimming, fishing and camping. Call 316-794-2774.

2) Check out the Wichita Black Arts Festival. This is the 42nd year for the festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday at McAdams Park, at 15th and Wabash. A parade at 10:30 a.m. Saturday kicks off the event. The parade will begin at 17th and Fairmount and proceed west on 17th Street to McAdam's Park. The festival will includes activities for kids, arts and crafts booths and live music.

3) Visit Exploration Place for the final weekend of the national traveling exhibit, "Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body." Get the answers to many of the slimy, oozy stinky questions you always wanted to know about the human body. Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd., will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Labor Day, as well as regular hours this weekend. The exhibit is included with the price of admission. For more information, call 316-660-0600.

4) Go shopping. Most large shopping complexes are open on Labor Day, including Towne East Square, Towne West Square, Bradley Fair and NewMarket Square. Hours at Towne East and Towne West are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday. Hours for stores in Bradley Fair, on Rock Road at 21st Street, may vary, but many will be open during the afternoon only. Stores at NewMarket Square, at 21st and Maize Road, also will have varied hours.

5) Visit a farmers market. Find fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers as well as arts and crafts at a Wichita-area farmers markets.

The Kansas Grown Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Sedgwick County Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. Admission is free.

The Old Town Farmers Market will feature an Iron Chef Competition and live entertainment from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the Farm & Art Plaza, 835 E. First St. Admission is free.

6) Hang out at a Wichita-area water park before they close for the season. All YMCA water parks will be open Saturday through Monday. For details, go to

7) Check out the fun rides at All Star Adventures, 1010 N. Webb Road. The park has 14 amusement-park rides, including a roller coaster, bumper cars and carousel. Cost varies per ride. The center will be open all weekend, including Labor Day. Call for hours at 316-682-3700 or go online at

8) Visit the Keeper of the Plains. Blackbear Bosin's 44-foot-tall sculpture of an Indian warrior raising his hands skyward stands above the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers near downtown. The $20 million exhibit has been voted one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas Art. It includes pedestrian bridges from the riverbanks to the statue. Visit just before 9 in the evening, when the ring of fire lights up. Admission is free.

9) Cruise through one of scenic byways. The Flint Hills Scenic Byway stretches 47 miles across the Flint Hills of Kansas on K-177 between Council Grove and Cassoday, passing the Tallgrass National Prairie Preserve. The Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway extends 42 miles from the western city limits of Medicine Lodge to the junction of U.S. 160 and U.S. 183 at Coldwater. It bisects the craggy red Gypsum Hills. The area is known for its stunning rust-red buttes and mesas capped by layers of sparkling white gypsum.

10) Take in a movie at the Landmark Starlite drive-in theater , at Hydraulic and MacArthur. This weekend, the drive-in will be open Friday through Sunday nights. Playing on Screen I are the movies "Despicable Me," "The Last Airbender" and "Toy Story 3." Playing on Screen 2 are "Vampires Suck," The Expendables" and "Dinner for Schmucks."

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