It’s the week of Christmas, and you have a house full of people. What do you do with them? Here are some things the whole family can enjoy:
1. See the animals
The Sedgwick County Zoo, 5555 W. Zoo Blvd., is open on Christmas and New Year’s. Stroll through the park and see its many indoor exhibits and exotic animals.
“Exhibits such as the reptile and tropical jungle houses are warm inside, as well as the gorillas and tigers,” said Christan Baumer, zoo marketing public relations manager.
Special feeding times and “Catch a Trainer” times are offered daily to see and learn about your favorite creatures.
Admission: $12 adults, $7.50 seniors (62 and older) and children (3-11), ages 2 and younger free. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Visit www.scz.org for more information. On Wednesdays, admission is only $2.50 per person.
2. Check out a local museum
300 N. McLean Blvd., is hosting the traveling exhibit “Creatures of the Abyss,” which will close Jan. 2. See a life-sized colossal squid, experience the cold temperatures of the ocean and find out what creatures live at the bottom of the ocean. Or watch live shows and explore a newly renovated medieval castle. Open regular hours Christmas Eve, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays (including New Year’s Day). Prices range from $3 to $14.50. For more information, visit www.exploration.org.
•Wichita Art Museum,
1400 W. Museum Blvd., is hosting the exhibit “The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection” through Jan. 12. View dresses worn by the popular Motown group the Supremes.
“It’s fun because it’s a walk though history, from 1958 to 1977, through dresses,” said Crystal Walter, museum communications manager.
Or view popular culture art and activities including a puzzle wall.
Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays (including Christmas Eve) and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Christmas and New Year’s days. Admission: $7 adults, $5 seniors (60 and older) and $3 youth (ages 5-17). For more information, visit www.wichitaartmuseum.org.
•The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum,
204 S. Main, will showcase its Christmas exhibits through New Year’s, as well as children’s toys from the 1900s, a 1917 car and the world’s first electric guitar.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays (including Christmas Eve) and Sundays. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission: $4 adults, $2 for children 6-12, free for ages 6 and younger and museum members. For more information, visit www.wichitahistory.org.
3. Take a road trip to Hutchinson
• The Kansas Underground Salt Mine, 3504 E. Avenue G in Hutchinson, offers exhibits underground.
The museum will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve and closed Christmas Day. It’ll be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 1 to 6 p.m. New Year’s Day.
“Families can see the gallery museum, geology exhibits, underground storage vaults storing items such as movie memorabilia,” said Gayle Ferrell, museum director of operations. “We also have underground train rides, a dark ride, where you can get out and walk around, and a tour of abandoned mine sites from the 1950s.”
Tickets for all events are $18 for adults, $16.50 for seniors and $12 for children 4-12. For more information, visit www.undergroundmuseum.org.
• The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson, offers IMAX and planetarium shows in addition to its permanent exhibits.
“We had a new exhibit open in September that is about the space shuttle program and the international space station, where you can walk though a space simulator and try a realistic space toilet,” said Katie Gillmore, museum outreach coordinator.
Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Christmas and Christmas Eve. Open 1 to 6 p.m. New Year’s Day. Reservations encouraged. Tickets range from $7.50 to $18. For more information, visit www.cosmo.org.
4. Do good together
For those looking to volunteer, the United Way and Salvation Army have plenty of opportunities.
“We always encourage volunteering as a way to get the family together and help the community,” said Becky Springer, United Way volunteer coordinator.
Find a list of holiday volunteer opportunities for the United Way at www.unitedwayplains.org or by calling 316-267-4327. Families can also contact the Salvation Army at 316-263-2769.
5. Burn off those sugar cookies
Wichita-area YMCAs are hosting friend week Monday through Jan. 1. This event allows members to bring a non-member for free to check out many family-friendly activities, including kid play areas, pools and racquetball courts. Check out www.ymcawichita.org for area YMCA information and individual location hours and activities.