One of the good things about Christmas falling on a Friday this year is that it gives us the whole weekend to spend time with family and friends visiting for the holiday.
That might be one of the bad things, too. What to do for hours on end with houseguests and visitors?
If you're trying to identify fun ways to pass the time, remember that Wichita has lots of fun and interesting attractions and destinations.
Here are 10 of them:
1. Not only can you see the fascinating exhibit titled "How to Make a Monster" at Exploration Place, but you also can see several shows in the highly regarded CyberDome Theater, including "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure" and "Ice Worlds," an examination of Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. Exploration Place is at 300 N. McLean Blvd. Go to www.exploration.org for ticket information. Hours this weekend are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 316-660-0600.
2. Five new movies have opened at the cineplexes this week, including "Up in the Air" and "Sherlock Holmes." You can bet that movie theaters will be a popular destination all weekend long. See the movie guide in this section for showtimes (Pages xx-xx). To avoid long lines, go early in the afternoon. Remember that it's less crowded at adult or date movies in the afternoon and family films at night.
3. Lights on St. Paul, one of Wichita's biggest holiday light displays, will remain open through Sunday night. Hours are 5:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free but donations are accepted to benefit The Arc of Sedgwick County, serving people with developmental disabilities. The drive-through display is on St. Paul Street, from Douglas to Second Street.
4. Check out Ivan, one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever discovered, at the Museum of World Treasures, 835 E. First St. You can also visit three floors filled with historical artifacts and replicas. Hours this weekend will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8.95 for adults, $7.95 for seniors, $6.95 for ages 4 to 12, and free for kids under 4. For more information, call 316-263-1311.
5. Lace up the figure skates and take a few laps around the Wichita Ice Center, 505 Maple. Call for hours for public skating. Admission is $6 and skate rental is $2. For more information, call 316-337-9199 or go to www.wichitaicecenter.com.
6. You can spend hours playing video and arcade games at All Star Adventures, 1010 N. Webb Road, and All-Star Sports West, 8333 W. 21st St. Both attractions usually offer miniature golf and go-carts if the temperature outside is above 40 degrees. Call for hours. The east location is 316-682- 3700; the west is 316-722-7529.
7. The Kansas Aviation Museum at 3350 George Washington Blvd. is housed inside Wichita's first municipal airport, which opened in 1934. Exhibits include on-site reconstruction of early Stearman and Swallow bi-planes, a B-52 and KC-135, among other historic planes. Museum hours this weekend are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60 and up, $6 for children 4 to 12, and free for kids 3 and under. For more information, call 316-683-9242.
8. You have just a couple more weeks to see "The Wyeths: Three Generations," on view through Jan. 10 at the Wichita Art Museum. The exhibition showcases the works of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth. The museum is at 1400 W. Museum Blvd. Hours this weekend are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free on Saturdays and $7 for adults on all other days. For more information, call 316-268-4921.
9. Bundle up in warm coats and visit the Keeper of the Plains, which has been voted one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas Art. The $20 million project completed in 2007 is at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers. It includes pedestrian bridges from the riverbanks to the statue by American Indian artist Blackbear Bosin. Admission is free.
10. The Sedgwick County Zoo is open year-round, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 5555 Zoo Blvd. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for ages 4 to 11 and free for kids 3 and under. For more information, call 316-660-9453.