Wichita public school students got out of class Tuesday, with 15 long days to fill before school resumes.
From making art, playing games, spending time with animals, taking a hike and more, there are plenty of activities going on to ensure your family and kids won’t be bored. Here’s some of the activities happening while school’s out.
Hit the ice during public skating sessions for all ages Dec. 19, 21-24, 26, 27 and 31 at the Wichita Ice Center, 505 W. Maple. Afternoon and evening times are available. You can even skate with Santa and his friends, like Anna from “Frozen,” from noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. Admission is $7; skate rentals are $3; special $5 admission on Dec. 22 with a nonperishable food item donation. Hours and more information: wichitaicecenter.com, 316-337-9199.
Get ready for some shoot-outs at two local galleries – one with laser guns and the other with Nerf guns – that are running specials and extended hours during the holiday break.
Laser Quest Wichita, 2120 N. Woodlawn, is offering a special holiday break triple-play daily package Dec. 20-Jan. 2, along with extended hours. Cost is $19 per person for three games. Children too young to wear the game pack on their own may play in tandem – by holding the hand – with an older player. Reservations recommended; call 316-652-9500; select option 2. Walk-ins welcome. LaserQuest also has a 45-minute escape room activity. Cost is $15,with a minimum charge applying for three players or less. Hours and more information: laserquest.com, 316-652-9500.
At Battle Quest, 2626 S. Rock Road #130, players use Nerf guns to shoot it out. Admission is $10, which includes a free blaster with upgraded blasters available. Players are welcome to bring their own blasters. Battle Quest is extending its hours of play between Dec. 19-30. Suitable for ages 4 and up. There’s also an arcade so bring some quarters. For more information: wichitabattlequest.com, 316-570-4389.
This year’s holiday break special package at The Alley, 11413 E. 13th St. N., includes a virtual reality game called Hologate, unlimited bowling and shoe rental, go karts and a laser maze. The special is even available on Christmas Day. Cost is $20 per person Dec. 25 and Jan. 1-2; $25 Dec. 26-30. The Alley also has an escape room, with per player costs of $25 Wednesday-Thursday, $30 Friday-Sunday. Hours and more information: thealleywichita.com or 316-618-1000.
The Wichita Sports Forum has full- and half-day winter break camps for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 2-3 and a half-day only Jan. 1. During the camp, kids can use the Aviate facilities, which includes trapeze, trampoline and obstacle course activities, and play soccer or basketball. Cost is $45, $30 for additional children for a full-day camp with lunch included; and $25 for half-day, with pre-registration. Walk-in rates are higher. Full-week rates are also available. More information and registration: wichitasportsforum.com/camps/, 316-201-1414.
Start the year with some physical fun with family and friends during the Wichita Park and Recreation special free “Take a Hike” event Tuesday, Jan. 1, at Pawnee Prairie Park. 2625 S. Tyler. Meet up at the nature center at 9:30 a.m. and then hike the trails. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Information: wichita.gov/ParkandRec
Art, toys and more
At Karg Art Glass, you can watch glass-blowing artists for free or create a glass ornament with the help of an artist for $30. At the gallery’s on-site glass-blowing studio, 111 N. Oliver in Kechi, the public can watch the glass blowers for free from 8:30 a.m. to noon, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday. Ornament-making sessions run from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on the same days through Dec. 31 and are by appointment only. It takes about 15 minutes. All Dec. 22 slots are booked, but other times are available. Appointments and more information: 316-744-2442.
The Wichita Art Museum’s popular Winter Art Mania days are scheduled for 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday Dec. 26-28. Activities include watching movies (11 a.m. and 2 p.m. showtimes), and making art. Admission is free during those days – and remember, Saturdays at WAM are always free. Current exhibitions include Kansas farm photography, paintings of the Plains, cityscapes and war-time prints. More information: wichitaartmuseum.org
Elementary-age kids can do even more art during holiday break programs at Mark Arts and CityArts.
Mark Arts, 1307 N. Rock Road, has two STEAM camps that emphasize creativity and linking art to STEM concepts, happening Dec. 26-28. During the three-day camp, kids ages 5-7 will learn the many artistic uses of baking soda from 8 a.m.-noon; kids ages 8-11 will learn about crystals from 1-5 p.m. Cost is $95 for nonmembers, $85 for members. The theme for the Jan. 1 kids’ day out workshop is superheros. For kids ages 6-11, the camp runs from 1-5 p.m. Cost is $40. Advance registration required. More information and registration: markartsks.com
Kids ages 6-12 can make art based on a different daily theme at CityArts, 334 N. Mead. The themes range from the beach to movies and more. The camp runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 19-21, 26-28. Campers must bring a sack lunch; an over-sized shirt for creating messy art is suggested. Daily rates are $40. More information and registration: wichita-cityarts.squarespace.com
Christmas and toys seem to go hand in hand. Two Wichita attractions have toy-related exhibits and activities happening during winter break. Experience some big-time toys and big fun in the final days of the Toytopia traveling exhibition at Exploration Place, which ends Jan. 1. It’s an interactive exhibit where you can tour a life-sized doll house and shake things up with the world’s largest Etch-A-Sketch and more. The exhibit is included in the science center’s general admission price, which ranges depending on age from $10.50 for ages 12-64 to free for kids 2 and younger.
Toys will be the focus of Exploration Place’s Winter Break Edventures, which are daylong programs for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Each day of programming, Dec. 18-21, 26-28, will tie in with the Toytopia exhibit. The daily program rate is $40 for nonmembers, $35 for members, with before and after care available for an additional cost. More information and registration: exploration.org, 316-660-0600.
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum also has a special toy-themed exhibition that closes Dec. 31.
“Toys of the Future” features space age toys that were popular starting in the 1930s through the 1960s. Today’s kids (ages 6 and up) can make their own space-age toys, play jacks and other vintage games and make a Victorian Christmas card during four special 90-minute holiday break programs tied to the space toys and other exhibits at the museum. Space Camp will be Dec. 20 and 28; Victorian Cottage Christmas happens Dec. 21, and Playing in the Past is scheduled for Dec. 27. The programs are free and run from 1:30-3 p.m. Reservations requested: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Playing arcade games and board games can provide hours of fun, and there are several places to do that in Wichita. Choose from among hundreds of board games at Sente: Games & Refreshments, 132 E. Douglas. Daily unlimited play rates are $3 per person, while kids 10 and under with an adult play for free. Get a punch card and your fifth day will be free. Wear an ugly Christmas sweater if you go Friday, Dec. 21, when Sente has its Christmas party special, and you’ll get half off the daily play rate, plus from 3-5 p.m. you can make a gingerbread house ($5 cost). The party includes a 7 p.m. silent auction for games. More information: facebook.com/senteICT/
The Arcade, 139 N. Mead, has more than 70 retro video games and will be open more hours than normal during the holiday break. Usually open Thursday-Saturday, The Arcade will be open daily from Dec. 21-24 and 26-31. Daily unlimited play rates are $10, $8 for kids 10 and under. More information: thearcadewichita.com or 316-844-0010.
At the Grinning Goblin Gaming Lounge, 1625 S. Rock Road #135 virtual reality games will be $5 on Wednesday through the end of the year. The gaming lounge has multiple video game consoles and computer stations to play at $10 a day. Minors are allowed when accompanied by a parent or guardian; unaccompanied teenagers are allowed until 9 p.m. Hours are 5 p.m.-midnight Tuesday-Thursday Sunday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday. More information: ggtavern.pub
For those who like brain challenges, try an escape room activity. There are several escape rooms in Wichita-area, with various different pricing ranges and different scenarios.
One of the more affordable options for our family of multiple kids and adults has been The Room – Wichita, 617 W. Douglas, (theroom-wichita.com, 316-213-6196), at $20 per person, with kids 10 and younger free with a paying adult.
Hang out with animals
Kids ages 5 to 12 can spend a day at Critter Camp at the Kansas Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside, where they learn about animal safety and responsible pet ownership and empathy toward animals., tour the vet clinic, help with shelter jobs, make treats and socialize the dogs and cats. Campers bring their own lunch, snacks are provided. Camp runs 8 a.m.-5p.m. Dec. 19-21, 26-28, 31 and Jan. 2. Cost is $35, with need-based $25 scholarships available. Reservations: kshumane.org; for scholarships: 316-220-8709.
The Sedgwick County Zoo offers special Winter Wednesdays pricing through February, when admission is just $3 per person. Children 2 and under are always free. Check the forecast for Dec. 26 and dress appropriately to take advantage of this special. Through the end of the year admission to the zoo on other days is half price.
The zoo’s recurring overnight lock-in event happens during the break, too. The next Creature Campout is an indoor one at the Cargill Learning Center, from 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29, until 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. Participants must be 5 years and older, bring their own sleeping bag, be on time and not need to leave early. Youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $35 for nonmembers, $30 for members; dinner, bedtime snack and continental breakfast included. Ticket sales end 48 hours before the event. Reservations and more information: scz.org.
Other fun stuff
Wichita Park and Rec and the Wichita public library also offer a variety of programming during the holiday break. Wichita Park and Rec is offering six daylong specialty camps, ranging from food-themed to spy and Nerf gun adventures during the break. The camps are for kids ages 6-12 and are held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Boston Recreation Center, 6655 E. Zimmerly. Cost is $25 with snacks provided. Campers must bring a lunch and drink. Registration is required at least two days in advance of the camps, which are scheduled for Dec. 19, 21, 26, 28, 31 and Jan. 2.
The Park and Rec department also offers Kids Konnection daylong programming Dec. 19-21 and 26-28 at Edgemoor, Linwood and Orchard recreation centers. Times are 7 a.m.-6 p.m., daily cost is $20 with snacks provided. Kids must bring their own lunch and drink. More information and registration: wichita.gov/ParkandRec
From making slime and origami animals to a partying with Harry Potter and an escape room activity, the Wichita public library has a variety of fun free activities going on at its various branches that are suitable for kids up to high school seniors. Most events require registration. More information and registration: wichitalibrary.org