May 8, 2017

Botanica Wichita: A Kid-Favorite Destination

Botanica Wichita has been a game changer for me. I don’t often plan stops at botanical gardens (delicate flowers + trail-blazing kids = no bueno), but this place has opened my eyes: My kids loved it there.

It helps that Botanica Wichita has an amazing children’s garden. Hands down, the best I’ve seen so far.

We visited Botanica Wichita on a spring weekend recently. Read about that fun weekend here. Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita.

Downing Children’s Garden

If you’re visiting Botanica Wichita with children, you simply cannot skip Downing Children’s Garden. Every turn on the path revealed something whimsical, delightful, and beautiful.

The Monster Trees might have been my favorite part of all Botanica Wichita.

There’s a yellow brick road at the entrance leading you inside, because…Kansas.

Follow the yellow brick road into the Downing Children’s Garden inside Botanica Wichita.

This well-thought out space packs a lot into a little space. A nice touch is that there’s only one way in and out, so if your little explorer takes off, he or she won’t escape the area.

There’s more to discover at the Downing Children’s Garden than flowers, including digging opportunities to uncover animal habitats and pretend fossils.

Cool places to explore include a water feature, tree house and monster trees…and that’s just one little part of the children’s garden.

The tree house is right by the Monster Woods, two things you don’t want to miss at Garden Botanica’s children’s garden.

There’s a musical maze, ant hill, and party barn. Plus, a cute little enchanted spot with some favorite storybook characters. There are all sorts of cute touches that adults enjoy spotting as much as kids.

A familiar character spotted inside the children’s garden at Botanica Wichita.

If my kids had their way, we would’ve spent at least two hours in the Downing Children’s Garden.

We hardly had a chance to explore the farm side of Downing Children’s Garden at Botanica Wichita.

More garden to see

There are 30 themed gardens and exhibits over 18 acres. Don’t skip the seasonal train garden, which wasn’t running while we were there. Near it is the sensory garden, with the coolest natural kaleidoscope.

Peeking through the nature kaleidoscope at Botanica Wichita.

There’s also a butterfly house and a beautiful pond to explore. Bring some coins so your kids can feed the huge koi.

I thought the spot where we fed koi fish was the most picturesque and peaceful place inside Botanica Wichita.

Botanica Wichita’s newest garden is the Chinese Friendship Garden. It was enchanting to stroll through. Our guide, Janet, explained the connection between Wichita and its sister city, and how many of the items on display – from scrolls to huge foo dogs – have significant meanings.

The lovely Chinese Friendship Garden was inspired by Wichita’s Sister City in China.

Family-friendly tip: Botanica Wichita allows you to bring food in to have a picnic on the grounds. I saw tables inside the Chinese Friendship Garden and overlooking the koi pond. Both spaces look perfect for a relaxing lunch break.

Timing a visit

The miniature train wasn’t in operation during our early spring visit to Botanica Wichita. It’s runs seasonally.

You’ll see garden beauty any time of year, but Botanica Wichita has some special events that you might want to note of.

Spring – On a few afteroons in March and April, there’s an adorable event called Tulips, Fairies & Forts. Take Flight & Butterfly Festival is a special annual opening of the Butterfly House – the first 100 kids get to release a butterfly in the house. At the end of May, there’s the Family Night Hike.

Summer – Summers are hopping at the children’s garden. In June and July, you’ll find drop-in activities on the weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those are included with admission. There are also Creative Craft activities for an additional fee on Wednesday mornings. Thursdays in June from 5 to 8 p.m. is Family Game Night.

Fall – Bootanica is a Halloween-themed event to look for.

Winter – One of the biggest each year is Illumination during the holiday season. There are lights throughout the gardens, and the train garden has a Polar Express theme to it.

 

If you go

Botanica Wichita

Where: 701 Amidon St., Wichita, Kansas

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Tuesday & Thursday until 8 p.m.); and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Cost: Children (ages 3-12), $5; adults (ages 13-61), $7; seniors (ages 62) and military, $6; and children younger than 2, FREE. Admission is $3 all day Thursdays in the summer

Website

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Want to start planning your own Great Wichita Weekend?

Start with My Wichita Bucket List to get some inspiration, then dive into these for more fun ideas:

The Great Wichita Weekend recap

Wichita’s Good Eats

Wichita Home Base: Hampton Inn & Suites

June 1 – Exploration Place

Jun 8 – Tangyika Wildlife Park

 

For even more ideas for family fun in Wichita, check out my Pinterest Board. 

 

Disclosure: Our visit was hosted by Visit Wichita, and Botanica Wichita provided complimentary passes so I could tell you about it. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.

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