An August 2003 trip
to Wichita by Taylor252
Quote: We have traveled all over the world, so we're not easily impressed. But Wichita has a world class museum called the Museum of World Treasures, the Mid-American All Indian Center, a reconstructed cowtown, the Kansas Aviation Museum, The Jesse James Museum, and so much more. It is a destination!
As you may know, Wichita is an important hub for avaition. Beachcraft (now Raytheon), Learjets, and Cessna all have their world headquarters in Wichita. Boeing also has a big presence. As a result, the Kansas Aviation Museum displays a growing collection of aircraft and aviation related artifacts. Jesse James the 5th is available in person daily at the Jesse James Museum. A book by museum director RJ Pastore explains how "Jesse James Faked His Death" and started a new life in Kansas. You can also walk along the Arkansas river that winds through town or enjoy a number of other attractions. There is a lot to do and see in Wichita, Kansas!
Contact Visitor Information before your trip. You'll get a lot more information than my 200 words here will allow. The address and phone are: Visitors Information Center; 335 W. Lewis; Wichita, KS 67202. Phone: 800-288-9424. Their email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a lot of great hotels in Wichita including a Hilton and a Hyatt. We choose a more modestly priced Best Western and had a delightful stay. I'll try and get a review of it written in this journal.
One last thing I'll mention. If you're flying in -- first, the airport is a delight to deal with. It's fairly small and never crowded. Second, if you're renting a car, do it early. We called about six weeks ahead and National was already out of the full size car we wanted. In addition, Avis, Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, Thrifty and Alamo all have a presence at the airport. Lastly, it can be expensive to fly to Wichita. My husband's family live there so we watch for specials from American Airlines. United and Continental also fly to Wichita. Our last set of tickets cost around from St. Louis.
Hotel | "Best Western Airport Red Coach Inn"
While we were there a party was being catered in part of the courtyard but we never heard any noise from their area. Also to keep noise down, the pool and hot tub are enclosed in a glass room as well as being enclosed in the courtyard. You don't hear any splashing or noise at all. The exercise room which is fairly small (5 pieces of equipment-but seemed more than adequate for the hotel) is also enclosed separately. All the ground floor rooms have sliding glass doors that open onto the courtyard for easy access. We liked the setup very well.
The room we were in had two queen size beds, a nice dresser, closet with hangers, table and chairs and a comfortable easy chair with its own light. The bathroom had the sink and tub in separate areas. The room was a good size.
This hotel had lots of amenities. In the courtyard area there was a 7-hole putting green and a full length shuffleboard track. There was also a ping pong table and two pool tables. Off to one side there was a bank of video games and on the other side was a bank of drink machines. Interspersed throughout the courtyard were wonderful bronze sculptures of various animals. The children seem to love these sculptures as much as beating "Daddy" at shuffleboard. We saw several families enjoying the courtyard whenever we looked out our door.
Other features of this hotel were:
Great location -- It is very close to the airport and has a free shuttle back and forth. It is also right off a freeway for quickly getting to any sightseeing you might wish to do. The hotel also has a large area for bus or truck parking.
Great restaurant/club on site. Moderate to downright inexpensive made the Wright Brothers' Restaurant family friendly. The courtyard also doubled for a large banquet facilities. There were tables and chairs a plenty for such an event.
Computer access -- The phone had a data port on it for connection to the internet. Non-smoking rooms were available as well as suites. Free coffee was provided as well as the coffeemaker. There was also a hair dryer provided.
We're planning on staying here the next time we go back to Wichita!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 20, 2003
Best Western Airport Inn & Convention Center
6815 W Kellogg Drive
Wichita, Kansas 67209
It represents for me what I hope each U.S. citizen can someday believe, regardless of what cultures they descend from. It goes like this, "I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, I am proud to belong to my sovereign tribal nations, and I am proud to be a Native American." We all have cultures we are a part of as well as being a part of the United States. We don't all have sovereign tribal nations to belong to, but the idea is to honor our cultural heritage, whatever it is and however varied it is, and to honor our citizenship as well. We can also work at honoring other people's heritage and treasure it for the strength in diversity it brings to our country.
In addition to the Gallery of the Nations, there are several other exhibits. First is the Indian Center Museum where the heritage of Native Americans is showcased. There are examples of bead work, dwellings, clothing and a large teepee which dominates the back of the museum. There is also a "Walk of Fame" representing Indian artists and musicians. Outside on the grounds is an 1800's style Native American Indian Village, which is sure to interest family members of all ages! They also have a very nice gift shop.
The Center holds several special events. In the spring, there is the Wichita Indian Art Market and Exhibition. In May, the River Festival Rendezvous and the last full weekend in July is the Mid-America All-Indian Center Annual Intertribal Powwow. If you'd like information about these and other Indian Center events call 316-262-5221.
The Center is located at the confluence of the Little and Big Arkansas rivers in the heart of Wichita's "Museums on the River" district. From downtown, take U.S. Hwy 54 (Kellogg St.) to Seneca St. N. It's minutes away, and well worth your time!
Mid-America All-Indian Center Museum
650 North Seneca Street
l. Old Cowtown Museum -- This is a 17 acre open-air museum set in the years between 1865 and 1880. They have 35 exhibits showing country crafts and what a Western town was like. There is also a farm dated to the same era with farm animals and buildings.
2. Mid-America All-Indian Center -- This museum/historic monument highlights the culture, history, and pride of all the Native American tribes.
3. Great Plains Nature Center -- This site focuses on the wildlife and habitats of the Great Plains. Free.
4. Charles M. Russell "Heritage of the West" Gallery, located in the Wichita Art Museum.--There are 26 original paintings by the artist here.
5. A Prairie Garden, located in Botanica, The Wichita Gardens -- Seasonal displays of buffalo grass and other grasses that were typical of the Great Plains.
6. North American Prairie Exhibit, located in the Sedgwick County Zoo -- The animals of the plains can be seen here in native habitat.
7. Chisholm Trail Exhibit located in the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum -- Jesse Chisholm was a Wichita native for whom the trail is named. This exhibit talks about the great cow trail.
8. Buffalo Bill Monument and Grave site, located in Highland Cemetery -- You will learn the story of William Mathewson who became Buffalo Bill. Free.
9. Chisholm Trail Historical Marker -- This marks the spot where cattle herds crossed the Arkansas River and their way to the railhead in Wichita. Free.
10. Sheplers, The World's Largest Western Store -- Buy whatever you want!
11. Eaton Hotel -- In 1900, Carrie Nation smashed the hotel's fancy bar. This place was known as the best hotel in the area for 100 years.
12. Prairie Rose ChuckWagon Supper and National Hopalong Cassidy Cowboy Museum -- This is a restaurant that serves authentic western cuisine. They also have a stage show that centers around Hopalong Cassidy.
13. The Jesse James Museum -- Supposedly, Jesse James faked his death and lived out his life in Kansas. Jesse James the 5th is present every day.
We didn't make it to all these sights, but the ability to tailor this tour made it a wonderful experience. We're going back in Sept. to work on seeing the rest.
Western Heritage Tour
Attraction | "See Dinosaurs at the Museum of World Treasures"
From the dinosaur area you move into the Hall of the Ancients. I was stunned by the variety in this area and the well done commentary paragraphs that accompanied each display. The first display I saw was of Cuneiform. They have a foundation stone from a building in ancient Ur described as Abraham's Temple, circa 2150 BC. We used to believe that cuneiform developed from pictographs however the latest theory suggests it evolved from a desire merchants had to quickly account for what they were trading. Three slashes might mean three jugs of wine or three bars of gold. So, a symbol for wine or gold was added to the three slash marks and thus the beginning of written language. The Assyrians and Babylonians are also mentioned close by. Next is a small display of Etruscan artifacts. The Etruscans were defeated and assimilated into the Roman Empire so thoroughly that it has only been lately we?ve learned much about them. The next several display cases are concerned with the Roman period. There are displays of jewelry, coins, pottery and even medical tools from that time. The Eastern Mediterranean cultures are represented by displays from the Minoan Civilization (2000-1450 B.C.) and the Mycanaeans (1600-1200 B.C.) Lastly but certainly not least is a large display of Egyptian artifacts. There are several sarcophagi and hieroglyphics tablets among many other displays. It is a good collection.
The next gallery has the Hall of the Royalty. There are no pictures allowed in this area perhaps because there is much gold jewelry here. This is also where you will find a small display of knightly armor.
Next is the Hall of the Americas. This begins with very nice displays of Mayan and other pre-colonial Native American cultures. There is an amazing display of solid gold Mayan jewelry that is very rare. After looking at the first Americans, the displays take a look at America at war. There are displays of the Revolution, Civil War, Korean War and huge displays of military armaments and ships related to WWI and WWII. I'm not as knowledgeable in these areas but close to a quarter of the museum is devoted to this study.
We enjoyed our visit at this museum very much. For anyone else who would like to take a look, there is an elevator for access to the upper floors and the hours of operation are: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm; and Sunday noon-6pm. Enjoy!
Museum of World Treasures
835 East 1st Street
Wichita, Kansas 67202
St. Louis, Missouri