Finding autism-friendly activities in Kansas’ largest city, Wichita
 

For many parents, coming up with family vacation ideas is fun and exciting. Yet for families traveling with someone on the autism spectrum, planning autism-friendly getaways can also be daunting and riddled with anxiety.

Fortunately, Kansas has peaceful, open spaces galore, and destinations are better prepared to help families with children with autism today than ever before. Even in Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, it remains easy to navigate, has ample parking, consists of open-air attractions, and has many other attributes that make it attractive to families traveling with children with autism.

Before we jump in, we want to acknowledge autism is a spectrum and that children with autism have unique sensory needs, and these suggestions may not work for everyone. We hope that with these suggestions, you may find a few places and activities to put on your list if you are planning to visit Wichita, the Heart of the Country.

Wichita Library

Great Plains Nature Center

Open air and free admission make this nature center a great place for families with a child with autism. Even if things don’t go as planned and you have to leave shortly after arrival, it’s free so you can come and go to fit your needs. The indoor museum features animals of the plains and an aquarium. Bring a quarter for turtle food before heading out to the wildlife trails at Chisholm Creek Park, which is just outside the doors of the museum.

Other museums and attractions in Wichita with no general admission fee include CityArtsEnvision Arts Gallery and Engagement CenterGreat Plains Transportation MuseumMark ArtsThe Original Pizza Hut MuseumUlrich Museum of Art , and the Wichita Art Museum. On Sundays, admission is free at the Wichita-Sedgwick Co. Historical Museum and Old Cowtown Museum.

Museums & Attractions

Great Plains Nature Center

Welcome to the Great Plains Nature Center, a hidden gem nestled within the vibrant city of Wichita, Kansas. Situated at the intersection of…

CityArts

​CityArts offers people of all ages and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to participate in diverse art programming throughout the year…

Envision Arts Gallery

Nation's First Art Gallery Made By and For Artists Who are Blind or Visually Impaired. Our mission is to empower these amazing individuals…

The Original Pizza Hut Museum

In 1958, two brothers - one a recent graduate of Wichita University, another a freshman at WU - started a restaurant in a tiny building on…

Old Cowtown Museum

Experience Wichita like it’s 1865. Old Cowtown is a living history museum that lets you immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and…

Outdoor activities

Want to avoid crowds and get some fresh air? Kansas has you covered. Outdoor activities in Wichita are easy to find too. Children on the spectrum may enjoy going on a hunt for murals, exploring parks and outdoor areas like Pawnee Prairie Park, and experiencing the iconic Keeper of the Plains Plaza. Enjoy a variety of activities with little to no wait time at O.J. Watson Park. There are paddle boats, a train ride, a playground, and a mini golf course. While sometimes busy during weekends, Botanica Wichita is a great option for a weekday outing. This botanical wonderland features a variety of kid-friendly, open-air options, including the butterfly house, children’s garden, and troll hill.

Wichita Library

Outdoor Activities

Pawnee Prairie Park

Pawnee Prairie Park in southwest Wichita, located next to Tex Consolver Golf Course and Eisenhower National Airport is over 400 acres of…

Keeper of the Plains

The Keeper of the Plains is a 44-foot tall steel sculpture standing at the point where the Big and Little Arkansas rivers join together in…

O. J. Watson Park

O.J. Watson Park was dedicated on May 22, 1965, it is one of the largest parks in the City of Wichita park system. Prior to development, the…

Botanica Wichita

Since opening in 1987 with four gardens and a horticultural library, Botanica Wichita has added more than 30 additional themed gardens and…

Wichita Public Library - Advanced Learning Library

As the largest and newest public library facility in Wichita, the Advanced Learning Library is a great resource and place to find quiet, cozy nooks. Plus, the library has a STEAM Learning Garden. It features interactive play stations that promote learning skills related to science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

Performing Arts

If theater is of interest to your child with autism, Wichita’s performing arts scene will not disappoint! American Theatre Guild, a civic performing arts organization, offers an annual Broadway in Wichita series at Century II Concert Hall. The series presents national Broadway tours and professional touring productions in Wichita. Explore the 2022-23 season. Each summer at Century II Performing Arts CenterMusic Theatre Wichita self-produces Broadway-scale musical productions, using a unique mixture of top-flight professionals from Broadway and Hollywood working hand-in-hand with talented Midwesterners.

The American Theatre Guild

Presenting National tours of Broadway Musicals at the Century II Performing Arts Center, the organization offers Wichita and surrounding…

Wichita Library

Stearman Field Bar & Grill

Autism families know all too well the challenges of dining out. Not only does Stearman Field Bar & Grill have ample space to enjoy a meal on their indoor/outdoor patio, but they also have a playground nearby for children of all abilities to burn off some energy. And don’t forget the planes that are likely to be taking off and landing just feet from the patio! Stearman is located just northeast of the city, so be prepared for a short drive to get there from the city. Remember to grab some noise-canceling headphones if you think your child might be sensitive to the noise of the planes.

Other eateries that feature a patio where you may find a quiet, cozy spot to enjoy a meal include Dempsey’s Burger Pub or Ziggy's Pizza in Clifton SquareProst in Revolutsia, all five Meddys locations (NortheastNorthwestSoutheastOld Town and West), Chicken N Pickle and Sweet Allie B’s Limestone Beer Co.  Or, order carryout from downtown eateries like Old Mill Tasty ShopThe KitchenNortons Brewing Co.Bite Me BBQ and Homegrown Wichita and enjoy the newly-redesigned Naftzger Park, which features plenty of available outdoor seating throughout the park.

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Find Great Food

Chicken N Pickle - Wichita

Play pickleball, grab a healthy bite to eat or challenge your friends to lawn games like battleship or cornhole. Located in the Plazzio…

Revolutsia

By definition, Revolutsia is “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change in paradigm.” Located on…

Ziggy's Pizza - Clifton Square

Ziggy's is a locally owned and family operated restaurant serving delicious pizza, sandwiches, salads and appetizers at our 3 Wichita…

HomeGrown Wichita - Downtown

HomeGrown Wichita is a daytime eatery now with three locations. Our newest is in the new Spaghetti Works district in Naftzger Park. We share…

The Kitchen

Locally owned and family run, The Kitchen is ideally located at Union Station in the historic Baggage Claim Bldg. Our goal is to offer the…

Meddys Northwest

Discover signature, fresh, made-to-order, authentic Mediterranean options that are both healthy and delicious. Meddy's only uses the best…

Bite Me BBQ - Wichita

Voted one of Kansas’ Top 7 BBQs for Ribs by KANSAS! Magazine, this barbecue restaurant is known for some seriously delicious dishes…

Meddys Southeast

Discover signature, fresh, made-to-order, authentic Mediterranean options that are both healthy and delicious. Meddy's only uses the best…

Old Mill Tasty Shop

Families have been coming to Old Mill Tasty Shop since 1932. Have a soda made the old-fashioned way from a working, marble countered soda…

Stearman Field Bar & Grill

Delicious, homemade southern style food in an atmosphere that's like no other. Located on a private airport where aircraft land 20 yards…

Meddys Northeast

Discover signature, fresh, made-to-order, authentic Mediterranean options that are both healthy and delicious. Meddy's only uses the best…

Meddys Southwest

Discover signature, fresh, made-to-order, authentic Mediterranean options that are both healthy and delicious. Meddy's only uses the best…

Meddys Downtown

Discover signature, fresh, made-to-order, authentic Mediterranean options that are both healthy and delicious. Meddy's only uses the best…

Nortons Brewing Co.

The Nortons invite you to their Brewery for a drinking, dining, and entertainment experience like none other! Dan Norton brings his 16 years…

Naftzger Park

The park was built and named M.C. Naftzger Memorial Park in 1977-78 as a bequest from the Naftzger family.

HomeGrown Wichita - Bradley Fair

HomeGrown Wichita is a daytime eatery that shares a passion for building community and a commitment to locally-sourced food and creative…

HomeGrown Wichita - West

HomeGrown Wichita is a daytime eatery that shares a passion for building community and a commitment to locally-sourced food and creative…

Hands-on Fun

Want to create your own masterpiece in a quiet space and with small class sizes? Sign up for an art or culinary class at Mark Arts. Youth and adult arts education camps, classes, and workshops are offered Tuesday through Saturday throughout the year. Course areas include ceramics, culinary, drawing, enameling, jewelry/metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Or become an artist and hone your skills at CityArts. Year-round art classes and workshops are offered in photography, silversmithing, glass fusing, glass blowing, painting, digital arts, pottery, drawing, and more. 

If your child with autism has a specific interest, check out our list of Wichita museums by topic:

Because every family and child is unique, check out even more ideas of things to do and options for dining to find just the right fit to make your visit to the Heart of the Country a memorable one.

Wichita

Wichita is a place where art aficionados, history lovers, self-proclaimed foodies and outdoor adventurers all find a lot to love.