23 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO NEAR MCCONNELL AFB
By Tracy Fuga
IntroductionWelcome to McConnell Air Force Base, home of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing and the nation’s first KC-46A operational base! As you get settled into your new home, you’re probably looking for some ideas of things to do in the area. Well, as luck would have it, you ARE in Kansas (unlike the Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy), and there’s so many things to do within a short drive of McConnell AFB in nearby Wichita. The installation is less than 10 miles from Wichita, which boasts a population of nearly 400,000. The self-proclaimed Air Capital of the World has so much to offer visitors and those lucky enough to call it home. You’ll experience all four seasons while living in the Midwest so you can always count on having something fun to do, whether it’s inside or out and in the air or on the ground. And most of the time you won’t even have to leave base to find it! Here is a list of 23 of the best things to do while living on or near McConnell AFB. Know what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to what you go: (1-5) Outdoor Recreation (6) Golfing (7) Gyms (8) Bowling (9-17) Nearby Attractions (18-21) Museums (22) Movie Theaters (23) Distilleries and Breweries
Suggested Read:McConnell AFB Kansas: In-Depth Welcome Center
23 McConnell AFB Things to Do
Outdoor Recreation McConnell AFB
1. Krueger Recreation Area53050 Glen Elder McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4435 The Krueger Recreation Area encompasses more than 160 acres devoted to recreational enjoyment. Activities include a disc golf course, archery range, RC car course, paintball courses, family camping, fishing ponds and picnic areas. Outdoor Recreation provides all of the equipment needed for the activities at the Krueger Recreation Area.
2. Arkansas River TrailWichita, KS 67203 The Arkansas River Trail is a nearly 11-mile walking trail that winds along the river in downtown Wichita. The path is landscaped with waterfalls, trees and native shrubs. The trail meanders with multiple side paths. You can access it from either side of the river.
3. Chisholm Creek Park6232 E. 29th St. North Wichita, KS 67220
Phone:1 (316) 683-5499 Chisholm Creek Park is one of the largest parks in Wichita. Its habitats represent most of the major habitat types in the Great Plains. In its 282 acres are nearly 3 miles of paved trails that cross native and restored prairies, wetlands, ponds and woodlands. All these trails are accessible.
4. Pawnee Prairie Park2625 S. Tyler Road Wichita, KS 67209 Pawnee Prairie Park, next to Eisenhower National Airport, is over 400 acres of natural park land with trails that serve hikers, bicyclists and equestrians, along with other amenities. Equestrians and bicyclists have dedicated paths and trails within the park, while hikers are free to roam and explore.
5. Lake Afton24600 W. 39th St. South Goddard, KS 67052
Phone:1 (316) 794-2774 Lake Afton Park offers 720 acres of recreational fun for the entire family. The 258-acre lake provides boating, water skiing, fishing and swimming opportunities. Camping facilities include both RV and tent sites with all the expected amenities and more.
McConnell AFB Golf Course
6. Sierra Hills Golf Club13420 E. Pawnee St. Wichita, KS 67230
Phone:1 (316) 733-9333 While there’s no longer a golf course associated with McConnell AFB, Sierra Hills Golf Club is the closest option for those looking to hit the links. The terrain careens across gently undulating bluegrass and past six water features. Sierra Hills complements its layout with a practice putting green and a full-length, 35-stall, natural-grass driving range, where guests can drive practice balls up to 300 yards into the distance.
McConnell AFB Gym
7. Fitness CenterBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4009 The McConnell AFB Fitness Center features state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Basketball, racquetball and volleyball courts, as well as an elevated indoor running track, sauna, aerobics and martial arts rooms, Alpha Warrior rig and indoor lap pool are also available. The center offers personal fitness assessments and DVDs that can be used in the aerobics room, spinning room and martial arts room with TVs mounted in each room.
McConnell AFB Bowling Alley
8. Tornado Alley Bowling CenterBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-6187 Tornado Alley is a 12-lane bowling center inside the Dole Community Center. It offers weekly specials, and you can rent Tornado Alley by the hour.
9. Dole Community CenterBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4330 McConnell AFB’s Dole Community Center is the hub for military personnel to access recreational resources, special events, classes and other fun activities. The center houses the bowling alley, Information Tickets and Travel, movie theater, The Breakaway lounge and more.
10. The BreakawayBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4330 The Breakaway is a lounge with comfortable seating, tables, games and TVs and is open to military personnel, civilian personnel and anyone with access to the base. Relax and watch TV or a movie, play video games or board games, enjoy the pool and air hockey tables, or just relax on the patio!
11. Information, Tickets and TravelBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-6007 McConnell AFB's Information, Tickets and Travel (ITT) is your one-stop-shop for all of your destinations. The ITT office has discount tickets for local venues and stateside amusement parks. This office is a great resource for seeking out new adventures and area information as well as providing discounted FedEx service and a flower and gift shop.
12. Outdoor PoolCorner of Parsons Street and Lawrence Street McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4107 The McConnell AFB Outdoor Pool consists of an Olympic-sized swimming pool featuring lap lanes, a recreational swimming area, water slides and a climbing wall. A separate kiddie pool area is next to the main swimming pool. Changing rooms, bathrooms and vending machines are located within the pool complex for your convenience. The Outdoor Pool is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, temperature and weather-dependent.
13. Kansas Wildlife Exhibit700 N. Nims St. Wichita, KS 67203 Located in Central Riverside Park, Kansas Wildlife Exhibit contains over 25 species of native mammals, reptiles and birds in eight displays. Admission is free, and the exhibit is open year-round.
14. Sedgwick County Zoo5555 W. Zoo Blvd. Wichita, KS 67212
Phone:1 (316) 660-9453 The Sedgwick County Zoo is home to 3,000 individual animals of nearly 400 species. These residents are grouped geographically and in settings that duplicate their natural habitats. Exhibits include: Africa, Asia, North America, Tropics, Children’s Farms, Amphibians and Reptiles, Koch Orangutan Chimpanzee Habitat, Cessna Penguin Cove, Downing Gorilla Forest, Slawson Family Tiger Trek and South America/Australia, which is among the largest walk-through aviaries in the United States.
15. Botanica, The Wichita Gardens701 Amidon St. Wichita, KS 67203
Phone:1 (316) 264-0448 Botanica has a variety of gardens you can explore including a butterfly garden, Chinese garden of friendship and a rock garden. There are a great number of plants to see, and it is worth visiting in different seasons to see the transformation of the gardens. Lunchtime lectures are held on a variety of topics each Wednesday.
16. Orpheum Theater200 N. Broadway #102 Wichita, KS 67202
Phone:1 (316) 263-0884 The Orpheum Theater is a historic theater in Wichita and hosts many world-class performances throughout the year. Tours of the theater, which include architectural highlights and historical facts, can be booked by phoning the theater directly.
17. Wichita Veterans’ Memorial Park339 Veterans Parkway Wichita, KS 67203 The Wichita Veterans’ Memorial Park was formed in 1980 to honor veterans and military personnel with statues, sculptures and memorials dedicated to the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terrorism. All branches of the U.S. military are represented as are prisoners of war missing in action, Gold Star families and service members who have received a Purple Heart.
McConnell AFB Museums
18. Kansas Aviation Museum3350 S. George Washington Blvd. Wichita, KS 67210
Phone:1 (316) 683-9242 The former airport terminal, which operated between 1935 and 1951, is the setting for the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita. The museum is perfect for all ages with interesting and well-researched exhibits as well as plenty of exciting craft for children to marvel at. The planes on display include a 1927 Swallow, which crashed in 1929 and was put into storage before being restored, as well as more modern aircraft including a passenger Boeing 727.
19. Museum of World Treasures835 E. First St. North Wichita, KS 67202
Phone:1 (316) 263-1311 The Museum of World Treasures explores a wide range of exciting exhibits where you can discover stories of crusty bones and long-lost creatures, marvel at Egyptian mummies, uncover the secrets of ancient civilizations and enter the battlefields of world wars. The museum is open seven days a week.
20. Old Cowtown Museum1865 Museum Blvd. Wichita, KS 67203
Phone:1 (316) 350-3323 The Old Cowtown Museum is a living museum that re-creates life in the late 19th century in and around the Wichita area. The museum occupies 23 acres of land just off the Chisholm Trail and is a different experience each time you visit due to its actors and the interactive exhibits. The people you will meet during your visit include herdsmen, hunters, fur traders and farmers.
21. Exploration Place300 N. McLean Blvd. Wichita, KS 67203
Phone:1 (316) 660-0600 This science museum aims to inspire interest in science through exciting and thought-provoking exhibits. Among the exhibits on display at Exploration Place are a flight and design exhibit, a miniature model of Kansas complete with moving trains and a 7-foot-tall replica of the human mouth named Big Mouth. The museum also features constantly changing traveling exhibits.
McConnell AFB Movie Theater
22. McConnell AFB TheaterBldg. 412 McConnell AFB, KS 67221
Phone:1 (316) 759-4330 McConnell AFB Movie Theater shows first-run movies and matinees for a low price. It’s a great place to host a special event, or it can be used for briefs, ceremonies and meetings.
23. BreweriesLike in most of the country, breweries (and even some distilleries) have been popping up around Kansas in the past couple of years. Enjoy the unique flavors and make sure to pair your brews with some of that famous Kansas City BBQ. Find a craft brewery closest to McConnell AFB or venture further out to enjoy that hoppy goodness.
ConclusionThere’s no place like home in Kansas, and there are so many things to do while you’re living and working in McConnell Air Force Base and in the Wichita area. It’s the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, budding photographers and food-lovers alike. Whatever your mood or hobby, there’s plenty of things to do near McConnell AFB.
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