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           Kansas Travel Guide

Merle Exit Shares Her Adventures In Wichita

While in Wichita, we visited the Museum of World Treasures, which is said to be one of the top sights, and could certainly understand. Egyptian mummies, rare coins, Civil War artifacts, items from WWI, WWII, dinosaurs and sports memorabilia. I asked if they would be interested in having a permanent exhibit of a women’s tackle football team called the New York Sharks as they are the only women’s football team to have an item displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Done deal. Exhibit includes owner and former quarterback Andra Douglas’ retired jersey, photo of her accepting an award from the Women’s Sports Foundation, football signed by the team, and a group of several photos depicting the history of this longest and top winning teams.

One stop before dinner. Since this is cowboy country, I must have a hat. There’s this guy, Jack Kellogg who owns Hatman Jack’s Wichita Hat Works - 316-264-4881. He caterers not only to the area but also to celebrities around the globe. He was able to look at and size me up for the perfect fitting hat. This was the first time that I looked good in a hat, even though it wasn’t of the cowboy ilk. He then showed me how hats were created.

Dinner was at a restaurant called Chelsea’s Bar ‘n’ Grill. Great food. Joumana Toubia is the Director of Operations and quite well known in the area. That’s because she owns three other places. Abutting the restaurant is the Olive Tree Bistro, with just a different menu. Had a taste of each. Piccadilly Market has a café on the premises, and the fourth was Bagatelle Bakery. Needless to say, Joumana is into catering and I understand that one can mail order the bakery.

Day two and off to Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Wichita does have a separate science center called Exploration Place, but this one has stuff that you would see at that other place in Washington, DC. No, probably better. “Houston, we have a problem” is there. Yes, a restored Apollo 13 spacecraft. In fact, this is a space artifact hospital. Not all of the restorations are here. Their mommies get to pick them up when they’re better and take them home or to a museum. Lot’s of info and relics from both the U.S. and Russian space programs as well as an IMAX theatre.

The next stop was the most awesome! I went 650 feet down into one of only three salt mines in the world for a preview of Kansas Underground Salt Museum, in nearby Hutchinson. Salt mines are so far underground that you don’t have to worry about the weather above. In fact, it is void of moisture. The salt is basically used as rock salt for roads, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a small chunk, grinding it up and using it in your cooking. I hope they put a warning sign reading, “If you have high blood pressure, please do not lick the walls.”

It’s basically sea salt and the “ocean” simply went dry a gazillion years ago. Its being void of moisture allows for storage as well. If you want, you can have them store family items that you want passed down over the years. I noticed that Warner Bros. stores their original movies. Now, since I was in the movie, “Up The Down Staircase”, my claim to fame will live after humankind has passed on.

Still having to get the cowboy hat and gear for this evening I was off to Sheplers. Well known for being the world’s largest western store with boots, jeans, shirts, hats, belts, buckles, jewelry and anything else suited for a cowgirl…or boy. The one in Wichita is the original store and it was here that I was fitted for my “cowgirl” hat.

Next day’s agenda began with re-creating the old frontier at Old Cowtown Living History Museum. This 17-open-acre museum focuses on Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas from 1865 to 1880. Areas are divided between: Old Town’s earliest settlement; residential; 1880 DeVore Farm; and Business and Industrial. Most popular is the Blacksmith. I got a souvenir flint starter and rock. Better than rubbing two sticks and works best with the leftover dryer lint. Hmm…flint lint.

As if I didn’t walk enough, it’s off to the Sedgewick County Zoo. The Downing Gorilla Forest reserve had me viewing bongos and okapi. There was this 13-foot long king cobra, a 5-foot tall bird called a cassowary and a bunch of cute animals from all over the world. I must say that I was quite surprised thinking that it would be “just another zoo”. It’s definitely worth a visit.

What would an active city be without nightlife, especially the theatre. I had heard about a really funny show at Cabaret Oldtown called Menopaus-a-polooza. The cast of four women, along with owner Christi Moore wrote this hilarious musical. It’s about four women in the waiting room of a GYN and each in a different stage of menopause.

The songs were parodies and the group took care of the lyrics and dialogue. Not only did I scream with laughter at what I’ve experienced, but what my friends have complained about. Here’s my contributing joke. Q. How many menopausal women does it take to screw in a light bulb? A. WHO CARES!

By Merle Exit

Getting There:

These are just a samples of the exciting destinations to explore while in Wichita. To discover more attractions, events, and to plan your trip visit the Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau's website at www.gowichita.com.

Use this link to go to the Kansas Travel Guide.

About The Author

Use this link to learn more about Merle Exit.