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Victoria Mitchell, Exploration Place Education Manager, leads a star formation demo during a Camp in a Box session, last year. Sessions during 2021 spring break include sci-fi frontiers and spy training.

Courtesy photo

Area attractions are ramping up for spring break with a variety of options that will appeal to families which are still limiting social activities and those who want to get out of the house.

Attractions have scheduled activities to coincide with Wichita’s USD 259 spring recess, which starts Friday, March 19. A few places, including Tanganyika Wildlife Park, Mark Arts, Museum of World Treasures and the Greater YMCA, also have scheduled activities for the week of March 15, when other area schools will be on break.

Over the past year, many organizations have become creative with to-go and virtual activities, and several of those will continue during the spring recess.

With spring in the air, that will likely mean warmer weather so families can opt for outdoor activities, and several are free or low-cost.

Walk around the Wichita Art Museum’s outdoor sculpture garden that overlooks the river or head over to the Keeper of the Plains plaza and then hit up the Kansas Wildlife Habitat at Central Riverside Park, all for free. Daily feedings and naturalist talks happen for free at noon at the habitat.

Wichita parks also are offering some affordable organized and rental options. Kayaks and pedal boats will be available for rent starting March 19 at O.J. Watson Park, 3022 S. McLean Blvd., and a free dance fitness party is happening from 10 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Saturday, March 27, at Naftzger Park, 601 E. Douglas. A round of mini golf at Derby’s outdoor dino park, 2999 N. Rock Road, costs $7 per person during spring break.

Registration is already underway. Some activities fill up quickly. Within days of being offered, the K-State Research and Extension Office in Sedgwick County’s at-home spring break activity kits were sold out.

To fill your family’s spring break calendar, check out these options.

Mark Arts: Wichita’s oldest visual arts organization has both virtual and in-person activities available. Choose from two-hour Zoom morning workshops March 16-19, during which kids ages 6-11 can create works of art ranging from a painted mug to decoupaged frames. Cost is $25 per workshop, art supplies included. Bugs and Butterflies is the theme of Mark Arts’ spring STEAM academy. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The limited capacity, in-person camp runs March 22-26, with morning sessions for ages 5-8 and afternoon sessions for ages 9-12. Cost is $99. More info: markartsks.com

Tanganyika Wildlife Park: The park’s annual season pass sale is going on now through March 14, just in time to start using the passes for spring break. The pass costs $24.99 per person ages 3 and older and gives you unlimited visits, plus some other perks, until the park closes for the season, which is usually in November.

The park’s weeklong spring break camps, themed “Fairy Tales,” include a variety of activities, plus several animal feeding experiences, and are geared towards campers ages 6-13. Early drop-off and late pickups are available for the all-day camp. Cost: $125 for the camp with a 10% discount for season pass holders. Kids need to bring a packed lunch. The March 15-19 camp is almost sold out, while spots are still available for the week of March 22. Info and registration: twpark.com

Paint the Towne: This paint studio, with locations in east and west Wichita, offers both to-go art kits and in-person morning paint sessions for families. Cost is $8 per painter. March 17-19 sessions will be held at its Central and Ridge location, while the March 24-26 sessions happen at its 1625 S. Rock Road studio. To-go kits can be ordered online, with pickups on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the east Wichita location. Bonus: Buy $40 or more of paint kits and get a select paint kit free. Families also can choose to book a party for six or more people at $15 per painter. More info: paintthetowne.com

YMCA: The YMCA will offer day camps, called Break Clubs, for two weeks at different locations to accommodate spring recesses at area schools. During the week of March 15, the camps will be at the Andover and Northwest Wichita Ys, and during the March 22 week, camps will be at the North and South Ys. The daylong camps are for elementary school children with early drop-offs and late-pickups available. Y membership is not required. Cost is $25 per child per day and includes breakfast and a snack; kids must have a packed lunch. More info: ymcawichita.org

Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center: The company’s special Once Upon a Time theater series will feature the show “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” March 18-20. Held at 201 S. Lulu, the shows are suitable for ages 2 and up with limited seating. Times are 10 a.m. March 18-20 and 6:30 p.m. March 19. Tickets: $8. Reservations strongly encouraged. Call 316-262-2282. More info: www.wctdc.org

Exploration Place: Last year, the science center introduced its Camp in a Box that attracted campers from all over the U.S. and internationally. The camp provides both virtual and hands-on learning experiences with limited Zoom sessions for all campers plus off-screen time for campers to do the activities included in the box. Each daily program March 19 and 22-26 has a different theme, ranging from futuristic farms to sci-fi frontiers to spy training. Each daily camp box costs $40, with discounts for members; shipping is available for those who can’t arrange pickup.

Each box contains two exhibit passes, so visitors can check out the museum’s current traveling exhibition “POPnology: From SciFi to WiFi” that looks at pop culture’s influence on technology. The science center also has a new show, “Project Hoverboard,” as part of its Live Science series. Normally offered on the weekends only, Live Science shows will be offered daily during the week of March 23 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is $11.50 adults, $10 ages 65 and older, $8 youth ages 3-11 and free for ages 2 and under and members. Exploration Place hours are 10 am.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-Sunday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday.

The new feature film “Turtle Odyssey” playing in the Exploration Place dome theater takes you to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Another film, “Animalopolis,” takes you around the world to see a variety of animals. Dome admission can be purchased separately ($5 with discounts) or as part of an exhibition combo package ($14.50 with discounts). More info: exploration.org

Wichita Park & Rec: Besides overseeing Wichita park activities like the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit and O.J. Watson park rentals, Wichita Park and Rec offers its Kids Konnection spring break activities camp and specialty camps. Kids Konnection, for ages 6-12, runs 7 a.m.-6 p.m. March 19 and 22-26 at Edgemoor, Linwood and Orchard recreation centers. Daily fee is $22.

Get the kids cooking at Junior Chef Boot Camp, one of three specialty camps scheduled for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 22, 24 and 26 at Boston Recreation Center. The themed camps are for ages 6-13 and cost $30. More info: wichita.gov/ParkAndRec/Camps

Kansas Aviation Museum: Fly high with free admission as part of the Little Aviators program on Fridays in March at this museum. The free admission applies to children ages 1-12 and one adult per child. Friday hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More info: kansasaviationmuseum.org

Wichita Art Museum: WAM is offering both digital and in-person activities. The museum’s ArtCation has gone virtual, with participants doing a themed activity related to different modes of transportation. Each daily theme will be posted on WAM’s website and then participants are asked to share photos of their creations on Instagram and tag the museum. A prize will be awarded to a randomly selected winner from among those who post.

WAM’s spring break Family ArtVenture, with a disco party theme, will happen in person 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, March 27. Admission on Saturdays is free.

WAM is also offering a spring break deal to make it more affordable to take the family to see its recently opened exhibition featuring African American art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Admission for pre-K through college-age students will be $1 with a regular adult ($10) or senior ($5 for ages 60 and up) admission. WAM hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

More info: wichitaartmuseum.org.

Sedgwick County Zoo: The recent surprise birth of a new baby black rhino at the zoo has been pretty exciting and visitors will be able to get a peek at the newborn’s actions through a live feed displayed on a TV screen at the entrance of the zoo’s Veldt building. You can also check out some of the zoo’s younger and newer residents during a spring break visit. The baby gorillas are now 4 years old and highly active, said Jennica King, the zoo’s spokeswoman. Ravi the red panda has been gaining admirers over the past year since he joined the zoo.

Members no longer need to make online reservations to visit; online reservations for nonmembers are recommended. Admission: $20 adults, $15 ages 62 and older and children 3-11. Free for children 2 and younger and members.

The zoo also has two organized spring break events the week of March 22 for elementary-age children: its Spring Fling five-day camp happening March 22-26 ($170 with member discounts) and its 90-minute behind-the-scenes tour starting at 2 p.m. March 27. Cost for the latter is $9 with member discounts.

More info:scz.org

Field Station Dinosaurs: Check out more than 40 prehistoric animals with a preseason sneak peek at this dino park in Derby 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily March 20-28. (The park officially opens for the season in mid-April.) Sneak-peak daily tickets are $12 per person and include the dinosaur trail, live shows, games, science activities and Jurassic mini golf. Tickets to the 18-hole mini-golf course only are $7. The course closes at 9 pm. More info: kansasdinos.com

Botanica: Check out what’s blooming and hunt for gnomes at Botanica during its spring break events March 22-27. Other activities include an ongoing Scholastic book fair and a naming contest for the attraction’s new curly hair tarantula. More info: botanica.org

Museum of World Treasures: Ever heard the saying “if it’s Wednesday, it must be (insert destination here)” when trip planning? That’s the concept this downtown museum is applying for its weekday activities during spring break. Visitors during the weeks of March 15 and 22 can choose from the following daily destinations: Mesopotamia, Rome, Greece, Egypt or Asia. Regular admission applies: $9.95 for adults, with discounts for seniors and kids 4-12 and free for kids 3 and younger. Family day passes are also available. For a cheaper option without specific activities, explore the museum during this month’s Late Nights event, happening 5-7 p.m. March 25. Cost for Late Nights is $6 per person. More info: worldtreasures.org

Wichita Public Library: Teens into Dungeons and Dragons or Twitch, a video streaming site, can have fun with two free virtual two-hour programs offered by the Wichita Public Library. The Dungeons and Dragons event starts at 5:30 p.m. March 22 and the Twitch program is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 23. For more info or to register: Call 316-261-8500 or visit wichitalibrary.org.

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