Whether you are a Wichita native or new to the ICT, we can all appreciate a little mystery in finding secret gems hidden throughout the city.
Below are spots “hidden” around Wichita that make for unique visits and add a bit of childhood magic to an ordinary day for Wichita kids. If you are a Wichita native, you may already be aware of some of these spots from your own childhood (or not!), but if you know of any other hidden gems in the area, be sure to let us know!
616 E. Douglas Avenue
This is a simple hidden gem to find in Downtown Wichita. Across from Naftzger Park, this little alley is beautifully decorated with a rainbow brick road, giant-sized spider art crawling on the wall, and a beautiful art sculpture backdrop. Launching a new art installation in July, this is a “permanent destination for intersensory art experiences” and a fun stop on the way to Naftzger Park or Old Mill Tasty Shop.
The Wichita Troll
777 W. Central Ave.
This favorite well-kept local secret hidden gem is one that even many Wichita natives have not seen. This sculpture of a 7 foot troll peeking out of a grated drain near the Westar Power Building (across the river from Exploration Place) is a fun hidden gem. It’s so hidden, that many walking along the path may never even see the troll if they do not know about it! If you catch the troll at night, we hear there is green light illuminating the creature. *We usually park in the lot near the Keeper of the Plains, walk across the bridge (to peep the Keeper too!), turn right along the path near the river, and there will be a path going up a hill near Westar. You’ll come across a grate, and there he is.
Riverside Park – 720 Nims N.
Located at the northwest part of Riverside Park (just a walk from the Riverside Wild Exhibit) is a solar calendar, made up yellow rocks placed in a circle to align with the movement of the sun. These strategically placed rocks slightly resemble the famous Stonehenge and track the placement of the sun during sunrise, sunset, and at noon during various times of year. There is a detailed inscription near the solar calendar explaining how it works. You can read more about Wichita’s Stonehenge at the winter solstice here.
Wizard of Oz Yellow Brick Road
OJ Watson Park – 3022 S McLean Blvd
OJ Watson Park, one of our favorite parks in ICT, is the home of a real yellow brick road! (And for those Wichita natives, you may remember Wizard of Oz wooden carved statues from the 90s – those are no longer around but the yellow brick road remains). The paved brick road spans around 1/8 of a mile around the park and is a fun tribute to living in Kansas.
Wichita’s Rainbow Row
Oakland Ave. (between Hillside and Rutan)
We don’t know if this has an actual name (help us out if it does!) but this is Wichita’s very own version of Charleston’s Rainbow Row or San Francisco’s Painted Ladies. This street has beautiful pastel, multi-color homes and apartment complexes. Take a quick drive or hop out and take a 3-5 minute stroll and snap some pics. This is a fun local secret spot!
The Giant’s Footprint in Oak Park
Oak Park – 1100 W 11th St N.
If you were a Girl Scout in the 80s or 90s, chances are you visited the Giant’s Footprint and the Witch’s House in Oak Park (often referred to as North Riverside Park). While the Witch’s House no longer exists, you can still find the lily pond located in the Disc Golf course which looks like a foot print left behind by a giant! This park is also a designated Wichita Wild Habitat with great wooded hiking trails the kids will love exploring! This is one of the fun hidden gems scattered throughout the city.