Family Day Trip :: Salina

If you’re looking to get away from Wichita for a brief moment, maybe all you need is a quick & easy trip. Salina is just one hour north of Wichita on I-135, and is cram packed with activities to keep your family entertained all day long! Below is a list of the favorite attractions, restaurants, and events that you can add to your own itinerary for a day trip to Salina. 


Rolling Hills Zoo. Photo: Megan Miller

Rolling Hills Zoo & Museum50% off admission with SCZ membership + ID – Two excursions available: the zoo and/or the museum (separate entry fees apply). Tram rides, giraffe feedings, & zoo keeper talks available at the zoo. Animatronic robots narrate your stroll from the arctic to the rainforest in the large, air-conditioned museum. 

Smoky Hill Museumfree (donations welcome) – The museum recently built a permanent exhibit called “The Curiosity Shop,” including a hands-on toddler section, as well as four themed spaces for youth (ages 3-14): World of Radio, Town Building, The Dirty 30’s, & Kansas Weather. 

Lakewood Discovery Centerfree during business hours – Within the center itself, they host many of the wildlife creatures from around the area for children to explore up close: snakes, owls, turtles, and fish. 

Kenwood Cove. Photo: Janie Guest

Kenwood Cove Aquatic Parkfree (ages 0-2) or $3.50-5.50 – The area’s largest water park with thrill rides, slides, wave pools, a large toddler pool, and lazy river. 

Salina Community Theatre prices vary per event – A national, award-winning regional theatre for stage productions, performed and directed by local talent. Check website for current & upcoming productions. 

The Stiefel Theatreprices vary per event – From local talent to a large variety of well-known famous artists, you don’t want to miss visiting this intimate little stage theatre, recently renovated from a once classic Fox Film theatre. Visit their website for upcoming events and performers. 

Downtown Sculpture Tour. Photo: Kristen Blake

On the Potprices vary per project – A local favorite, where both kids and adults can be creative with many options for both pottery painting and glass fusing. 

Sculpture Tour & Downtown Salina – free – Visit downtown Salina for an exciting exhibit of 20+ outdoor sculptures on display. Each tour lasts one year, and attendees (YOU!) can place votes for favorites that are awarded to the artists. While strolling along, be sure to check out the many local shops along Santa Fe. 

Salina 67401 Mural – free – Designed & hand painted by local artists Julie & Robin Cates (owners of On the Pot), this brightly painted mural is perfect for a family selfie! It’s located outdoors on the brick wall just north of Ad Astra Bookstore. 


Oakdale Park Musical Garden. Photo: Erin Hughes

Oakdale Park – Multiple play grounds, rose garden, picnic areas, and a musical garden for kids to play. Free band concerts on the main stage every Tuesday evening during summer. 

Jerry Ivey Park – Playground for young kiddos, spray park, small walking trail around a pond, & a nearby gazebo. 

Lakewood Park/Trails –
Surrounding a lake, this is a nature center with winding trails through trees & prairie. Plenty of picnic tables throughout.

Indian Rock Park/Trail – Visit this 1.2 mile hiking trail loop for a great view of Salina. 



Moka’s Coffee

Ad Astra Coffeehouse

9th Street Diner 


Hickory Hut BBQ – Don’t leave without trying the baked beans! 

Cozy Inn Burgers

Bogey’s Burgers & Shakes


Martinelli’s Little Italy

Blue Skye Brewery & Eats

Scheme Pizza & Bar


River Fest Children’s Tent. Photo: Erin Hughes

Smoky Hill River Festival purchase buttons for entry – A local festival held every summer (2nd week in June). Plenty of arts, music, food, and fun for the entire family, esp kids! Bring a stroller, cooler, quilt, and chairs to relax and enjoy the day! 

Leadsled Spectacularboth free & $$ events – A popular car show of hotrods & drag machines, this popular event invades the city of Salina every July. It’s a must-attend event for all…car lovers or not! Events include Show & Shine, vintage market place, sundown cruise (parade), & drag races. Our favorite as a family is to go to multiple hotels in the evenings (with strollers) to walk and chat with attendees! 

Run for the Wall. Photo: Erin Hughes

Run For the Wallfree – A national event where veterans ride motorcycles from the west coast, to the east coast each Memorial Day. Starting with a group in California, they travel along interstate I-70 for two weeks, picking up hundreds of veterans as they ride, with the final destination being Washington DC. On the Sunday prior to Memorial Day weekend, this large group of veterans rides through Salina mid-afternoon. Anyone who chooses to attend can stand along interstate overpasses to salute veterans as they pass through. Flags are provided. It’s most definitely something that everyone should experience once in their life time. The patriotism is incredible, and I am so happy that our family has grown up doing this each year! 

Erin Hughes
Born & raised on a cattle farm just west of Salina, Erin has grown to love the city life that Wichita has to offer. She & her husband, Nathan, are raising their family on the east side: Blakely (Dec 2013), Rowen (Apr 2015), & Lincoln (Jun 2017). Erin formerly taught elementary for 6 years. When the chaos of 2 under 2 happened so quickly (oops!), she decided to leave teaching for now, and work-from-home as the premier photographer of Erin Kata Photography. When the calendar allows breaks from the multitude of children's activities, photo sessions, editing & teaching workshops, you will more than likely find Erin & the fam somewhere outdoors: dancing in the rain, playing in sunshine, and even tromping through the snow!