Explore with Kids: Great Plains Nature Center

Sponsored by Wichita Park & Recreation.

Great Plains Nature Center is a wonderful place to take your kiddo to investigate, understand and develop an appreciation for wildlife and the environment! A combination of the indoor facility and outdoor Wichita Wild Habitat Area there is so much to explore and fascinate your child.

6232 E. 29th Street N.

Indoors: 9am-5pm, Monday-Saturday
Outdoors: Dawn to dusk

Free to enter Great Plains Nature Center and Chisholm Creek Park.
Owl’s Nest Gift Shop is a great spot to shop!

Things To Do at GPNC

Become An Agent (mobile app)

Agents of Discovery app sponsored by Wildife and Parks, national app that guides you through a park, become an agent, solve a mission, and get a prize! Agents of Discovery is an augmented reality mobile game to play and discover the world around you. You are a secret agent with an animal guide to help you solve challenges in a mission. As you explore Great Plains Nature Center, you’ll discover the hidden challenges based on your location. Discover Kansas nature in a new way!

When you arrive at the nature center, look for the Agents of Discovery sign by the GPNC parking lot to get started. Download the Agents of Discovery mobile app in Apple or Play Stores before arriving.

Explore Inside Koch Habitat Hall 

Combined with the facility’s indoor Koch Habitat Hall and Coleman Auditorium, the Great Plains Nature Center provides an expansive experience of opportunities for the public to explore and appreciate the Great Plains ecosystem. Inside you’ll find a 2,200-gallon fish tank that is home to a native Kansas fish!

Feed Turtles

Stop inside to pick up an ice cream cone full of turtle food, then head over to turtle bridge off Quail Trail to feed the turtles! Feed them with free food donated by Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center.

Display HoneyBee Colony

Bees in the observatory, wetland observatory-hive of honeybees, state insect, hive that you can lift up flaps and see them bringing in pollen and nectar from outside.

When you find yourself in the Bob Grass Wildlife Observatory, you’ll be able to see hundreds of honeybees busy in the hive. Peek inside the curtain to experience the inner happenings of the Kansas state insect’s home and maybe even see the queen bee herself! You can also view the worker bees who come and go as they please, from a tunnel in the wall. Often, they will return back to the hive with nectar and are covered in pollen!

Native Garden

Located at the entrance of Great Plains Nature Center is an island full of native flowers. 

Managed by the Wandering Wildflowers Club, this colorful pollinator garden will provide food and shelter for thousands of pollinators throughout the year. The large patch of Milkweed gives crucial habitat for Monarch butterflies to lay their eggs and feed caterpillars. This destination gives Lepidoptera-lovers a place to watch this whimsical species depart to Mexico in the masses around late September! It isn’t uncommon to see Tiger Swallowtails, Bumblebees, and other Kansas pollinators buzzing around the flora as well!  

The Wandering Wildflower Club maintains the pollinator garden, teaches the public about the importance of native plants, and hosts wildflower walks on the last Thursdays of every month!  

 Many visitors think it’s the perfect back drop for a photo op of the families visit!

Trails and Sites

Stroll along the 2.5 miles of paved walking trails that cross native and restored prairies, wetlands, ponds, and woodlands. Click below to view a map of the walking trails.

Park Trails Map

Tunnel of Trees

A local favorite is the Tunnel of Trees on the Cottonwood Trail. A compilation of Osage orange trees and honeysuckle intertwined, create a tunnel of trees that lead you down to a creek to go exploring. The location of the Tunnel of Trees is available on Google maps.

Weekly Programs at GNPC:

Naturally Crafty 

Every Tuesday from 10am-12pm, nourish your creative side and pick up a new nature craft at Great Plains Nature Center! In the GPNC lobby, you can pick up a take-home craft ready to go for your kiddo! Mostly for elementary and younger, but all welcome. No registration is required.

Critter Tales 

Every Wednesday at 10am, gather round for a fun-filled story full of colorful adventures as our volunteers share their favorite Critter Tales. This weekly program is designed for our littlest learners with age-appropriate storybooks highlighting the wonders of nature. Arrive in the Koch Habitat Hall at 10am.

Intended for infants to age six. No registration is required. 

Explore More Wichita Parks with Kids!

OJ Watson ParkRiverside Park

Wichita Park & Recreation, Wichita Cultural Arts and the Wichita Public Library have combined their offerings into one simple guide designed to make it easy to discover all the City has to offer! Ready to learn a new skill, try a new fitness class or explore your creative side? We’ve go you covered. You’ll  find hundreds of classes, workshops, events and activities for all ages.

Wichita Mom
Wichita Mom is the #1 parenting website and your local family guide to the best of Wichita! Providing relevant information and all things Wichita, we love to share about our favorite activities, local businesses, things to do, family fun, and helpful resources unique to Wichita Area parents and families.


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