A Wintry Wichita Weekend by Terry Zinn

Even in the depths of winter, Wichita, Kansas, is an inviting destination. My wintry escape included a traveling Broadway show, museums, dining, a Cowtown Christmas and quality comfort in an expansive historic Hotel. Over the decades, I have seen several theatrical events at Century II, Wichita’s modern convention and entertainment venue, and it was my starting point in planning my weekend get-a-way. Having never seen the show and needing a humorous musical entertainment, I booked a ticket to see the traveling, “Young Frankenstein.” It was performed admirably, and despite the inevitable comparison to the movie, it held up rather well as an evening’s respite from reality.
The convenience of my hotel stay at the Drury Broadview Hotel, across the street, added to my pleasure as did the perfect meal at its adjoining restaurant AVI. My filet was prepared to my directions as was the three blue cheese olive Stoli Martini, which got the evening off to a fine start. Completing the meal it was hard to choose from the dessert offerings of: Carrot Cake with German Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate and Orange Vanilla Cream Brule, Apricot Almond Goat Cheese-cheesecake, or a Chocolate covered Cranberry Chipolte bread pudding with Mixed Berry ice cream. But I did.

Besides the complete renovation of the Drury’s interior, the free extras of Internet, a hot buffet breakfast, the offerings of 3 free cocktails at their evening breakaway ~ complete with heavy additional treats that might include hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and nachos ~ made the reasonably priced stay even more of a pleasure. Of course the pool, exercise room and hot tub along with covered parking let you know you were an appreciated guest.
The highlight of my weekend’s theatrical entertainment was the surprise virtuosity of the Diamond W Wrangler singers at the Empire House Christmas Dinner at the living history Old Cowtown Museum. Their close harmonies ~ reminiscent to the “Sons of the Pioneers”~ along with tongue in cheek humor and a sufficient western style meal made the evening worth the effort to venture out in the cold. I was there during a Santa Claus visit, with his lap a venue for good little girls and boys, along with singing in the western church ~ complimented by guitars and dulcimers courtesy of the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance and Acoustic Treasures ~ and wandering in the moonlight over boardwalks past wooden storefronts and Victorian styled houses lit by kerosene lamps, set the stage for a congenial wintry outing.
Wichita has a number of exceptional museums and galleries, including the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum with its authentic recreation of an 1890 Wichita Cottage; the work in progress Kansas Aviation Museum with its collection of everything aviation; the Museum of World Treasures with everything from pre historic dinosaurs to Hollywood movie memorabilia, and the Wichita Art Museum where I saw the traveling exhibit of “Supremes” gowns. While the gowns have traveled on, check out their web site for current exhibits.
A visit to Hat Man Jacks, in the historic Delano district, will custom fit your head to the appropriate covering for comfort, utility, and most expertly for an appealing appearance. Jack is the couture of men’s hats. He also has an extensive knowledge of early Wichita, and his stories are not only educational on frontier Chisholm Trail times, but entertaining. Ask him to tell you about the Amazon Run, in the bawdy days of Delano, when it was a rough and tumble cowboy respite at the end of the Chisholm Trail.
And there is more to share of Wichita, yet space doesn’t allow, so please explore :

http://www.gowichita.com and asking for their visitor guide.
Drury Plaza Broadview – https://druryhotels.com/content/broadview.aspx
Wichita Historical Museum – http://www.wichitahistory.org
Diamond W Wrangler singers – http://www.diamondWwranglers.com
Wichita Art Museum – http://wichitaartmuseum.org/
Hat Man Jacks – http://www.360wichita.com/ClothingApparel/HatmanJacks.html
Kansas Aviation Museum – http://www.kansasaviationmuseum.org/
AVI – http://www.360wichita.com/Restaurants/Steakhouses/AVI.html
Century II – http://www.century2.org/
Museum of World Treasures – http://www.worldtreasures.org