Categories
Exploring Our Hometown

Exploring Our City – Reno County Museum

Reno County Museum

We recently decided to visit our local Reno County Museum here in Hutchinson. It was completely on a whim, and I feel that those kinds of outings are usually the most gratifying. It must have something to do with having low expectations and being pleasantly surprised. The boys really immersed themselves in the experience, which is always wonderful to witness. This little outing ended up a perfect homeschooling field trip, and we will definitely be back.

Location

Reno County Museum is located in downtown Hutchinson. It is a free museum, though they do ask for a small donation. It is just steps away from restaurants like R-B Drive In and Anchor Inn, and a short stroll away from Main St. which is lined with quaint boutiques, book stores, and cafes among other things. 

We have been deliberately taking time as a family to explore the multitude of city parks here in Hutch. We had a picnic and played for a while at George Pyle Park Playground which just so happens to be located right next door to the Reno County Museum. Cow Creek runs through the park making it a relaxing spot right in the middle of town. Our wild boys ate lunch and blew off some steam before heading in the museum doors. 

Learning about their new home town

The museum is a great size for those bringing kids along. It is fairly small, but this is Reno County after all, so that is to be expected. The boys learned a bit of history specifically about our new little town, Hutch, and saw many beautiful historic photos of places and people all around the Reno County area. The old aerial photographs of this part of the country have an almost dreamy quality to them. There was even memorabilia from our neighborhood in Hutchinson, which is now known as the unincorporated town of Medora. 

Some Reno County Museum Exhibits

They have a transportation gallery which was quite a hit exhibiting some cool historic vehicles and wagons. There is quite a bit of sports memorabilia that we enjoyed. I personally loved the bookshelves full of old Hutchinson City Directories and yearbooks. Some of the artwork out on display was praise worthy as well.

Oodleplex Exhibit

The highlight of Reno County Museum for our kiddos was Oodleplex, an interactive children’s exhibit. It was such an adorable playroom featuring some historical toys, a telephone booth, a costume shop, and a general store where our kids pretended to sell imitation fruit and other household items. There was a very informative area of Oodlepex dedicated to the Osage tribe, the Native American tribe that occupied the Reno County area before the 1862 Homestead Act which encouraged settlement in this area. 

To top it all off, there were a couple of other children enjoying the Oodleplex exhibit, so the boys managed to make some friends while they played their little hearts out. Our family had such a nice time!

I’d recommend anyone visiting downtown Hutch to check out this charming little museum. It makes for a great educational experience for homeschooling families, even if you’re on a budget. We are really enjoying exploring our new home town together. 

Categories
Exploring Our Hometown

Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita

Our family often ventures out of Hutch to our neighboring city, Wichita, to visit the Sedgwick County Zoo. Occasionally, if data recovery business requires a trip down to Wichita, as it often does, the whole family will tag along for some fun. We make it a point to take advantage of the bigger city. There are more restaurants and attractions than in our small town, so day trips to Wichita are always worth the drive.

Wichita is less than an hour drive from where we live in Hutchinson. One of our favorite attractions to visit is the Sedgwick County Zoo for it’s hours of entertainment. The kids love walking freely through the maze of exotic wildlife. There are beautiful, scenic views with lush green landscapes and gardens. We often compare it to the Los Angeles Zoo and admire it for its abundant shade, variety of exotic and farm animals, and it’s minimal crowds.

Petting Zoo

Our kids love the interactive petting zoo with various breeds of farm animals. They especially enjoy the young goats because of their undeniable cuteness, and would love to add a few to their own backyard full of family chickens. If I’m being honest, backyard goats does have a nice ring to it.

Memorable Moments

Since we are regular attendees of the Zoo in Wichita, we didn’t experience all there is to see during this visit. Frequent trips means that there isn’t such pressure to hurry through all 250 acres. That is no easy feat with three little boys. Regardless, there are always some memorable moments worth documenting.

Funnily enough, one of the kid’s favorite spots in the whole Zoo, crawling with mountain lions and Norwegian Dwarf goats, is the children’s playground. It seems to be where all of the children at the zoo congregate – with all of the screaming and abundant energy that make playgrounds great. Considering that the boys usually scope out every park for the nearest climbing tree, their colorful playground full of laughing, exited children must be very agreeable.

The giraffes and prairie dogs always draw us in for a fair amount of time. Both are easily visible to the onlookers despite their huge difference in size. This trip however, the Grizzly Bear stole the show. We loved watching him strut around the woodland scenery and the boys cried out the the sight of his enormous claws.

Bison And Some Favorites

Some of our favorites at the Sedgwick County Zoo on this particular day where the Bison and their calf, the reptiles, and the wolves. A majestic Bald Eagle gave a peal call at the sight of us, a loud high pitched cry, that fascinated all of us! A note on bison: Kansas has the nation’s fifth-largest bison population, yet most of the bison or buffalo roam private land and state parks. As bison are considered “near threatened,” it was nice to a bison calf in Wichita.

Our usual favorites are the friendly otters, the adorable penguins, and the flamingos. Our youngest boy, Oscar, observed the otters for a considerable amount of time. One would assume by watching the boy and the otter together that they were actually playing. It was a wonderful sight. We also love the orangutan exhibit, and just marvel at the apes but we’ll have to be sure to pay them a visit next time we’re in Wichita.

We love turning family trips, and even family business, into not only an educational experience for the kiddos, but a satisfying scenic walk for the adults, too. The Sedgwick County Zoo right next door in Wichita, KS never disappoints.