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Venturing Out? Here’s What’s Open (And What’s Not) In Wichita

Fernando Salazar
Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Updated May 22

After six weeks under a statewide stay-at-home order, the Wichita area is now in the process of reopening.

It won’t all happen at once, and it won’t all happen the same way. Phase 1 of Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan to reopen the state took effect May 4, and more places will reopen as a new Phase 2 (or Phase 1.75) kicks in on Friday. 

Here's a look at how and when different sectors plan to reopen in the coming weeks, if they haven’t already. (Wherever you go, health officials are asking you to please continue to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask to protect those around you):

Restaurants and non-essential businesses

These were included in the first phase of Kelly’s reopening plan. Restaurants, malls and other retail stores closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic can reopen if they maintain proper social distancing and health safety procedures.

While many restaurants have chosen to stick to carry-out and delivery, others are opening their dining rooms at about half-capacity.

As of Monday, May 18, nail and hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors and tanning salons are allowed to open for scheduled appointments. And, as of May 22, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades can open. 

Museums, art galleries and attractions

The Wichita Art Museumwill open to members on June 16, and the general public on June 23. The museum will require facial coverings and will limit occupancy in certain galleries.

“The museum-going experience will be different,” WAM director Patricia McDonnell says in a statement posted to the museum’s website.

The Kansas African American Museum says it will reopen to the public on June 2. For now, it offers virtual museum tours online, as does the art museum.

Mark Arts in east Wichita says it will reopen to the public on June 1, with certain health measures in place

City-run museums and attractions will reopen in the coming weeks:

  • CityArts on June 1
  • Old Cowtown on June 2
  • Century II on June 15
  • Mid-America All-Indian Center on June 16

The Sedgwick County Zoo reopened to the public on May 21, with certain restrictions and a daily capacity of 1,000 guests. All visitors must reserve tickets in advance. 

Sedgwick County’s Exploration Place is also closed with no reopening date. The Cosmosphere in Hutchinson says it will open June 1, with some limitations and new sanitation measures. 

City and county buildings

While city functions are still ongoing, city buildings are still closed to the public, including City Hall, and municipal court is “suspended indefinitely.” Parts of City Hall are expected to reopen to the public on May 26.

Police and fire stations are open, as is the Brooks Landfill.

The Sedgwick County Courthouse, Sheriff’s Office, EMS stations and fire stations are currently open. All Kansas district and appellate courts are limited to emergency operations only. 

Parks, playgrounds and pools

There’s never been a better time to get outside and get a change of scenery, and for the most part, you’re free to roam: Sedgwick County Park, Pawnee Prairie Park and the trails around the Great Plains Nature Center are open, as are city parks around Wichita.

Park facilities — including playgrounds and restrooms — reopen on June 1, as do dog parks. 

All four city golf courses will be open May 23.

The Wichita Park and Recreation Department is still determining when — and if — it will open pools and splash pads for the summer season. Director Troy Houtman told the park board this week that if the city opens aquatics centers, it likely wouldn’t be until late June, depending on the number of cases at the time.


After closing in mid-March, Wichita public libraries (except Linwood) will reopen with limited services on May 26. They're also offering curbside service. Linwood Branch Library will open on June 1.

YMCA and other gyms

The Greater Wichita YMCA’s 10 locations are open, but group classes are still prohibited under the governor's orders. Pools, gyms and locker rooms will remain closed.

Privately owned gyms are allowed to open.

Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.