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Holiday Magic in "Wichita's Wonderland"

By Susen Foster

Wichita has me under its spell once again. The city's scenic splendor, cultural diversity, historic landmarks, unique attractions and entertainment venues, plus the miles of shopping choices, are only superseded by its endless culinary choices.

And no one celebrates the holidays like Wichita. Festive lights, singing cowboys, bulging shopping bags and Russian ballet dancers are a sampling of what goes on during December in Kansas' largest city.

Are you a history buff? Located on the banks of the Arkansas River, Old Cowtown Museum sets the holiday scene by sharing a real life view of how the season was celebrated in Wichita and Sedgwick County during the late 1880s. The much loved Diamond W Wranglers perform their popular Christmas show here through December 23.

Maybe you are a gardener or a romantic? A glorious gem in this city's crown of attractions is Botanica--The Wichita Gardens. Amidst acres of varietal gardens, ponds, greenhouses and groves, Botanica celebrates nature beautifully. Their annual holiday gift to us all is "Illuminations--a Sparkling Wonderland of Light" with thousands of brilliant luminarias and shimmering holiday lights setting the garden paths aglow while seasonal music fills the air.

Rather stay in the car? Get in a joyous mood by taking the family on a drive through the sensational Lights on St. Paul and the Lights on the Lake at Heartspring.

Got a yen for some homemade music? How about a Christmas concert with Michael Martin Murphy at the Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper on December 7?

Is ballet your thing? Be sure to get tickets for the classic holiday performance of "The Great Russian Nutcracker" at the Orpheum Theatre on December 8. A must see for aficionados and aspiring dancers.

Want more music? The Mannheim Steamroller 2008 Christmas Tour is for those who prefer a little more modern sound to their holiday music.

Or is it all about the shopping? You can never run out of places to search for special treasures. From unique boutiques to major retail stores, regional hot spots such as Towne East Square, Towne West Square, and NewMarket Square are the places to be and top off an exhausting excursion with a Carriage Ride at Bradley Fair.

Maybe you like to take the road less traveled? Go off the beaten path and visit the eclectic shops of Clifton Square and Lincoln Heights Village in the College Hill area. Or check out Wichita's Old Town red-brick warehouse district another great place to shop, dine or take a break from the holiday hustle. This district, home to dozens of restaurants, was recently honored as one of the "Top 10 Neighborhoods for 2008" by the American Planning Association.

So there you have it. Wichita...where the season is the perfect reason to gather with family and friends for a day, or overnight, enjoying the sights and sounds of December and making memories that last forever.

For more information VisitWichita.com or call the Greater Wichita Convention & Visitor Bureau at 800/288-9424.

12/1/08
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Date: 11/24/08


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