We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A step back in time that's entertaining for all.”
Review of Old Cowtown Museum

Old Cowtown Museum
Ranked #5 of 75 things to do in Wichita
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Be transported back in time at this unique, 23 acre open-air history museum that recreates Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas from 1865 to 1880. Museum staff dress in period costume and demonstrate everyday activities including, gardening, tending livestock and cooking. Historic Wichita Cowtown Inc. works with the City of Wichita to further the Museum and its mission. Established in 1952, Cowtown's unique programming chronicles Wichita's transformation from a frontier settlement to a cattle town to an agricultural and manufacturing area. The Museum has the distinction of being accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition achievable by a museum. Accreditation recognizes high standards in individual museums and ensures they continue to uphold public trust. Only 3 percent of the nation's estimated 34,144 museums are accredited.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
94 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“A step back in time that's entertaining for all.”
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Ride a covered wagon back into history and experience life in the 1800's. We enjoyed walking through the various buildings from schoolhouse to jailhouse to farmhouse and more. It's a living museum and visitors are invited to participate in the day's activities. We loved it!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank takemewithu28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

290 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great for Kids and Big Kids, Too!”
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We visited in late September, the weather was great. We enjoy visiting 'historical town museums' as we travel through different states. Although it was after Labor Day, the docents dressed in character were everywhere, and they answered many questions. This was a much bigger site than we imagined, about 60 buildings, laid out as a small town of the late 1800's, with a 'farm' at the rear of the site. The docent cooking in the farm home had copies of recipes available for visitors at no charge, and she was great help answering questions about specific varieties of veggies used in the recipes. (Note: all of the recipes had been cooked there, with veggies grown there, and most all by this docent. We really enjoyed how she freely shared tips on the recipes with us. Thank you.) We were happy to be able to see a 'gun-fight' scenario while there, but without spoiling it for you ... it was 'different' than we had anticipated. There are cold drinks and hot dogs available for purchase in the Saloon, which was great because we needed a tea and soda after walking for about 1 1/2 hours. There is also a free Wagon ride which children will enjoy, adults too. Nearly all the buildings were original, moved to the site, most are open to go inside, and furnished with period correct pieces. Public restrooms are available as well, and though children enjoyed 'pumping water' on the main street - there are signs do NOT drink the water at the pump. We took many photos, and spent a leisurely 3 1/2 hours total there before heading home. Be sure to stop and watch the video in the Orientation Building as you enter the 'town' and there is also background info about the original location for many of the buildings you will see. There are 'games' for children typical of the period near the school house. We saw several children ages 5-15 enjoying trying their luck with the games 'of the period.' A very enjoyable, yet educational day, and we will probably come again on a future trip through Kansas. We used mapquest to find driving directions for the attraction, and still had to stop to ask someone for directions in a parking area, this was after we turned off the city street leading to what turned out to be several different destinations all located within the 'river museum' area. FYI - there are several intersections within the 'river museum' area in which this is located. Best suggestion, keep going straight after you leave the city street until you see the Old Cow Town Museum sign on the left. (MapQuest was showing turning almost a U-turn half-way, which turned out not to be correct.) There's also a wonderful bronze sculpture of Cowboys on Horseback near the main admission building as you enter from the parking area. Go early, because there appears to be limited parking. The day we arrived, was a 'city employee appreciation day' at the museum, so the museum's parking lot was completely full. Luckily, it was a Sunday afternoon, so we finally found a space in a next-door business' parking lot, but if you go during the week, and in-season, parking probably isn't sufficient.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank MuchMore2C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
35 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A little of the old west ~1870's”
Reviewed September 26, 2013

Though the staff was small after Labor Day, they were very friendly, explained how things really were (including how the scales and grain elevator worked - thanks!) and gave us a glimpse of ~150 years ago...

Visited September 2013
Thank DesignMaker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Missouri
Level Contributor
56 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“You're Missing Out if You Miss This”
Reviewed September 18, 2013

This was the highlight of my Wichita days. Everything here is straight out of the frontier, and not a replica. These are actual buildings and actual artifacts. There are so many interesting things to do, see, and touch, I could spend quite a few hours here. It has certainly gone down in the entrance fee, I think that's because there aren't as many staff to pay to dress up.

This is one of the best living museums in the country. They have something for every age. It truly represents what it was like to live in a city, from the church to the school to homes from all economic walks of life. What's best is that this isn't a stuffy old museum, you can walk into the homes and touch some of the furnishings.

Went more than once, that's how great it was!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Jane M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rhode Island
Level Contributor
39 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“A cheap way to have a good day!”
Reviewed September 7, 2013

We only had a day to explore Wichita, but we are glad we stopped here. Admission was a little over $5 per person with our AAA card. I have been to a few living museums and this is one that I would visit again. Good information, nice people, great buildings. All and all, a great experience. It would have been nice to see a but more historical actors, but it was 101 degrees outside so I can understand why there were only a few.

Visited September 2013
Thank dmh26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Old Cowtown Museum also viewed


Been to Old Cowtown Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing