Five Free Things to do in Salina, Kansas


Visiting Salina soon? Whether you want to learn more about local history, enjoy beautiful artwork, or cool off in the water, there is plenty of free entertainment in Salina for the budget-conscious visitor. Here are five free activities to check out:

Smoky Hill Museum

Visitors to the Smoky Hill Museum travel through time, experiencing the history of the Salina area. The exhibits feature interesting points about Salina's history, showcasing important local historical figures and details about the social and economic development of the area. The patient staff and a number of hands-on exhibits make this a great place to visit with kids. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Yesteryear Museum

Agriculture is a huge part of the local economy in this region, and the Yesteryear Museum aims to preserve important pieces of farming history. Visitors gain a unique historical perspective of the agricultural and social history of the area through a variety of antique machinery and household items, life-sized dioramas, and historical buildings that have been moved onto the property. Educational, interactive events are held here throughout the year. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Salina Art Center

The Salina Art Center hosts rotating exhibits of visual art, ranging from local talent to internationally recognized artisans. Committed to encouraging a love of art in everyone, the center hosts a variety of events from youth art classes to adult lectures. The ARTery is an interactive children's area inside the center, where kids are welcome to play and create art. Open Wednesday through Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Spray Parks

The city's Parks and Recreation department operates three spray parks located at the Jerry Ivey, Hawthorne, and Centennial parks. Each spray pad features above ground water features that dump water or spray park goers. Large drains ensure there is no standing water, making them a great water park experience for swimmers and non-swimmers alike. Spray parks are free and operate throughout the summer during daylight hours.

Lakewood Discovery Center

Lakewood Discovery Center is a unique nature and wildlife education center located at Lakewood Park, a 99 acre park inside Salina's city limits. Visitors are led through a series of rooms featuring a wide variety of exhibits. There are live animals and hands-on nature education displays. The center also hosts various events seasonally, including family fishing nights, outdoor adventure day camps, and canoeing nights. The center is a great place to visit throughout the year, and depending on weather visitors can enjoy the lake, playground, hiking trails, and nature observation stations outdoors. The Discovery Center is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Lakewood Park is open during daylight hours year round.

Amanda Ring is a freelance writer who has lived in northern Kansas for almost 10 years. She and her husband love taking daytrips with their kids to quirky local attractions.