Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Vacation: The Keeper of the Plains

Can I just say that I'm already so tired of this heat.  Of the 6 days I had off for my staycation, all 6 of them were in the triple digits.  For those of you who may not know, I can't stand the heat.  It makes me tired and cranky.  So unless I'm out at the lake, which I don't have tons of time for, you will not normally find me outside during the summer.  So for this year, that meant no zoo and no Coronado Heights.  This heat really made me change my plans.  The one place I did manage to get to, was The Keeper of the Plains.  I only live about 3 1/2 blocks from here so you would think I would get over there more often.  My original plan was to actually walk down the river from here and come back up the other side, but it was just too hot.  I was also going to go back that night around 9:00 pm when the fire feature is turned on, once again it was too hot.

This is the view from my car (the pictures look better if you click on them)

Since I'm sure you guys have never been to Wichita, KS, and if you have passed through, I doubt you stopped to take in The Keeper of the Plains.  The Keeper sits at the junction of the Little Arkansas River and the Arkansas River. The ground in between the two rivers was considered sacred to the local tribes, and it's where the All American Indian Center sits as well.  The sculpture was designed and built by a local artist, Blackbear Bosin, and was installed in 1974.  A few years ago, they renovated the area completely.  They updated the parking lots, raised The Keeper onto a pedestal, built suspension bridges linking both sides to The Keeper and designed a wonderful exhibit area around him.


All four of these are taken before I crossed the bridge
Once you cross the bridge, from either side of the river, it opens up into, what I guess could be called an educational plaza.  I'm not sure I took pictures of everything, but I did manage to get a few of the displays.  Most of them highlight which tribes lived in the area, tribal customs, migration, and certain historical dates that affected the local tribes.  Behind the two main walls is the backyard of the Indian Center, which you have to approach from the other side.  The Keeper of the Plains area is not supposed to give an encompassing view and history of the local tribes, it's more of an accent to the Indian Center and museum.

Click on pictures to read

Once you are past the plaza, there are two different walkways, one on each side, that will take you in front of The Keeper. For some odd reason I didn't take too many pictures of this area.  I took a few of the walkways and a few of The Keeper from right underneath him, but I didn't take any of the view down the river.  One of these days, when it's not too hot outside, I'll go for a walk and take a few more pictures to show you the area.  Right down from here is Exploration Place, which is a children's science museum.  There is also a war memorial park on the other side of the river.  They have done a wonderful job of redoing the walkways and parks all down the river.  There are some lovely sculpture areas.  By that's getting off track.

At this point in time I was still planning on walking down the river, so I actually crossed the bridge and took one picture of The Keeper.  That's were I turned around though, I think just in the time I was out there, the temperature went up by five degrees.

You can't be by the river and not see tons of birds.  I took quite a few pictures but only a few of them allowed me to see what it was I was taking a picture of.

I know this is a crane, but not sure what kind


Some sort of goose, but I couldn't tell what was on the ground until I got closer

Baby geese

I want to say this is some sort of heron, but really don't know

More ducks
Canadian Geese

So there you are, pictures from the only real time I spent outside in this disgusting heat.  I really need to move someplace that has milder summers.  I'm thinking Greenland, maybe Nova Scotia.


bermudaonion said...

What a lovely place to visit. Too bad it was like an oven outside. We're sweltering in the heat too. I like it hot, but this is too hot for me.

Yvette said...

I'm with you, Ryan, when it comes to heat. I usually spend most of the summer indoors with the air conditioner going full blast. I always say I'm the most cold blooded Puerto Rican that ever lived. I simply dislike hot weather intensely. The older I get, the more it wears me out.

(Rocky's no so crazy about it either.)

Thanks for the post on this heretofore unknown (to me) exhibit.
Very interesting too that it's only a few blocks from your house. I especially like the idea of duckies and geese and cranes and whatnot, just nearby. Very pleasant looking.
I think I read somehwere that Wichita has more water features, fountains and such than just about any other city - or maybe it was Kansas more than any other state - can't remember. But it sounds nice.

Ryan, do you know Lauren's blog, THE PAST ON A PLATE? She lives in Wichita too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, no! What sucky vacation weather. I didn't know Wichita got that hot. The shade in some of your pictures looks very inviting. This Keeper of the Plains looks tremendous though - all we have here are some tired, ancient exhibits about the Miwok.

Lisa said...

What a fantastic job Wichita has done of taking advantage of the river! Omaha is finally starting to acknowledge that people might want to spend time along the river - it only took a hundred and fifty years! I'm starting to feel like we're going to spend the rest of the summer with the weather too hot to stand and then we'll go straight into blizzards!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Great pictures Ryan, so sorry the weather was too hot!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

That looks like a great place to visit. The statue is wonderful! I know...this hot weather is such a bummer. I'm not a fan of summer anyway and now that it gets this hot, I really have no desire to venture out in it. It was 110 on Saturday. Yuck!

Staci said...

The heat has been terrible!!! I'm so sorry that you've had triple digits on your days off. It surely doesn't allow for much outdoor activities!! What you did show us looks amazing and I would love to see it one day in person!!

Simcha said...

I agree with you about the heat. It's crazy hot here and when I go to pick up my son from camp it feels like my skin is burned right off of me. I have no idea why I thought moving to the desert was a good idea.

Teddyree said...

Wow I had no idea it got so crazy hot, I love summer but only when I can spend it cooling down in water somewhere. Thanks for sharing all the photos, looks like a place I'd enjoy visiting, just not in summer lol