Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Derby, KS

  • Published 2023/02/08

If you are looking to explore underrated places in Kansas, make sure to consider Derby.

Derby is a city located in Kansas’ Sedgwick County.

With a population of just over 25,000, it is the largest suburb of Wichita and has much to offer in terms of historical sites and recreational options.

A vacation here will make you forget the busy metropolitan life for a bit and enjoy a slow-paced, relaxing time.

To fully maximize your Derby getaway, here are the 20 best things to do in Derby, Kansas:

Enjoy the Recreational Facilities at High Park

High Park is the biggest park in all of Derby and is one of the hottest spots for fun and amusement in the city.

Situated on Derby’s east side, High Park has everything you need to keep you and your loved ones entertained with a bevy of facilities catering to various interests.

For outdoorsy people, the park has over two miles of paved paths perfect for hiking and biking, as well as facilities for a number of sports such as soccer, sand volleyball, and baseball.

Its massive fishing pond is its central attraction and a popular place to relax while trying to catch a fish or two.
For the kids, there are two playgrounds onsite where they can play to their heart’s content.

After an exhilarating day of activities, you can relax and enjoy a picnic lunch with your companions in any of the picnic areas surrounding the park.

Spend a Day among the Dinosaurs at Field Station: Dinosaurs

Do you feel like time-traveling in Derby, all the way back to the Jurassic period?
Field Station: Dinosaurs is a fun attraction in Derby that should be a hit among both kids and kids-at-heart.

Situated along North Rock Road, Field Station: Dinosaurs is, as its name suggests, a dinosaur-themed outdoor theme park offering an adventurous and educational time for everyone of all ages.

The park has over 40 life-sized, realistic, and moving dinosaurs to make you feel like living in the prehistoric period.

As you walk along the trail at the park, you’ll encounter each of these animatronic dinosaurs and discover the various species from the different eras.

You’ll also enjoy live shows and various attractions such as the Paleo Playground, Observation Tower, Raptor Maze, and the Jurassic Zoo Bouncer on your visit.

In addition, you can tee off at the 18-hole miniature golf course that’s located onsite.

Learn about Kansas History at Derby Historical Museum

Derby is rich in history.

For the delight of its visitors, Derby Historical Museum has made it its mission to preserve and curate the city’s glorious past through its numerous exhibits.

Located along Market Street, the Derby Historical Museum features 16 rooms plus hallway exhibits, all filled with artifacts related to a specific era in Derby’s history.

Some of the notable exhibits include Ancient History, which showcases fossils discovered in Kansas, and Native American History featuring the tools and artifacts of the Wichita tribe, the first settlers in the Derby area.

There’s also the Derby City History exhibit which chronicles the founding of the city, and the McConnell exhibit, which teaches the history of McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

Built in 1923, the building housing the Derby Historical Museum is also a piece of history.

It’s also part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Spend Time with the Community at Madison Avenue Central Park

Since opening in 2016, Madison Avenue Central Park has become the go-to venue for many of Derby’s community events.

This urban park located along Madison Avenue is a sprawling nine-acre property sitting in the center of the city.

Pretty manicured lawns surround the park, which also comes fitted with various functions and recreational facilities for everyone to enjoy.

Children will have tons of fun at the playground and splash pad, while adults will enjoy relaxing in the open areas or having an adventure at the hike and bike path.

There’s also an amphitheater and two meeting venues— the Venue and the Pavilion—for those who will hold gatherings at the park.

With all the picnic areas around, it’s the perfect place to enjoy your packed lunch with your companions while enjoying the nature views.

Madison Avenue Central Park is also the site for popular events held in Derby, such as the weekend Farmer’s Market and the annual Spring Into Art event.

Go Bowling with Pals at Derby Bowl

If you enjoy bowling, you’ll be happy to know that Derby also has its own bowling lane, so you can still enjoy the game while on vacation.

You can find Derby Bowl on the south end of Derby.

Fitted with 24 lanes, the facility not only offers recreational bowling but is also open for professional leagues.

They also host themed bowling events such as Cosmic Bowling if you want to experience blacklight bowling.

Likewise, they have a bowling shop if you want to purchase their bowling equipment.

If you feel hungry after your round of bowling, you don’t have to go far because Kegler’s Sports Bar & Grill inside Derby Bowl has everything from snacks to full meals to satisfy your hunger.

Fly at Air Capital Drop Zone

On your trip to Derby, expose yourself to a variety of experiences, even ones that may be out of your comfort zone, like skydiving at Air Capital Drop Zone.

If you’re game for skydiving, Air Capital Drop Zone offers both beginner and professional skydiving experiences.

Located at Cook Air Field along 143rd Street in East Derby, Air Capital Drop Zone has catered to enthusiasts since 2000, with a team of professional skydivers who hold USPA instructional ratings.

First-time jumpers can choose between tandem or instructor-assisted deployment for their first jump.

Regardless of which one you choose, though, you’re sure to have a thrilling and exhilarating once-in-a-lifetime experience with Air Capital Drop Zone.

Have a Splash at Warren Riverview Park

Derby may have plenty of parks, but what sets Warren Riverview Park apart from others is its prime location on the banks of the Arkansas River.

Located along Derby’s Market Street, Warren Riverview Park is a four-acre property that opened in 2018.

Its riverfront location gives you direct access to the river, with all of the exciting activities you can enjoy from there, such as kayaking and canoeing.

If you’d like to rough it out, there’s a 15-foot rope course that both kids and adults can enjoy, as well as a camping area.

The park also has venues such as the Lodge and the picnic areas, which guests who are having gatherings can rent.

Sample the Local Produce at Derby Farmers’ Market

One of the best times to visit Derby, Kansas, is from April through October when the Derby Farmers’ Market is open to the public.

The Farmers’ Market, a much-awaited event, takes place annually in the parking lot of Madison Avenue Central Park.

Each year, both citizens and visitors can grab the freshest produce from Derby, from vegetables and fruits to locally-made products such as jams, meats, and baked goods.

Going to the farmers’ market not only gives you the chance to sample the local fare but also experience a sense of community among Derby’s citizens.

Have Some Aquatic Fun at Rock River Rapids

Fun under the sun awaits you at Rock River Rapids, the premier waterpark in south-central Kansas, which you can also find in Derby!

Located on the eastern side of the city, Rock River Rapids comes equipped with several pools, slides, and other exciting attractions that will surely satisfy your thirst for adventure.

For the young ones, playtime at the Zero Depth Pool means enjoying the play structure and the waterwalk while the adults practice their butterfly strokes at the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, also used for swim meets.

There are also six water slides onsite, and the park highlights Lazy River, where you can float on a tube while crossing the 600-feet long river.

Rock River Rapids opens their season annually every Memorial Day and closes before school starts in August, so if you don’t want to miss this experience, we highly recommend timing your visit.

Spend a Day with Your Pet at Decarsky Park

Derby truly has no shortage of parks.

If you visit Decarsky Park, you’re not the only one who will enjoy a peaceful day out–but your dog as well.

Located along Line Drive, Decarsky Park is a must-visit if you’re traveling with your pet.

This dog park comes equipped with an agility course, a pond with a dock, and large, open grassy areas where your furry companion can roam free while you watch from the comfort of the many benches around.

But even if you are not a fur parent, you can still enjoy the lush surroundings of the park and play a softball or baseball game at the massive field.

Tee Off at Hidden Lakes Golf Course

Derby also has something for golf enthusiasts: the Hidden Lakes Golf Course.

Located along Greenwich Road, Hidden Lakes Golf Course is a 6,584-yard course that has served golfers since 1958.

This beautiful course has 18 holes with a wide practice range so you can work comfortably on your swing.

For more experienced golfers, you can join tournaments all year round and test your ability.

Catch a Flick at Derby Plaza Theaters

The city’s own cineplex will delight all movie lovers visiting Derby, letting you catch the latest flicks during your stay.
Derby Plaza Theaters is a family-owned business serving the city of Derby.

The facility features seven cinemas, which screen the latest Hollywood films to your content.

They also offer up their theaters for private screenings, so if you wish to gather some friends and watch a movie together in a whole theater of your own, you can have that arranged.

Their concession stand also offers a good variety of movie-time snacks, from the all-time favorite popcorn and nachos to filling burgers and pretzels, as well as an assortment of drinks.

Discover the Talent of Local Skateboarders at Derby Skate Park

Whether you’re a skateboarder yourself or just fascinated with the sport, Derby’s very own Skate Park is an interesting spot to visit.

Derby Skate Park started out as a way to fill the need of local teens for an area where they can safely and openly practice the sport.

The site for the skate park used to be the former municipal pool of Derby, which closed down in 2004.

In 2006, Derby Skate Park, featuring designs from California Skate Parks, opened to the public.

Located along Market Street, Derby Skate Park features a 9000 square-foot flat deck, complete with ramps, rails, and other features for skateboarding teens to hone their craft.

Enjoy Some Quiet Time at the Derby Public Library

Bookworms can also enjoy Derby, thanks to its well-equipped public library.

If you’re looking to enjoy some quiet time in the company of books, don’t miss out on this library visit.

Located just around the corner from Derby City Hall, the Derby Public Library not only carries an extensive collection of physical books but also tons of e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, and various other learning materials.

The library also hosts community events from story-telling to book clubs if you want to engage with the local patrons.

The current site of the Derby Public Library opened to the public in 2009.

However, the idea of a library for the city of Derby came up in 1957, which became a reality in 1958.

Play Sports at Garrett Park

Garrett Park is one of the best recreational areas in Derby, known for its well-maintained baseball fields.

The baseball fields here are all that you can ask for in a public park, complete with bleachers and good lighting during the night.

Beyond its baseball fields, Garrett Park also has a modern playground along with grassy fields that’s perfect for a quick soccer game with friends or family.

Even if you’re not into these sports, the park is also a popular spot for light jogging.

Garrett Park can be found along East Chet Smith Avenue within the residential neighborhoods of Derby.

Go for a Round of Disc Golf at Stone Creek Disc Golf Park

Another neat city park is Stone Creek Disc Golf Park, situated by North Woodlawn Boulevard.

The disc golf course at this park gets the job done and you wouldn’t even have to pay anything, making this one of the best free things to do in Derby.

The course is well-designed that utilizes the features of the park, most prominently by having water hazards thanks to the creek that runs through it.

An 18-hole disc golf course, this is also a great way to break a sweat without being in a crowded place.

One of the most fun and cost-free ways to experience the natural beauty of Derby, try Stone Creek Disc Golf Park during your visit.

Participate in the Spring Into Art Event

Derby’s local government does a great job keeping things interesting year-round for both locals and tourists, and Spring Into Art is one of the events to look out for.

An event that spans several days throughout the months of Spring; it’s geared to nourish the artistic and musical talents of Derby’s youth.

Most of the activities here are family-oriented, featuring an art bazaar, food truck fare, and live entertainment and art demonstrations.

Adults won’t be bored here as well, as there’s a lot of beer and wine tastings during Spring Into Art.

Spring Into Art is typically held in Madison Avenue Central Park, but be on the lookout for announcements on the city website.

Explore Derby’s Dry Creek at Crane Park

Dry Creek at Crane Park is one of the best spots to do some nature trekking—perfect for outdoor adventure-seekers.

The creek is an expansive zone of thick woods and picturesque streams, best seen at Derby’s Crane Park that’s found along Marguerite Parkway.

You’ll find lots of overgrown trees and shrubberies when you start your exploration at Crane Park.

Dry Creek’s beauty changes depending on what season you go, getting lush greenery during spring and rustic foliage during autumn.

You’ll find a couple of small mammals here as well, so bring your camera with you when visiting Dry Creek at Crane Park.

Celebrate Smoke on the Plains BBQ and Music Fest with the Locals

Smoke on the Smoke on the Plains BBQ and Music Fest is a highly anticipated event in Derby that’s typically held at High Park during the summer.

This summer festival has been going on since 2012 and is one of the liveliest events in Kansas, headed by live concerts and tons of good food.

What’s even better about this event is it’s free admission, allowing you to save money so you could order some mouthwatering barbecue done by the locals.

Speaking of barbecue, some of the most exciting activities here are barbecue cook-offs.

There is also some fun for the kids, so it’s a great all-rounder for all families.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go on a Day Trip to Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

Beautiful lilac bush at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

Jordan Fitzpatrick /

Since Derby is a suburb of Wichita, it makes perfect sense to explore the wondrous attractions of this city.

One of the most popular ones is Botanica, The Wichita Gardens.

Take the short 11-mile drive to Wichita and find Botanica along Amidon Street.

Vibrant flowers behind a wooden bench at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

touterse, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Opened in 1987, this 17.6-acre botanical garden and horticultural center boasts an assortment of blooms and about 4,000 species of plants spread out into various themed gardens.

The Chinese Garden, Koch Carousel Gardens, and Woodland Bird Garden are just some of the most interesting spots in these enormous botanical gardens that are definitely worth a visit.

Statue of a buddha in Botanica, The Wichita Gardens

Jordan Fitzpatrick /

Final Thoughts

Derby is a must-visit city when you’re in Kansas.

It offers you a nature commune and a peaceful suburban getaway with many interesting parks with unique features.

Just as Derby gives you a relaxing escape, it also brings you close to some of the most fun recreational options you’ll ever have.

Come to Derby and enjoy one of the most memorable vacations you will ever have!

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