Wichita recently got the kind of treatment in the Washington Post that local tourism officials can usually only dream of, with writer Stephen Amidon noting some of its quirks as well as its reputations related to abortion and Koch Industries’ free-market advocacy. “I had not jetted into some turbulent vortex of American discontent but rather was visiting a sleepy, endearingly eccentric city that’s capable of exercising considerable charm,” he wrote. Among the objects of his admiration on his visit to Wichita and Hutchinson: “beautifully landscaped waterfront walkways,” the “majestic” Keeper of the Plains, Exploration Place, Old Town and its “breathtakingly eclectic” Museum of World Treasures, Mort’s and its “wicked martini,” and the Great Plains Nature Center — “an oasis of prairie within the city limits. It is a surprisingly verdant and varied landscape, especially to an East Coaster like myself, programmed to view the plains as featureless. Walking amid the waving tallgrass and hyperactive songbirds, I discovered that the ecosystem here is as varied as a marshland or a jungle. Just a lot windier.”
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