Hotspots in Kansas City, MO
We know this is going to sound like a cliche, but we mean it when we say that you're going to have worlds of fun at Worlds of Fun! Located on the Missouri side of Kansas City, Worlds of Fun, along with its water park sister, Oceans of Fun, are the best of the best when it comes to family activities. In 2012, Worlds of Fun is updating their look to make it even better, plus a new roller coaster for your kids to scream their heads off on (okay, for you to scream your head off on too!) and an enire line of fun, fresh entertainment shows to check out.
Greeting card giant Hallmark has created a magical experience for families, and the price is right—free! Utilizing materials left over from the greeting card manufacturing process, Kaleidoscope is all about nourishing the creative spirit. For one hour, kids and their families can let their imaginations run wild and create art to their heart’s content. Painting, puzzle-making, melted crayon wax—the creative possibilities are truly boundless. Kids will want to go again and again, and parents will be happy to oblige, because the price is right!
The Moon Marble Company was born of a true labor of love. Bruce Breslow and his family always had a hard time finding authentic marbles to use with their wooden toys and game boards. So they decided to make their own! And the company opened its doors in 1997. Now, you can bring your family to watch Bruce demonstrate his marble making. You’ll learn all about glass working and glass blowing and the history of the marble. Besides marbles in a dazzling array of colors, sizes and designs, the store carries traditional toys and games as well as “gag” gifts and other unique items.
The Kansas City Zoo is comprised of 202 acres nestled in the hills and valleys of beautiful historic Swope park. The exhibits are separated from each other by beautiful landscaping, making for a serene walk under the right weather circumstances. The Zoo does tend to get crowded, especially on weekends—true of most zoos—so consider planning to arrive right at nine when the zoo opens. Fewer people means more opportunity to see the animals, as some tend to be quite shy, and with their ample habitats, it’s easier for them to hide. In the summer, days with a heat warning mean half price admission, plus a free tram ride, making for a budget-friendly trip if you’re up for braving the heat.
True to its name, the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. Is designed to honor the legacy of the Kansas family farm, the likes of which appeared in films like The Wizard of Oz. The Farmstead originally opened in 1978 and was re-christened “Deanna Rose” in the memory of the first Overland Park police officer killed in the line of duty. Nature walks, hay rides and cane-pole fishing are just a few of the throwback relaxing activities for families to enjoy during their time at the Farmstead. Donations are always welcome, but the Farmstead is free to all.
The aptly named Science City is an immersive, educational stop-off conveniently located in historic Union Station. More than 200,000 visitors annually partake in its engaging activities specifically designed by top educators to stimulate young minds. Space travel, criminal investigations, public service works and medical imaging are just a few of the fascinating topics available for exploration. It’s impossible to cover them all in one visit, and there’s always something new with each return visit. Truly an educational standout, Science City was recently named one of the top 25 best science centers in America by Parents Magazine.
Here’s a Midwestern fun fact: Kansas City has more fountains than any other city in the world, except for Rome, Italy. It’s home to hundreds of fountains and statues, some as old as 300 years, creating dazzling visual displays of fire, water and light. It all started in the nineteenth century, when the first fountains were built over natural springs to supply drinking water. Now, the City of Fountains Foundation works to preserve them not only physically, but to also preserve the role fountains play in our culture as a source of beauty and art. Be sure to take the time to fully explore Kansas City’s flowing treasures.
True to its name, Wonderscope is an engaging environment for hands-on learning, discovery and fun. Basically, it’s an old school with one main hallway and classrooms on each side. (Parents appreciate that with only one door in and out, it’s easy to keep track of their children!) Each room has a theme, be it art, water, space, farm, and even a whole room of Legos. There is a small snack area and vending machine with healthy choices, but you may want to bring your own. To beat the crowds, try going around lunchtime, from 11AM to 1PM, when the morning arrivals are often packing up to leave.
On September 5, 1856, the steamboat Arabia set out for a routine trip up the Missouri river, its 28-foot paddlewheels churning away. Tragedy struck when it hit a submerged walnut tree and quickly sank. Fortunately, no lives were lost, save one mule, but the boat quickly sank into the mud. Years passed. The river shifted. The boat location was forgotten. Legends were created. In 1987, a man and his sons set out on a mission to find it, and he did—half a mile from the river buried 45 feet down. Two years and one massive excavation later, the steamboat’s exquisitely preserved artifacts were recovered, and are now on display for all to see at the Steamboat Arabia Museum. History buffs and antique lovers will be in absolute heaven.
Besides being free, the best thing about Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is its size. It’s not a daunting maze or a yawning cavernous space. It’s a small, modern museum that can be taken in rather quickly, and, because of the rotating exhibits in its gallery, there is always something new to see on every return visit. The highly-rated Café Sebastian is onsite and open for lunch and dinner and even brunch on Sunday. Check out the raspberry iced tea—it’s a local seasonal specialty.