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Going to Kansas City: Let’s Kid (for adults too…)

Unique & Best Kid-focused places & activities in Kansas City

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Arrowhead Stadium sunset, home of the Kansas City Chiefs
Robert Rusert

Let’s hit the Holiday Road for a Sporting Kansas City soccer match and see the unique, top shelf, compelling, and adventurous kid-focused stuff Kansas City has to offer…

Holiday Road by Lindsey Buckingham

You know you love this song … And, uh, it’s from the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. If you haven’t viewed it, repeatedly, the penalty for that is, “Well… I bet it’s pretty stiff.”

Welcome (or welcome back) to our Going to Kansas City series. Before we focus on the many kid-friendly events and places in one of America’s top cities, a review of the series preview and the first three installments in our series:

Coming Soon – Going to Kansas City: The Series – the series preview

Going to Kansas City: A Soccer & More Weekend match and other unique and soccer-related things to do.

Going to Kansas City: An Adventurer’s Weekend – the more exotic and active things to do in Kansas City.

Going to Kansas City: “Did you say, ‘Free’?” – a list and more of the best free activities to do in Kansas City.

Remember, the center-piece of the weekend is attending a Sporting Kansas City match at Children’s Mercy Park, so keep that in mind and refer to the links above for more information. And make your experiences and reviews immortal via #Go2KC and #KCTopShelf.

Kid’s need, and deserve, to be enriched. A parent, a mentor, a friend never knows what impact he/she will have on a child when showing them the truly wonderous varieties this world has to offer. Consider this, any child who has a file of experiences outside the normal routine has a file they can turn to when needing inspiration, a smile, rejuvenation, or just an escape. Every day, and certainly every trip taken, is an opportunity to impact a child’s sense of self and wonder.

And, dang, being a kid is just fun… Duh!

Let’s begin this journey by looking back at some of the best kid-friendly activities highlighted on previous segments in our series (all segments have great and unique places to stay and eat featured as well):

A Soccer & More Weekend – Foot Golf; Tours of Children’s Mercy Park (TS) and the Pinnacle National Training Center (TS)

An Adventurer’s Weekend – Disc Golf; Camping; Breakout KC, escape game(TS); ZipKC Ziplining; Hiking & Biking; Jaegers Paintball (TS)

“Did you say, ‘Free’?” – Hallmark’s Kaleidoscope; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Moon Marble Company (TS); KC Rail Experience; Lake activities; Loose Park (TS) and lawn of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (TS)

One lodging tip – although not unique to KC – For the un-initiated, Great Wolf Lodge is a kid-focused hotel and indoor water park all-in-one, which is right by SKC’s home, Children’s Mercy Park. There are, of course, other hotels nearby as well. These offer a quick night’s sleep after the game if necessary. However, many of the places we will mention are within a pretty zippy a maximum 40-minute drive of CMP.

The Atypical (KC Unique) Activities & Food places

The College Basketball Experience (TS) – is “not a museum” as its website proudly boasts. And no, it is not. Kids and adults alike can explore all aspects of college basketball from playing to broadcasting to history-ing and herstory-ing through learning what it takes to succeed can be found at this interactive experience located at The Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City’s Power and Light District. Open Wednesday through Sunday.

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead (TS) – The 711/719 Excellent to Very good ratings on Trip Advisor are not wrong. The farmstead is the perfect place – for young kids and adults who just want to have simple fun – to roam. Interactions with a wide-variety of animals (of course), ice cream, playgrounds, a fishing pond, farm buildings to explore, pony rides, alphabetical and numerical stepping stones in the gardens, and peddle tractors are just some of the fun. It’s open daily in south Overland Park, Kansas, and is very cheap.

Pie, Cookies, & Ice Cream – Dessert before (or for) lunch or dinner? It’s a kid thing, and it’s awesome. Check out The Upper Crust Pie Bakery (TS) in downtown Overland Park, Kansas, because it is an “Oh My Garsh, It’s Delicious” type of place. Get there early Wednesday through Saturday (opens at 10:00am) for the best selection. Ice cream more your thing? It’s got to be Betty Rae’s (TS) in the Waldo area of Kansas City. Cereal Milk, Lavender Honey, Crème Brulee Caramel, and Jasmine Green Tea are just a sampling of the unique flavors you can sample… and then devour at this luscious, indulge-me, give-me-a-bib eatery. Open every day.

National Museum of Toys and Miniatures – Located just off The Plaza and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on the campus of the University of Missouri – Kansas City, this KC treasure has undergone three expansions since it opened in 1982 and exhibits and preserves one of the largest miniature and toy collections in the world. At $5 per admission (those four year of age and under are free), this adventure is a bargain. Open 10am-4pm daily, except Tuesdays and major holidays.

The Coterie Theatre (TS) – Located inside Crown Center, this nonprofit children’s theatre may be the best kids’ theatre in the country. Intimate, well-produced, welcoming, thought-provoking, inclusive, moderately-priced, and fun are the main descriptors. Check out the 2018 schedule, get there early as seats are not reserved (you can choose to be on the floor in front too), and take it all in.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (TS) – Ideal for sports fans and kids, say, 8 and up, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, located within the historic 18th & Vine District and near the famous Arthur Bryant’s BBQ, will not only educate you on the history and struggles and joy of the Negro Leagues, it will wow you and leave you with a strong affinity for those who made its history. Don’t miss it. Only $10 for adults, $6 for kids. Closed Mondays.

Hamburgers – What is the record for most hamburgers consumed by a child before he or she reaches 18? Got to be a bunch. And after 18? Got to be bunches. Personal experience, a request for friend recommendations, and history produced this list (KC originals only) of the best in KC in no particular order: Winstead’s (off- The Plaza location) ; The Pressed Penny Tavern; Unk’s Burgers; Tay’s Burger Shack; and Westport Flea Market.

The Too-Hot-and-Muggy-to-Be-Outside-for-Long and the Typical kid-fun places in Kansas City

Let’s admit it – high humidity and heat are a rough combination. There is nothing like kids or parents passing out to make indelible memories (lol) spoil a good day. Yes, sometimes Kansas City weather in the summer can smack one in the face, with a right and left backhand. Never mind the reasons, just hydrate; wear breathable, light-colored fabric (maybe a cooling towel); and find air-conditioned or water park places that are still cool and interesting… like the following:

Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun (TS) – One ticket, two parks. If especially hot, park at Oceans of Fun, do Worlds of Fun in the morning, have a picnic lunch outside Oceans, do Oceans during the heavy heat of the day, then end with a Worlds of Fun encore.

Arcades with more: Main Event, PowerPlay, Dave and Buster’s, or Paradise Park

SEA LIFE Aquarium and LegoLand Discovery Center; The Kansas City Zoo (TS); Water or Splash parks in Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit, Kansas City, and Independence; Top Golf; Science City; SkyZone Trampoline

Take in a game or take a tour of nationally renowned stadiums … The Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium or The Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium (TS).

Lastly … Kids-focused Sporting Kansas City experience tip

Before the Sporting KC game, what kid wouldn’t enjoy kicking or throwing the ball or tossing the beanbag, frisbee, or washers around the parking lot during a tailgate, impromptu or not, for release and free memories? Once inside Toyota Plaza at Children’s Mercy Park, playing with the other kids in the futsal court, adventuring around the stadium, and/or catching the players’ warmup are attractions.

We hope you enjoyed our take on the best kid-focused places, happenings, experiences, and locales of Kansas City. Remember, we all need to be in touch with our inner-kids. All of us love music no matter the age, so our next segment will feature the many top and unique Kansas City music venues, destinations, and attractions. See you soon… and #Go2KC and #KCTopShelf.