As moms, grandparents or caretakers, we are always looking for fun adventures for our kids. Kansas City has so much to offer that I often times forget about some of the opportunities we have here. I decided to compile a list of my favorites that are FREE! And with the weather getting nicer, of course I wanted to share it with you. I hope this will be a great resource for you to have all of this information in one spot.
Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead– Designed to depict a turn-of-the-century family farm, the Farmstead has nearly 200 animals and birds of prey, vegetable and flower gardens, a one-room country schoolhouse, an old-time fishing pond, pony rides, gold panning, replica Indian teepees filled with artifacts, playground and more. This is our absolute favorite, especially when friends or family are in town. It is free throughout the week and very cheap on weekends ($2 per person I think). You do not have to pay for most of it, but there are a few fun activities that are a little extra, such as pony rides, gold panning, bottle feeding goats, fishing pole rentals & bring quarters to get feed for animals. They ask that you don’t bring food in, unless you’re eating at the picnic tables at the front, but they do have a little store filled with snack options.
Kaleidoscope– A 40 minute session where children use their imaginations to make art with left-over materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing processes. Tickets are FREE on a first come basis until a session fills. Check out their calendar for session times. They are located right next to Crown Center and Union Station. Closed on Sundays.
Crown Center Village– Every couple of months Crown Center changes up their play area on the lower level for interactive play. They’ve had a fairy tale village, Curious George, farming, Wizard of Oz and lots of other fun themes. For the holidays, Santa Clause and the Easter bunny can be found there. They also have fun a place to color in the Crayola store (2nd level), restaurants (like Fritz’ who delivers you food by train) and unique shopping. I recommend going early in the morning on weekdays to avoid crowds.
Union Station Model Railroad Experience– 8,000 square feet of toy trains, from tiny N-scale model trains to the big G-scale giants of the model train world, sample the hobby and enjoy the fun of model railroading. This is not hands on, but it is fun to walk through and of course, little boys love it. You can walk from Union Station to Crown Center too and enjoy them both.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art– Lots of fun lawn to run around and play amongst sculptures and beautiful art inside for the young and old alike. Join them every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 for FREE Art+Family=Fun activities. Park on the street, otherwise it will be $8 if you park in their garage. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. They also offer classes for additional fees.
Lakeside Nature Center– This is a great place to walk around outside on a nice day, pack a picnic lunch and check out the wildlife inside. They have bunnies, snakes, spiders, fish, owls, eagles and other fun animals. There is also a small play area and pages for coloring. I have never been there when it was busy. It is always a nice relaxing little FREE trip. In the winter, some of the outdoor animals may not be available for viewing. Located across the street from the Zoo entrance. Closed on Mondays.
The Money Museum– A billion dollar experience! Explore the nation’s financial system and the functions of the Federal Reserve. This is one I want to do, but haven’t yet because I thought it might be a little too old for my kids. Admission, tours and parking are free. If you are over 18, you must present a photo ID.
Anita B. Gorman Conservation Center– Located at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City and Open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; First and third Saturdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. year round. Discover 10 acres of gardens, wetlands, walkways and wildlife. About eight blocks from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and within 10 minutes of the Country Club Plaza.
Feed the Bison and Elk at Fleming Park! Here you can stare a buffalo in the eye and bring your family to enjoy watching elk play in a pasture. Feed carrots, apples or pears to the animals as they approach the fences.
Play/Spray Grounds and Parks (Extensive list of KC area parks):
Loose Park– Located at 51st Street and Wornall Road. This park is huge and has a little bit of everything. It has a pond with a fountain, geese and picturesque bridges, open fields for games, tracks for walking and running, playground, spray ground, tennis courts and a large rose garden. The Spray Ground is open Saturday, May 23 – Monday,September 7 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Wednesdays for cleaning. I really like this one because there is some shade available, restrooms nearby and the area is closed in so I don’t have to worry about my kids escaping.
Brookside Arbor Villa Pool– Located at 66th and Main St. Open June 8 – August 2, 2015 Monday: 1 – 6 p.m. Tuesday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday: 1 – 6 p.m. Pool is only a couple feet deep, has a lifeguard and provides some pool toys. It is located right next to a small playground and tennis courts as well. I loved finding this FREE pool after my daughter was born. It’s perfect for meeting up with one or two other moms and cooling off for a bit. Bring your own life vests, floaties, toys, etc.
John Anderson Park & Sprayground– Located at 4701 E. 135th Street (West side of Highway 71) in Grandview. Open 10am – 7:30pm, except Wednesdays when open from noon-7:30pm The spray ground has over 43 features and components, which include: Two water cannons where children can pretend to battle on a ship; Sound sprays, consisting of four pads where children can step and hear different sounds, such as a whale, dolphin, penguin and seagull sound; I-Spy storm, a transparent four and a half foot high tube through which water runs, like a whirlpool, and eventually, water shoots out from the top of the tube; Wally Whale Tail, which is over thirteen feet high with more than ten spray nozzles that shoot water a distance of ten feet on each side. The playground includes slides, climbing options, tunnels, monkey bars and more. We live in South KC, so this is a great option for us.
Longview Tract Sprayground– Located at 7101 Longview Road. Open Saturday, May 23- Monday, September 7 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed Mondays for cleaning. I haven’t been to this one, but it looks awesome!
Penguin Park– Located at North Vivion Road and North Norton Avenue. This park has large animals to play on around and has a little something for everyone. We went here for Josephine’s birthday and had a good time. There were a LOT of kids there, I don’t know if that’s normal.
Also Don’t Forget Libraries- Check out your local library for FREE story times, workshops, classes and activities. Johnson County, Kansas City KS, Kansas City MO, Olathe, Mid-Continent, North Kansas City
And United Way Success by Six Lending Toy Library! There are several locations around the metro. You can go and play with toys, books, puzzles, games and then check things out to take home! Board games can be expensive, so it’s fun to try out some new ones.
I hope this gave you some fresh ideas or new activities to do with your family this year. Information is always changing so I will try to update as I can. Please feel free to leave a comment or message me with any information that is new or inaccurate. If you have a favorite free KC spot to share, we’d love to hear about it! Other moms are the best sources of information. We rely on you! Hope to see you all at one of these spots soon!