Fun Things to Do With Kids in Kansas CIty
Kidding Around in the City of Fountains
Family-friendly adventures for every age
For generations, Kansas City has been a jewel in the Midwest, offering a bevy of fun and exciting sites and attractions for visitors and denizens alike. From al fresco adventures to indoor entertainment, good eats and more, everyone can be a kid in the City of Fountains.
FOR THE WEE ONES
For inquisitive toddlers and preschoolers, the city is brimming with exciting places designed to cultivate a sense of wonder and discovery.
Kansas City has acres of parks, playgrounds, zoo and special attractions geared just for their interests.
See a List of Kid-Friendly Attractions
One of the most popular in town is Kaleidoscope, a free hands-on art center for children sponsored by Hallmark Cards. Located at Crown Center, Kaleidoscope offers a unique multi-sensory, artistic environment where kids can design, cut, glue and decorate—on their own or with a little help from their grown-up—in the end taking home their own special works of art.
The magic of puppetry takes center stage at the Stone Lion Puppet Theatre. Their original full scale productions incorporate multiple puppetry styles including rod and shadow puppets, marionettes and more. In addition to performances at their theater, they also travel to numerous indoor and outdoor venues and events around town.
For adventures in nature, visit the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. Situated at Kauffman Legacy Park, this family and environmentally friendly facility highlights wetlands, wildlife and 10 acres of gardens, smack dab in the middle of the city.
|Kaleidoscope, a free hands-on art center for children sponsored by Hallmark Cards|
More al fresco escapades can be found at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park, with conservation area trails, pole fishing, petting zoos and more. At Lakeside Nature Center, one of Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facilities, the kids can meander along the scenic trails to explore the native flora and fauna. Inside, hands-on exhibits and on-going educational programming emphasize native Missouri wildlife and local conservation projects.
Play along with everyone's favorite beagle at Planet Snoopy in Worlds of Fun, featuring more than 20 rides, shows and attractions devoted to pint-sized play, plus daily meet-and-greet opportunities with Charlie Brown, Lucy and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
Play like Dr. Doolittle and talk to the animals at the Kansas City Zoo. Encompassing 200-plus acres, you’ll find over 1,000 diverse creatures from Africa, Australia and Asia. Attractions here include an indoor rainforest, tiger trail exhibit, KidZone, polar bear passage and an African Sky Safari, among many others.
|The Money Museum|
Teaching grade-schoolers what happens to our currency after leaving their parents’ pocket or purse is great fun at the Money Museum. Located inside the Federal Reserve Bank, the museum offers a free, one-hour tour encompassing the region’s largest cash vault, interactive exhibits, a Truman Coin Collection and an area for designing your own digital currency.
To put the kids’ bowling skills to the test, let ‘em roll at Z-Strike in the Power & Light District, the city’s premier bowling and entertainment venue. At Mission Bowl in Mission, Kan., there’s about two dozen lanes and a kid friendly, 18-hole miniature golf course outside.
If it’s time to turn the kids loose, try The Maze Craze in North Kansas City with its meandering mirror and laser mazes and laser tag that’ll keep them entertained for hours. If bath time challenging at your house, you’ll get no arguments about taking a “shower” at CoCo Key Water Resort or at Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City, Kan., offering wet and wild family fun year-round.
One of the area’s most unique “field trip” opportunities can be found at Cabela’s. In addition to selling a myriad of clothing and gear for enjoying the great outdoors, this 180,000-square foot store also has a panorama of wild animals in their natural habitats, tropical aquariums and more.
TEEN & TWEEN TIME
|The Nelson-Atkins Museum|
There’s plenty dotted around Kansas City for the active teens and tweens in your family, starting with two places where they can really shoot it out. Hidden in the hillside of one of the city's oldest limestone mines is Jaegers Subsurface Paintball, a paintball arena offering underground and above surface recreation and speedball fields for fun and safe paintball battles. Next door, Jaegerz Laser Tag is a spacious, 6,000 square foot black lit arena with plenty of room to “play tag”—up and over ramps, behind partitions, through fog, under strobe lights—with the latest tunes playing in the background.
If you’ve got baseball fans, grasp more of the history of this great American pastime at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the 18th & Vine Historic Jazz District. The museum tells the story of the Negro National League founded in 1920, its teams, players, innovators and more through historic timelines, artifacts and interactive themed galleries. The district is also home to the American Jazz Museum, which melds jazz history with modern technology in a multidimensional exhibit environment. Displays celebrating the lives and music of many jazz greats, jazz memorabilia, listening stations and interactive areas for experimenting with and discovering jazz fundamentals are part of the fun here.
Young adults will thoroughly enjoy artistic exploration at two of the city’s best museums: The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, designed to showcase some of the world’s finest modern and contemporary art, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, internationally recognized for its outstanding collection of more than 33,500 objects from ancient times to the modern day. While at the Nelson-Atkins, be sure to check out the iconic Shuttlecocks on the Great Lawn, one of the most photographed features in the city.
A ‘GRAND’ OLE TIME
Kansas City is a cool town for grandparents, too. And whether exploring with your grand toddlers, schoolagers or soon-to-be-adults, there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained.
|SEA LIFE Kansas City is the city’s first aquarium, and features more than 5,000 creatures|
For hands-on adventures with the little ones, visit the newest sister attraction at Crown Center: SEA LIFE Kansas City and LEGOLAND Discovery Center. The city’s first aquarium, SEA LIFE is an amazing underwater world featuring more than 5,000 creatures, an underwater tunnel, interactive rock pool experience, demonstrations and more. LEGOLAND offers a 30,000-square-foot interactive, hands-on play area featuring LEGO-themed rides, a 4D Cinema and other children’s activities.
One of the nation’s oldest and most historic landmarks is Union Station. Attractions here include Science City, an interactive science center; the KC Rail Experience; a planetarium; several performance theaters; traveling and holiday exhibits and a variety of dining options.
Both fun and nostalgia combine at the Toy & Miniature Museum of Kansas City, set inside a 38-room house on the campus of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Here you’ll find the largest collection of nostalgic toys, generational fine-scale miniatures and marbles in the Midwest. (Currently closed for renovations until early 2015)
For outdoor fun for the entire family check out Swope Park. Encompassing over 1,800-acres, it is KC's biggest and one of the largest urban parks in the country. From exercise and bike trails to cricket and soccer fields, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, a disc golf course, tennis courts, a pool and two golf courses, outdoor adventures have never been so much fun.
Well, see, we weren’t “kidding”—Kansas City is teeming with fun and exciting activities, attractions and good eats for the entire family. And who knows, while in town you just might find a new spark for the kid in you.