Fun Things to Do With Kids in Kansas City
From al fresco adventures to indoor entertainment, good eats and more, everyone can be a kid in the City of Fountains.
Here are some of the best family-friendly adventures for every age:
For the Wee Ones
The city is brimming with exciting places designed to cultivate a sense of wonder and discovery for inquisitive toddlers and preschoolers.
One of the most popular spots in town is Kaleidoscope, a free, hands-on art center for children.. Located at Crown Center and sponsored by Hallmark Cards, Kaleidoscope offers a unique multi-sensory, artistic environment where kids can design, cut, glue and decorate either 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.
Play like Dr. Doolittle and talk to the animals at the Kansas City Zoo. Encompassing 200-plus acres, you’ll find more than 1,700 diverse creatures from Africa, Australia and Asia. Attractions here include a penguin plaza, tiger trail exhibit, KidZone, polar bear passage and an African Sky Safari, among many others. For more animal-centric fun, head to Yaya's Alpaca Farm to pet, interact and learn about these fluffy creatures.
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 travel along the scenic trails to explore the native flora and fauna. Inside, hands-on exhibits and ongoing 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.
The Money Museum teaches grade-schoolers what happens to currency when it leaves their parents’ pockets, making for great and educational fun. 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.
Future chefs can learn the basics at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, which offers cooking classes for youngsters. A few of those lessons and they’ll be cooking for mom and dad in no time!
If bath time is 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 and Tween Time
There’s plenty dotted around Kansas City for the active teens and tweens in your family. 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, be sure to check out the iconic Shuttlecocks on the Great Lawn, one of the most photographed features in the city.
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.
More action can be found at Zip KC, one of Kansas City’s zip lining courses. Soar through the trees at high-flying speeds in this outdoor thrill park. Or, stay indoors and go skydiving at iFly, where kids can simulate a free-falling flight in safe and fun environment.
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.
For hands-on adventures with the little ones, visit two of the most popular attractions 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.
Kids and adults alike love The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, home to the world’s largest fine-scale miniature collection, as well as one of the nation's largest antique toy collections. Expect a slew of rotating exhibits and permanent mainstays, including Victorian dollhouses and 1:12 scale architectural masterpieces.
Check out Swope Park for outdoor fun with the entire family. Encompassing more than 1,800-acres, it’s KC's biggest and one of the largest urban parks in the country. From exercise and bike trails to cricket and soccer fields, playgrounds, plus baseball diamonds, a disc golf course, tennis courts, a pool and two golf courses, outdoor adventures have never been so much fun.
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.
Plan a fun-filled family dinner at one of these great restaurants.
- Spin! Neapolitan Pizza - Kid-sized pies and delicious gelato are perfect for young ones.
- Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant – Your burgers and fries arrive via miniature train.
- Donutology – Craft your own mini-donuts with dozens of glazes and toppings.
- Carmen’s – Moderately-priced Italian perfect for large groups.
- Genghis Khan – Get creative and make your own stir fry.
- Waldo Pizza – A kid-friendly pizza joint that is a big hit with locals.
Keeping cool in Kansas City during summer weather is no sweat. From ice cream cones to shaved ice, these local businesses offer cold, sweet treats to eat, drink and enjoy.
While the teens and tweens under your roof may be happy to spend their summer days—and nights—gaming in the basement, you know there’s a bigger world out there for them to see. Luckily, Kansas City is a city for the ages, and for all ages.