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Candle in the Night

Thursday, September 12, 2013

30 FREE Things to do in Kansas City (Kid Friendly Version!)

There are lots of days that we just need to get OUT of the house and burn energy!  I'm not a homebody...never have been, and if I'm home too many days in a row, I lose my mind.  The time of year is coming where being outside will be wonderful and I can't wait!  I've compiled a list of 25 great things to do in the area that are FREE!

If you're not in the Kansas City area, look for similar things around where you live!  They may not be exactly the same, but I'm guessing there are things like these in every city.

This list is mainly for children ages 2-10.  There are some things that would definitely work for older or younger children, but that's the main age group I'm looking at (since mine are littles right now!)

1. Waterfall Park: This park is great!  Not only is there a play place, there is also a nice walking trail, a lake (and waterfall!), and ducks and geese to feed.  Picnic areas as well!

Duck Pond: Female Mallards
Photo Credit

2. Library Story Time: Mid Continent Public Library hosts several different story time opportunities including Family Story Time, Toddler Story Time, and Preschool Story Time.  

3. City Market: This is such a fun place for me as an adult!  I love taking my girls and letting them look at all the people, colors, foods, and new sights!

Kanaalstraat, Fruit 'n Vegetables
Photo Credit
4. Kaleidoscope:  Set up for ages 5-12, we won't be doing this one for a couple years, but I wanted to include it because I LOVED it as a child!  A place for your child's creative side to explode!

5. Kauffman Memorial Garden: Like the idea of Powell Gardens, but don't like the price (or the looooong walks)?  Check out Kauffman Memorial Garden.  It's beautiful and includes a nice, short walk!  Perfect for little legs!  And it's free!

6. Loose Park: This is a HUGE, beautiful park!  Lots of room to run and play and lots of things to see from a stream, to a lake, to a gorgeous rose garden.  

7. Hallmark Visitor's Center: This free visitor's center includes a place to watch how cards are made, see bows being made, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how Hallmark works.  

8. Lakeside Nature Center: This nature center is a great place to learn about animals and watch birds in their natural habitat--right next to a lake!

9. Carolyn's Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch: (Only free Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4-6 pm)  This is our family's favorite pumpkin patch!  Confession: We don't do this one for free...we buy the season pass!  There's so much to do!  A petting zoo, a fort, a mini-corn maze, playgrounds, swings, a's all-day fun!  (Oh, and did I mention their pumpkin donuts?  Not free, but if you go, buy one!  You'll be glad you did!)

10. Deanna Rose Farmstead: (Only free Monday-Thursday)  This is another amazing place for kids to play!  Lots of animals to see and pet and lots places for kids to play!

11. Shoal Creek Living History Museum: (Free on non-event days, also free for events on the first Saturday of the month.)  This is somewhere I've never been, but it looks really neat!  An old town setup and on the first Saturday, the town comes alive with people fully in costume and in character!  

12. Powell Pumpkin Patch: This is a smaller pumpkin patch, but still looks like lots of fun!  Free hayrides and lots of places to play.  

13. Penguin Park: An all-around amazing park with an incredible playground!

14. Bass Pro or Cabela's: Take a kid to a store for free??  You don't want to miss this one and as long as you leave your purse in the car, it'll stay free!  We love going to see all the stuffed (real) animals, feel the furs, and pretend to drive the boats!  My kids could play here for hours!

15. Nature Story Time at George Owen's Nature Park: Geared toward ages 2-5, this is a neat place you can go for storytime and crafts on Thursday mornings.  

16. Burr Oak Woods: Burr Oak Woods has one of the best nature centers around.  Lots of hands-on activities for the kids along with multiple trails to walk.  Some are paved and good for strollers, some are short, some are long.  Either way, you're guaranteed a good nap after spending a morning here!

17. Kansas City Zoo Free Days: These are few and far between, but if you live in the Kansas City Zoological district (paying taxes that go to the zoo), you'll receive four free days a year.  

18. Crown Center Exhibits: There are almost always free kid-geared exhibits in the basement at Crown Center.  The Curious George exhibit just wrapped up, but a new one should be opening soon!  

19. City Parks: There are lots of awesome parks in the KC metro area!  Here are the links to just a few that we love.  Check a few of them out!  Independence City ParksBlue Springs City ParksLee's Summit City Parks

20. Country Club Plaza: There is TONS of stuff at the Plaza that, unless you live/work there, your children will probably never see!  Huge fountains, tons of shops, expensive...stuff.  All just fun to look at!  And as a bonus, if you wait until after Thanksgiving and go in the evening, they'll get to see the Plaza lights as well!
21. Cave Spring Nature Center: Another awesome nature center!  

22. Beanstalk Children's Garden: A neat garden where children can walk through and learn about plants, food production, insects, nutrition...  Visitors are encouraged to touch, smell, taste, and see to learn about the plants.  

23. Play Area at Independence Center: This is a great play area for little ones!  Lots of soft-play climbing structures, slides, and tunnels.  

24. Discovery Center: 10 acres of gardens, walkways, wetlands, and wildlife.  Beautiful area!

25. Native Hooved Animal Enclosure in Fleming Park: This place is SO COOL!  You can feed elk and buffalo right from your hand!  

26. Prairie Oak Nature Center: Another beautiful nature center!

27. Fishing at Area Lakes: Fishing isn't necessarily free for the adults, but children under 16 can fish without a license in Missouri.  

28. Kidscapes: Located at the Johnson County Museum, Kidscapes is a hands-on museum for kids designed to look like an urban streetscape.  Sounds like fun!

29. Christmas in the Park: Okay, so this one isn't happening just yet, but I wanted to include it so you don't miss it!  Christmas in the Park is an incredible drive-through display of Christmas light displays.  Don't miss this one!

30. Use Your Backyard: This one might be cheating a little, but seriously, just get outside!  Blow bubbles, color with sidewalk chalk (bubbles and sidewalk chalk are both SUPER cheap right now by the way!), chase each other, kick a ball around, play hide and seek...just go play!  The weather is turning gorgeous...enjoy it!  

I hope this list helps you stay busy and active!  Enjoy your little ones!

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At September 14, 2013 at 12:22 AM , Blogger Diane said...

Be sure to check out the newsletter for Burr Oak Woods: ~~
It lists all the different (free) classes and special days they do... even for toddlers and preschoolers!! They're usually really great!!

At September 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM , Blogger Diane said...

What a great list! The only other thing I find in my list that you don't have is the KEMPER OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTER in Blue Springs. (And since I've been collecting field trip ideas for about a 30 years... you pretty much found them all, for that age and for FREE!)

At September 18, 2013 at 3:44 PM , Blogger Angela said...

We don't live in KC but we pass through it all the time when we visit family in Iowa. There are a few of those that would be kind of fun to stop and check out next time we head that way. Thanks!

At September 23, 2013 at 10:34 PM , Blogger About Jessica said...

Yes!! Thank you for adding that!

At September 23, 2013 at 10:35 PM , Blogger About Jessica said...

Great!! Yes, there are some terrific picnic spots on that list that would be fun for everyone. :) Thanks for stopping by!


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