There are so many incredible activities and opportunities available to you and your family here in the metro area and we are so excited to share 9 places you can visit in downtown KC this summer. Take a look…
Ultimate Staycation: 9 Must See Spots You’ll Love in Downtown KC
Alright folks, Summer is in full swing and back to school shopping is already in the talks! So if you haven’t had the chance to take that once a year vacation as a family, consider these places for an amazing staycation. Kansas City has so many wonderful family friendly places to visit! And don’t worry about that bank account, there are Cheap and FREE places too! Check them out.
Crown Center is a great place for everyone in the family. There are awesome toy shops, cool local threads, great food and fun discovery centers! Currently, Crown Center has a free exhibit featuring Thomas the Train! It is great for the younger kids.
Savings Tip: Check out their website for free movies and music on the weekends this summer!
The Coterie Theater is another family favorite. While tickets can be a little pricey for a larger family, they have great group rates as well. The theater runs various shows throughout the year and they vary in topics and age ranges.
Whether you are looking to explore nature or architecture, Science City is not only educational but fun for everyone! I always find something to explore when I go myself lol. Grab your walking shoes and plan a day filled with Science.
Next to Crown Center, LegoLand Discover Center is perfect for the creative mind in your family. Spend the day exploring the world of Legos in a fun interactive indoor attraction including rides, a 4-d theater, and a massive supply of Legos perfect for your master builders!
Savings tip: Your kids go FREE using our exclusive code that you can find here!
This is probably my family’s favorite place! The Hallmark Center donates art and craft supplies for kids of all ages to create and express themselves artistically! This Free space is open Monday- Saturday and they offer various times.
Located directly next door to LegoLand, explore the deep sea at Kansas City’s #1 aquarium! They are open daily and with over 5,000 sea creatures, you can touch starfish and more in the touch pool!
Savings Tip- Your kids can get in absolutely FREE using our exclusive coupon code foundhere!
The famous City Market has amazing restaurants, fresh produce and on the weekends, unique entertainment. Visit the market and grab a bite or two with fun activities inside the market, like the Steamboat Arabia.
A stellar museum full of history and a memorial, visit the WWI Museum to learn and explore the history of America and its part in WWI. Also check their calendar for special events and programs.
Savings tip: The museum offers FREE Hands On History and Storytime At The Museum sessions each month!
Summer vacation will be over before you know it! Make sure you check out these local favorites before school starts! Also, since all of these locations are located downtown, you can ride the free KC Street Car to avoid extra parking costs!
Hello, Kansas City! Can you believe we’re almost halfway through May? It’s insane to think that summer is knocking on our door, and while you’re getting ready for some sunshine and fun, you may be looking for some new traditions. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Connie, shares some of her family favorites to help your summer kicked off. Check it out!
Kick Your Summer Off With These Easy Traditions
Summer is my favorite season! I look forward to it all year and constantly think about moving somewhere tropical permanently. I live for summer.
My kids and I love to be outside during the summer. We have a zoo pass, so we head there about once a week before the heat gets to be too high. We love going to the pool. Our favorite one being the Harrisonville Pool. They have a fun kid/zero entry area and water slides and diving boards that my kids live for.
We also love heading to Longview Lake. My parents have a cheap pontoon boat in a slip there, so we can park it and swim off of it anytime we like. My kids also enjoy feeding the fish at the marina there. No matter how many times we go it still results in squeals of laughter when the huge fish start flapping around after the food.
On rainy days we hit up Paradise Park or Union Station’s Science City. My kids love to paint their own faces and splash around in the water table on the Edutainment side of Paradise Park. My son would spend hours in the dinosaur dig section at Science City if I would let him.
We also like to check out all the nature centers around town. We love Burr Oaks and Lakeside Nature Center for quick outings. We also enjoy the outdoor movies in Independence on the square or going to the drive in. Summer is just meant to be spent outside.
We don’t typically get to travel much, but we like to take a weekend and head down to Tablerock Lake and rent a friend of ours’ cabin. Its much calmer and less crowded than the Lake of the Ozarks and just as close. It’s a nice, easy getaway.
Summer food is another reason I love this season. My kids love watermelon, and hot dogs off the grill. I love kabobs and grilled veggies. And to me, nothing says summer like strawberry shortcake.
What are some easy traditions you have for the summer? Share in the comments!
Happy Saturday, Kansas City! Are you looking for some festive fun while you’re out and about getting ready for Thanksgiving? Union Station is your place to be. They’re hosting a day of festivities leading up to their lighting celebration at 6:30pm. While you’re at it, why not check out their newest exhibit, Pompeii, as well? Nothing says the holidays like Union Station!
Watch the Holidays Come Alive at Union Station
Join us Saturday, November 19th for the magic of Kansas City’s grandest holiday tradition. Holidays come alive at Union Station with a spectacular day of fun activities and performances for the whole family.
Write a letter to Santa, get your face painted, create something cool in the Holiday Maker Village and so much more! All beginning at 10a.m.
Let It Snow will play in the Planetarium and Pompeii: The Exhibition will be celebrating its grand opening!
Explore your internationally award-winning Science City and catch a movie on the region’s biggest movie screen- Extreme Screen
Then at 6:30pm, daylight will give way to the most magical holiday kickoff imaginable with Kansas City’s largest indoor lighting ceremony and a breathtaking new holiday performance by Quixotic. Free for everyone!
Don’t miss this once-a-year celebration of holiday sights, sounds and family sensations this Saturday, November 19th! Plan to have fun all day long at Kansas City’s home for the holidays, Union station.
Autumn is in the air here in the metro area and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share fabulous events and activities with each of you here on the blog as well as in our monthly book (available in print and online) and across social media. One truly unique activity that’s only available to your family until October 23rd is the Body Worlds: Cycle of Life exhibit downtown. I had the chance to check it out this afternoon and want to share my 3 reasons that you need to explore Body Worlds at Union Station today. Take a look…
3 Reasons You Need to Explore Body Worlds at Union Station Now
“For the first time in Kansas City, BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life – a remarkable educational exhibition from physician and pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens – invites you to consider the form, function and beauty of the human body through all stages of life.” -UnionStation.org
#1 It’s a Truly One of a Kind Experience
One of the things I love best about living in Kansas City is the access that we have, as families, to fun and educational activities across town. Union Station’s traveling exhibits offer opportunities unlike any other and their Body Worlds: The Cycle of Life is a shining example of just that. Using real cadavers, Body Worlds takes you on a journey through the human life and demonstrates how both genetics and lifestyle choices play an intricate role in how we grow, develop, and change over the course of time. Before entering into the exhibit, you’re given the opportunity to tie in this exhibit with history from Kansas City’s medical community, which I found to be particularly interesting during our visit there.
#2 You’ll Learn Things You Never Knew
From start to finish, you’ll learn something new at every turn during your time at Body Worlds. Your journey begins (literally and figuratively) at the moment of conception where you discover cells, the formation of life, how we grow and come into being, and so much more. The pregnancy cycle was, for me, the most interesting part of the journey. The exhibit not only includes the details and information but also examples of each stage during pregnancy – something that is truly incredible to witness.
From there, you’ll discover parts of the body and how we change and grow through the years as well as how the choices we make (like smoking or not eating right) impact us from the inside out. I was impressed to see so much detail throughout the exhibit. Although the average time to get through (from start to finish) is about an hour an a half to two hours, I could have easily spent far longer reading and learning during my visit.
#3 It’s Only Here For a Limited Time
Like all good things, Body Worlds at Union Station will be coming to an end later this month and you don’t want to miss your chance to explore life like never before. The exhibit is open weekdays (Monday-Thursday) 10am-5pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10am-7pm, and Sundays from 12pm-5pm. Tickets can be purchased online or directly at Union Station now through October 23rd.
In addition to the exhibits that Union Station offers, families can also enjoy access to Science City and the Planetarium during your stay. I highly recommend getting an annual membership to Union Station – ours paid for itself within just a couple of visits. Learn more about Body Worlds: The Cycle of Life and all of the other incredible activities and events at Union Station by visiting them online at UnionStation.org.
Union Station is a such a local treasure for Kansas City, and they have a fantastic exhibit, Pompeii, coming on November 18th. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, gives us the low down on the exhibit and what to expect. General admission is $19.95 for adults and $15.95 for kids. Check it out!
Check Out Union Station’s Newest Exhibit: Pompeii
I am ‘quaking’ with excitement about Union Station’s upcoming exhibition! This fall, Kansas City will be the first city in the United States to host what promises to be an amazing exhibit at Union Station.
Pompeii was a city on the coast of Italy that disappeared in 79 A.D. when a volcano erupted, burying the city in over 20 feet of ash. The ash preserved the city and it has been excavated to show a truly unique glimpse into the life and death of these Ancient Romans.
Pompeii: The Exhibition will include 200 artifacts from Italy, casts of some of the deceased, and a 4D simulation of the volcanic eruption where visitors can safely experience something like the people of Pompeii did that day. Helmets, weapons, mosaics, jewelry, art and other artifacts were carefully curated and will be leaving Italy for the US for the first time.
Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii are famous now, but for a long time, not much was known about them. It’s a fascinating bit of history as it has been so mysterious and haunting. Union Station hopes to captivate visitors and transport them back to this tragic day in history.
The exhibit opens November 18 and will run until next spring. I don’t know how well little kiddos will do with this exhibit, but I think the parents and older kids will have a fun time exploring a fascinating culture and moment in time. This event is must for fans of history and archeology. I hope to see you there!
The Maker Faire is back in town and is bound to be tons of fun for you and your family. It’s a weekend filled with crafts, inventions, and more running June 25th-26th at the Historic Union Station. Ticket prices vary and can be found here (Take note of the $7 day pass price for Union Station Members!) Get your tickets now and join for us for some interactive fun.
Join Us at the 6th Annual
Maker Faire Kansas City
The Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth!
June 25th & 26th at Historic Union Station
Don’t miss out on this family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness. Maker Faire Kansas City celebrates the Maker Movement and we encourage YOU to join us! Enjoy educational presentations, inspiring performances, engaging demonstrations and hands-on workshops all weekend long!
WHAT TO EXPECT:
NEW – Opening Louisiana-Style Parade featuring exhibiting Makers
NEW – The Bike Zoo combines puppetry with bikes to create interactive, playful creatures including an 80 ft. long Rattlesnake, 10 ft. tall Butterfly, a Carousel and more!
NEW – A 30 ft. Egg Drop Competition
NEW – “Maker Couture” Fashion Show
NEW – Maker Inspired, Educator Workship focused on inspiring the next generation of Makers
Kid Friendly Interactives featuring inflatables, Nerdy Derby, Micro Reality Race Cars, Learn to Solder and Build a Robot Workshops
FIRST Robots Demonstrations and Competition
Power Wheels Racing
Lowrider Car Show and Competition
Community Art Project with Belger Arts Center
Realistic Iron Man Suits, R2D2s and other awesome cosplayers
Favorite Kansas City Food Trucks
More than 350 of Kansas City’s most inventive Makers and Crafters
*Admission to Kansas City’s International Award-Winning Science Center, Science City,and the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium are included in your ticket purchase. The Planetarium requires separate reservation. Body Worlds: The Cycle of Life is not included and will require separate ticket purchase.
When I moved to the Kansas City metro area a little more than 9 years ago, I had no idea how incredible the metro area is for families. Fast forward to 2016 and I am in love with this town. KC has so much to offer families with children and staycactioning (new word!) has become one of our favorite things to do. Today I want to share my 11 favorite activities that you can do in downtown KC with your kids. Whether you live in the area or are planning a weekend trip, there is no shortage of fun activities you can enjoy. Best of all, with the brand new streetcar that offers free service between Union Station to River Market, you can park once and experience it all! Take a look…
Top 11 Downtown Kansas City Family Fun Spots!
#1 Union Station’s Exhibits
With such rich history, Union Station easily became one of my favorite go to spots here in Kansas City and their exhibits bring something new and interesting to the experience with each visit. The current exhibit, Body Worlds & The Cycle of Life gives guests the opportunity to look inside themselves like never before. The educational exhibit provides an in depth look at the human body over time and is a powerful example of how our choices make an impact on the body.
Ages – This activity is great for older children and adults
Price Point – Around $20 per person
Pro Tip – Union Station members receive a hefty discount on exhibits. Take advantage of the perks!
#2 Science City
Also inside Union Station, and free for members, each of Science City‘s three stories offers fun, exploration, and education for children (and adults) of all ages. Your family will have the opportunity to learn about alternative energy sources, take a ride on a bicycle suspended on a wire, dig for “fossils”, test their strength with the giant lever, explore the universe, and more during your visit.
Ages – This activity is great for school aged children
Price Point – $11.50 (ages 3-12), $13.50 (adults)
Pro Tip – Reserve a spot in the test kitchen to give your kids the chance to learn the chemistry in the foods they eat.
#3 Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium
Located on the bottom floor of Union Station (near the exhibit hall), the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium is an incredible resource to discover the joys of astronomy. Take a guided star tour or explore space through one of the fun movies, your family will enjoy the shows at the planetarium. Our family recently enjoyed a guided tour of the stars we can see in the Kansas City summer night and it was truly fascinating. The list of all available presentations can be found on their website.
Hours – Varies By Show (Shows Run Daily)
Ages – Varies By Show
Price Point – $6 per person (members get in free!)
Pro Tip – Get there early, they have two very comfortable cushions that are ideal for your stargazing adventure!
#4 National World War I Museum
Easily one of my personal favorite spots in the downtown area, the National World War I Museum offers incredible insight to one of history’s most critical times and the most incredible views atop Liberty Memorial. During your visit, you’ll see real life artifacts from the era, learn about our nation’s (late) role in the war, and the impact it had on the world as a whole. Admission includes a two day ticket so you can take in both the educational experience inside the museum as well as the stunning views at the memorial back to back during your visit.
Hours – Tuesday thru Sunday 10am-5pm (check the website for extended summer hours)
Ages – Best for older children and adults
Price Point – $14 and under (varies by age)
Pro Tip – Hands On History sessions are included free with admission on select Saturdays. These sessions give you the chance to get up close and personal with real artifacts from World War I. Check online for the schedule.
#5 SeaLife Kansas City
SeaLife Kansas City is a fun, interactive experience for children and adults who appreciate the creatures that live in the sea. During your visit, your family will have the opportunity to get their hands on critters, learn about some fascinating sea life, and enjoy the fun of their current exhibit, Doodle Reef, which gives you the chance to draw your own fish and watch them come to life.
Hours – Sunday thru Thursday 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm
Ages – This attraction is great for kids of all ages (your little ones will love it!)
Price Point – Starting at $11 per person
Pro Tip – The attraction stays open two hours after the last admission so don’t worry if you don’t arrive until 4pm on a Thursday, you’ll still have time to get it all in!
#6 Legoland Discovery Center
Located next door to SeaLife at Crown Center, Legoland Discovery Center is a fun places for the kids. From 4D animated movie adventures on the big screen to the rides, play area, and legos everywhere this attraction has something for everyone. Your family will enjoy building and playing together inside Legoland’s expansive facility. Check out their website for special activities and adult only events for Lego fans of all ages and stages. Combo passes to both SeaLife and Legoland can be purchased so that you can enjoy both attractions at a discounted rate.
Hours – Sunday thru Thursday 10am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm
Ages – This attraction is great for families of all ages
Price Point – Starting at $14.50 per person
Pro Tip – Be sure to check their website for extra special events throughout the year
Kaleidoscope is located at Crown Center and is a free activity that offers children the opportunity to create, explore, and design works of art using leftover materials from Hallmark. It’s a fun place to let your child’s creativity and imagination shine and has offered our family countless hours of fun over the last few years. Be sure to check their schedule online as they do fill up and space is limited.
Hours – Open Monday thru Saturday, Admission subject to availability
Ages – Great for kids of all ages. Primary school aged children will love this!
Price Point – Free
Pro Tip – Kaleidoscope accepts group visits, plan a trip with your friends and family
#8 Mesner Puppet Theater
Mesner Puppet Theater is a non-profit professional puppet theater is located in the downtown area at 31st & Troost and aims to stir creative imagination through classic, folk, and contemporary plays for children and adults. These exciting performances are so unique and fun. Their list of upcoming performances is available on their website and extends into 2017.
Hours – Varies by show
Ages – Good for all ages
Price Point – Starting at $9
Pro Tip – Season tickets provide the best value. Grab 10 tickets for just $80 (also good for special engagements)
#9 Sprint Family Fun Days
If your dates are flexible and you’re interested in exploring Kansas City’s Power & Light district with your family, Sprint Family Fun Days offers the perfect opportunity for you to do just that. These fun days take place on the second Saturday of each month (May-October) and provide entertainment, activities, and more for children and families of all ages.
Hours – Check their website for specifics
Ages – Great for families of all ages
Price Point – Free admission (some activities within the event do cost)
Pro Tip – Start your day at River Market and take the Streetcar to Power & Light to avoid congested traffic.
#10 – The College Basketball Experience
The College Basketball Experience at Sprint Center lets you step inside the game for hours of fun and activity. CBE offers more than 41,000 square feet of highly interactive, energetic fun where guests can learn about the incredible contributions that have been made in men’s collegiate basketball. Exhibits include the opportunity to participate in game-like situations and announcing at the ESPNU broadcast desk.
Pro Tip – Be sure to wear comfortable shoes so that you can take advantage of all the fun at CBE
#11 Matin City Melodrama
Located on the third floor inside Crown Center, Martin City Melodrama has been serving the Kansas City community for 31 seasons. In addition to their fun line up of family friendly shows, they also offer Kids Komedy camps and other great activities for children who are interested in performing arts.
Hours – Varies By Show
Ages – Fun For All Ages
Price Point – Around $13 per person
Pro Tip – Reservations are essential, space fills up quickly!
Whether you’re visiting the area for a few days or you live close by, the downtown area has so much to offer families here in the metro area. Connect with us on the iFamilyKC Facebook page for more information on Kansas City fun!
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My husband and I recently had the opportunity to attend “Buccaneer Bash”, the grand opening to the Real Pirates at Union Station. The exhibit tells the story of the Whydah a successful pirate ship from the early 1700’s which shipwrecked only to be found almost 300 years later. I am fascinated by pirates (this kind not necessarily this kind) and I relish any opportunity to support Union Station so this event was a perfect for us.
The evening started with drinks, food and music. Fruits, cheeses, and desserts were on tables and wait staff brought around various horderves for guests to sample. The horderves were appropriately seafood themed and provided by Pierpont’s. We tried the conch balls, crab cakes and shrimp cocktail and they were all delicious. While we ate we were entertained by pirate themed bands which added a great ambiance to the area.
After about an hour, George Guastello, President and CEO of Union Station took the stage and spoke briefly the exhibit and about Union Station. I was surprised to learn that Union Station receives no tax dollars from Kansas City, and is therefore reliant solely on the income it draws in from events and exhibits to continue to operate.
Robert Regnier, the chairman of the Union Station Board of directors and his wife Ann then introduced Mark Lach the exhibit creator who talked about the exhibit and how the artifacts it contains made their way from the bottom of the ocean to Kansas City. The doors then opened for the exhibit itself. Groups of about one hundred each were lead into a theatre to watch a short video that tells the the tale of the Whydah before then moving onto the rest of the exhibit. The video was very well done and accentuated with lighting effects that added to the drama as we watched the Whydah battle a storm and ultimately meet its untimely demise.
We then continued onto a mock Pirate ship which had replica pirate quarters as well as further information about piracy during the 1700s and about the Whydah’s crew. The Whydah, we learned, was named after a port it frequented along Africa’s western shore. It was a slave ship until it was overtaken by pirates. It was interesting to learn about this often overlooked portion of western European history through the perspective of a single ship and its crew.
The highlight of the exhibit were the artifacts discovered on ocean floor. The ship’s bell, the first artifact that we discovered, was remarkably nearly intact and on display. There was weaponry and pirate treasure. Just as interesting were the belt buckles, silverware, and other trinkets which gave glimpses into the life of a pirate during that time.
Last was the gift shop where if you liked you could get your own pirate treasure or any number of items to help you remember your experience. Overall, the event and the exhibit were both wonderful. The “Real Pirates” exhibit is both engaging and educational. Older children (I would say from about age seven on) will get a lot out of this exhibit, and there is enough going on to hold their attention. I strongly encourage landlubbers both young and old to come experience this true pirate tale and support Union Station as it continues to bring new and exciting experiences to Kansas City.
The limited engagement exhibition features scientific and educational content from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA and focuses on the search for alien life within and beyond our solar system.
Union Station will host a special media preview event to unveil the latest addition to Kansas City’s Science Center, Science City – an exciting new touring exhibition, Alien Worlds and Androids. Media are invited to explore the interactive exhibit, interview representatives from GES and USKC, and provide their audience a sneak peek of the out-of-this-world exhibit.
Thursday, May 23, 2013: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Science City entrance, inside of Union Station Kansas City, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT:
Produced by Global Experience Specialists Inc, (GES), Alien Worlds and Androids addresses the question that has fascinated man for centuries: “Are We Alone?” Through the use of robots, telescopes, space probes and high-tech laboratories, scientists have been studying the possibilities of life existing beyond Earth and what forms may take depending on the environment. In this interactive exhibition, visitors will join scientists in their search for alien life within and beyond our solar system, discover strange alien-like creatures found here on Earth, and learn about the technologies used to explore remote solar systems and extreme environments found on Earth. Alien Worlds and Androids highlights scientists’ studies and findings in nine areas: Are We Alone?, Looking for Life in Space, Alien Life on Earth, Artificial Intelligence and Robots, Robot Space Explorers, Explore the Solar System, The Robotization of Planet Earth, I-Cyborg and The Human Microbiome. Science City at Union Station is the host of the world premiere of Alien Worlds and Androids.
About Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
Union Station Kansas City is a historical landmark and civic asset renovated and reopened to the public in 1999. The organization, driven by its mission of science and history education and entertainment, features Kansas City’s science center, Science City; the popular Model Railroad Experience open year round; new Gottlieb Planetarium, one of the region’s largest screen movie theater, live theater, shops, restaurants and home to prominent area civic organizations and businesses. Visit unionstation.org for details.
Global Experience Specialists, Inc. (GES), a Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) company, is a leading marketing agency that produces exhibitions, events, exhibits and retail environments. GES provides a wide range of services, including turnkey official show services, cutting-edge creative and design, marketing and measurement services—all with an unrivaled global reach. GES partners with leading shows and brands, including Spring Fair Birmingham, International Woodworking Fair, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE, Bell Helicopter, L’Oreal, Warner Bros., and Simon Property Group. GES’ National Servicenter® has been recognized with certification under the J.D. Power and Associates Certified Call Center Program℠ for the past five years, and for the fourth year in a row Ad Age has named GES as one of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” For more information, visit ges.com or the GES blog at defyingconvention.ges.com
I have lived in the KC area my entire life and yet I had never been to Union Station. When my eight year old came home and told me they were learning about the planets at school, I thought it would be a wonderful time to take the kids to the Union Station Planetarium. I figured it would be fun and a great learning experience. That my daughter could take a lot of new info back to her class and contribute something new to their discussion. Union Station was very large and seemed to have many more things then I even knew of. I know the kids went to Science City on a field trip and loved it. They were advertising a tornado film that looked like it would be very fascinating.
My eight month old loved the planetarium. The dome ceiling caught his attention through the entire 40 min. show. I will admit that when it started my husband and six and eight year old daughters seemed thrilled at the display. The dome screen was a totally new experience and when “flying” through space looking at the solar system, it felt like you were up in space yourself. All the info wore down my kiddos pretty quickly. They got bored with the Greek God names and all the moons of each planet. I think they were expecting something more entertaining than informative. I think this is a great learning experience for people interested in learning about our solar system but you need to prepare your children. If they are under the impression that they are going to something that is entertaining or more of a show then they will be disappointed. The visual effects get old on the younger audiences attention span pretty quickly so know your children and what they can handle. For the right audience this is a great experience but for the wrong one it could be a disappointment and a waste of money.