Sense-ational Summer Fun

Observe and enjoy the world around you this summer on a sense-ational adventure celebrating all five senses:


When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength. ~Maria Montessori

Touch: Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead (Open thru Oct. 31, 9:00-5:00, 138th & Switzer, Overland Park, 913.897.2360. Admission is $2/person. Guests enjoy free admission after 2:00 Mon.-Thu.). The farmstead showcases a variety of farm animals: goats, a longhorn steer, cows, horses, chickens, mules, sheep, bison, prairie dogs, a koi pond and even some rescued animals—our favorite being the bald eagle. Kids enjoy the petting zoo area where they pet and feed goats. They also enjoy fishing, riding ponies or taking a horse-drawn wagon ride, as well as learning about cows in the dairy barn where they can milk a model cow. Little ones really get a kick out of riding miniature John Deere tractors. The farmstead is beautifully maintained, well shaded and full of wonderful learning opportunities for young children.

It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~ Lewis Grizzard

Taste: Powell Gardens: (1609 NW US Hwy. 50, Kingsville, MO, 816.697.2600. Admission charged.) A visit here is a treat for all five senses. Powell Gardens, one of Kansas City’s botanical gardens, features many wonderful areas to explore. One of our favorites, the 12-acre Heartland Harvest Garden, is the largest edible landscape in the United States. After a visit, children better understand where their food comes from. One of the highlights of a visit is the opportunity to sample foods at the tasting stations, which are open during growing season. Throughout the summer, children can try common foods like strawberries and unusual and exotic foods like yard-long noodle beans. The garden grows more than 2,000 types of food plants. This summer, enjoy the Gardens of Myth exhibit. Sculptures of fantastic beasts from around the globe will make their home in the gardens this summer. Discover creatures as small as tiny fairies and as large as a fearsome 25-foot-long dragon.  Tip: For more fun, pack a beach towel and plan to let the children splash and play in the fountain—a favorite place to cool off on a summer’s day.

Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world, our own, we see it multiplied, and as many original artists as there are, so many worlds are at our disposal. ~ Marcel Proust

Sight: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, Kansas City, MO, 816.751.1278. Free admission; pay for parking.) The museum is one of our favorite destinations in Kansas City. The beautifully lit Bloch Building, the outdoor sculpture Glass Labyrinth and amazing galleries featuring art from around the world make this a terrific family outing, date night or parents night out. Best of all, because admission is free, you don't have to see it all in one day! Visit for 30 minutes or just an hour or two and come back another day. With young children, come after they've enjoyed breakfast and are well rested, then visit for a bit and return another day to see more. Tours are available, including free mobile audio guided tours. Check out an iPod Touch or connect with your own web-enabled device. The mobile audio guide has a special Kansas City Sculpture Park tour just for kids! Guided tours are also offered for free every day. In addition, you will find family guides in the Bloch Lobby that explain various exhibits specifically with kids in mind. You may pick up free copies of the guide at the museum or read the family guides online before your trip! Tip: Use our “Nelson-Atkins Scavenger Hunt” on to add to your fun.

Take time to stop and smell the flowers. ~unknown

Smell: Kauffman Memorial Gardens (4800 Rockhill Rd., Kansas City, MO. Free admission.). The gardens are one of the most beautiful places in Kansas City and a delightful spot for a stroll and photography. Moms will appreciate that the gardens are gated, keeping children within the walls to explore the flowers and fountains without worry that they'll wander into the street or parking lot. The indoor gardens offer a nice place to sit and relax, and they have public restrooms, as well. Tip: Walk across the street to the Anita Gorman Discovery Center, where children enjoy interactive exhibits at the nature center and a whimsical trail with wooded areas for creative play.

Music is the art of thinking with sounds. ~ Jules Combarieu

Sound: There’s no place better to experience Kansas City jazz than at 18th & Vine with a visit to the American Jazz Museum (1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, MO. Admission charged.) and a live concert at the Gem or the Blue Room. The Jazz Museum presents the story of jazz and Kansas City with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to create their own sound and experience the talent of the most exceptional jazz performers ever to live, past or present. Children are able to experiment with sound, listening to various jazz instruments and jazz styles. Tip: Plan to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum next door while you’re there. Learn about the Kansas City Monarchs baseball team and baseball history.

Kristina Light looks forward to summer fun at Powell Garden, where her daughters especially enjoy the annual Festival of Butterflies.

More FREE Summer Fun for the Senses in Kansas City:


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