Rainy Day Fun in KC Inside....Sunny Day Fun in KC Outside

Spring weather in the Midwest is unpredictable. Enjoy these favorite out and about ideas, whether the weather is rain or shine.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm....

Nurture your child’s interest in farm animals with one of these local outings:

  • On a rainy day, head inside for a visit to play pretend at KidScape at the Johnson County Museum (6305 Lackman Rd., Shawnee, KS). This indoor play village includes a child-sized community. One of the favorite aspects of the exhibit is the farm with a tractor, crops of corn and a great farm-to-table display. The pioneer farmhouse with a pretend chicken coop offers a glimpse into farm life of yesteryear. These are a just a few of the endearing features of this hands-on play area. Best of all, admission is free, and the museum offers special story times and events throughout the year.
  • On a sunny day, feed baby goats, ride a pedal tractor and learn how to milk a cow at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead (13800 Switzer, Overland Park, KS, 913.897.2360). The farmstead is a top pick for local moms who can take their tots to encounter goats, chickens, ponies, cows, bunnies, pigs, horses, bison, prairie dogs and more.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish...

Fish fascinate little ones, and these fun outings are memorable favorites:

  • On a rainy day, meet sea animals face to face at Sea Life Aquarium (2475 Grand Blvd, Kansas City, MO, 816.471.4386). This favorite local attraction takes guests under the sea on a 2- to 3-hour journey from the fresh waters of the Missouri River, into the mighty Mississippi River, then out into the warm, blue, coral-strewn waters of the Caribbean Sea, ending in the deep, dark abyss of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the favorite exhibits is the touch pool, where visitors handle sea stars, urchins and other sea creatures while educators answer questions. Come nose to nose with sharks and enjoy astonishingly close views of everything from starfish and seahorses to graceful rays. 
  • On a sunny day, feed fish from the dock at Longview Lake Marina (9898 Longview Rd., Kansas City, MO). Purchase fish food for a dollar or two in the marina shop and enjoy the feeding frenzy as carp splash for the tidbits. Tip: Remember life jackets.

Every Child’s an Artist...

Educators agree that encouraging a child’s love of art and creativity is key for early development. Think outside of the crayon box with these outings:

  • On a rainy day, paint pottery. Local ceramics shops (Ceramic Café: 9425 Mission Rd., Leawood, KS, 913.383.0222 or Paint, Glaze & Fire: 12683 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, KS, 913.661.2529) offer story time and projects for little ones. Or walk in any time and paint something together. Let your little one get creative or design a handprint or footprint keepsake.
  • On a sunny day, spend the day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, Kansas City, MO). You can visit the museum any time and explore the galleries, then enjoy a picnic on the lawn and explore the exhibits outside at Sculpture Park. The info kiosk offers a family friendly tour and ideas for little ones. Or plan to visit when special programming for tots is on the calendar. On the second Sunday of each month at 1:30, enjoy story time for preschoolers. On the third Friday of each month, participate in Junior Jaunts from 10:15 to 11:00. Bring your baby in a stroller or carrier for an adult-focused, yet infant-friendly, mini museum tour. 

Where the deer and the antelope play...

Learning about nature native to the Midwest is a great way to spend a day:

  • On a rainy day, Kansas City is home to many wonderful nature centers, and they all offer story time and classes for all ages, including infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Burr Oak Woods (1401 NW Park Rd., Blue Springs, MO, 816.228.3766) is one of our favorite outings on a chilly afternoon. You’ll see a large aquarium of Missouri's freshwater fish, snakes, turtles, toads and more and many great hands-on exhibits. Lakeside Nature Center (4701 E. Gregory Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 816.513.8960) is home to some of the best animal displays in the area, with falcons, owls, eagles, toads, frogs, fish, insects and wonderful exhibits on the animals in our city and in our homes. Lastly, Prairie Park Nature Center (2730 Harper St., Lawrence, KS, 785.832.7980) features reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals, as well as a hands-on center for preschoolers that features nature puppets, puzzles and activities.
  • On a sunny day, visit the Native Hoofed Animal Enclosure in Fleming Park. This 110-acre fenced enclosure is home to bison, elk and white-tailed deer. You may feed apples or pears to the animals as they approach the fences.

Stop and smell the roses...

Toddlers love the colors and smells of fresh flowers. Enjoy the beauty of nature with these field trips:

  • On a rainy day, visit your local nursery. Family Tree Nursery (three metro locations) and Heartland Nursery are some of the largest nurseries in the area with wide selections to enjoy. 
  • On a sunny day, Powell Gardens (1609 NW US Hwy. 50, Kingsville, MO, 816.697.2600), the area’s botanical gardens, is a delightful place to spend a spring day. With blooming flowers to enjoy and the charming Heartland Harvest Garden (entirely edible landscape), rock wall garden and more to explore—including play areas for children—you and your little ones will have an enchanted visit.

A is for Animals...

Appreciate a variety of animals on one of these outings. Tip: You may pack a picnic at the Kansas City Zoo, and Crown Center features tables for enjoying a sack lunch.

  • On a rainy day, pretend to be an animal at Crown Center (2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 816.274.8444). Enjoy the free Animal Tales & Trails exhibit through May 6. This interactive exhibit is a creative play place where children learn about their favorite animals.
  • On a sunny day, ride the carousel at the Kansas City Zoo (6800 Zoo Dr., Kansas City, MO). The zoo is always a favorite destination, with polar bears, penguins, elephants, kangaroos, sea lions and hundreds more animals to enjoy. Purchase a FOTZ pass to include rides and visit often, plus zoo memberships are reciprocal with other zoos if your family travels.

Kristina Light believes in being prepared when it comes to fun with kids. 

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