Best of July in Kansas City

2017 Edition

July - the heart of summer. Festivals, fireworks, great shows, fresh fruit, long days at the pool, and more. Our top picks for July in Kansas City are here.

Fireworks & Festivities

When, Where, What: Celebrate Independence Day across Kansas City with our KC Fireworks guide.

Why We Love It: Fireworks, parades, festivals, picnics and music! Kansas City celebrates Independence Day with a bang! Read carefully... our KC 4th of July guide includes both events with and without fireworks.




Mummies of the World: The Exhibition at Union Station

When, Where, What: Mummies of the World: The Exhibition at Union Station

Why We Love It: The latest exhibit at Union Station allows visitors a unique opportunity to come face to face with the largest exhibition of real mummies and related artifacts ever assembled. The exhibit provides a window into the lives of ancient people from every region of the world including Europe, South America and Ancient Egypt, offering unprecedented insights into past cultures and civilizations. With over 1.6 million nationwide visitors experiencing Mummies of the World to date, the display at Union Station Kansas City is the regional premiere!




Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude

Details: thru Aug. 6 at The CoterieRead our review of Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude.

Why We LOVE It: In this brand new musical adaptation of everyone’s favorite sarcastic tubby tabby, Garfield awakens to find his birthday – the most important day of the year – has fallen on a Monday. The horror! To make matters worse, all his friends – Jon, Odie, Arlene, and even his nemesis, Nermal – have completely forgotten it’s his big day. Only his beloved teddy bear, Pookie, understands his disappointment. Feeling rejected, Garfield leaves the comforts of home and strikes out to find adventure. Making it as far as the alley, Garfield soon realizes in the outside there’s no T.V., the food is garbage (literally), and animal control is always just around the corner.  In the end, Garfield learns little things like, you know, the value of friendship and also that “home is where the heart - and the food - is.”  

T-Bones Baseball Celebrating their 15th Anniversary


Details: This summer is the 15th Anniversary of the T-Bones at Community America Ballpark. Tip: Kids Eat Free every Monday Night at the game!

Why We LOVE It: The T-Bones ( are  celebrating their 15th  Anniversary as Kansas  City’s Independent  Professional Baseball team playing at Community America Ballpark. T-Bones games are fun for the entire family with fantastic theme nights and specials all season long. On Mondays, kids eat free at the stadium. Saturday night games end with fireworks. 15th Anniversary Fridays will feature the Falcon Skydiving Team and theme nights throughout the season. Friday fun includes:  July 7: Pirates and Princesses night, July 21: Midget Wrestling Championship, July 28: Christmas in July, Aug. 11: Back-to-  School Night, and Sept. 1: Pink in the Park Night. 

FREE Thomas & Friends™: Explore the Rails at Crown Center 

Details: thru Sept. 10, Crown Center. Open during Crown Center shopping hours. FREE. 816.274.8444

Why We Love It: This FREE hands-on exhibit is a great place for indoor play! All abroad for fun learning adventures with Thomas The Tank Engine as you help him be a "Really Useful Engine." Explore the sights and sounds of the Island of Sodor: visit Knapford Station and the Sodor Steamworks, climb inside Thomas' cab, fix Percy's wobble wheels, pull levers for train noises, and race trains along a giant track. This free exhibit is an imaginative adventure for the whole family!



Belton Train Rides

  • Details: Ice Cream Trains Friday at 7pm. And regular rides Sat & Sun at 2pm May-Oct, and Sat at 11am (June - Aug) aboard the Belton, Grandview & KC Railroad Co. (502 Walnut, Belton, MO). The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad Co. is a short line passenger railroad and demonstration museum in Belton, Missouri, just south on US Hwy. 71 from the Kansas City Metro Area. The BG&KC offers excursions on our line running south from Belton on a 5 mile, 45 minute round trip. This is an all volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving rail travel and railroading. Tickets $10/regular train ride, $12/ice cream train. 2 and under ride free.
  • Why We LOVE It: All Aboard! The young, and the young-at-heart, LOVE trains... the charm, the fun memories and nostalgia. This summer, ride the rails with the Belton, Grandview & Kansas City Railroad. The organization is a non-profit volunteer organization run by volunteers like John, who happily tells every visitor his pay is the smile on the kids' faces... and do they ever smile!


The Wizard of Oz by Mesner Puppet Theater

Details: The Wizard of Oz by Mesner Puppet Theater thru July 9 at Crown Center.

Why We LOVE It: Mesner Puppet Theater dazzles KC kids for generations with their one of a kind puppetry and storytelling. This summer's show asks what would a librarian do if storytime at the library was interrupted by an oncoming tornado? Move everyone to the safety of the library basement and tell the most famous tornado story of all...The Wizard of Oz! Journey down the yellow brick road in this new adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved tale of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion. The librarian and her friends use their wits, hearts, and a bit of courage to tell the famous Oz story with puppets as colorful as the Land of Oz itself!




Free (and Cheap) Summer Movies in KC

Details: This summer, enjoy a Free (or Cheap) Movie at one of several area locations! We have your Guide to Free (and Cheap) Summer Movies in Kansas City!​

Why We Love It: Summer movies are a family tradition. You'll find many great movies to choose from... our favorites include:

  • Weekender at Crown Center Festivities begin at 5 p.m., music at 6 p.m., movie at approximately 9 p.m. Cap off your work week with top local bands and favorite food trucks. Shop the wares of KC artisans and finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars. This summer's features include July 7: The Parent Trap (1998). July 14: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. July 21: Remember the Titans. July 28: Jurassic World. August 4: Back to the Future. 816.274.8444
  • Film Series: Disney Classics Join film critic and enthusiast Robert Butler for this four-week series exploring four of Walt Disney's most iconic and groundbreaking animated features. See the films and then get the background on these timeless classics.Registration Required. This summer's features include Mid-Continent Public Library Lee's Summit Branch, 150 NW Oldham Pkwy, Lee's Summit, MO. July 1: Snow White. July 8: Pinocchio. July 15: Bambi. July 22: Fantasia. Mid-Continent Public Library North Oak, 8700 N Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO.  July 10: Snow White. July 17: Pinocchio. July 24: Bambi. July 31: Fantasia.

Gardens of Myth

Details: Gardens of Myth thru October 22, 2017 at Powell Gardens.

Why We LOVE It: Goblins and fairies and trolls, oh my!  See these and other mythical creatures this summer as part of Gardens of Myth, which is making its garden debut at Powell Gardens! The exhibition is a collection of incredibly realistic sculptures depicting creatures of myth from around the world. They range in size from tiny fairies to an incredible 25-foot dragon! Each sculpture is hand made and painted by artist Kendall R. Hart and his team.  Sponsored by J.B. Reynolds Foundation.

Worlds of Fun is open for the Season with TWO NEW Family Rides!

Worlds of Fun

Details: Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun are open for the Season and you an enjoy BOTH parks for the price of one.

Why We LOVE It: Worlds of Fun is a roller coaster enthusiast’s dream park! Worlds of Fun ( is introducing two new unique and thrilling rides in 2017, as well as a completely redesigned front gate and new events. The rides are Mustang Runner, featuring three arms with seven gondolas per arm turning one way while the base of the ride spins the other way, and Falcon’s Flight, “a hair-raising thrill at nearly 100 feet above the ground.” This ride spins and rises simultaneously while carrying 50 riders at once. This year, the park will add a new family tradition of WinterFest, a holiday festival with light displays and entertainment, transforming the park into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. It’s the perfect time to buy a season pass and enjoy the fun all year long. And, it’s home to seven world-class roller coasters, including one of the tallest, longest and fastest roller coasters in the world, the Mamba, with a first drop of 205 feet! The Patriot is a giant inverted coaster that carries the daring through four inversions at a top speed of 65 mph. The extremely daring can pay an extra fee to experience the Ripcord, a Sky Coaster attraction that sends riders in a free-fall pendulum motion from 180 feet in the air at speeds of up to 80 mph.

Time Travelers

Details: Tuesdays & Thursdays 10am-3pm, Wed. 6:30-8:30pm at Shawnee Town 1929. Museum Admission Fees $3.00 per adult, $1.00 per child (ages 5 - 17) FREE - children under 5 Phone for school program information & fees.

Why We LOVE It: This summer Shawnee Town 1929 is offering some old favorites such as feeding the chickens and doing laundry. In addition, you can play catch with vintage gloves, make kites and crepe paper flowers, do leather-working, sing some 1920s melodies, play marbles and try your hand at balsa wood airplanes in honor of Charles Lindbergh. Who knows, there just might be a Model A Ford car ride in your future! Click here for a complete schedule.



Special Events at the Kansas City Zoo

Kansas City Zoo Penguin

Details: The Kansas City Zoo is open year-round. (6800 Zoo Dr., KCMO. 816.513.5800

Why We LOVE It: The Kansas City Zoo ( has introduced amazing improvements every year for the past several years, including Polar Bear Passage, Tiger Trail, Orangutan Canopy, the Tropics, the Helzberg Penguin Plaza, the African Sky Safari and more. The latest addition is one of the most playful and interactive. This spring, the zoo opened the brand new Billy Goats Gruff Yard. More than 20 goats inhabit this interactive, goat-friendly playground.

Mark your calendar for these fun events at the Zoo: Red, White & Zoo July 1-4. Volunteer Open House July 11. FOTZ Exclusive Family Breakfast July 15. SnowZoo July 15-16. Cheetah Run July 15-16. Species Spotlight-Monkeys July 22-23. Powell Gardens Reciprocal Weekend July 22-23. Penguin March July 22-23. Dog Days of Summer July 29-30. And more on the Zoo Calendar!

Over the Rainbow: Toys from the Land of Oz

Details: thru Aug. 20 at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

Why We LOVE It: Published in 1900, L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz is considered America’s first fairy tale and it holds a special place in the hearts of Kansans and Kansas Citians alike. The story of Dorothy’s fantastical journey through the land of Oz has enticed generations. The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is one of our favorite whimsical attractions with toys bringing back memories for generations. The newest exhibit explores the original literary story of The Wizard of Oz and its many retellings, including the 1939 Technicolor film, Return to Oz, and The Wiz, through playthings, first edition books, and original costumes at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.


Kansas City Kansas Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Details: Explore Kansas City, KS with a family-friendly Selfie Scavenger Hunt and learn about all the fun things to do and see in our city.  Challenge yourself to see how many selfie's you can capture!  Win cool prizes by sharing your selfies with us on social media using #KCKselfie.  Pick up your free Selfie Scavenger Hunt Kit at the Kansas City Kansas Convention & Visitors Bureau office located at 755 Minnesota Avenue, Kansas City, KS 66101 between the hours of 8:30am - 5pm Mon-Thur and 8:30am - 4pm on Fridays.

Why We LOVE It: Summer is the season to be a tourist in your own town! The Selfie Scavenger Hunt is the perfect way to explore Kansas City, KS, and inspire your friends and family to join in the fun.



Mahaffie Family Fun Nights

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop

Details: Mahaffie Family Fun Night 6-8 PM every Thursday Night in June & July, Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop and Farm (1200 Kansas City Road, Olathe, KS). FREE admission. Enjoy a variety of historic-themed activities each week. Special activities like stagecoach rides are $3/person. 913.971.5111

Weekly Themes: July themes: July 6- Hit the Trail. July 13 - Civil War. July 20 - Harvest on the Farm. July 27 - Construction 1860s Style.

Why We LOVE It: Mahaffie is hosting special programs on Thursday evenings from 6-8pm when the farm truly comes to life with hands-on history from the 1850s. Activities include free activities (for example: butter churning, planting seeds, tours of the home) and activities with a small fee (for example: Stagecoach rides, working in the Blacksmith Shop, Grinding Corn)and they vary with the theme each week. Our children were enthralled at the blacksmith shop where they made their own "S Hooks" last year and the stagecoach ride is a fun historic experience.

Bonus:  Read our tips for the most fun at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop before you go.

Legends Live

Details: FREE SUMMER CONCERTS at Legends Outlets! Legends Live is back and better than ever at Kansas City’s signature outlet destination with nine free summer concerts, June 10 – Aug. 5! The summer concert series will feature local talent performing popular music from the ‘70s – today, every Saturday evening from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

July 1: The Zeroes, New wave tribute band featuring the top 40 songs from the ‘80s
July 8: Rusty Laffoon, Soulful country infused with rock ‘n’ roll
July 15: Perpetual Change
July 22: Country band performing crowd favorites from many artists
July 29: Rattle and Hum
Aug. 5:  TBD (kids group)

Why We LOVE It: What better way to wrap up a day of summer shopping than with a free live outdoor concert! This is a favorite KC Summer Tradition.

Music in the Park: Lee's Summit

Details: Fridays in Downtown Lee's Summit from 6:30-10pm

Why We LOVE It:  Enjoy free Friday night concerts featuring a variety of musical genres in Howard Station Park in Downtown Lee’s Summit. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets for seating. This event starts Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day weekend.





Overland Park Arboretum: Enchanted Forest

Details: The 300-acre Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens ( welcomes their Enchanted Forest exhibit thru Sept. 4, 2017.

Why We LOVE It: Discover the mystical domains of gnomes, fairies, trolls, elves, sprites and other garden creatures along a trail in the woodland gardens. Throughout the summer, the arboretum will host special events in conjunction with the exhibit, including fairy tale story times, build-a-gnome-home classes and a Faery Faire with live entertainment, costumed characters and more.


Little Adventures at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

  • When, Where, What: LITTLE ADVENTURES at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures on Wednesdays and Saturdays thru August 9.
  • Why We LOVE It: Explore the museum collection through gallery talks and guided tours, then visit the hands-on workshop to make your own toy or miniature. From paper dolls to ships, each week features a new theme. Included with museum admission. Become a member today to enjoy all ten weeks for free


July Festivals

It's Here! Summer Festival Season is here. There are dozens of festivals to enjoy for every interest. These are our favorites for July. Read our KC Summer Festival Guide for more.


Flags for Freedom July 1-8, Merriam Marketplace, 5740 Merriam Drive, Merriam, KS. Each year, Downtown Merriam and the surrounding area transforms into perfect rows of patriotic pride as Flags 4 Freedom organizers display more than 1,500 United States flags.  at the Merriam Marketplace, Irene B. French Community Center and along Merriam and Johnson Drive. Everyone is invited to stop by during the week around the Fourth of July to view an astonishing display that honors our nation.

Booms & Blooms July 1, Powell Gardens, 1609 N. W. U. S Highway 50, Kingsville, MO. Celebrate our nation’s independence with explosions of color and texture on land and in the air at this annual event. Arrive early to stake out a seat with your picnic blanket, enjoy hands-on activities and admire our ground-level blooms in the daylight. After sunset, the Lee’s Summit Symphony will accompany the choreographed blooms in the sky. Food and beverage vendors are featured throughout the entirety of the festival. Members receive free admission and free parking!

Independence Day at Missouri Town July 4, Missouri Town 1855, Fleming Park. Tickets: Adults $5. 00; Youth 5-13 and Seniors $4. 00; Under 5, Free. Experience the festivities as the Missouri Town staff and volunteers celebrate America’s Independence. Patriotic speeches, children’s games, period cooking, dancing, and militia marches are a few of the many interpretive activities. Everyone is invited to join with the staff and volunteers as they march down the main road in the traditional Missouri Town Independence Parade!

Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival July 4, Reynolds Lodge, Lake Shawnee, Topeka, KS. The Topeka Blues Society (TBS) annually presents the Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival. Opening ceremonies begin at approximately 11:00 a. m., and music continues until dark. The festival ends with spectacular fireworks show lighting up the sky, sponsored by Capitol Federal Savings and Loan.

Village Fest July 4, 77th & Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS. Activities include: Tornado ride, Quad jump, Trackless train, Spirit Award ceremony, Children’s Parade - bring your bikes, trikes, wagons & roller skates!  Child Craft center, Inflatable slides, Bounce houses, Face painting, Wacky hair, Petting Zoo, Pony Rides, Clement McCrae Puppets, Displays and demonstrations by Police and Fire District #2, Classic car show, Mr. Bones, and LIVE MUSIC throughout the day

Cass County Fair July 11-16, Cass County Fairgrounds, 308 W Commercial St, Pleasant Hill, MO. From the youth livestock shows to the action-packed demolition derby, the fair has it all. SonShine Amusements will be providing quality rides and attractions.

Wyandotte County Fair July 11-15, Wyandotte County Fairgrounds, 13700 Polfer Rd, Kansas City, KS. Admission is $5 per car. Enjoy live entertainment, 4-H talents, contests, carnival rides, delicious food and more.

Amelia Earhart Festival July 14-15, Atchison, KS. Each summer the community pulls out all the stops in honor of its favorite daughter, complete with a downtown music, food and crafts fair, star-filled outdoor concert, children’s activities, carnival, awards and honors, Earhart research and literature, music on the beautiful Riverfront, aerobatic performances and the grandest of all finales - the “Concert in the Sky” fireworks show.

Platte County Fair July 19-22, Platte County Fairgrounds, Platte City, MO. Old-Fashioned County Fair - Games, Rides, Carnival, Food, Music and More! The fair has been an annual event in the community since the first fair in 1863. It is recorded as being the oldest continuously operating fair west of the Mississippi River.

KC Fringe Festival July 20-30, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing, Kansas City, MO. The KC Fringe Festival’s goal is to provide artists an opportunity to create and perform new material right here in our backyard! This 11-day festival is jam-packed with live theater, dance, cabaret, variety, performance art, visual art, spoken word, and film along with special components for Youth and Teen Fringe.

Miami County Fair July 22-29, Miami County Fairgrounds, Paola. Youth rodeo, carnival, races, parade, demolition derby, bike derby, dog show, horse show, pancake breakfast, concerts and more.

Fun in the Sun Kids Fest July 22, from 9am-1pm at Linden Square (602 NE 70th St., Gladstone, MO). The Fun in the Sun Kids Fest is BACK! This year's event will feature our inaugural Cutie Pie Tri for children age 3 to 5, music from Rockin' Rob, Coloratura, an inflatable water slide and more! Bring the whole family for a day of fun.

Kansas City's Big Picnic July 23, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO. This year’s picnic celebrates the 125th anniversary of KC Parks & Rec, National Parks & Recreation month, and the worldwide commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin. Explore the Donald Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park, where you will discover a new temporary installation, Chillida: Rhythm-Time-Silence-seven large-scale sculptures from renowned Spanish Modernist Eduardo Chillida, along with classic favorite Rodin’s The Thinker and more than 30 other sculptures. Enjoy art activities, live music, food trucks, and games throughout the Big Picnic. Pack your own picnic and blanket, or purchase food from an on-site food truck!

Douglas County Fair July 24-30, Douglas County Fairgrounds, Lawrence, KS. Petting zoo, pony rides, demolition derby, tractor show, live concerts, turtle races, carnival, tractor pull and more.

Leavenworth County Fair July 25-29, Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, Tonganoxie, KS. Enjoy games, contests, pony rides, derbies, food, rides, exhibits, music, and more. From the Kiddies’ Tractor Pull to all the Grand Stand Events at the Leavenworth County Fair, there is something for everyone. We’ll even host your special event! Support the local 4-H participants in all their activities. The 4-H fair projects range from livestock and horses to crafts and clothing. Show pride in the Leavenworth County 4-H programs.

Johnson County Fair July 31- Aug. 5, Johnson County Fairgrounds, Gardner, KS. Dog show, youth rodeo, carnival, concerts, goat milking, police & fire demonstrations, bull blast, barrel racing, parade and demolition derby.

Pick Berries and Fruit

Details: Pick your own fruit and berries at KC area U-Pick Farms. Read our U-Pick Guide for locations.

Why We LOVE It: Picking blueberries at The Berry Patch, peaches at a local orchard, raspberries at u-pick farms and enjoying the "fruit of our labor" with yummy summer cobblers, smoothies, and treats is one of our favorite (and tastiest) summer traditions! There are many wonderful local farms, patches, and orchards where you can pick a variety of fruits, berries and other produce. Click here for our Berry Picking in KC guide!



Swimming Season

Details: Read our KC Water Fun guide for the best pools, waterparks, and beaches near you!

Why We LOVE It: Summer with kids = swim season! With waterparks (including Oceans of Fun where admission to Worlds of Fun is included in the same ticket, and Schlitterbahn with the world's tallest waterslide), neighborhood pools (ranging from basic pools with a classic diving board to full on attractions and lazy rivers), FREE spraygrounds (outdoor sprinkler playgrounds), and swim beaches at local lakes - there are many great ways to enjoy swimming, splashing, and playing in the water all summer long! Read our KC Water Fun guide for the best pools, waterparks, and beaches near you!



Shop at Kansas City's Farmers' Markets!

Kansas City Farmers Market

Details: Kansas City's Farmers' Markets start opening ALL Month long! With over 30 markets to choose from, ranging from small to large all across the metro, there is something for the locavore in all of us. Check out our Guide to Kansas City Farmers' Markets and read great tips for buying local farm fresh produce and discover a Farmers' Market near you.

Why We LOVE It: We're fortunate to have so many terrific Farmers' Markets in Kansas City to choose from. If you want to eat organic, fresh, locally grown produce, or you are looking for plants for your own garden, or local honey, Amish baked goods, or even live animals... Kansas City's Farmers' Markets have it all! Several even boast live music and entertainment. This is an excellent family outing on a Spring Saturday... you have fun and finish a chore all at once!

Brought to you by! Follow KC Parent Magazine on Facebook for more family fun inspiration all month long! 

Still looking for more great family fun ideas in Kansas City? Check out our Kansas City Calendar of Events and Going Places in Kansas City on

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