Best of July in Kansas City
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.
Dinosaurs Revealed: Journey Across America, a world premiere exhibition opening at Union Station June 30! Come face-to-face with 26 life-size dinosaurs. See them move, hear them roar. Examine two massive full body skeletons and dozens of real fossils. Get hands-on digging for new evidence. Walk through the most prolific North American dinosaur dig sites. Visit the Paleontologist Hangout and meet real dinosaur hunters. Interact with a 3D augmented reality volcano, dinosaur tracks, puzzles and more. It's an adventure that promises to educate, fascinate and excite imaginations of every age.
4th of July: Fireworks & Festivities
Fireworks, parades, festivals, picnics and music! Kansas City celebrates Independence Day with a bang! Read our complete guide to KC's fireworks.
Goosebumps: The Musical
Goosebumps: The Musical is showing June 19 - August 5 at The Coterie. Brooke and Zeke have been cast as the leads in the school's new production of an old play about a phantom. Mysterious things start interrupting rehearsals and they have to wonder: is this someone's idea of a joke, or is the Phantom real? An adventure ensues that will bring out your inner sleuth and keep everyone in suspense until the final curtain. Read our review here.
Coterie presents Newsies is showing July 7-29 at the White Theatre at the J. For the very first time, The Coterie and the White Theatre at The J join forces to create Kansas City’s first locally-produced production of the Broadway smash hit. Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies tells the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right. Read our review here.
Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun is open with NEW attractions! This year, enjoy the new Nordic Chaser where guests of all ages will board mini ships that rotate speedily around a circuit. The ride captures the imagination as guests experience the sensation of rising and falling along ocean waves. The ride will be placed in the park’s Scandinavia themed area. Guests will also enjoy the newly renovated Timber Wolf. Since its debut in 1989, Timber Wolf has cast an imposing shadow on the surrounding woods as Worlds of Fun's first wooden roller coaster. Timber Wolf opened as the top wooden coaster in the world and then received accolades as a top wooden coaster for over 8 consecutive years.Now, fan favorite and the park's original wooden coaster gets a new finale! Worlds of Fun is replacing the helix with a high-speed over banked 70 degree turn. This thrilling final corner turns riders nearly sideways!
Blueberry, Fruit, and Veggie Picking
Blueberries, cherries, sweet corn, and other delicious fruits & veggies are ready to pick in June. With our famously unpredictable weather, the definite start date varies from year to year, but you’re sure to enjoy a trip to one of these local patches. Read our guide to Kansas City U-Pick Farms for info.
Kids, experience a 1920s Summer with Shawnee Town 1929's Time Travelers Series: Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Wednesdays 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. There are special themes each week including goin' to town, down on the farm, cooking, chores, and fun. Kids learn from the past through these engaging hands-on programs. Note: No Time Travelers on June 20 & 27 and July 11 & 25.
Trivial Pursuit®: A 50-State Adventure
Crown Center brings a brand new FREE exhibit to its Level I Showplace this summer. Trivial Pursuit®: A 50-State Adventure will be on display thru Sept. 3. This pretend trek across the U.S.A. features an activity for every state and the District of Columbia. Ride a mule in the Grand Canyon, celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square, hit a home run at Fenway Park, guide your sled dog team on the Iditarod Trail and more! Answer hundreds of U.S. trivia questions at interactive game stations that encourage a little friendly competition and enjoy photomurals that feature of some America’s most beautiful and iconic destinations and lots of fun facts.
Kansas City Zoo: Stingray Bay
This summer the zoo celebrates the opening of the brand new Stingray Bay, and Bam Bam, a new polar bear to join Berlin at the Kansas City Zoo. At stingray bay, visitors may touch cownose and southern stingrays and white-spotted bamboo sharks in this shallow touch pool. This indoor/outdoor facility is ideal for year-round guests, but most importantly, the state-of-the-art exhibit features a water filtration system providing a healthy habitat for the animals. Entrance to Stingray Bay is included with regular zoo admission. For an additional fee, you may participate in one of a limited number of feeding opportunities. The Kansas City Zoo is open year-round (except Jan. 1). (6800 Zoo Dr., KCMO. 816.513.5800). Pack a picnic and bring it to the zoo!
July's Special Events at the Kansas City Zoo:
- July 1–4: Red White & Zoo
- July 14 & 15: Zootastik Learning Fest— All About Zookeepers
- July 14 & 15: SnowZoo
- July 21: FOTZ Member Breakfast
- July 28: KU Day at the Zoo
- July 28 & 29: Species Spotlight— Sharks & Rays
- July 28 & 29: Penguin March
Johnson County Parks & Rec Summer Family Fun
Johnson County Parks & Rec (JCPRD) is offering a variety of summer fun events for the entire family!
Our Favorite July Events with JCPRD (you'll find more on their calendar). Note, fees may apply for events. Register with JCPRD in advance.:
- Animal Clues: July 6, 2018, 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM @ Ernie Miller Park Amphitheater
- “Into the Woods” (Rated PG): July 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, & 14 @Theatre in the Park
- Overnight Fishing at Lexington Lake Park: July 7, 2018, 11:00 PM - July 8, 2018, 5:00 AM @ Lexington Lake Park
- Movies in the Park - “Despicable Me 3” - Rated PG: July 10, 2018, 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM @ The Theatre in the Park
- Listen Local Live - Duncan Burnett: July 13, 2018, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM @ Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
- Wildlife Webs: July 13, 2018, 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM @ Ernie Miller Park Amphitheater
- Overnight Fishing at Heritage Park: July 14, 2018, 11:00 PM - July 15, 2018, 5:00 AM @ Heritage Park
- Family Fun Time: July 15, 2018, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM @ TimberRidge Adventure Center
- Bats: July 20, 2018, 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM @ Ernie Miller Park Amphitheater
- “The Addams Family” (Rated PG): July 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27 & 28 @Theatre in the Park
- Overnight Fishing at Shawnee Mission Park: July 21, 2018, 11:00 PM - July 22, 2018, 5:00 AM @ Shawnee Mission Park
- Movies in the Park - “The Land Before Time” - Rated G: July 24, 2018, 8:30 PM - 10:30 PM @ The Theatre in the Park
- S’more Family Fun: July 27, 2018, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Shawnee Mission Park
- Come Sail with Us!: July 28, 2018, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM @ Shawnee Mission Park
Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Culture House presents The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Yardley Hall (Carlsen Center at JCCC) July 20-22. Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney animated feature, The Hunchback of Notre Dame showcases the film’s Academy Award-nominated score, as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz. Peter Parnell’s new book embraces story theatre and features verbatim passages from Hugo’s gothic novel. The musical begins as the bells of Notre Dame sound through the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be "Out There," observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though – the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies – and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.
Ride the Rails
Ride the rails with the family aboard a real train with Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad. Enjoy excursions running south from Belton on a 5-mile, 45-minute round trip. Season: May-December. Regular Train Rides $10/ea Sat & Sun 2pm (May-Oct) Closed Sunday in July & August Saturday at 11am (June-August only) Ice Cream Train $12/ea Every Friday June-August at 7pm Kids Under Three FREE!
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop's Family Fun Nights
Experience living history at Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop's FREE Family Fun Nights (Thursdays 6-8pm) in June & July. Enjoy a different theme of history each week with lots of hands on activities! Admission is free, a small fee required for some activities. Stagecoach rides will be $3/person ages 3 and up. Themes:
- July 5: Independence Day: 1860s Style! with FIREWORKS!
- July 12: Cowboys
- July 19: Food on the Farm
- July 26: Mad Scientists: 1860s Style!
Go, Dog. Go!
"Go, Dog Go!" puppet show June 26 - July 15 with Mesner Puppet Theater. Big dogs, little dogs, yellow dogs, blue dogs. Dogs at work, dogs at play, dogs in hats, dogs in cars! It’s an all out dog party in this colorful hilarious adaption of P.D. Eastman’s beloved book. Come and unleash your inner dog! Reserve your tickets today at Central Ticket Office, 816-235-6222 or online at www.mesnerpuppets.org
Little Fun / Big Adventures at the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures
Explore the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (5235 Oak Street, KC, MO. 816.235.8000) collection through gallery talks and guided tours, then visit the hands-on workshop to make your own toy or miniature. This museum offers a educational, interactive, and whimsical exhibits where the story of play comes to life! During Little Adventures on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:30am - 3:30pm, visitors enjoy the opportunity to create their own toy or work of art.
July Special Programs at the Museum:
- July 7: LITTLE ADVENTURES: MARVELOUS MARBLES
- July 11 & 14: LITTLE ADVENTURES: MINIATURE ROOM SETTINGS
- July 18 & 21: LITTLE ADVENTURES: SUPERHERO ADVENTURES
- July 25 & 28: LITTLE ADVENTURES: TINY TABLES
Johnson County Museum
The Johnson County Museum (8788 Metcalf Ave Overland Park, KS) is one of our favorite local attractions with fabulous local history exhibits and the beloved KidScape. At KidScape, kids learn through play about the past. An 1870s farmstead introduces kids to life on the farm-- tending animals, collecting eggs, gardening and house chores inside the farmhouse. Time travel to the 1900 the city where kids sell fruits and vegetables at the City Market, perform for an audience at the theatre, and teach at the school. Suburban life springs up in the 1950s! Care for sick patients at the hospital, cook up burgers and fries at the diner, and build a house for a new suburban family. Even explore a park with a secret cave! Kidscape offers hours of fun for kids to explore and play.
- Wed Jul. 11: Retro Story and Art Fun! (Ages 3-5 with Adult)
- Wed Jul. 18: Jo Ho Storyteller
- Wed Jul. 25: Lunch & Learn: Thomas Hart Benton - An Artist in Kansas City
Kansas City's Summer Reading Programs
Books open new worlds to children. This summer encourage your child to cultivate a love of reading with incentive programs from local libraries and businesses! Check out our Kansas City Summer Reading Program Guide for information.
Big Backyard at Powell Gardens
Explore the newest exhibit at Powell Gardens - the Big Backyard thru Oct. 21. Explore an oversized world of everyday objects in this larger-than-life exhibition featuring backyard items such as Gigantic Adirondack chairs and an enormous birdhouse.
Fun at Paradise Park
Paradise Park in Lee's Summit. Paradise Park is a favorite family fun center where there truly is something for everyone. From the Children's EduTainment Center with indoor play for little ones, to the arcades, gokarts, and rock wall and more for teens and adults - this is the place for families to play.
July Special Events at Paradise Park:
- Firecracker Days June 25 - July 4: Summer is a BLAST! Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue! Paradise Park is gearing up for its annual celebration of Firecracker Days. Register all week to win FREE Paradise Park door prizes! Bonus Fun Card points, Max Pak add-ons and delicious summer food specials are features that come with the purchase of a Max Pak Unlimited wristband all week long!
- Middle School Teen Night - July 15: Middle-school teen guests can enjoy a night of fun with their friends at the Park. For only $20, they get unlimited play on a variety of our Adventure Attractions, a $5 FUN CARD, and a PERSONAL PIZZA (a $40 value!)
Family Events at the National World War I Museum and Memorial
The National WWI Museum and Memorial (2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO). Within the museum walls below, however, lies one of the best historic sites in the Midwest, the National World War I Museum. With tremendous state-of-the-art exhibits telling the story of World War I and, more importantly, the soldiers and civilians of the era—their sacrifices, their journeys—this is one of Kansas City’s most important attractions. History is brought to life in this family‑friendly program in which kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts, every Saturday at 11 a.m. NOTE: On May 28, Summer Hours Begin! The Museum is open 7 days a week beginning on Memorial Day. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Sunday - Friday) 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (Saturday).
In July, explore their newest exhibition For Liberty: American Jewish Experience in WWI. For Liberty: American Jewish Experience in WWI provides an in-depth look of what life was like for Jewish Americans on the homefront and for the nearly 250,000 people who served in the American Expeditionary Forces through remarkable stories and artifacts. Featured items include Irving Berlin’s draft registration card and the handwritten draft of Leon Simon’s 1917 Balfour Declaration, a public statement from the British government that helped lay the foundation for the establishment of a Jewish state. The exhibition is open through the centennial of Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 2018.
In conjunction with For Liberty: American Jewish Experience in WWI, the Museum and Memorial will host a free program on American Jews in WWI on Monday, July 16 at 6:30 p.m. Award-winning scholar and author Michael Neiberg traces the evolution of American Jewish thought from 1914 to 1917 and shows how events in both Europe and the U.S. led American Jews to support America’s entry into the war during the presentation.
Pool & Spray Park Season
Summer is the season for watersports. Fortunately, Kansas City has something for everyone! From free spraygrounds for young children, to daring water rides for teens and adults, to classes and programs, pools and waterparks and everything in between. Our water fun season is Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day Weekend! Read our KC Water Fun Guide for details.
FREE (and Cheap) Summer Movies
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!
Our Top Picks for FREE (and Cheap) Summer Movies in June include:
- June 6: Grease at Summit Fair: Enjoy free outdoor movies on the first Friday of the month June - October at Summit Fair, NW Blue Pkwy in Lee's Summit, MO. Bring your own chairs/blankets! *No glass containers or alcohol permitted.
- July 13: The Lego Movie: Oak Park Mall: Enjoy FREE movies on the second Friday of June, July and August at Oak Park Mall Center Court 11149 West 95th Street Overland Park, KS. Activities start at 6pm. Movies start at 7pm.
- July 20: Grease: Lenexa: Pack your lawn chairs and blankets and bring your family to enjoy an evening under the stars. Lawn games, including giant Jenga, giant Ker-Plunk, ladder ball and washers, begin at 5: 30 pm. and the movie will begin at dusk.
- July 19: Cars Moo-vie Night at Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead: Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead, 13800 Switzer Rd., Overland Park, KS. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and join us for Moo-vie Night at the Farmstead.Gates open at 7: 30 p.m. Moo-vie begins at dusk (approx. 9: 00 p.m.)
Read our Guide to Free (and Cheap) Summer Movies in Kansas City for more!
Farmers Market Season
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. 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!
Enjoy fabulous festivals and fairs all month long! Read our complete KC Summer Festival Guide for more!
Our Favorite July Festivals:
Independence Day at Missouri Town 1855 July 4 at Missouri Town 1855, 8010 E. Park Rd, Lee's Summit, MO. 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!
KC RiverFest July 4 at Berkley Riverfront Park, Kansas City, MO. KC RiverFest is the premiere Independence Day celebration in our nation. Located at Richard L. Berkley Riverfront, KC RiverFest has become "Kansas City's Riverfront Tradition," known as the only place in Kansas City to celebrate the Fourth of July. Join with friends, family and community leaders for an afternoon of entertainment including live music, kid activities, street performers, all the food, and of course, fireworks!
Fiesta Mexicana July 7: Parade, July 10-14: Festival, Topeka, KS. Celebrate Topeka's Mexican culture during this annual event that includes a parade downtown and five nights of traditional Mexican food, music, dancing and even a jalapeño eating contest in the Oakland neighborhood every July - near Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Cass County Fair July 10 - 15 at 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.
Amelia Earhart Festival July 20-21 at 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, and the ‘Concert in the Sky’ fireworks show.
Kansas City's Big Picnic July 22 at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO. Enjoy art activities, live music, food trucks, and games throughout the Big Picnic. Pack your own picnic or grab dinner from an on-site food truck!
Festival of Butterflies July 27 - August 12 at Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. U.SHighway 50, Kingsville, MO. Enjoy the annual festival dedicated these winged pollinators. Walk among locally raised, native butterflies in our flower-filled ‘Butterfly Breezeway’ or journey to the tropics in our lush Conservatory where a close encounter with the Blue Morpho, Golden Birdwing, or Emerald Swallowtail is almost guaranteed. Touch live caterpillars, learn about the life cycle of Monarchs and participate in the Pollinator Parade.
Rock & Food Trucks Festival: Topeka July 28 at Downtown Topeka, 9th and Kansas Ave, Topeka, KS. The 2018 Music & Food Truck Festival Series features THREE different concerts for music and food truck lovers in the Midwest. Choose tasty eats from food trucks before claiming a spot in front of some of your favorite, or soon-to-be-favorite, bands in Downtown Topeka, KS.
Fun in the Sun KidsFest July 28 at Linden Square 602 NE 70th St., Gladstone, MO. Enjoy a day of entertainment, live music, and lots of games and activities for the entire family in Downtown Gladstone. Kids can enjoy face painting, arts and crafts an inflatable water slide, and a variety of games provided by the Gladstone Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department. Bring the whole family and enjoy a day of Fun in the Sun in Downtown Gladstone.
The Great Car Show July 29 at National World War I Museum and Memorial, 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO. The event will include: Music, Ride alongs, Food trucks, Youth judging, Educational displays, Pinstriping demonstrations, Reserved space for car clubs, Promotional items from vendors, Dash plaques available for purchase, Professional photo of all car entries (available for purchase), VIP car registration parking (includes goody bag), Discounted admission to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. All years, makes, and models are welcome. Venue can accommodate up to 400 vehicles.
Read our complete KC Summer Festival Guide for more!