Kansas City's Rainy Day Fun Guide
Okay Kansas City, we all love our sunshine and nature, but let's face it Kansas City gets its fair share of rain. Planning for a little indoor fun is necessary for the savvy parent. Follow our guide from A to Z for great ideas to enjoy on a rainy day!
A) Art: Explore Hands-On art at Kaleidoscope where children can create their own projects with special materials from Hallmark and Crayola. They love the glow-in-the-dark room, melted wax, watercolor paint dryer, and jigsaw puzzle maker. Best of all, it is FREE! Kaleidoscope (2500 Grand, KCMO. Call for hours 816.274.8300).
B) Bows: Next door to Kaleidoscope, experience the story of Kansas City's own Hallmark, from its founding in 1910 to today. Visit the Hallmark Visitors Center and watch as greeting cards and wrapping paper are made, then participate in hands-on fun as you make a souvenir gift bow with the push of a button.
C) Carousels: Did you know that one of America’s great carousel makers was from Kansas? Children love the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, where you learn about C.W. Parker, the founder of a Carousel factory in Leavenworth, and ride an authentic 1913 carousel. This summer, you can also enjoy an all new model railroad exhibit. CW Parker Carousel Museum (320 S. Esplanade, Leavenworth, KS. 913.682.1331).
D) DIY: Kansas City is home to many great DIY shops where you can paint ceramics, make crafts, paint your own work of art and more. We have your guide to Creative Places in KC.
E) Exhibits: Explore the latest FREE exhibit at Crown Center (2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 816.274.8444). In 2018, explore Funville (Feb. 10-May 6) at Crown Center. Will your child be a firefighter, a schoolteacher, a race car driver, or maybe, President of the United States? In FUNVILLE, children experience grown-up occupations in a kid friendly setting. Let them forecast the weather, perform magic, work in a barbershop or ride a tractor. Whatever they choose, the most important job in FUNVILLE is to have fun. May 26-Sept 3, check out Trivial Pursuit®: A 50-State Adventure. 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, and guide your sled dog team on the Iditarod Trail, to name just a few! More than 70 hands-on learning opportunities address key academic standards for school-age visitors and highlight our nation's geography, history, music, pastimes and iconic tourist destinations; hundreds of U.S. trivia questions at interactive game stations encourage a little friendly competition; and photomurals feature of some America's most beautiful and iconic destinations and lots of fun facts.
F) Foam Factory: At Paradise Park (1021 NE Colbern Rd., Lee’s Summit, MO. 816.246.5224) a family can bond by firing foam balls at one another with air-compressed machine guns and devices in the Foam Factory! While you’re there, climb a rock wall or explore the Children’s Edutainment Center with everything from a miniature grocery store and bank, to an indoor water play exhibit and art center with face paints and special projects for kids. New this year, you can also enjoy laser tag! If it’s not raining, enjoy outdoor fun with go-karts, miniature golf, and batting cages.
H) History: The Oregon, California, and Santa Fe Trails played an integral part in shaping Kansas City. At the National Frontier Trails Museum (318 W. Pacific, Independence, MO. 816.325.7575) you can participate in interactive exhibits as you learn about Western Expansion. The Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop features tours of the farm home and Santa Fe Trail Stagecoach Stop, as well as actual stagecoach rides (1200 Kansas City Rd., Olathe, KS. 913.971.5111).
J) Jump: Head to Jump City (8020 E. 171st St., Belton, MO, 816.425.4966) for an open play session inside this inflatable mecca. With bounce houses, climbing tunnels and soft play areas, this is a favorite way to get the wiggles out.
K) Kid-Size Fun: Play pretend at KidScape at the NEW 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.
L) Lunch: Grab the umbrella and spend a day walking around Legends Outlets. Shop, take in a movie, eat lunch and relax. Visit Cabela’s and look at fish in the aquarium.
M) Miniatures: The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is one of the most fun and engaging museums in town. The first impression is incredible: A giant rotating spiral of backlit toys greets visitors who delight in finding their own favorites and discovering new ones on the animated real-life collage. The dollhouse displays are beautifully lit and presented, and the Coleman dollhouse, in a new home, will still open every December, maintaining a special holiday tradition. New and improved exhibits throughout include a Grandma’s Attic display showcasing toys and presenting their individual stories as treasures to be discovered. Visitors will enjoy interactive exhibits, learning more about the process of making both miniatures and toys.
N) Nature – Indoors: 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. For a complete guide to Nature Centers in Kansas City, click here.
O) Oval Office: Independence was home to the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman. Learn about his presidency at the Truman Presidential Library. There, visitors participate in interactive exhibits, including a replica Oval Office. They also explore Truman artifacts and special exhibits.
P) Puppets: Visit kid-favorite Puppetry Arts Institute, a puppet museum that performs live puppet shows for children and offers puppet making workshops.
Q) Quest: Embark on a quest for hidden art. Take the family on a FREE outing and enjoy our exclusive Scavenger Hunt at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, printable here. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, KCMO. 816.751.1238). The info kiosk offers a family friendly tour and ideas for little ones. Check the calendar for special programming. 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.
R) Read: Spend a day among the shelves at the local library looking for new books and exploring sections of the library you’ve never explored before. Increase your chances of making a new discovery with a visit to a new branch. All of our local libraries host story times and special events for little ones year-round.
S) Swim: Community centers, YMCAs and local gyms are home to indoor pools offering swim lessons for infants and toddlers. Discover local pools here.
T) Treasure: In 1856, the Arabia Steamboat was traversing the Missouri River when her paddlewheel caught a tree snag and she sunk. In the 1980s, the Hawley family took on the adventure of unearthing the Arabia’s treasures and their success is now on display for all to see. Children are captivated by her story and amazed by the cargo, from ketchup to porcelain dolls, tools to dishes, the artifacts of the Arabia give us a glimpse into the past. Arabia Steamboat Museum (400 Grand Blvd. KCMO. 816.471.1856). To read our review of the Steamboat Arabia Museum, click here.
U) Uncover something Big: The National Archives in Kansas City (400 W. Pershing Rd., KCMO. 816.268.8000) preserves historic documents for the Federal Government. They also provide museum quality exhibits year-round. The site is next door to Union Station.
V) Victorian Mansions: The city of Independence is rich with history - tour one of the area's historic homes. Vaile Mansion is a beautiful Victorian mansion telling the history of one of Independence’s original wealthy families, and the Bingham-Waggoner Estate was home to Missouri artist George Caleb Bingham and tells the story of the Civil War in Missouri.
W) Water: 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.
X) eXperiment: Visit Science City at Union Station (30 W. Pershing, KC, MO) where children enjoy hands-on exhibits and adventures! For over one hundred years, Union Station has been a Kansas City landmark. Science City, the Gottlieb Planetarium, the Extreme Screen theater, Theatre for Young America and the shops and restaurants make it a favorite attraction for all ages.
Y) Yum: Check out our Kids Eat Free Guide on KCParent.com and take the family out to eat.
Z) The Kansas City Zoo (816.513.5700) is open year-round and features many indoor exhibits.