Best of January in Kansas City

January in Kansas City is the time for sledding, snow skiing, ice skating, and wonderful indoor family outings. Celebrate Chinese New Year at The Nelson-Atkins, catch new shows at The Coterie and Carlsen Center. And, watch The Sound of Music at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. These are our Top Picks for January in Kansas City!

Ring in the New Year... with Kids!

Bid farewell to 2018 and Ring in 2019! Celebrate the New Year with fun for the entire family... you'll find family-friendly parties across the metro as our favorite venues roll out the red carpet for YOU! Read KC's New Year's Eve Guide for Families.

First Day Hike

Celebrate the beginning of 2019 by taking a guided hike in a state park on Jan. 1, 2019. Start a new tradition with your friends and family as you get some healthy exercise and enjoy the great outdoors. First Day Hikes are promoted by America’s State Parks and you will be joining hikers from all 50 states. For Missouri State Park's First Day Hikes click here, for Kansas State Park's First Day Hikes click here

Sound of Music

The Sound of Music comes to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts January 15-20, 2019. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy® Award-winning Best Score! THE SOUND OF MUSIC features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by Maria Augusta Trapp. Buy tickets today!

LAST CHANCE to see Festival of Lights at Powell Gardens

Powell Gardens (1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO) celebrates the season with special events in the gardens throughout the winter and we're especially excited for the Festival of Lights Thurs-Sun thru Jan 6. The Powell Gardens Festival of Lights offers a unique holiday experience in the Kansas City area. A lighting exhibition, artfully curated by the Powell Gardens Horticulture staff, the Festival of Lights includes botanically-themed lighting displays that begin at the garden entrance and stretch along a mile-long walking path through six of the seven themed gardens. enjoy free children’s activities each day from 4-8 p.m. including an ornament station to take the magic home with you!

LAST CHANCE to see The Pigeon Comes to Topeka! A Mo Willems Exhibit

The Pigeon Comes to Topeka! A Mo Willems Exhibit thru Jan. 4 at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center. Co-organized by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the exhibition is inspired by the art and characters of the beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Mo Willems. Many familiar characters will be featured including best friend duo Elephant and Piggie, faithful companion Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon, the wily city bird best known for his antics in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Activities will give visitors the opportunity to make art that is inspired by Mo Willems and to learn about the rich social and emotional lives of the author’s characters. The exhibit will also feature prints of illustrations, including sketches and other preliminary materials, by Mo Willems. In this play-and-learn exhibit, visitors can: Have a hilarious conversation in the voices of Elephant Gerald and Piggie at a double-sided phone booth. Make Elephant and Piggie dance with old-time animation. Put on a wearable bus and take a drive around the exhibit. Spin the laundromat washing machine and uncover Knuffle Bunny and other surprises! Dress up Naked Mole Rat and send him down the runway for a one-of-a-kind fashion show. Stack lightweight blocks to create their own terrible monster or funny friend. Launch foam hot dogs at The Pigeon and play the plinko game to give the Duckling a cookie. Try out art techniques that Mo uses for his own books.

Dinosaurs Revealed

Dinosaurs Revealed: Journey Across America, a world premiere exhibition at Union Station! 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.

Overland Park Arboretum

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (8909 W. 179th St., Overland Park, KS) is open for your enjoyment year-round. This winter, check out one of their special programs!

Special Events at the Arboretum in January:

  • Lunar Eclipse: Jan 20 from 7pm-Midnight: In addition to moonlight stargazing, watch as the Earth passes between the sun and moon. Bring the family and flashlights. After you moon gaze the night time sights and sounds, you'll enjoy the educational activities available for the whole family. No pre-registration necessary
  • Kansas Day: Jan 26 from 10am-2pm: Ditch the drab of winter with a lively birthday party for Kansas at the Overland Park Arboretum. January is the month our state entered the union, and we are celebrating our Kansas heritage with storytelling, reenactments, music, a history fair and more.

GRAND OPENING: Code Ninjas Lenexa

Code Ninjas is excited to be opening our second center in Lenexa (12831 W. 87th Street Parkway)! During our Grand Opening, Jan. 21 from 2-6pm, stop by anytime to tour our exciting Game Development Center, get your face painted, enjoy refreshments and play games! Enter to win a FREE week of Summer Camp and other great prizes! 

Secret Soldiers: Heroines In Disguise

Secret Soldiers: Heroines In Disguise Jan. 22 - Feb. 10 at The Coterie (Level I at Crown Center). A world premiere production with magic and wonderment, the play begins with 13 year old Jack McCall learning some very bad news about his health. His best friend Waddy is not as concerned as he is, since you hear stories of people getting over this illness all the time. From there, reality blends with fantasy as Jack becomes convinced that he needs to find his way back to the magical park and the imaginary friends from his childhood. An elf named Pick along with an owl, a troll, and a ghost challenge Jack to an adventure to save the park from an evil imprisoned in a massive tree. But this adventure may not even be real, so what does facing this adversary in the park have to do with Jack’s sickness anyway?

Chinese New Year at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Chinese New Year FREE Jan. 27 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. This is one of the best multi-cultural events of the year and admission is FREE. Delight in the Year of the Pig! Experience the culture of China and enjoy our world-renowned collection of Chinese Art. Enjoy paper cutting, shadow puppetry, and trumpet demonstrations followed by a Q&A. Learn to say Happy New Year in Chinese with help from students from the Institute of Chinese Language and Culture.

Folly Kids Series

In January, catch Meet Dr. Martin showing Jan. 29 as part of the Folly Kids Series (300 West 12th Street, Kansas City, MO). A wonderful introduction to the life and work of one of America’s most influential men, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This show is perfect for younger audiences and serves to introduce students to major concepts of Black History like freedom, integration, and equality. Tickets just $6!


Störling Dance Theater’s Underground has been called “one of the most vivid, heartfelt, and theatrically astute pieces of dance theater ever to grace a Kansas City stage,” (Kansas City Star) and named one of the top ten performances of the decade! (The Independent). Choreographed by the duo of Mona Störling-Enna and Tobin James, Underground is a visual tapestry based on true stories of the Underground Railroad. With a cast of more than 50, featuring the talented artists of Störling Dance Theater, the production of this dramatic historical depiction has been hailed as a cultural gift, making it the perfect celebration of the Black History Month and a beautiful portrayal of the American Spirit. For its 12th consecutive year, UNDERGROUND will inspire and challenge, awaken and encourage – embraced by a wide and diverse audience from across Kansas City and beyond. Jan. 31 is the school performance (tickets are $5 - must be reserved in advance), other shows are public performances. Click here for ticket information.

Visit Polar Pals at the Kansas City Zoo

KC Zoo Penguins

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! The Polar Bear Passage and the indoor Helzberg Penguin Plaza are our favorite attractions at the zoo, and both are indoor making a great winter outing. Winter  at the zoo is great... you don't have to worry about bugs, heat, or crowds and it isn't crowded.Weather permitting enjoy a ride on the carousel or train for more fun. 

Bonus: Visit the Zoo's Calendar to learn about Polar Bear and Penguin Overnights when visitors are invited to spend the night at the zoo and other special events year round!

January's Special Events at the Kansas City Zoo: 

  • January 5-6: Tropical Weekend 

  • Saturdays and Sundays in January: King and Gentoo Penguin March

Fun at Paradise Park

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. 

January Special Events at Paradise Park:

  • Teen Night – Unlimited Fun: Friday, January 12 from 7-10 PM. $15 plus tax (a 33% discount). Kick off the “New Year” right with unlimited indoor fun! The special deal this month includes an Unlimited MAX PAK, a $5 FUN CARD and a Personal PIZZA! 

  • Superhero Party – Free!: Saturday, January 12 from 11AM-2PM. Boom!” “Pop!” “Bam!” Calling all superheroes: today Paradise Park is your not-so-secret  headquarters. Dress up in your favorite superhero costume and join us for an incredible day of giveaways, photos and marvelous fun. Free. No reservations needed

  • Superhero VIP Breakfast : Jan. 12 from 9-10am, Members - $8 plus tax. Nonmembers - $17 plus tax. Seating and space is limited so register now! Includes: Seating for fabulous kid-friendly breakfast, exclusive meet and mingle with superheroes, photos and autographs, costume contest, giveaways, all-day Discovery Play & Foam Factory admission.

  • Prince & Princess Party – Free!: Saturday, January 26 from 11AM-2PM. Let the fairytales begin! With a wave of our magic wand, you can feel like a real prince or princess. Join the make-believe fun as the enchanted magic unfolds at Paradise Park. Dress up for a royal day of giveaways, photos and whimsical fun all day at the meet and greet event

  • VIP Prince & Princess Breakfast: Jan. 26 from 9-10AM, Members - $8 plus tax, Nonmembers - $17 plus tax. Seating and space is limited so register now! Includes: Seating for fabulous kid-friendly breakfast, exclusive meet and mingle with superheroes, photos and autographs, costume contest, giveaways, all-day Discovery Play & Foam Factory admission.

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.

January Special Events at The National WWI Museum and Memorial:

  • Hands-On History: Every Saturday at 11am. History is brought to life in this family‑friendly program in which kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts.
    Complimentary with paid admission.
  • Complimentary Museum Tour: Every Thursday 2:30pm. Explore the Main Gallery with one of our knowledgeable Museum Guides on a tour. Space is limited on a first come, first serve basis. Sign-up on Thursdays at the Museum ticketing window. Complimentary with paid admission | Museum Main Gallery
  • Day in the Life: Jan 13 The Living History Volunteer Corps will be on site to share stories of the Great War era and make history come to life! Guests will have the opportunity to ask our Living History Volunteer Corps questions and view non-accessioned WWI objects up close. FREE to the public | J.C. Nichols Auditorium Lobby
  • Mending the Wounded: Jan 16 The world was faced with unimaginable injury during WWI. Medical leaders and politicians around the globe created policies to help heal and rehabilitate the wounded. In the years following 1918, the U.S. Army expanded their focus on medicine to build infrastructure and recruit specialists to support veteran care, forever changing American medical practice. Join Dr. Sanders Marble, Senior Historian at U.S. Army Office of Medical History, for a discussion on these efforts and how they transformed healing both inside and outside the military. FREE with RSVP | J.C. Nichols Auditorium
  • Winnie-the-Pooh Day: Jan 19 Join us for story time at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, where Museum educators read from an age-appropriate book and lead children in a short activity or craft.
  • Air Power & The Great War: Jan 24 The effects of air power on World War I were immense. Explore these impacts with four-time winner of the Thornton D. Hooper Award for Excellence in Aviation History and past president of the World War One Historical Association, Steve Suddaby, in a discussion on how air innovations influenced land and sea battles’ outcomes. Presented in partnership with the Linda Hall Library. FREE with RSVP | Linda Hall Library, 5109 Cherry Street

Carlsen Center's January Shows

Enjoy live shows all season at JCCC Performing Arts Center (12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS). January's shows offer great shows for parents and educational shows for families. 

January Shows:

  • Broadway Princess Party Jan 18 at 7pm: Brush off your tiara and unleash your inner princess with Broadway’s original Cinderella, Belle and Jasmine! Hosted by two-time Tony-nominated star Laura Osnes (Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella) and her own Fairy Godfairy, Benjamin Rauhala (musical director extraordinaire), the evening also stars the multitalented Susan Egan (Tony-nominated for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and voice of Meg in Hercules), Courtney Reed (the original Jasmine in Aladdin on Broadway), and a special guest as the show’s Prince of the Evening. Your every dream will come true as four knockout voices sing the petticoats off of every princess song in the book and share hilarious backstage stories of their royal antics on stage. Direct from its sold-out shows at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, this is the princess party you WISH you’d had as a kid, only better, because these are the iconic, original stars. Adding to the merriment, princes and princesses from 6 to 106 are encouraged to dress up in their best royal attire (or cosplay); who knows, you may win a special princess prize! 
  • Winterlude The Eddie Moore Quartet, featuring Lisa Henry Jan. 20 at 7pm: When you speak to Eddie Moore you find an ocean of calm, and when you listen to Eddie Moore you find the depth of that ocean. Eddie reaches from the soul with every note, in a deep way, with a tension just below the surface. 

KC Restaurant Week

Enjoy KC Restaurant Week from Jan. 11 thru Jan. 20 at various restaurants. $15 Lunch and $33 Dinner menus. Every January we look forward to Restaurant Week. The event is the perfect opportunity to check out new and familiar restaurants while sampling food you may not have enjoyed before. During Restaurant Week over 180 local restaurants offer special price fixed menus at participating restaurants. Multi-course lunch and dinner menus are $15 or $33. You may still order from the traditional menu, but the Restaurant Week menu is the best bargain and opportunity to try new things. Chefs will prepare their favorites and may experiment with new dishes as well.

Winter Sports: Skating, Skiing, and Sledding

Kansas City's Indoor Ice Skating Rinks Open Year-round:

Kansas City's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks:

The season for the outdoor rinks is typically November through February or March. Please call for hours for each location.

  • Crown Center Ice Terrace 2425 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO, 816.274.8411, The city’s original outdoor rink opens on Nov. 2 when you may enjoy free early morning skating, coffee and hot chocolate from 6:00 to 9:00 am. Beginning at 10:00 am, regular admission of $7 and $3 skate rental apply. On Tuesdays after 5:00, pay one full-price admission and receive a second for FREE.
  • Summit Ice 120 NE Chipman Rd., Lee’s Summit MO, 816.249.2600, Enjoy skating, pond hockey, curling, broom ball and ice skating lessons at this facility.
  • The Ice at Park Place 11565 Ash St., Leawood, KS, 913.663.2070, Throughout the season enjoy special events like Skating with Santa, Princess Skate and Valentine's Day Skate.
  • Linden Square Ice Rink 602 NE 70th St., Gladstone, MO, 816.423.4200, Children 4 and under skate free at this affordable local rink.
  • Ice Rink at Bois D'Arc Park in Lenexa West 88th Terrace, Lenexa, KS. This rink is only open when temps are cold enough for the ice to be solid. The rink is open during daytime hours and is free to use, but you must bring your own skates.


  • You can ski at the Snow Creek Ski Area in Weston or take the family to Colorado to enjoy Granby Ranch - with your KC Parent Coupon! They offer ski slopes, snowboarding, and lessons for beginners.


  • Kansas City boasts many terrific sled hills all across the metro! Over the years, our loyal readers have shared their favorites providing this fabulous list of the Best Sled Hills in KC!

And so...

  • Why We LOVE Winter Sports: In just one hour, you can burn 250 calories skating, skiing, or sledding and make countless memories, not to mention a few great photo ops, with the whole family!
  • Tip: Check the KC Parent Coupon page before you go for our current deals!

Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop Sleigh Ride

When, Where, What: Snowy Weekends at the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop (1200 Kansas City Rd, Olathe, KS). Rides are offered on weekends if there is snow. Be certain to call ahead at 913.971.5111 to verify or visit Mahaffie's website for details.

Why We LOVE Sleigh Rides at Mahaffie: Mahaffie is one of our favorite historic sites in the metro with wonderful interpretive programs throughout the year (read our review of Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop here), but we hold an extra special fondness for the beloved century's old winter tradition of horse-drawn sleigh rides. 

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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