Fall Fun at Kansas City's Parks
By Kristina Light
It's Autumn in Kansas City... the air is crisp, the leaves will be changing, and that means wonderful weather for a day of family fun at the park. Check out our favorite parks for leaf watching, football tossing, and marshmallow roasting!
Our Favorite Ideas for Fall Fun at the Park:
- Toss the Football
- Roast Marshmallows (many parks feature grills and charcoal pits) or Hot Dogs
- Leaf Watching
- Take Family Photos
- Ride Bikes
- Collect leaves for collages and rubbings
- Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt.
- Go Bird Watching.
- Bring a sketchpad and draw pictures of the trees, birds, and things you see.
- Play in the Leaves
Our Favorite Places for Fall Fun in Kansas City:
- Where to find Loose Park: 51st and Wornall, Kansas City, MO
- Amenities at Loose Park: The 75 acre park features a playground with a sand pit and small rock wall, a beautiful pond, fields perfect for tossing the old football, frisbee, or tag, paved trails, and an exquisite rose garden.
- Why we Love Loose Park in the Fall: The large fields at Loose Park are perfect for football, tag, and other fall fun, but the beauty of the park with the tree lined walkways surrounding the park, make an amazing autumn backdrop.
- Where to find Antioch Park: 6501 Antioch Road, Merriam, KS
- Amenities at Antioch Park: The 44 acre park features two fishing lakes, walking path, tennis courts, picnic shelters, basketball courts, restrooms, playground equipment, a rose garden, paved parking and cook out grills.
- Why we Love Antioch Park in the Fall: The highlight of Antioch Park for children is the Wild West village featuring nearly a dozen small buildings from a general store to a sheriff's office perfect for imaginative play or hide and seek. This park is perfect for a family picnic and en evening roasting marshmallows (the picnic shelters feature grills). The park is wooded and the lake makes great family fun whether you're fishing, feeding the geese, or simply taking a walk... don't forget the camera! In 2010, Antioch Park is hosting a special Trick-or-Cache event to introduce geocaching to families.
- Where to find Harris Park: 110 SW Blue Pkwy Lee's Summit, MO
- Amenities at Harris Park: The 17.9 acre park has one picnic shelter with tables, Summit Waves, Harris Park Community Center, .5 mile trail, small rock wall, and a large playground area depicting a castle.
- Why we Love Harris Park in the Fall: This park is full of beautiful trees. For your little princesses, princes, knights, and Robin Hood's merry men, Harris Park is the perfect place to play. The playground is a gigantic castle with slides, fire poles, and climbing equipment.
- Where to find Waterfall Park: 4501 South Bass Pro Drive Independence, MO
- Amenities at Waterfall Park: The 18-acre park features a fantastic playground, small rock wall, small lake, walking trails, picnic tables, restrooms, and the scenic backdrop of a waterfall.
- Why we LOVE Waterfall Park in the Fall: Waterfall Park is nestled in a wooded area overlooking a lake and waterfalls. The large shaded playground includes slides, jungle gyms, a small rock wall, and picnic space. Playing at Waterfall Park is an escape to the woods right in the midst of the city.
Leawood City Park
- Where to find Leawood Park: 10601 Lee Blvd., Leawood, KS
- Amenities at Leawood City Park: Large playground, trails, pond, shelter with picnic tables, restrooms, and grills, soccer fields, tennis courts, and lots of wide open green space.
- Why we Love Leawood City Park in the Fall: Leawood City Park The walk is scenic and pleasant, and the path is dotted with shelters for a picnic, fields for football or frisbee, and one of the largest playgrounds for toddlers and young children, with a few dinosaurs kids love to climb. The park is very well maintained and fun for the whole family.
- Where to find Sar-Ko-Par Park: 87th and Lackman, Lenexa, KS
- Amenities at Sar-Ko-Par Park: Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park has one 2 - acre lake, one gazebo/bandstand, five picnic areas, six reservable shelters, four jogging/walking trails, three soccer 1/2 fields, five playground areas, six open play areas, two sand volleyball courts, 4 lighted tennis courts, one basketball court, one baseball field, three restroom facilities, two park maintenance barns, one Park Supervisor's house, community garden, Legler Barn Historical Museum, railroad caboose, restored railroad museum and a restored Strang Line waiting station.
- Why we Love Sar-Ko-Par Park in the Fall: This beautiful park is a great place to play, take pictures, have a picnic, or learn a little local history. Magicians, characters, singers, puppets and more are just part of the fun at Sar-Ko-Par's annual Enchanted Forest event each autumn.
Overland Park Arboretum
- Where to find the Overland Park Arboretum: 8909 W. 179th St, OPKS. 913.685.3604. FREE
- Amenities at the Overland Park Arboretum: 300 acre park with Botanical Gardens, nature trails, picnic spots, and more.
- Why we Love the Arboretum in the Fall: For Kansas City's most beautiful and abundant FREE Botanical gardens outing, the Overland Park Arboretum is the place! With acres of gardens including a children's exploration garden, water gardens, the new beautiful Monet garden, and many many more, learn about natural ecosystems at the environmental education center and explore the trails. In the winter months, the Arboretum offers educational classes, live concerts, and holiday programs.
- Where to find the Overland Park Arboretum: 1609 NW US Hwy 50, Kingsville, MO. 816.697.2600. Admission charged.
- Amenities at Powell Gardens: 4 major gardens, a wildflower meadow, display conservatory, chapel and comprehensive education and events schedule.
- Why we Love the Powell Gardens in the Fall: Powell Gardens' Heartland Harvest Garden and nature trails are delightful in the fall.
Weston Bend State Park:
- Where to find Weston Bend State Park: 16600 Hwy 45 N, 816.640.5443. www.mostateparks.com
- Amenities at Weston Bend State Park: Weston Bend State Park features miles of trails (paved, chipped, and wood trails), picnic areas, playgrounds, and campgrounds.
- Why we Love Weston Bend in the Fall: We’re always pleased with Missouri’s State Parks… they are well maintained and clean and the Weston Bend State Park is no exception. Many of the trails include exhibit information about Lewis and Clark’s Expedition. For more area history, you can also visit an old Tobacco Barn (the native crop for the area) that is currently being renovated. The Barn includes an exhibit on the history of tobacco farming in the area. The highlight though, for an Autumn Day Trip, is the Scenic Overlook. Follow the signs, park your car, grab the camera, then take a short walk on a paved trail to the overlook for a magnificent view of Autumn color over the Missouri River. Every fall, Weston hosts one of the best fall festivals around... the Weston Apple Fest. You won't want to miss it!
Longview Lake Parks
- Where to find Longview Lake: Take the Raytown Road Exit (Exit 4) off I-470 and turn south. Go 1 mile.
- Amenities at Longview Lake: Marina, fishing, paved trails, shelters, fields for play.
- Why we Love Longview Lake in the Fall: Acres of wooded nature trails with bridges, streams, ponds, and the lake make wonderful photo ops and great leaf watching! Our favorite trail is at the end of Raytown Road (just past Highgrove).
Burr Oak Woods Nature Center
- Where to find Burr Oak Woods: 1401 NW Park Rd, Blue Springs, MO. 816.228.3766.
- Amenities at Burr Oak Woods: Burr Oak Woods is one of our FAVORITE Family Field-Trips in Kansas City! Burr Oak Woods is one of the largest nature centers in the area. With an animatronic Smokey the Bear teaching children fire safety, a large aquarium of Missouri's fresh water fish, snakes, turtles, toads, and more, and wonderful hands-on educational exhibits for children, Burr Oak Woods is a great place to spend an afternoon. The Nature Center also features miles of beautiful trails for walking or bicycling.
- Why we Love Burr Oak Woods in the Fall: With acres of wooded nature trails, ponds, and more Burr Oak Woods is an ideal setting for a fall walk or bird watching. One of the biggest treats at Burr Oak Woods in the fall is watching the wild turkeys and birds.
George Owens Nature Park
- Where to find George Owens Nature Park: 1601 S. Speck Rd. Independence, MO. 816.325.7115.
- Amenities at George Owens Nature Park: Enjoy a small nature center, programs for children, fishing dock, and trails. One of the features is a "Storybook Trail" where you read pages from a giant children's book as you walk the trail. The stories are updated regularly.
- Why we Love George Owens Nature Park: This is a great place to spend the day fishing, hiking, and exploring. For young children, storybook trail is a big treat! The Enchanted Forest event is a wonderful evening event when the woods come to life for young children with a great non-scary family hike.
Lakeside Nature Center
- Where to find Lakeside Nature Center In Swope Park, 4701 E. Gregory Blvd, KCMO. 816.513.8960.
- Amenities at Lakeside Nature Center: Lakeside Nature Center has one of the BEST animal exhibits in the area. The staff at the center rescue injured animals and keep them in a safe environment. See falcons, owls, eagles, toads, frogs, fish, insects, and wonderful exhibits on the animals in our city and in our homes. The Nature Center also features a gravel trail for walking and exploring.
- Why we Love Lakeside Nature Center: The trails are wonderful for a fall walk, but one of our FAVORITE things about fall at Lakeside is Magic Woods, a special event where fairytale characters bring the woods to life for an evening hike!
Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary
- Where to find Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary: 407 N. Lafrenz Rd., Liberty, MO. 816.781.8598.
- Amenities at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary: Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary offers terrific educational programs, nature displays featuring plants and animals, and nature trails.
- Why we Love it in the Fall: The nature center and trails are always nice, but we really love Fairytale Forest, a non-scary Halloween Hike.
Ernie Miller Nature Center
- Where to find Ernie Miller Nature Center: 909 N. Hwy 7, Olathe, KS. 913.764.7759.
- Amenities at Ernie Miller: Ernie Miller Nature Center offers children's activities and programs every week. You can also walk-in for a visit any time to see live animal displays, participate in hands-on activities and nature trails.
- Why we Love Ernie Miller in the Fall: The nature trails are ideal for leaf watching and scavenger hunts! This year, Ernie Miller is hosting a terrific Jack-O-Lantern Contest for families!
You Might Also Like:
- Fall Festivals in Kansas City
- Pumpkin Patch Guide
- KC Apple Picking Guide
- Halloween in Kansas City
- Indoor Play in KC
- Do you have an event to add to our list? Submit events to our Kansas City Calendar here.