Staycations and road-trips are two of my family’s favorite ways to save money with our vacation plans.
If you’re road tripping out west this summer, why not plan a stop in Kansas City? And if you’re a local planning to save some money this summer by staycationing, here are my top suggestions for places to visit and things to do.
Museums & Attractions
The Nelson Atkins Museum is Kansas City’s premier museum, with galleries of Roman, Egyptian, European and Native American art, as well as wonderful outdoor sculpture gardens. General admission is always free.
Hallmark Cards is headquartered in Kansas City, and provides some great free entertainment for kids and their families. In Crown Center is the Hallmark Visitor Center, with interactive exhibit halls about the Hall Family and the development of their family-owned and run Hallmark Cards.
Also in Crown Center is Kaleidoscope,which is an unbelievably cool arts and crafts center. Kids get to make whatever art they can dream up with all sorts of left-over materials from Hallmark’s manufacturing lines. This is also free, but spaces are limited.
While you’re at Kaleidoscope, you may also want to cross the street and visit two of Kansas City’s newest attractions: SeaLife Aquarium and LEGOland Discovery Center. Admission isn’t cheap, but I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love it. Prices start from $13.50, but you can buy tickets online to save a few dollars. Give yourself two hours for each location. Outside there are spray fountains and picnic tables, so feel free to bring a packed lunch!
Home to the Royals (MLB), Chiefs (NFL), Sporting KC (MLS) and Nascar Racing, Kansas City is definitely a sports-friendly town. If you want to get discount tickets, be sure to check out StubHub and/or ScoreBig.
Beyond taking in a few games, you should also check out these two top-notch sporting destinations in Kansas City:
First, the College Basketball Experience (CBE), which is one of my sons’ favorite place to visit. Open Wednesday thru Sunday, CBE is not a museum – it’s a high-energy, highly-interactive venue that immerses you in the game of college basketball. And for the record, I beat my 9 year-old in a free-throw competition. Once. Admission is a bit steep, but you won’t regret it. Adult tickets are $9, and kids 4 and up are $6. Parking is metered or in near-by lots.
Another major attraction is the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. It’s a fascinating blend of sports and history that baseball fans young and old will enjoy. And did you know that the movie 42 (Jackie Robinson’s life story) had their Hollywood premier there a few months ago? Admission is $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 5-12. Parking is metered or in near-by lots.
Kansas City is HOT in the summer, and that heat peaks in August. But there are a few outdoor attractions that aren’t to be missed, despite the temperatures.
The Deanna Rose Farmstead is our favorite! There are nature trails, hay rides, a fishing pond, goat and sheep feeding, and cows, bunnies and pigs. Plus there are a multiple of playground areas, a one-room school house and a tracker “race track” (peddle tractors only). Admission is free Monday through Friday (or just $2/person on the weekends). Parking is free as well. There is a picnic area outside the farmstead if you want to pack a lunch. All three of my kids love the Farm – and I’m sure yours will, too.
Powell Gardens is Kansas City’s largest botanical garden. With special exhibits, performances, acres of gorgeous gardens and the nation’s largest edible landscape, you can spend hours exploring at Powell Gardens. Summer admission from April 1 – October 31 is $10 for adults and $4 for children ages 5-12 (4 and under are free). Winter admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children. Parking is free.
In the late afternoon, take a stroll along the Country Club Plaza and you’ll immediately be charmed by Kansas City’s myriad of fountains (it’s called the City of Fountains) and quaint Spanish-style architecture. In fact, KC is sister cities with Seville, Spain – and if you’ve ever been there, you’ll probably do a double take at the Plaza. Home to fifteen blocks of shopping, restaurants (none kosher – although there is a Starbucks), outdoor art festivals and live music, the Plaza is a must-see.
There aren’t a plethora of choices, but Kansas City does have a few options for kosher dining.
The Hen House grocery store on Roe & 115th in Leawood is known affectionately in our family as “the kosher Hen House”. They have a bakery under the supervision of the Va’ad of Kansas City, including a new section with pareve, pas yisroel cakes and desserts. There is also a full kosher deli, with take-out options like fried chicken, salads and even fresh sushi!
Rachel’s Cafe is a weekday, lunchtime option in the Village Shalom Senior Living community. Also under the Va’ad, the Cafe is open from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and serves both dairy and meat (separate sides). My family can get hamburgers, fries and drinks for under $20 for the five of us. Prices are more than reasonable and portions are plentiful.
And mark your calendars because on August 17, 2014, Kansas City’s Va’ad HaKashrut will host the city’s second annual Kosher BBQ Festival.
Okay, KC people – what did I miss???