We are fortunate to live in a bustling community with tons of year-round activities for kids, including festivals, events, amusement parks, and animal parks. But how do you narrow it down and still have some variety? Avoid the same old, same old; it’s time to branch out and explore!
Our summer activity guide highlights some of the most fun and enriching ways you can spend time with your children.
1. Explore the Animal Kingdom
As residents of Kansas City, it’s no secret that our daily routine does not include sighting wild lions and tigers in their natural habitats. Fun fact: they’re about eight thousand miles east of us, across the pond. However, we can visit their cousins at our local zoo!
Going to a zoo or other similar location offers many benefits, including language development, family bonding, exercise, environmental awareness, and academic knowledge. It’s also an excellent opportunity to spark curiosity and get your children to think more deeply about the world around them.
Where else can you go in Kansas City to see animals up close and personal?
- Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead: Feel the soft coat of a pygmy goat, feed animals right from the palm of your hand, learn how to milk a cow, go for a wagon ride, and much more!
- SEA LIFE Kansas City: Explore an underwater oasis over 5,000 creatures, just waiting for you and your family! This unique adventure has lots of hands-on, kid-friendly activities to help nurture your child’s curiosity and make special, long-lasting memories. If you still have time and energy after that, go next door to the “ultimate indoor Lego Playground” at LEGOLAND.
- Kansas City Zoo: In case you missed the link above, here’s a zoo map to help you plan your route. Here are some toddler tips, too! Also, stay tuned for the Kansas City Aquarium, opening in 2023!
- Yaya’s Alpaca Farm: Take a farm tour and learn all about these sweet creatures and their fleece! Located about 45 minutes southeast of Lenexa, your family can take a mini road trip, feed adorable alpacas, and just enjoy the fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary & Education Center: Head down to Louisburg and check out this non-profit organization dedicated to the care and preservation of endangered large exotic felines, or “big cats.”
2. Get in Touch with Nature
You don’t have to be a skilled hiker or extreme fitness enthusiast to enjoy a nice walk in the park! We are fortunate to have so many wonderful parks in Johnson County and the surrounding areas. Why not challenge your family to hit a new park each week?
While exploring each new park, consider the following activities:
- Catch and release bugs, toads, and butterflies.
- Check out some books at the library and then read under a tree together.
- Include your pup and go to the off-leash dog parks.
- Mesh music, art, and nature with Theatre in the Park.
- Relax and unwind with fishing and boating.
- Hit the trails and go for a bike ride.
Be sure to check out these amazing parks, too:
- Lakeside Nature Center
- Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
- Swope Park
- Wonderscope’s NatureScape
When kids are exposed to gardening, farming, and cooking, they have a better understanding and appreciation for food. Nourish your family with locally-sourced goodness:
3. Go on a Field Trip
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery, right? After all, learning is supposed to be fun, so make it interesting!
Union Station offers a plethora of activities for kids of all ages:
- Science City: Explore the entire venue or pick and choose exhibits based on age. Areas are categorized by age groups: 0-6, 6-12, and 12+.
- Extreme Screen Theatre: Let the magic come alive on this massive 80-feet by 53-feet screen. See the latest blockbuster, a classic or seasonal film, or an educational film – all are available, depending on the day and time.
- Planetarium: “Combining interactive astronomy education, spectacular public shows, and telescope viewing opportunities, the Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium is Kansas City’s greatest connection to the night sky and beyond.”
KC Parent suggests the following FREE museums for kids in Kansas City:
- The Historical Society of Lee’s Summit & Museum (220 SW Main St., Lee’s Summit, MO). Artifacts dating back to the 1890s tell the history of Lee’s Summit from the old settlers to the city’s most prominent and famous citizens.
- Federal Reserve Bank & Money Museum (1 Memorial Dr., Kansas City, MO). Tour Kansas City’s Federal Reserve Bank and learn about the U.S. monetary system. Children can make their own money and leave with a souvenir bag of shredded cash. So cool!
- Hallmark Visitors Center (2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO). Discover the story of Hallmark from humble beginnings in 1910 to the growth of this world-famous company. Interactive displays fascinate. Kids love the interactive displays. One allows your child to press a button and watch gift bows get manufactured, producing the perfect free souvenir from your visit.
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak, Kansas City, MO). Discover masterpieces in the galleries, spend quality time together at a festival or drop in for a family weekend art activity. This summer, enjoy miniature golf on the lawn and take a stroll through the Sculpture Park.
- The Wyandotte County Historical Museum and Archives (631 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs). The museum features Native American collections, interactive pioneer exhibits, county history and a 1905 KCK steam pumper fire engine.
4. Get Wet and Wild!
Enjoy the thrills and spills of Worlds of Fun’s rollercoasters, then cool off next door at Oceans of Fun. For more water fun, check out Great Wolf Lodge, or any of these exciting aqua-tastic destinations:
- Blackbob Bay in Olathe
- Splash Cove in Shawnee (geared for kids aged nine and under).
- Thomas A. Soetaert Aquatic Center in Shawnee
- Gardner Aquatic Center
- Lake Olathe
5. Spruce up for School Pictures and Beyond
After all that fun and excitement, your children will have grown and changed both mentally and physically. It’s amazing what a difference a few months can make!
To prepare for the school year, be sure to:
- Polish your pearly whites! Schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Jenkins Dentistry for Kids is now available in both Shawnee and Lenexa! We serve children from infancy all the way through their teen years! Be sure to see your regular physician and other specialty doctors, too.
- Get a fresh haircut, and consider trying out a new style!
- Go through the closets: donate and replace clothing as needed.
- Practice the routine; get back into school mode by reestablishing a firm bedtime, setting expectations, etc.
- Meal-prep your children’s lunches, while keeping in mind optimal nutrition for their dental and overall health.
Schedule an Appointment in Lenexa or Shawnee
Whether your children are toddling tots or adolescents, we at Jenkins Dentistry for Kids understand that kids require a unique and specialized approach to their dental needs and beyond. Therefore, we embrace this mission each and every day!