Staycation in KC 3

No need to pack a suitcase—just pack this short list. Be a fan. Be one with nature—or not. Learn the backstory of your favorite summer brew. Be transported to an ancient culture. Meet some cool cats. Indulge in amazing eats—not just barbecue. Kansas City is where it’s at for amazing summer adventures.

  • See Kansas City in bloom. Head to Powell Gardens, PowellGardens.org, for the Gardens of Myth exhibit featuring creatures as tiny as fairies and as enormous as a 35-foot-long dragon. The Kansas Arboretum, ArtsAndRec-OP.org, is enchanted with magical woodland creatures through Labor Day. Need a more urban garden oasis? Take a stroll through Country Club Plaza-area Kauffman Memorial Gardens or Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center.
  • Hit the field and cheer on the boys in blue. Take your pick of either baseball or soccer with the Royals and Sporting Kansas City.
  • Get up close and personal with nature. Visit MOStateParks.com to find the Missouri state park of your choice. Near Lee’s Summit, pitch a tent at Lake Jacomo, Longview or Blue Springs campgrounds.
  • Not into a nature overnight trip? Visit James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area just 1 mile south of Lee’s Summit off Ranson Road to hike, bike or horseback ride on the area’s 15 miles of multiuse trails. Eleven ponds of different sizes offer ample fishing opportunities.
  • If roughing it really isn’t your thing, the Great Indoors Package at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center offers more of a glamping experience. Book the package online or upon arrival for a $49 upgrade to receive a kid-sized tent, sleeping bag, director’s chair and chef-created s’mores cupcakes and chocolate milk. For Westin reservations, call 816.474.4400. Book your July or early August trip to coincide with one of Crown Center’s WeekEnder evenings featuring local bands, food trucks and a movie under the stars at Crown Center Square. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. CrownCenter.com
  • For a couple’s overnight trip, a visit to one of Weston’s eight bed-and-breakfasts is in order. Word has it, the creme brulee French toast at Hatchery House B&B is worth the trip. While you’re there, tour Weston Brewing Company and experience late night at its Irish pub, take in a tasting at Pirtle Winery or Riverwood Winery and go on an eating adventure at Green Dirt Farm and Creamery.
  • Kansas City can be a foodie’s dream. Taste of Kansas City Food Tours offers something for everyone, from brunches and bites to craft cocktails. Visit TasteOfKansasCityFoodTours.com.
  • Boulevard may be the original KC craft brewery, but Kansas City’s cup is now brimming with local craft breweries, distilleries and wineries. Visit KCBeerTour.com to book a prearranged tour. Or contact locations individually to arrange your own tour or tasting room visit.
  • Create your own Best of KC tour. Ride the Kansas City streetcar between popular downtown areas including Union Station, the Crossroads, Kauffman Center, Power & Light and City Market. Use Yelp to do a search for the best food, drinks and activities at the different stops.
  • Shop the farmers market at City Market on Saturdays and Sundays or the Lee’s Summit market on Saturdays to experience a whirl of local vendors selling fresh produce, meats, plants, cut flowers and locally crafted items. Challenge family members to a cook-off using market-fresh food finds.
  • Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Education Center in Louisburg, Kansas, SaveourSiberians.org. See large exotic felines including Siberian tigers, cougars, leopards, lions and wolves by scheduling a private tour during weekday hours ($50) or weekends when the conservatory is open to the public ($8 adult general admission). To experience a wider range of the wild kingdom, visit the Kansas City Zoo, KansasCityZoo.org.
  • So over road tripping? Take a rail trip and take advantage of half off children’s tickets with the purchase of adult tickets. Catch the Amtrak at the downtown Lee’s Summit station and ride to Union Station. At Union Station, enjoy learning made fun at Science City, catch a show at the Regnier Extreme Screen Theater or The Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium. A favorite old standby for little ones is the model train exhibit. The featured summer exhibit is Mummies of the World, showcasing more than 40 mummies and 150 artifacts dating back 4,500 years.
  • Go big or go home. Go for a swim in the zero-entry pool at Lake Paradise Resort in Lone Jack, LakeParadiseResort.com, a half-hour east of Lee’s Summit. It’s framed on three sides by lakes and boasts that it’s the largest pool in Missouri. Camping is also available. It costs $5 per person to swim. In Kansas, a short drive to Lawrence is worth if for the swimming beach at Clinton Lake.
  • Be an art student. The Nelson-Atkins Museum offers free daily tours as well as a self-guided scavenger hunt brochure for kids that guides them in exploring the museum’s exhibits. Dine in the Nelson Atkin’s Rozzelle Court Restaurant or bring a picnic for the lawn. If you have little artists, bring along supplies to let them have their own en plein air experience.
  • Visit Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and watch glass artists fashion marbles and pick out your own. Visit MoonMarble.com for marble demonstration schedule.
  • Enjoy the water at one of the amazing lakes around our city. Some options that offer public access are Lake Jacomo, Longview Lake, Hillsdale Lake, Blue Springs Lake, Clinton Lake and Stockton Lake. Check rules and details on boating, fishing and swim beaches before visiting. Reno’s Powersports at 13611 Holmes Road has everything you would need to kick your water adventure off right. Their Yamaha WaveRunners are a hot item this summer.